Should we worry about handwriting?

My nine-year old boy, Noah, has been working hard on his handwriting this week.  He fizzes with ideas when he writes, but most often his handwriting and his spelling simply cannot keep up. You can see the sheer physicality of his writing as shifts and squirms on his chair: each thought sparking a shuffle of … Read more

Flipping Fronted Adverbials

Do you know your fronted adverbials from your prepositional phrases? As another week of home schooling commences, many parents, and teachers, are faced with tricky questions about grammar. It inspires feisty debate on social media and in school staffrooms. From world-renowned authors, PHD possessing parent-writers, to national leaders, everyone has an opinion on ‘fronted adverbials’. … Read more

Five Things I Wish I’d Known About Literacy

When I started teaching nearly two decades ago, I was a teacher of reading, writing, vocabulary, academic talk, and more. The problem was that I could do reading and writing, but I had little idea how to systematically teach the development of these vital skills.  Yes – I could model some writing and offer some … Read more

A Munificent Assemblage of Verbiage (Or ‘Working Words into Writing’)

What connections can you make between these words? Are there any patterns of meaning or word families you notice? Could you even detect the author who penned these words? These disembodied words are drawn from the Charles Dickens classic, ‘A Christmas Carol’. I have used the word cloud as a teaching tool to help students … Read more

Teaching Your Teen 10 Lessons from the 2020 Election

It doesn’t matter which side of the political aisle you are on, the 2020 Election can teach your teen some valuable lessons about life, responsibility and outcomes. Since you are their greatest teacher, take a moment to discern what they are indeed gleaning from your behavior during this election time. There are important lessons for them to learn from this election.
There will always be winners and losers–The sooner they learn this truth the happier they will be. You can’t always be on the winning team and you should always be a good sport about losing.
With freedom comes responsibility–Voting is a responsibility. Vote in EVERY election and take your teens with you. Let them experience this freedom right along side of you. Decisions are made by the people who show up.
Bashing someone else’s beliefs and opinions only makes you small–Don’t be one of those people that rub victory in other people’s face or bash the ones who won. Rise above the temptation and take the high road.
Even though you may not be happy with an outcome of a decision or path you take, you can still move forward–Teach your teens that there is always a road ahead. Mistakes have consequences but you deal with those, learn from them, and go in a positive direction.
Playing the blame game never benefits anyone–If you blame everyone for the way things turn out, you are teaching your teen to do the same. Explain to them that we are all responsible for our OWN actions, not those of others.
Support your leaders and if you don’t agree, take action toward effecting change–This is America and we have elected our leaders, so they should be respected. If you aren’t happy with the people who are in office, work toward the next election. Sitting around voicing hatred for them will only teach your teen to do the same.
We shouldn’t be defined by our political views but by our values–A famous person once said, “We’re not the red states or the blue states, but the UNITED States.” Teach your teens your values and they will carry them into the future.
Your behavior speaks volumes about the kind of person you are–Don’t be one of those that post hateful comments on social media sites. Be the one who focuses on the future and sees  good in everyone.
Negative attitudes make you a very unhappy adult–Negativity breeds defeat, discouragement, and despair. You certainly don’t want your teen to live their life with these attitudes.
You live in the greatest country in the world–Say what you will, but we have FREE elections and every adult is given a vote to decide who governs us. Teach your teens to be proud of our country, our past, and our future.
I have watched all the negative campaign ads for a year. I’ve read Twitter and Facebook feeds for months. Many adults need to apply these 10 principles to their lives. Your college-bound teen is our future; teach them to respect one another and dream. Above all, VOTE!
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The curriculum challenge…renewed

People have gone relatively quiet about the ‘c’ word… curriculum. Whilst schools grapple with the challenges of having all pupils safely attend school, then everything has to be considered anew. The careful sequencing of curriculum still matters a great deal, but as schools are recommended to consider lopping great bits off, then new plans and … Read more

The Hidden Lives of Learners and Me

When I was growing up I sought out books that mirrored my world. I can name the narratives that walked me through my tortured teens, or those books that helped me attempt proper adulting. From each reading, familiar character became both a reflection and a fragment of myself.  When I became a teacher, few books … Read more

2020 High Hopes Project Report

Pyramid Lake, Nevada on the right, Lake Tahoe in upper left from about 27,000 meters (90,000 feet). Note the thin blue line of Earth’s atmosphere and the dark of space above. Despite weather and other conditions that delayed the 2020 launch of the High Hopes Balloon for weeks we successfully launched June 16th. The flight … Read more


Certifiably Different?  Not Really. TEFL Certification or CELTA? CELTA or TEFL Cert? Check out our TEFL Certification Course. Many people new to the business of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) are confronted with this question when they decide to get some training before they start teaching. So, what is the difference between the … Read more