School Stories

This category contains 95 posts

How a Teacher Becomes a Writer

[Guest-blogger Susan R. Adams contributes this #blog4nwp post as a member of the Hoosier Writing Project.] Teachers must act in an imperfect world. We have no choice but to risk ourselves. The choice is to consider the risk private or to build a community that accepts vulnerability and shares risks. Vulnerability is endurable in a … Continue reading


The National Writing Project (NWP) trains teachers from all walks of life to champion authentic writing instruction in their schools and communities. Teachers who attend NWP institutes at sites across the country and complete inquiry projects in writing instruction become Teacher Consultants who help their students and colleagues find purpose and voice in writing across … Continue reading

Nurturing Wonder and Awe in our Schools: A Placeholder

I wanted to check-in and let you know that I’m still around and plan on posting again in the next couple of days. Although I’ve been devoting most of my energy to a few of the other projects in which I’m involved (!), I wanted to let you know that I miss the unique energy … Continue reading

Magical Forests, Growth Models, and School Reform

I sit watching the educational debate unfold in front of my eyes and the current tenor of the debate has focused on prescribing a method that will achieve the end result of high test scores.  There are some that believe if we create a uniform set of procedures, scripts and decision-making trees; giving them to … Continue reading

imagine and play

John Seely Brown and Doug Thomas recently released a new book, A New Culture of Learning. I heard about it from John Hagel (who co-authored The Power of Pull with Brown). Hagel’s review is a super read. Yeah, you should maybe read it. It encouraged me to start working on this: Then my friend Adam, … Continue reading

Authentic Literacy

Time to Read and Write–and Discuss My fourth grade literacy group right now contains many kids I have not worked with a lot in the past, because our teachers differentiate well students’ levels in literacy. I work with a core group of kids 4 days a week and others who only come in for the … Continue reading

Community-based Schools–Really!

I need to keep my finger on a couple of the conversations going on in other posts here. To me, we’re getting at some of the important philosophical foundations of what it means to be in school. But I woke up this morning thinking about an issue that I tackled last week around mental health … Continue reading

Think Outside the Book

“I have never let school interfere with my education.” -Mark Twain This is a guest post written by Dale J. Stephens, an unschooler and founder of UnCollege — a self-directed learning higher education alternative.I had an opportunity to meet Dale through Twitter and since then had got to know him better through our email and Skype … Continue reading

Pondering The Values That We Bring To The Classroom

I just posted the following on my personal blogspace, Teaching Out Loud, but thought I might get some different feedback here. This is all leading me to some bigger questions in my own practice around the values that I bring into my teaching everyday. I’m in a bit of a quandry. As part of the … Continue reading

Irresistible Literacy

Five years ago, if asked to articulate my goal for my students, I would have answered, “To help them meet grade level benchmarks”. Now, my goal is bigger, broader, more aggressive, and more challenging.

I want to make literacy irresistible to my students. Continue reading

Not all charter schools are silos

[Note: This is a guest post from Jamie Steckart, director of Minnesota’s Northwest Passage High School, an experiential learning dropout prevention and recovery program.] Northwest Passage High School is a small progressive public charter school located in Coon Rapids, MN. For the past 12 years, NWPHS has been educating students who have not thrived in … Continue reading

Connecting from the Heart

@dougpete, in a post called, An Idea that Just Keeps Growing describes a powerful use of Google Street View for ‘storytelling’.  Megan Palevich (@mrspal) wrote A Walk Down Memory Lane which got me started on this little adventure. Ok, I have to tell you.  This has sparked something for me.  I mean, I have used Google Street … Continue reading

Paradox of Creativity

My eighth grade students are designing eco-friendly homes.  Using their netbooks, they’ve done research, created a blog, contacted certain contractors and worked on the sketches.  Mathematically, they find the volume and surface area to help figure out the cost to cool and heat it (many groups built their homes underground).  Nothing innovative, I realize.  However, … Continue reading

When Assessment gets a Gold Star

When assessment gets a gold star.  Inspired by some of the posts and conversations on the Cooperative Catalyst I would like to look more closely at the issue of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for learners and crucially, how these support, or damage, the process of effective assessment in our schools.  In 1983 I was in … Continue reading

You Never Asked Us!

Typical in schools, students aren’t asked about much that’s not on a test. Forget about asking them what is working for them or not in a school that is “working.” Really forget about asking such a question to students in a school that is “failing.” My hat is off to the students at Central Falls High … Continue reading

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