A few months ago I offered a short story that I wrote about vicious bus bullying in middle school to readers who pre-ordered my upcoming book called The Order of the Trees. The story– sometimes called Bullying on Bus 10, is a raw and unflinching look at a junior high bus filled with harassment, bullying, and torment. It is based on many true events from my youth.
I was moved by the outpouring of conversation and support for this story. So I created discussion questions to go with the book, search for and linked to resources for parents and teachers, and published the book to Kindle. It is available today, October 1.
Bullying on Bus 10 includes: Continue reading
We are about to embark on the new school year. Teachers everywhere are a little anxious. We know that when it starts, there is no going back and we are IN IT. We put our heart and souls into our work of caring for kids– their bodies, minds, spirits, and potentials. Here is a tribute to all the teachers out there. We are a tribe marching, holding each other up, and doing our best to help kids everyday, no matter what.
my tribe is different
they wear soft clothing
and comfortable shoes
they live love
they think children
are more important than
they stop and listen
to a 6 year old
telling about their elaborate
they search for tadpoles
in a pond
they listen patiently
to early readers
struggle with every. single. word. Continue reading
(This post first appeared on Edutopia. It features 3 new lessons from Dumbledore that were suggested by readers from the Edutopia community. I think they are fantastic additions! Did I miss anymore wisdom from Dumbledore? Please let me know in the comments and I can add more.)
One of my favorite times of the day is when I settle in with my two young daughters for read-aloud time. For several years, we have been working our way through the Harry Potter series. I had read them all before, but it has been a delight to read them again with my girls, using as many voices as possible, and seeing the incredible story through their eyes.
It has also shared many secrets about teaching and living with me on this second reading, especially when it comes to Dumbledore. The way he interacts with Harry, fellow teachers, muggles, and various magical creatures has lessons for all of us — especially teachers and parents. Whether you have read the Harry Potter series or not, there is wisdom from this character we can all learn from.
“You do care,” said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. “You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.” – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Calm Acceptance: No matter what Dumbledore is faced with, he calmly accepts this reality. When Harry is throwing Dumbledore’s belongings around his office — devastated from the loss of a parent-like figure — Dumbledore is a witness to Harry’s emotions. He doesn’t escalate the situation by getting angry, yelling back, or sending Harry to a break or time out. He simply allows Harry to have those emotions and reflects them back, showing that he is listening. He is witnessing. He is calm. Isn’t that what most of our students want? To be heard, witnessed, and have a calm adult to help them? There are many lessons for me in this as a parent and a teacher. Continue reading