I Need a New Car!

My car has character. And by character, I mean that the gas gauge doesn’t work; the fan only works on number 3 (it’s pretty much hurricane winds or nothing); the car needs new brakes and new tires; there are three separate oil leaks; plus there’s something wrong with the ignition switch so it randomly tells…

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Make An Editor’s Day!

Are your ears burning? If they’re not, they should be! You know how the saying goes; if your ears burn someone is talkin’ about ya. And I’m here to report that you are being talked about in a really, really great way! You see the editors here at The Mailbox know you have the very…

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History Without Standards

I went looking for a different kind of standard. We have the Common Core State Standards, which cover mathematics and language arts. We also have the Next Generation Science Standards, already adopted by six states. But what about history standards? (And the arts? And civics? And common sense?) What I found was the National Center…

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A Few of My Favorite Things

Over the last several years, I’ve enjoyed working closely with the other editors here at The Mailbox to create, edit, and share a slew of great ideas for upper grades teachers. Just for fun, I’d like to share a few of my favorite ideas for your consideration. “My Page” – Sure, kids these days are…

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It Was Black and White and Read All Over

Newspapers. You may have heard of them. You may remember them. Some of you may still receive them at your home every day. On television and in the movies, they’re something dad reads every morning over breakfast while the family buzzes around him, or on the subway to work as he is jostled and pickpocketed….

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On the Verge of Wrapping It Up

Yes, unless you teach in a year-round school, that part of the academic year when you start looking at ways to wrap it up is here (or coming very soon). My three kids have already informed me of how few school days are actually left before summer vacation. I nearly had a heart attack! Mailbox…

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Surviving Math No-Man’s-Land

At the age of 44, I finally understand just how beautifully simple it is to figure out the area of a triangle. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I thought it wasn’t beautifully simple before. It’s that I didn’t know how to figure it out before. I’ve had to teach myself math. Yes, I…

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We Vote for Teachers

Ah, election time. You can hear the happy citizenry delightfully and kindly debating the merits of each other’s preferred candidate, both of whom present a truthful and glorious roadmap into a prosperous future guaranteed to last. Most wonderful of all, of course, is their always-unbroken promise to help make our students their number-one priority. You…

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Invoking Curiosity

This may be the last place on the Internet to get around to mentioning the amazing feat that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) pulled off in landing Curiosity on Mars. JPL engineers have become celebrities. Ridiculously amazing and stupendously glorious photos have been beamed back from the red planet by Curiosity. A tricky, nail-biter of…

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And that’s the way it was…

The evening news. Growing up in my house, watching it was part of the day’s rituals. Despite whatever was happening in the world—including Vietnam, Watergate, and long gas lines—watching Walter Cronkite was how my father spent his time digesting dinner. As someone who idolized his father, I watched and listened to Cronkite too. A few…

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