Remember Pencil Quests?

It was somewhere in my sophomore year and the teacher was bubbling over with excitement. "We're going on a Pencil Quest!" he exlaimed. I raise my hand. "So, you will take us to various sites. Is it like a field trip?" "Yep," he says. "And each site will Read More...

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The Con Academy

"Mr. Johnson, we have a guest who we'd like you to meet," my principal informs me. I walk down the hallway and into the conference room. "A bagel?" he asks. "No thank you," I tell him. "It's free. Just like our system," he says. I've heard of Sam and Read More...

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I'm a Papermate. I'm a Ticonderoga.

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Why Were Your Kids Playing Games?

"We need to talk," the principal tells me. "Mind if I shut the door?" I ask. "I do. I have an open door policy to keep up." "Oh." We sit down at a table and I pull out a hoarhound from his candy dish. "I see you were playing games today instead of teaching." Read More...

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10 Points on Pencils

Dear Superintendent: I want to address a few of your concerns that you had about my classroom and a list seems like an organized way of doing it: No, we don't have an Acceptable Use policy for pencils. I refuse to do this, because I don't have a policy Read More...

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"Pencil Me In" is a dollar right now.

That's right. You can download it for a buck right now as a Kindle download . If you don't have a Kindle, you can use their computer or mobile app. I'm also offering all my other books for a dollar , but only for the next week. So, you can get all of Read More...

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Are Pencils Making Us Narcissistic?

"Tom, I'm not comfortable with students using pen pal networks," my principal warns me. "It's not about comfort," Mr. Brown shoots back. "Good point. Let me rephrase this. I am concerned about the pen pal networks and the plogs and the class newspaper Read More...

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7 Reasons Why I Quit Reading Your Plog

Hey readers, I quit writing for awhile, not because I don't like to write, but because I had nothing relevant to say. I decided it would be best to take some time off rather than write a plog for the sake of a plog. 1. You quit pencil-logging and have Read More...

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Capturing Reality

"Daddy, what are you doing?" my daughter asks me. "I'm setting up the camera," I tell her. "Why?" "So I can take a picture of you guys in front of the waterfall," I respond. "Why?" she asks. "So I can capture this moment and keep it forever," I tell her. Read More...

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A Reminder From My Son

I'm cleaning up the kitchen, trying my best to formulate a response to someone who had questioned my assessment practices. So, I run through the mental list: Students need to articulate their mental process Students need to connect multiple math concepts Read More...

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Ten Paperless Math Assessment Strategies

I recently wrote a post about the ridiculous nature of standardized testing . Somebody e-mailed me about why an authentic approach might work in some subjects, but not in a subject like math. So, here are a few ideas of paperless math assessments for Read More...
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I Don't Need Another #Chat Right Now

My mom calls to ask Christy a question. Something about pop corn in a bag. It didn't make sense - not because of her lack of description, but because of my lack of practical imagination. She says, four or five times, "I should let you get going," and Read More...
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White Noise

Joel asks me, "Daddy, why do people say black and white people when everyone is brown?" "So you think we all look alike?" "No, but some have dark brown and some have light brown. My friend Dylan is light brown but his hair is all curly like people who Read More...
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When to Be Lazy

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10 Ways to Help Students Ask Better Questions

Note: While I enjoy writing "What Works Wednesdays," I admit that I am not the expert. I don't have all the answers. So, if this ever comes off as pretentious, just spend a day with me and watch me make mistakes. I'm not a wizard. My students gather in Read More...
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