Pre-School Math Instruction Versus Phenomenon-Based Learning

Sometimes it feels that newspaper articles about education fall into two categories: "alarming trend" and "promising trend." The first kind might have a headline like "99% of American Schoolchildren Can't Find the USA on a Map," the second "New Computer Application Makes All Kids at Crumbling School in Geniuses." (I guess there is also the... Continue Reading →


Are High School Clubs a Bad Idea?

I teach at a wonderful independent school at which everyone gets along really well, the curriculum is rigorous and innovative, the students are kind and curious, and the faculty and staff are amazing. I treasure the commitment and dedication of everyone, faculty, staff, students. I love being in the classroom with my students or collaborating... Continue Reading →

Intrinsic Motivation and “The Whole Student”

The Infinite Monkey Theorem describes a very simple problem in probability yet it offers many opportunities for philosophical reflection--and jokes. Given enough time and sufficient numbers, a group of monkeys will eventually produce all of Shakespeare. As a teacher, I reflect upon the truth that even the worst educator will "produce" a conventionally successful student, eventually.... Continue Reading →

Learning by Doing: Sourcing at School

For years, I've asked students to use sourcing websites and internet articles about labor rights to search for the factories in which a couple of items of their clothing were made. Usually a pair of shoes and a favorite shirt. By undertaking this search, students think about the labor that supplies them with so much.... Continue Reading →

Oxfam: The wealthiest 8 men on earth possess wealth exceeding the poorest 50% of humanity

The wealthiest 8 men on earth (and yes, they are all men) possess wealth exceeding the poorest 50% of humanity. That's about 3,700,000,000 people. My students are stunned by this simple statistic from Oxfam's new report on economic inequality. The report is readable for secondary students and filled with prescriptions for change. For educators interested in solutions-based... Continue Reading →