The School Pill

I dreaded going to school as a kid. I had much more fun riding my bike, hanging with my buddies, and watching TV. Alice Cooper’s School’s Out spoke to me in a visceral way. In fact, as I made my way toward middle school, I despised the concept of classwork, studying, and test taking even… Read more

If You’re Excited About School, Clap Your Hands!

In April 2014, Dave Menges called and offered me the opportunity of a lifetime: to join the first grade team at St. Christopher’s.  I was elated!  But then the nerves kicked in, and I began to wonder what I would do with a classroom full of boys and no girls to temper the testosterone.  I… Read more

None of You Would Change Places with Me

According to Dr. Norma Feshbach, a professor at UCLA, exposing children to empathy, helping them to understand what it means to stand in another person’s shoes, “results in low aggression, strong social development, and greater cognitive performance and achievement.” As a society, we can’t afford not to make it a priority. It is certainly the… Read more

The Funny Bone Effect

Friends often ask me how I can stand teaching high school boys.  I have only one answer: I love them.  How can we not?  They are stuck between childhood and maturity, beginning their journey toward adulthood in lurches and lulls.  Boys can be fearless- yet they need to know with certainty that you have their… Read more

Make to Learn

  As a child, I always enjoyed making and creating things with my hands. I learned to sew at an early age which later led to starting my own interior decorating company. In elementary school, each Christmas I crafted an elaborate gingerbread house from scratch which was always presented to my parents as a coveted… Read more

500 books, 21 boys

What makes an elementary school boy want to read? Action and humor are important, as is a suspenseful plot line that makes boys excited about “What happens next?”. Graphic novels (stories told in comic strip format) appeal to readers through both literary and visual elements. Although many new books that meet this criteria are published… Read more

Paint the Whole Picture

Wouldn’t it be odd to see a painting that was only half done and had two artists’ signatures on it? Yes, to some peoples’ dissatisfaction, it would probably win a modern art award, and there might be some fantastic art on the completed side. But the questions would still remain – Why did the artists… Read more

Teaching Spanish through fast-paced boy-centered games

There are a lot of explosions in my classroom.  Robots explode, tiny plastic elephants explode, a Ferrari explodes.  Perhaps this wouldn’t sound so strange if I taught science, but I don’t.  I teach Spanish. My class is based on stories, all told in Spanish, that get the whole class involved.  Stories are about the boys,… Read more

Fantasy Football and the Two-Way Street of Teaching Boys

I love fantasy football. I should also mention that I know nothing about football. In the ultimate showing of inconsistent standards, my mom never let me play on the grounds that it was “too dangerous” only to let us play ice hockey for our entire lives and allow my younger brother to throw on the… Read more

e-VALUE-ation: Asking Kids What They Think About Our Classroom

Jane Hansen taught me to think about evaluation in terms of e-VALUE-ation, or what one values about her work. We all want to be heard. Often as administrators, teachers, and students we don’t listen to the diverse voices that fill the room. Truth-telling takes a degree of bravery. It requires the asker to step forward and… Read more