Things have gotten awfully complicated and contentious in education lately. This friendly, easy-to-read book offers something we're all looking for these days: simple ideas with big impact.
What makes a Montessori school so different from a more traditional public or private school? How is the Montessori philosophy -- which many only associate with the preschool years -- applied on the elementary level? How can all teachers use some of the Montessori approach in their own classrooms?
What I didn't expect was the attitude of the students: They were focused. They were calm. They retrieved their lessons and worked at them seriously, while still maintaining a sense of humor. And their work was plenty rigorous.
In the end, these projects are little more than arts and crafts. And because they are often time-consuming, they take away from other activities that would give students the chance to wrestle with more challenging stuff.
When I started writing up my analysis, I realized I couldn't point to the kind of evidence I was supposed to have. There was no way to bullshit this one. I had to actually get better.
Until recently, the tools to create professional-looking videos were out of the hands of most regular folks. But those days are over.
That's the thing about being overwhelmed: It makes you stupid. When I get in this paralyzed state, I can't think straight. I look at tasks that in theory are pretty easy, and I just can't. I can't do it. Any of it.
You've probably heard of -- and maybe used -- learning stations in your classroom. There's only one real downside to them -- they take a LOT of time to set up. So today I'm proposing a watered-down version that keeps the movement, interactivity and variety while minimizing the prep work.
Asking students to read one thing and listen to another is asking the impossible.