The Mandated Curriculum

A number of weeks into the school year, teachers start to get into the rhythm of their work.  The initial units of study are complete, beginning-of-the-year assessment results are coming in, and classroom dynamics are starting to take shape.  Teachers are figuring out who their students are, which ones will require a lot of support, […]

What We Can Learn From Charter Schools

I recently attended a candidates’ forum to showcase my district’s candidates for state senate and house of representatives.  On this year’s Maine ballot is a referendum question (question #2) that asks voters to approve a 3% surcharge on any household income over $200,000, which means that any individual who hauls in over $200,000 will have […]

Keep Small Schools Small

As schools in the world’s richest nation continue to rank far behind those of other nations with far fewer resources, one surprising trend stands out.  Small elementary and middle schools, and small classroom sizes, are becoming a thing of the past. One or two classes per grade, and fewer than 20 students in a classroom, […]

Math Is Everything

School has begun almost everywhere now, and once again we in the education profession are looking ahead to another year, hoping to do everything a little bit better than last year and the year before that. Doing what we do better than before is the theme for the entire series of posts in The Unrealized Maine […]

Is Homework Bad?

Just a short blurb this week, as school is starting up again and this blogger is buried up to his nose in time-sensitive priorities that impact a great number of elementary school teachers in my district.  This week’s topic:  Homework. Homework has suddenly become controversial.  If social media is a reliable gauge, there is a […]

So You Say You Want To Teach, Eh?

I think it is safe to say that most adults in the professional world fantasize about making a radical career change at one point or another.  Teachers might actually be the winners in the category of career-changing fantasies, but today’s post is about the opposite.  I want to talk about professionals who actually leave their […]

When Schools Become Toxic

Is Your School System Toxic? When I debuted The Unexplained Maine Classroom six months ago, I vowed to keep the conversation positive.  There are too many blogs and articles out there that disparage the teaching profession with endless complaints and too few solutions. While it is difficult, if not impossible, to have a serious conversation […]

What If We Changed The School Year?

This past week I was on vacation in Canada and I was able to make contact with a recently retired teacher, which got me wondering and asking questions about the things that are different just across the border in Canadian schools.  Canada has higher math and reading scores than the United States on international assessments, […]

Too Much Math and Reading in Schools?

My title and role in my district is Math Strategist.  I love that title, because it sounds really important, and because it implies that I get to concoct strategies.  Who doesn’t love problem solving?  The word “math” seems to create some uneasiness when I tell people I am a math strategist, though; they seem to […]