Funny Money

How much money do we spend to go to conferences? A few hundred, easily. How much money do we spend on tools, apps, programs, and resources to use in our classroom? Or better yet, how many people show up for sessions which talk about programs you can buy to use with your kids in the classroom? It’s strange that we…

Grade Games

I get asked abou my grading a lot because it’s pretty different than a typical classroom. I’ve refined it slowly over the years, and I’m by no means totally happy with it, but I’m happy with how it’s changed the way I (and my students, eventually) think about grades. I tend to struggle and wrestle with what grading communicates, even…

Find Your Seats

I’m a big believer in letting students make their own decisions as much as they can. In high school, they’re dictated to. A lot. I figure picking somewhere to sit is one way to give a little bit of agency and ownership to the classroom space. I’m back in the classroom for the first time in nearly two years. I’m…

What’s Worth Your Time?

This year, my wife and I decided to make many of the gifts we gave for Christmas. Me, having a bunch of time off from working, and Lindsey, raising a beautiful one-year-old who enjoys playing with necklaces and her dog, had plenty of time to dive into gifts. It’s always extremely satisfying to be able to tell someone, “we made that for you” because it shows intent, love, and a deeper thought about something they might like.

I got to dive into some design work I’d never had a chance to do before. I opened up Inkscape for the first time and taught myself some of the basics of vector editing. It started with creating a new website for my father-in-law, Dave, and then bled over into making custom labels for our homemade vanilla and lemon extracts.

vanilla

lemon

We also chose to take some new photos of Meredith to give to family and friends. Lindsey is an amazing photographer and has a great eye for capturing something with a lens.

The last two months have been rough. There are plenty of bright spots, though, that remind me to be thankful even when things don’t follow the plan. This fall was definitely out of the scope of the plan, but I’ve enjoyed the time regardless of the circumstances. Make sure you spend your time doing things worthwhile.

Teacher

I’m really struggling. I lost my job in November and I’m in the midst of trying to balance what I do with who I am. I wrote in January about the confusion I feel with identity. It’s even bigger now, with more questions than answers. Bill Ferriter was kind enough to leave a very wise comment for me: I definitely…

More Email Management Tips

Email is a bear. The Oatmeal covered it pretty thoroughly. I use a few little tricks with Gmail that many people don’t know about, so I figured I’d share a few. Maybe one will help you out. 1. Use filters and create labels. Our inboxes get filled up so fast with so many different things, it’s easy to lose an…

Homework is a Red Herring

Polarization is easy to achieve, but it’s hard to undo. Education is riddled with polarizing issues, both political and practical, and the issue of homework is one of the worst. The central argument: Homework doesn’t benefit students, and you shouldn’t be giving it. Aside from pushing buttons and for increasing retweets, search hits, and Klout scores, the homework argument doesn’t…