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Showing posts from July, 2015

How to Make A Disability Into Ability In The Classroom! But What About When It's YOU?

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This last week I traveled to my hometown of Seattle.  It was the first trip home since beating thyroid cancer this year.  Most of my close friends and nearly all of my relatives still live in the area and I know that being 3000 miles away from people you care about and who care about you is difficult when you are sick.  There is a powerlessness that goes with it.  My mom had flown out to support me and my husband and we were thankful to have her here for that time.

So on this trip home, I got to see many people.  One of the frequent comments was about my voice.  As some of you may already know, I have vocal cord paralysis of my right cord- a byproduct of my treatment as well as the fist size tumor I had in my neck (You can hear me in May and July).  People who have known me all my life commented on the new sound- "It sounds like you, just softer." or "Wow, your voice is so sultry." They are right, there is a new quality to my voice and it is changing how I teach.

M…

Teachers On The Front Lines: Respect and Compassion, Caitlyn Jenner and Dignity For All Students Act

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Last night, like many, I watched much of the ESPY Awards.  There were a few moments I was looking forward to, but the highlight for me was Caitlyn Jenner's acceptance speech for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Bruce Jenner was always part of my American landscape.  I was born a year after the triumphant Olympic showing.  Bruce was a symbol of athleticism and pop culture, even throughout the 80's always showing up on TV.  When "Keeping Up with The Kardashians" came to E! TV, new generations met Jenner.  I remember feeling bad for him, the batterebyd sidekick to a flock of women who bullied and belittled under the guise of love.

This spring, in the midst of a unit on Language and Gender for AP Language and Comp, we talked at length about gender, respect and language used to talk about gender and oppression.  At the time, Jenner was still being harassed relentlessly by the paparazzi, targeted on a daily basis, photos being published in places like People Magazine.  Tha…

The Struggle With Staying Inside The Lines

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Yesterday an article titled "Why Adults are Buying Colong Books (for Themselves)" by Adrienne Raphel in the New Yorker examined the phenomena of adults diving back into the coloring book market.  I am one of the many who are coloring for pleasure.  My first purchases were from Amazon,  My favorite: Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns as well as a mandala coloring book (which I don't like as much) and one marketed for "stress-relief". They are time consuming and require focus, the idea being that you turn everything else off: no phone, TV, kids, spouses.  Just you and your coloring to zone out and see where the time takes you.  Unfortunately, my brain is not one that works that way and I like to do multiple things at once- usually one taking the majority of my focus (a gift and a curse) not unlike many of our students.  So in the evening, after dinner when we are catching up on the backlogged DVR, I color while we watch Mr. Robot.


Last Friday I was v…

25. Inspiration and Humility

When I started blogging about teaching in April I saw it an exercise to challenge me professionally, to think more critically about my work and to hopefully connect with other teachers.  Thanks to Chris Crouch, teacher leader, blogger and advocate who started the April Blog A Day Challenge.  It took my work to a new place. The writing in April also provided an opportunity for me to discover what is out there for teachers.  There was this community that I had been blind to, only because I was so focused on what was happening in my own classroom and school that I didn't make room to see and hear teacher's voices that would ultimately bring something new to my own work as educator and teacher leader in my community. 
When I started talking about the writing I was doing, the conversations I was having with teachers from around the country it was clear that this needed to be a permanent part of my professional work.  I was inspired by the work and thinking teachers and education pr…