Stir Up the World

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Oct 23 2012

what works for me

These are just things that happen to work for me; I’m not sure if they work for everyone or if it’s just my school and my kids, but here they are nonetheless: giving the kids a break. I have 90-minute blocks. 90 minutes is a long time. About halfway through class and/or when their eyes…

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Oct 05 2012

read these. “Research by David Dinges at the University of Pennsylvania has found that adults need eight hours of sleep a night – we do not adapt. We just perform at a far lower level than if fully rested. And his research shows that if you have six hours of sleep a night for just…

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May 31 2012

∆ institute advice

Since I apparently still have PTSD about this past year and can’t quite reflect on it yet, I’ll offer some advice about Institute, and specifically about the ∆ Institute. Other ∆ people, please add to this list if you want! make a motivational playlist on your ipod, and listen to it on the way to…

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First of all, good luck you guys! Here’s a little piece of advice that I wish someone had given me: If at all possible, take a trip between Institute and the beginning of school.  Whether it’s going home or just getting away for a few days, do something to get some perspective and feel like…

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Feb 13 2012

keep moving forward

overheard today, in the middle of a discussion about scatter plots: “Do moles have cancer?  Do they affect your life?” I don’t know why I found that funny, but suddenly everything my students said was hilarious.  Sometimes when I’m tired, I get really cranky or really loopy — either one, not both.  Today I was…

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Feb 10 2012


I’m tired of picking up after my students and maintaining the sharpened-pencil supply. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Feb 04 2012

calling all consequences!

I need more ideas for individual consequences that aren’t disruptive, don’t disrupt the flow of the class, and, most importantly, WORK! What do you do that works?

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Dec 17 2011

exit ticket

I only do exit tickets when I’m feeling really ambitious (read: almost never), but if TFA asked me to write an exit ticket showing what I’ve learned so far, this is what it would look like: You will spend money on your kids. This is a very expensive job.  I’ve bought everything from Twizzlers to…

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Nov 13 2011

my advice

If I could go back and give my pre-TFA self some advice, this is what it would be: 1. read as many teaching books as you can get your hands on 2. observe as many classrooms as you can, just to get the feel for what day-to-day life is like in the classroom 3. see…

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the title

"If one desires to 'stir up the world,' it is easy to be impatient with work for the sake of work. Yet no story's end can forsake its beginning and its middle." -Joshua Wolf Shank on Abraham Lincoln