thINKing outside the lines


The teaching portfolio and blog of one Malinda Gosvig.

Thought of the day:

We’ve built our empire of semesters, units, blocks, and lessons off of a strong foundation of educational standards. Every public school aims to fulfill as many of these standards as possible for every student.

But what does this education prepare kids for, really? Is it truly in the best interests of our youth to ensure that each and every one of them can “RL.11-12.9. Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics” or “F-TF.8. Prove the Pythagorean identity sin2(θ) + cos2(θ) = 1 and use it to find sin(θ), cos(θ), or tan(θ) given sin(θ), cos(θ), or tan(θ) and the quadrant of the angle?”

For some kids, yes. But, I believe, not for all. I believe that for as many kids as not—and likely more—this type of cookie-cutter education is a misallocation of resources and time. 

We need to give kids the chance to develop unique, specialized skills in their talent areas before they leave free education. If we don’t, free education will remain nothing more than a hoop to jump through in order to get to the high-price schooling that actually prepares one for a career. And that, forgive my language, is bullshit. 

1 note education public education free education educational innovation cookie cutter education school educational standards educational reform

Thought for the day:

When did we decide that teachers must tell kids how things are to be done? Why not show kids how things have been done in the past and then encourage them to find their own new way of doing them?  

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Links for English Teachers (and Precocious Students!)

Grammar! Master list of booklist sites, booklists, etc. for young adult readers. Compiled by librarians, educators, and young adults! 32 great ways to break the ice in the classroom, introducing students to each other and the teacher. Some can be subject-tailored. A list of 15 creative writing exercises for kids of all ages. Another great list of writing prompts, but this is just one gem in a crown of jewels; check out the bottom menu on the left, title “From Prompts to Publication” for a variety of useful tips for the aspiring student writer. (For advanced students) A great resource for grammar-related information. Also features classroom tools such as quizzes, Q&As, PowerPoint Presentations and more.

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Great Apps for English Teachers


  1. Stanza. If you have this app, you have a library in your pocket, open 24/7. What could be better? Oh yeah, it’s also free. 
  2. Vocabology. Everyone can improve their vocabulary. This is a great free app for students wanting to prep for the SAT or simply improve their vocabularies in general.
  3. Grammar Up. It’s $4.99, but it’s worth it. Voted an Apple Staff Favorite and included in the company’s ”High School Survival Guide,” this app has been recommended by teachers for its ability to “make grammar fun.” 
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