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Building Our Muscle to Be Culturally Competent — What Does It Take?

Despite that it was a mild summer day outside today (I found this out when I left the office for lunch), I spent the morning with four of my fabulous colleagues (brilliant coaches every one of them) huddled around a white board designing a new program for instructional coaches related to building teacher capacity for…

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True Grit: Can We Teach Students to Be Persistent Learners?

When I think of Alvin Toffler’s quote, it reminds me of Briana, a 4th grader living in the predominately African American and Latino low-income community in East Oakland. Her grandmother asked me to come over and help her with her reading. I could see that she had a sharp wit and quick mind, but she…

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Connecting Teaching and Learning

home based jobs I love this cartoon because it highlights the disconnection between teaching and learning that some times happens. I remember when I was in my first year of teaching back in the day. I taught composition to high school juniors and seniors. I remember a particular day I was covering run-on sentences. I…

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Brain-based Learning vs. Kidney-based Learning: Which is Best?

I know. You read the headline and thought, what the heck is this “kidney-based” learning? Kidney-based learning. It sounds silly. Well, I think the term “brain-based” learning” sounds just as silly. Come on. All learning takes place in the brain, right? There is no “toe-based” learning or teaching. Yet, I hear this phrase “brain-based learning”…

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Three Ways to Improve Reading WITHOUT a Book This Summer

It’s summer time. Soon children are going to be signing up for summer reading programs at the library. Here’s a radical idea. Let’s work on improving low-performing students’ reading skills without a book this summer. Here’s why I say this. I was watching The Secret Millionaire last Sunday to get my weekly dose of reality…

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Three Reasons Why Getting Urban Students Ready for Rigor is Critical to Common Core Success

Wow. It’s my first blog post. I wondered for days where to start. So I’m starting with the why. Why is getting students in our lowest performing inner city schools ready for rigor important? Seems like a no-brainer. You might ask isn’t a rich curriculum and strong instruction enough? From my experience in the classroom…

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