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Showing posts from August, 2016

Day 83: The Homework Dilemma

Source: Kauffman, G. (2016, August 23). Should second-graders get homework? Maybe not, says Texas teacher. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
This elementary teacher is saying no to homework in a video to parents that has gone viral. Basically, the only homework her students will be bringing home are the things that they do not finish in class. Radical? No. Notable? Yes.

Connections to Current/Future Work:

Here is the thing about secondary teachers. Our content is our god. Our content, compared to all other content areas, is the most important content IN THE WORLD. I raise my hand as one of the guilty ones who gave my students half an hour of reading every night and defended it up and down because - "hey math teacher, don't complain to me that students in your class can't read. Research shows that students read better when they read, an…

Day 82: Teaching in Your Own Community

Will, M. (2016, August 18). Teacher diversity gap not easily closed, report warns. [Web log]. Teaching Now. Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
This article is a review of a report by the Brookings Institution on High hopes and harsh realities The real challenges to building a diverse workforce.

In a nutshell, the gap between what the students look like and what the teachers look like (racial mix/identity/culture) is not only out of sync, but even up to 2060, based on the predictions for African American and Hispanic students, the gap will continue at its current pace.

Connections to Current/Future Work:
I have been meeting with a lot of possible mentor teachers this past week, as well as having a meeting at Nanakuli High with a teacher interested in starting a teacher academy. After 23 years of teaching in my own community and ingraining myself in the life of that community, I moved to somewhere that is not my community to do this work. Funny thing is the meeti…

Day 74 Furniture, Floors, and Walls as Game Changers

I wish I took more pictures of my classroom when I was teaching. I would have been able to use that as a reflection of my thinking. What I know after all these years is that if my seats were in tombstone rows, it was the beginning of end of the year (aka testing season and alphabetical memorizing names and training students on my classroom procedures season). If I was in quads, it's facilitation of collaboration season, and if they were in a large U or debate rows, we are performing, fishbowling, sitting on the carpet in the middle or doing independent work. This short article shares one teacher's use of tables, floors, and walls in his high school Spanish classroom.

What is Sacred: I think it is always sacred when working teachers take the time to write about their process. Teachers like to learn from teachers. They like to hear about what is working for other practitioners. They like to hear confirmation of what they are already doing in print.
I like Johnson's &qu…

Day 73: Not What I'm Looking For

Source:  Aseron, J, Greymorning, S.N., Miller, A. & Wilde, S. (2013). Cultural safety circles and indigenou peoplesʻ perspectives: Inclusive practices for participation in higher education. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 6(4), 409-416.
What is Sacred: The title is sacred. I had high hopes that I found my answer. 
Not quite. So here is what is sacred. The abstract, especially,  The application of Cultural Safety Circles can help provide a collective space where definitions for cultural and educational exchange can take place and be identified. It is through this application that a discussion is presented on how the inherent issue of cultural safety, as it pertains to participation in higher education, can be explored to a deeper understanding. Like the movie trailers that put their best stuff in the trailers and when you go to the movie, you are disappointed that the best thing about the movie was the trailer, you know that feeling. Yeah.

Connections to Current/Future Wo…

Day 72: Attendance

Foster, L. (2016, August 5). Builidng community with attendance questions. (Web log). Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
I guess I chose to read this because the picture of the Native American boarding schools kind of haunt me and I just wrote about the NMAI. We have the same type of pictures, but I also focused on being present and not absent, which then led me to this attendance article on the Edutopia blog.

This article is about using attendance as a community builder and a way to create a safe environment for students to really learn.

This teacher uses an attendance question to create an open space for sharing. It is not connected to curriculum and there are no right or wrong answers. What got me excited was the focus on the word attend.
When we trace back the meaning of attend through Old French (atendre) to its Latin root (attendere), we can see that when we attend, we are "stretchi…

Day 71 We Did Not Just Survive

Atalay, S. (2006). No sense of the struggle: Creating a context for survivance at the NMAI. The American India Quarterly, 30 (3,4), 597-618.

What is Sacred:
NMAI is the National Museum of the American Indian, one of our nation's free Smithsonian museums and my favorite place to grab lunch when in DC. It is a beautiful building at the end of the mall but I just flit in and out and don't read too closely. It feels like I am walking on graves sometimes.
This article is a loving critique of the NMAI from an Indigenous archeologist and focuses on the gaps in the story, specifically around survivance, versus just colonization and survival.

Survivance is defined by Gerald Vizenor as "more than survival, more than endurance or mere response; the stories of survivance are an active presence. . .The native stories of survivance are successive and natural estates; survivance is an active repudiation of dominance, tragedy, and victimry" (15).

Read his stories in Fugitive…

Day 70: Learning Value of Pokemon Go

Doran, L. & Davis, M.R. (2016, August 2). Educators weigh learning value of Pokemon Go. Education Week. Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
I don't know about sacred, but what I know for sure is that Pokemon Go has taken over my household. I am a proud non-user, however, my son and my husband will suddenly yell out, hey there's a (insert Pokemon name here) in the garage, etc. When my husband wants me to go to the store with him, it means that I need to co-pilot by spinning the icon at Poke stops.

So as a long time educator in middle and secondary, even if I do not play, I need to be able to understand the trends and memes and quickly incorporate this into the classroom as part of the curriculum as well as part of creating relationships, so I was interested in hearing what other educators had to say.

Connection to Current/Future Work:
I'm thinking that this definitely needs …

Day 69: The Skills That Must Be Taught

Kamentz, A. (2016, August 2). 3 things people can do in the classroom that robots can't. nprEd. Retrieved from

What is Sacred:
A 2013 study from Oxford University famously estimated that 47 percent of all jobs are in danger of automation. And earlier this year, the World Economic Forum said 5 million jobs might be gone in just the next four years. These changes create a huge challenge for schools and teachers. But there are also some intriguing indicators of the way forward. Kamentz puts it this way, the skills that must be taught, those skills that make us "unautomatable" in our work is the ability to:
Give a hug, solve a mystery, tell a story. Hug: empathy, collaboration, communication and leadership skills
Mystery: generating questions, curiosity, problem solving
Story: finding what's relevant, applying values, ethics, orals to a situation. Creating …