“hacking” the discovery center of idaho

Last week, BSWP teacher Micah Lauer, Discovery Center of Idaho’s Executive Director, Kristine Barney, and DCI’s Director of Education, Woody Sobey, and I worked with a group of teachers and teens to “hack” DCI’s space, exhibits, and programs in ways that would foster DCI as a community for both teachers and teens.

After some reflective conversations and writing with others, I’ll add more about the lessons we learned about the intersections of science and literacy, of non-formal and formal learning spaces, of teachers and teens working together as learning partners outside of the school walls. It was a fun, productive, enlightening week, and I want to thank everyone who was a part of it.

Here’s a link to the tumblr site where we posted some prompts, photos, and videos of the week. We’ll update more during the next couple of weeks.


teacher-writers build bridges

Last week I was able to participate on a panel at the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) annual meeting. I was the discussant on a panel, “What Writing Can Do for Teachers: Beyond Pedagogy and Professionalism.” Below the fold is my response, “Teacher-Writers Building Bridges.” For those of you who might not know, a discussant aims to synthesize the individual papers and to frame a conversation for the panel and audience. I hope I was able to do both, because the research shared was insightful and helpful in a wide range of ways, which I tried to capture in my remarks below. Many thanks to my colleagues on this panel, and thanks too for those teachers, scholars, librarians, and administrators who were in the room and participated in the conversation. [Read more…]


The legendary cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practice at age 90.
“Because I think I’m making progress,” he replied.


thank you, mr. banks

“My whole life, I’ve just wanted to make people better.” – Ernie Banks, 2013, after being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Yesterday, back in Chicago, they paid tribute to the life of Mr. Ernie Banks. Since he died of a heart attack on Friday January 23rd, I’ve struggled to explain to myself and to others why his passing has saddened me in the way that it has. It’s true, I’ve been a fan of the Chicago Cubs since my first memories, but I was born the year before Mr. Banks retired, which is to say that I have no memory of watching him play. [Read more…]


uncertainty as opportunity

The blog Teachers, Profs, Parents: Writers Who Care published a post I wrote, “Uncertainty as Opportunity.” Briefly, I write about how as writers, teachers, and learners we face many moments of not being sure, and we have to pay attention to the way we respond to those moments.