blackirondoor

No Really, Stay In Class

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 7 Comments

After lunch, students drag their feet to class, chatting it up with friends in the hallway, taking elongated sips of fountain water, peeking into their former teachers’ classes, and generally finding any excuse to not go to their next class. Even as passionate, deliberate, and rock star-ish as I am, kids still do this for my class, too. Students after lunch drag their feet on the routines we established in …

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Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom and How We Plant Seeds

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 1 Comment

Confession: I didn’t get a chance to see Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom before taking my students. Confession #2: My kids wouldn’t have gone to see it either if I didn’t bring them myself. Here’s the thing about auto-bio pics that people don’t want to say, but will readily admit: if our youth don’t get a sense of why something or someone is important, they won’t pay attention to it. …

Get Up, Stand Up, Before The PowerPointers Do [The Takeover, Part 1]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson Leave a Comment

Because I don’t really take breaks, I’m writing a three-part series at my other space. Here’s an excerpt: Generally, you get the idea, but you’re left wondering, “How can we do this better? How can I do this better?” Yet, when it comes down to it, too many of us are still waiting for someone to hold their hand into their voices, usher them in as the chosen one, or …

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Pop Your Collar For Parent-Teacher Conferences [New York Times]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 1 Comment

A few weeks ago, I was invited to write for New York Times’ Room for Debate, a special web section of the Times dedicated to debating intense subjects of the week. This one was dedicated to parent-teacher conferences. I wrote: Critics call it a waste of time, of course. They argue that only the “good” students’ parents participate, and so there’s not much to discuss. They are of the opinion …

Wu Tang Clan

I’m The M.E.T.H.O.D. Man (Classroom Questioning, Tiger Style)

Jose Vilson Jose, Mr. Vilson 7 Comments

Never be afraid to keep students at arms’ length from you work-wise. Therein lies the struggle right now with the immediacy of our work as educators. Too often, we torture ourselves trying to give away all the answers instead of waiting patiently for the right time to insert ourselves. The more we keep feeding them and feeding them and feeding them, the less we can expect our kids to think …

Lion Roar

Monster (Teaching In The Era of Evaluations)

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 2 Comments

The way I taught this year, you’d think I had a chip on my shoulder. I do, and now I own it. The last two months, I revamped my whole teaching style, not because Charlotte Danielson or any other education expert told me to do it, but because I’m in my ninth year, and damnit, if I can’t do get ‘er done now, what am I doing with my life? …

Mary Beth Hertz Clutching Gadgets

On Taking Professional Development Into Your Own Hands [CTQ]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 1 Comment

Of course this comes from a real situation. Why else would I write it? Only on the Center for Teaching Quality: Yet, there’s a new type of professional development that’s arisen from connected educators. I’m calling it a third-rail professional development, a hybrid of tech savvy and a healthy dose of networking can make for professional development that neither stagnates nor overbears. The thing with PD right now is that, …

Questioning In The Classroom [Comment from Jim Doherty]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson Leave a Comment

One of my newer commenters, Jim Doherty, left this comment in reply to my Edutopia piece: The key piece to me is the questioning piece. I think that I always hope that my actions will serve as a model for my students, but I realize more and more that I need to explicitly point out the behavior that I want the students to see. I need to be clear when …

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On Paul Tough and The Four Words I Can’t Stand In My Classroom [Edutopia]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 2 Comments

My latest Edutopia article explores the four words I can’t stand to hear from my students (with an analysis of the lies we tell in schools): The discussion around “I can’t do this” can be broken down into three general levels: They genuinely don’t understand the material. They’ve had a long day and just don’t have the energy to work any more. They have a situation at home that currently …

Bridging The Digital Divide With Technology In Schools [EdSurge]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 3 Comments

EdSurge, a popular education technology website, recently invited me to write an article for them. My mouth was agape at the offer, mainly because everyone knows I won’t hold back on issues of equity. I applaud their courage for taking me on. Here’s an excerpt: Of course, this means I am advocating for tech as tool, not tech as teacher. A common misconception, especially for many education reformers, is that …