Workers in the Kingdom

The holiday season with its flurry of excitement is past. Gone are the days of Christmas program practice, class parties, and Christmas break. Here instead are midwinter days filled with the daily grind. You get up on another cold, dark morning and drive to school before sunup. Your classroom is filled with wet boots and runny noses. The perpetual stack… READ MORE

For One

“Somebody will have to be killed before they change it” This statement came regarding an intersection that has been the site of several accidents. Wouldn’t it be nice to change it BEFORE someone is killed? Could we do that just for one person? I know there are laws and traffic studies that are part of these decisions, but it would… READ MORE

Designing and Managing Student Projects

While most of our class time should be spent covering major concepts and the material in our textbooks, there is much value in having students complete projects. It has been proven that students learn more and retain information much longer if they are actually involved in working with or creating something using their minds and their hands. Projects create a… READ MORE

Does Spelling Count?

“Are you grading for spelling on this?” a middle-school-aged student asked about his essay. Of course I was grading for spelling—on this essay and on other assignments. But for some older students, there is an assumption that since spelling tends to be taught only in younger grades that they do not need to proofread (or that their computer’s spellcheck will… READ MORE

My Brother’s Keeper

  Crash! Oh, dear. Nelson’s box of 64 crayons just spilled again. Five children rush from their seats to help him pick up the crayons. This is in the middle of math class, so I would like for them to leave the clutter for a bit. These children are very good at helping each other. A water bottle leaks  and… READ MORE

Do the Write Thing, Part 2: Integrating Writing into All Subjects

How much time do your students spend writing in an average week? And I don’t mean writing math equations or copying science terms or completing a penmanship paper. I mean real, original writing. How much time do your students spend actually wrestling with their thoughts and opinions and letting them flow out through their fingers? If your classroom is anything… READ MORE

A Christmas Countdown: A List of Christmas and Winter Picture Books to Share With Your Students

What is a better way to countdown to Christmas vacation as a teacher than with great picture books that focuses on the Christmas and winter season? You can find most of these books in your local public library system. Take the time to reserve several, wrap them with cheap wrapping paper or free brown packing paper, number them, set them… READ MORE

 Habits to Sustain Long-term Career Teaching

This year marks my fourteenth year teaching full-time in a parochial school classroom, and it hasn’t always been easy. But, because I love teaching and spending my time imparting knowledge to and guiding little humans, it has been well worth it. Here are a few habits that have helped our family stay in the teaching profession. Because I feel it’s… READ MORE

Relational Practices for Task-Oriented Teachers

I find personality tests intriguing. Enneagram, Myers-Briggs, DISC, and other frameworks for explaining the way human beings operate have helped me to understand myself and other people in new ways. I had studied many of these in various seasons of my life, but one aspect of personality that I have found particularly helpful has only come to my attention in… READ MORE

Do the Write Thing, Part I: Why Writing Matters

The adage says, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” As conservative Anabaptists, we have traditionally avoided using the sword. But unfortunately, we have often avoided using the pen as well. The following observations are very likely not a true representation of all Anabaptist schools and painting in broad strokes is sure to lead to unfair stereotypes at times. However,… READ MORE