chris mcnutt

September: Free School Teaching: A Journey into Radical Progressive Education by Kristan Accles Morrison

September: Free School Teaching: A Journey into Radical Progressive Education by Kristan Accles Morrison

Free School Teaching: A Journey into Radical Progressive Education by Kristan Accles Morrison is an exemplar of what self-directed, progressive schooling looks like. Morrison, a traditional educator turned learning partner, writes of her experiences at the Albany Free School in New York. Within, she details every facet of a free school education — from discipline to grading to curriculum, often with initial bewilderment that turns to amazement at what children can do without the traditional path. In many ways, Morrison is deprogrammed from a stern, legacy-style teacher to one who embraces the free school philosophy.

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Supplying a more responsible, equitable classroom.

Supplying a more responsible, equitable classroom.

As we’re kicking off another exciting year of education, I’m making my annual trip to the store to resupply our classroom. And each year, I reflect on what I could buy to make my space a little more equitable for all — whether that be small things we’re unable to get at home, or just little things that make my space slightly more human-centered.

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Death to the Acronym

Death to the Acronym

Educators love acronyms. It’s the key to successful empire in the professional industry; developing a simple phrase to communicate adjectives in a catchy way. But they mean absolutely nothing.

It’s about time that educators stop embracing acronyms and roll their eyes at its use. It’s short-handed drivel that garners universal attachment no matter what you’re doing:

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July, We Got This: Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be by Cornelius Minor

July, We Got This: Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be by Cornelius Minor

We Got This is a fresh take on critical pedagogy that’s approachable for the everyday educator. Its visuals, accessibility, and narrative-driven framework introduces the concept for educators unfamiliar with equitable democratic classrooms, and offers further support for those who are pushing this line of work. It’s not alienating nor demeaning to those who have lost their way. As a result, this book is just as great a gift for a jaded instructor to an exhausted, but beloved educator. Read this!

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It’s time to stop using Kahoot as a whole class review tool.

It’s time to stop using Kahoot as a whole class review tool.

Kahoot is many educators’ fan favorite. The flashy graphics and fluid design make learning “fun.” It’s way better than putting a Powerpoint up and asking multiple choice questions. I’ve used Kahoot and similar programs in the classroom, often believing they were engaging review tools. Many students are excited to play Kahoot — after all, it’s breaking the monotony of the standard school day. But as I’ve reflected and analyzed Kahoot, I’ve seen what it really is: a trivia machine.

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Data: A New Conversation

Data: A New Conversation

As a jaded educator, when I hear data, standardization, testing — anything in this tone — I am dismayed and assume the worst. And if we were to measure students in another way — say creatively or by their leadership qualities — wouldn’t this be too subjective to gauge?

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Neo-Progressivism

Neo-Progressivism

There is a worrying array of progressive products that diminish meaningful inquiry. Instead of embracing a radical change that disrupts the status quo, educators turn to relatively easy-to-implement products that take traditional ideas but “make them fun” using relatively forward-thinking ideas.

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Assurance

Assurance

At first glance, progressive-style classrooms appear like teachers don’t care. Instead of a “well-behaved”, quiet room, students are conversing, moving around, (sometimes) quite messy, and likely taking many breaks. Without the backing of pedagogy, this would be a classic example of “bad teaching.”

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