Monthly Archives: May 2014

LeVar Burton Was My First Black Friend

LeVarBurton_headshotYou might say that LeVar Burton is one of the first black people I ever met. And that’s exactly how the producers and executives at PBS wanted it.

I grew up in a very white bread town in Northern Michigan. With the exception of a handful of Native American residents whose families lived on that land long before the voyageurs ever showed up, the vast majority of folks in that town and for hundreds of miles around were white. Despite that, I still felt like I knew people who looked and lived differently than I did, Continue reading

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Friday 5: Adult Napping, Diversity, Graduation 2014

I’m not in the habit of throwing around free advertising, but this new Google Search commercial is a fantastic tribute to 2014 graduates. It showcases the terrors of being a freshman to the triumphs of senior year and everything in between. It’s worth your 90 seconds.

Education Week Teacher put out a call a couple of weeks ago Continue reading

“The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever”: A Whole Lotta Wisdom in One Place

Cap and Tassel

According to NPR, I’ve been present for 3 of the best commencement speeches ever given.

Every once in a while, I have a moment when I discover yet another reason why I am exceedingly lucky. It usually sneaks up on me. A good friend sent me this link the other day to an NPR compilation of over 300 of the best commencement speeches ever given in America. It’s so well-indexed that you can search it by name, school, date, and theme. Of course I searched for my Alma mater, the University of Michigan. But I was surprised to find that I’ve attended 3 of the speeches on this list. That’s probably more than almost everyone in America. Continue reading

“The Recyclers”: Music Education–and Hope–for a Community

Watch this clip. You won’t believe your ears. Last night’s episode of 60 Minutes featured a story about a school orchestra in Paraguay. But this is no ordinary group. Their instruments are composed entirely of materials found at the local dump. Continue reading

8 Things I’ve Learned from Barbara Walters

About a month ago, I authored a post called “An Open Letter to Girls Everywhere,” in which I discussed how the media still fails to fully and accurately represent the work and accomplishments of women working in fields traditionally dominated by men. I addressed the letter to girls who are told in school that they can become whatever they want but then see few examples in the media of successful professional women. Here’s a quote: Continue reading

I Cheated in 3rd Grade Math

Flash CardsI have a secret to share with you all: I cheated on one of my 3rd grade multiplication quizzes, and it was all because I was obsessed with getting to the top of Multiplication Mountain. Many elementary school classrooms feature a similar approach to teaching times tables. Students get to move to the next level after mastering a set of numbers, from their 3s to their 4s, their 4s to their 5s, and so on all the way up to 12s. In my case, that meant the summit of a very impressive peak on our classroom’s massive bulletin board. Continue reading

Educate Yourself About #BringBackOurGirls

#BringBackOurGirls

Please take a moment to read this linked article by Gina Vaynshteyn about the kidnapping of over 200 girls in Nigeria and the international movement aimed at bringing those girls back to their families and schools. “Everything You Need to Know About #BringBackOurGirls” details the heinous crimes of the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram and its ideology of denying education to girls. The group recently declared its intentions to sell these kidnapped girls into slavery. We must urge leaders in Nigeria and in the international community to act quickly to bring these girls to safety.

Please help raise awareness about this urgent issue.

Friday 5: Mobile Art, Solar-Powered Education, Volleyball Smackdown

Father Jim Holy Spirit Catholic School

BRING IT.

Holy Spirit Volleyball FundraiserI speak from personal experience by saying that no Catholic school fundraiser is complete without a sponsorship from a local bar. A friend recently brought to my attention this upcoming volleyball tournament to benefit Holy Spirit Catholic School in her home town of Norway, MI. (Yes, that’s a place, and it’s lovely.) If you happen to be passing through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula along US 2 Continue reading