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 […]

On The Premise That All Kids Can Learn

I am of the opinion that American presidents have not exhibited a great deal of knowledge of the real issues that face public education in recent decades.  They each exhibit varying degrees of astute expertise in other fields, but no recent Commander In Chief has ushered in anything close to an era of great growth […]

The Intentional Professional Learning Community

Readers who are familiar with the professional culture in most public education environments will have had experiences in “professional learning communities.” These are typically small teams of teachers assigned to work together to improve their instruction through careful examination of data, review of instructional techniques and resources, and ultimately revision of instructional practices.  PLCs, as […]