Category: NeverSummer

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To Solve Real-World Problems

The Back-Story

My sister-in-law called in a panic the other day:

Come help me with math! Now!!!

Good thing we are a family of math nerds. Between my husband and myself, we got her covered all the way from long division to calculus and perhaps even differential equations if the need should arise.

No sweat, Mary! We’re on the way!

We immediately donned our superhero capes and raced across town in the Batmobile.

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The Gift of Allegory


GODZILLA.

Forty-nine versions of the film exist. Each one as newly interpretive as the next. In most of the films, Godzilla faces another creature. In the rest, beast vs. man.

I gave Elaine (yeah…Never Summer co-brain, Elaine) the 2014 Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe version of Godzilla for Christmas. At the time of this post she doesn’t know it yet, so…

If you have followed us on Twitter, you have noticed an occasional #Godzilla or #UnleashGodzilla. We use them to remind ourselves of our mission. Our mission to wreak havoc on EdWorld. Our mission to spew metaphorical fire and destroy the old to make way for the new…in a good way, of course. (We are very nice people)godzilla-2014-pic

The allegory continues…

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Teams vs. Non-Teams

Fascinating Dynamics

Last week was my turn for morning duty outside the building. I was watching these two groups of 7/8 boys play football when my brain exploded!  I noticed the deeper dynamics of the games at hand.

I usually stand in front of the doors to have a good vantage point at all the potential antics. On the left is a patch of grass dominated by 7th grade boys in a fierce duel — two teams going at each other in a competitive game of touch football — full-on with positions, play-calling and raucous cheering when either side claims a small victory. They all start the day hot and sweaty after a fast and furious gridiron battle.

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The Parallel Tale of a Student and Teacher

This One Student

I have this one boy in my 7th grade math class just like that one you have in your class. He’s a ringleader. He’s an instigator. He always wants the spotlight. Bottom line: he’s just difficult.

Altogether, he is pretty bright in math.  Intellectually, this young man is head and shoulders above many of his classmates. Academically, he is a successful student. Emotionally, he is quite immature. [Par for the course as far as adolescent boys go.] We can easily go the distance on this one and surmise that he is bored in my class, so his behavior is too often less than stellar.

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The New Scarlet Letter

Something’s Gotta Give

Educators abound spend 90% of their time prepping students for state exams, and the other half of their time is spent complaining about them (my apologies to Yogi Berra).

The main complaint from teachers (and parents, and some legislators, and…) is that state exams zap too much valuable instructional time. The time spent in testing sessions is draining to students and ultimately results in a loss of class time.

The bigger argument against the way we mass assess our students (and the one that goes largely unvoiced) is that it does relatively little to prepare students for life and their future ahead.

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The Powers That Be

Onward, Brave Voyager!

At #NeverSummer, we are about growth as much as success. Perhaps they are one in the same. But it is a disservice to lump them together. They are each powerful in their own right.

Growth requires setback. It requires failure. Setback and failure are of course not the goal, but they are necessary nonetheless. Without them growth moves at a snail’s pace.