My Flexible Classroom Journey

I love this article for so many reasons! Though I work mainly with college freshmen and those preparing to teach secondary students, the concepts shared here are useful in all educational settings.

Respect your students. Find the least intrusive way to educate. Play to their strengths. Revel in their differences and idiosyncrasies. Recognize that we ALL like to choose for ourselves. Love what you do enough to invest in it completely.


About 2 years ago I moved from a traditional classroom set up to a flexible classroom. I’ve learned some things along the way and made some adjustments. I noticed that different groups access flexibility differently. I’m going to share with you my growth process for flexible seating. For reference, Year 1 and Year 2 are years that I taught kindergarten. Year 3 is the current school year and I am teaching first grade. Year 1 was the year I began BYOD as well. You can read about that here.

Year 1:

My school purchased hokki stools for each grade level. They were evenly split between the classrooms. If you’re not familiar with these, they have a rounded bottom and when you sit on them you have to use your core to balance. I got 3 hokki stools and spread them around the room for my kinders to sit in…

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24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear

These photos spoke to me this morning as I, too, am irritated by women who tell other women what and how they should be. If you’re offended by spicy language, don’t read any further, but I am not and love the sentiment. I don’t need anyone’s permission to be myself.

Warning:Curves Ahead

This morning, as I was perusing my Facebook timeline, I happened upon an article that a lovely friend shared. It was entitled “24 Things Women Should Stop Wearing After Age 30”, and it triggered Maximum Eye-Rolling from everyone who took the time out to read it.

Written by Kallie Provencher for, this “article” (I use the term loosely) highlighted things such as “leopard print”, “graphic tees”, and “short dresses” (because “By this age, women should know it’s always better to leave something to the imagination”). Kallie, it seems, has a number of opinions on what women over 30 should and shouldn’t be doing, having also penned “30 Things Women Over 30 Shouldn’t Own” and “20 Pictures Women Over 30 Need To Stop Posting Online”. (What is this magical post-30 land where women are suddenly not allowed to do or own so many things?!)

Motivated by Kallie’s “article”, I decided to…

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What Do I Expect from Elementary School? Not this.

Laura Eberhart Goodman has captured the essence of our problem in U. S. education. She speaks for the parents and children who are currently impacted by our “race” toward something no one appears able to define or validate. I have been in her shoes and am thankful to now be addressing this problem from the side of academe. Though still mind-numbingly frustrated, I am trying to attack the stupidity and hubris by continuing to practice the kind of teaching I know works. As Goodman states: “academics follow naturally if the proper environment for learning is there…it’s not rocket science.” This statement does not diminish the preparation for and hard work of teaching. It exemplifies teachers’ superiority in the education discussion; the simple part is paying attention to the true experts.

Boils Down to It

When I put my children on the bus in the morning, the wish I call out to them after kissing their heads, is, “Have a good day!” Pure and simple.

Now, I know that not every day can be a birthday party, and not all things in life should be made into a fun activity. My wish is not overly naïve or idealistic, it is simply that they enjoy their day at school.  It is my hope that even if there are moments of the day when things don’t go well, or times when they are frustrated, or they find something to be particularly challenging, the overall feeling when they return home is not negative.

I want them to have had enough positive experiences, enough moments of engagement, enough creativity and fun built into their day that “good” is the predominant mood descriptor.

That is not currently the case.


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edTPA is a horror story. Why we can’t find people to teach.  

Why are our legislatures going in a direction that removes assessment responsibility from the most logical and cost effective source – college faculty and clinical supervisors?
Follow the money.
Pearson pays PhDs $75 each for these assessments, so how much time do you think is being spent here? And who’s getting the other $225?

Fred Klonsky

– By a teacher who knows

This is the third year I’ve been forced to put my student teachers through this test, and it was $300/per person this year, and next year it’s $300 and high stakes.

It takes weeks to write, mostly because the questions are long and strange, and everyone is student teaching full time, on a cart, 30+ kids per room, first time ever, at the SAME TIME!

Art teaching on a cart, when you have 800+ kids a week and 3 preps, it is completely unrelated to edTPA. You have to write all this stuff from experience you do not even have yet as a pre-service teacher.

CPS does not do anything to support this requirement, so my puny department of 3 ft teacher licensure faculty must explain and justify 5 days of video recordings in classrooms to each assitant principal, cooperating teacher, and to some…

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Fossil Friday – Carboniferous plants

I love adventuring beyond my own discipline! Had a great time fossil hunting with this group of friends who bring so much diverse knowledge to the table. I’m thankful that this English Education academic made the acquaintance of people who love to share their domains. I hope to blog about this association more extensively soon. For details of the day, here is Alton Dooley’s paleontology blog entry.

Valley of the Mastodon

 Last week I made a short trip back to Virginia for my son’s graduation from Patrick Henry Community College. This also was a perfect opportunity for some fossil collecting, so Brett, Tim, and I met DorothyBelle Poli and Lisa Stoneman from Roanoke College for a day trip to Beckley, West Virginia.

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Listening shows respect

Listening shows respect

Something to think about in regard to educational reform. Respectful listening is missing and it is integral to positive outcomes.