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

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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…]

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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.

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rethinking assessment: map the landscape

This semester I’m teaching a special topics graduate course with the title “Rethinking Assessment.” We’re a few meetings into the semester and our overarching question for the course is, tentatively, “How could assessments help our teaching and our students’ learning?” In order to work toward understanding this question, I’ve divided the course into three different chunks: mapping the landscape of assessment, understanding the work assessments do, and designing our own performance tasks.

I mostly want to spend some time here writing about the first three class sessions as a way to capture what I think is sticking out to me as we “map the landscape of assessment.” [Read more…]

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alice munro: patience and patterns

This month I’m reading Alice Munro’s (1998) The Love of a Good Woman. Ever since Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2013, I knew that I wanted to spend 2014 reading her stories and trying to understand how they work. Each month I’ll read a different Munro collection, and then write a bit in order to see if I can figure out what makes her writing so strong and compelling to me. These posts won’t be short or final; instead, they’ll track my thinking about the kind of moves I think she makes as a writer. [Read more…]