3 Reasons Why I Ditched My Syllabus (And Why You Might Want To, Too)

The status quo for teachers has always been to give out a syllabus during the first few days of school. But is that really the most effective way to start out the year?

syllabus
Good question.

Let’s get right into it.

Here’s why I didn’t give my students a traditional syllabus this year:

Continue reading “3 Reasons Why I Ditched My Syllabus (And Why You Might Want To, Too)”

Advertisements

4 Steps to Help Students Google Better

If we’re not teaching students how to find credible sources on the internet, we’re not teaching them an essential 21st-century skill.

2013%2F03%2F19%2F18%2FGooglesearc.4df6d

During my first year of teaching, I gave out a pretty standard, English-teachery assignment: choose a controversial issue, write an essay that crafts an argument for one side of the issue, and use supporting evidence. Continue reading “4 Steps to Help Students Google Better”

Where Classroom Technology Studies Go Wrong

1930s_HU_STUDENTS

Note: A version of this article appeared in the Huffington Post here.

A study was released recently in Psychological Science entitled “The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking.” In it, the authors confirm what many educators already suspect: “computers (and the Internet) serve as distractions, detracting from class discussion and student learning.” According to the study, students retain more facts and concepts when they do not have access to laptops, smartphones, or other devices. Continue reading “Where Classroom Technology Studies Go Wrong”

Two Educators: Two Roads Converged

“Two Educators” is an occasional series with Brian Kulak, Chief Academic Officer at Collingswood Public Schools. In this series, Brian and Dylan tackle educational topics from their unique perspectives as an administrator and a teacher.


along_the_tracks_1_b

Kulak: C’mon. You know how those first few years are.

Passionate. Idealistic. Romantic. Stressful. Consuming. Continue reading “Two Educators: Two Roads Converged”

Three TV Shows That Every Teacher Should Watch

tvThe boob tube. Electric babysitter. The idiot box. Television has been much maligned in our culture since its inception in the 1920’s and has always invoked a heated hatred in its critics. Kurt Vonnegut said that TV is “like a rotten teacher in high school, except it’s everybody’s teacher” and Frank Lloyd Wright called it “chewing gum for the eyes.” Continue reading “Three TV Shows That Every Teacher Should Watch”

Two Educators: On Homework

“Two Educators” is an occasional series with Brian Kulak, Chief Academic Officer at Collingswood Public Schools. In this series, Brian and Dylan usually tackle one topic from their unique perspectives as an administrator and a teacher. However, for this post they have invited Ofonime Idiong, a senior student at Collingswood High School, to share her perspective as well. 


mother-trying-to-help-frustrated-daughter-doing-homework

Fenton: As a student in high school, I hated the average homework assignment. I usually rushed through it right before it was due, didn’t do it at all and hoped the teacher wouldn’t collect it, or (get ready to gasp in horror…) copied the homework from any friend who was too nice to say no to me. And to be honest, I didn’t feel that bad about it. Continue reading “Two Educators: On Homework”

Let’s Stop Calling Teaching a Calling

lastdayofschool-teacher-empty-classroom-980px

Note: A version of this article appeared in the Huffington Post here.

Teachers sometimes speak of “a calling” when asked to explain how they settled on the profession. While they may be referring to a religious calling with some type of divine influence, they may also be simply referring to a strong, fatalistic pull toward the job – the idea that they were “meant” for the line of work. For the purposes of this post, it’s this latter definition that will be focused on. Continue reading “Let’s Stop Calling Teaching a Calling”

Two Educators: Moving From Mindless to Mindful

This is the first post in an occasional series with Brian Kulak, Chief Academic Officer at Collingswood Public Schools. In this series, Brian and Dylan will tackle one topic from their unique perspectives as an administrator and a teacher.


56cf451f1e00002200702c85

Kulak: Listen, I loathe all educational buzzwords and phrases. I’m tired of being asked to unpack. I’ve had my fill of meaningful conversations. I have no desire to be a part of anything that is rolled out. I’ll pass on an invitation to a crosswalk. I’m not even entirely sure I understand what grit is anymore. Continue reading “Two Educators: Moving From Mindless to Mindful”