How the Textbook Knows

I once climbed Mt. St. Helens to the rim of its crater. The picture above, taken from the rim that day, should give you an idea of what an exhilarating experience it was. You could print this picture, but if you have an old black-and-white printer like I do, it won’t look as good as it does on the screen.… READ MORE

Twisted Fairness

Who of us hasn’t dealt with the “it’s not fair” syndrome?  I mean personally, not just hearing from students. I was thinking of this recently when I got bit by the bug – again.  It is a sickness worse than the flu bug.  And highly contagious to boot.  How can I avoid this illness and keep from exposing others to… READ MORE

“Thank You, Ma’am”

Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is the unforgettable character from  Langston Hughes’s short story “Thank You, Ma’am.”  She is unforgettable to the fourteen-year-old boy who tries to steal her purse and unforgettable to your students when you share this story with them. I’ve enjoyed reading this story to my high school students over the years.  It has enough action and… READ MORE

Recommended Books

Because I love books, I have a special fund designated for books to expand the library at school as well as my personal library.  But not just any book–not all books are of the same quality.  Because there are far too many good books easily available, I prefer buying or borrowing books highly recommended by others as “beyond good.”  Sometimes… READ MORE

A Digital Lesson Planner I Love

Darrell Hershberger | Blog, High School Teacher’s Blog

Planners and I have a long and troubled relationship. I used to use the old Rod and Staff planner/gradebook combo. That worked really well in the first couple of years. I liked how I could see the whole week laid out in one place. I liked the security and ease of writing my grades down in a physical book. But… READ MORE

Learning Support Plans

In my blog post about the evaluation process for exceptional learners, I briefly mentioned that students who qualify for special education within the public school system receive an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  Here in Pennsylvania, this IEP includes the following components (and more): special considerations (such as visual or hearing impairments or English as a second language) present levels of… READ MORE

Parent-Teacher Conferences, Part Two

Parent/teacher conferences are vital to good communications between the home and school.  The conferences give us a point of contact and an opportunity to meet and focus on the child, looking at the academic, emotional, social, and spiritual growth of the child. Let’s walk through a conference: My classroom has been cleaned up and looks orderly with student desks straightened… READ MORE

Parent-Teacher Conferences, Part One

“I must say I don’t really care for parent/teacher conferences.  I showed the paper to Seth and said, ‘Let’s just sign up to talk to Miss Birt,'” a mom shared with me.  Since Seth is a high-school student, this mom wouldn’t be signing up for a conference with me, but I told her I’d be glad to visit with her. … READ MORE

Choose Life

I wonder if others have noticed with me that grumbling about circumstances often only makes the situation worse.  Plus, the negative focus depletes energy.  Over the years I have wasted mountains of energy when I focused on unpleasant circumstances surrounding  me.  Stewing and fretting about my busy schedule or an irresponsible student or unexpected deadlines only sinks me further into… READ MORE

Evaluations for Special Education

Private Anabaptist schools function with relative freedom, which includes the ability of parents and teachers to decide to individualize instruction at an intense level.  Within the public school, some individualization can happen within the general education classroom, but once there is significant departure from the general curriculum, the student must qualify for special education services to receive that support. Evaluation… READ MORE