In Defense of the Arts in Education

A lot of what I read about education saddens/frustrates/infuriates me. I felt all of that when I read a piece in Valerie Strauss’s column in the Washington Post, titled “Kindergarten show canceled so kids can keep studying to become ‘college and career ready.’ Really.” I’m certain she added that last word to the headline because such…

No Fine Motor Skills? What’s the Big Deal?

In a previous post, I wrote that according to many, many teachers, today’s children seriously lack fine motor skills. Teachers tell me that kids can’t grip a crayon or paintbrush, manipulate a pair of scissors, or properly hold a pencil. And I’m not talking about three-year-olds, who shouldn’t be expected to handle these things well;…

Are Young Children Really OK with More Academics?

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article in Chalkbeat titled “Kindergarten classes are getting more academic. New research says the kids are all right.” My knee-jerk reaction was to consider it a whole lot of bull. Bull that was going to give school reformers and policymakers more ammunition with which to ignore child…

Please Help Spread the Word About Screen Time

A colleague in London sent me a newspaper article about the cot (crib, here in the States) pictured above. The only positive thing I can say about this abomination is that the reaction to it – even among parents – has been negative. Thank goodness for small miracles. I hear and see so many things…

What Makes a Great Teacher?: Remembering Phyllis Gelineau

What makes someone “great?” I throw that word around on a regular basis, giving no thought whatsoever to its true meaning. But having recently lost a dear friend, and reflecting on her life as an educator, I’ve considered the actual definition of the word. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary online tells me it means “remarkable in magnitude,…