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April: National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, so as you plan lessons for the coming month, consider incorporating poetry into your lessons.  For example, try pairing two short poems to make a mini-study of a concept, theme, structure, or perspective.  In the space of a class period, it’s possible to employ multiple reading strategies while enriching discussion…
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The Cognitive Efficiency of Rankings

Marshalling items into an order or ranking them seems to please our brains. There is a certain cognitive efficiency in such rankings.  After all, ranking reflects a type of organization and efficiency.  And a top ten list can potentially save a person a lot of time from having to perform individual research.  Such a predilection…
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Building Better Thinkers

Living in a world that so honors science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—often called the STEM disciplines—many of us desire a more balanced approach.   I found a kindred spirit in social scientist Howard Gardner, whose book Five Minds for the Future (Harvard Business Press, 2008) suggests that in order to live a well-rounded life, we need…
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The Reason for the Season Is in the Tilt

Science tells us that the season's changes are caused as the Earth, tilted on its axis, travels in a loop around the Sun each year. Because we have no control over those transitions, we humans simply adapt, often by putting on more clothes or taking them off. When I taught in the public schools, I took advantage…
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