TKAM Blog #2

If you’re a fan of To Kill a Mockingbird, you might find this blog post a thorough, challenging, and interesting read. The author is one of my students, and she makes such interesting connections here. This is what deeper learning might sound like, if it made a sound.

The Adventures of a Teenage Daydreamer

I. Final Thoughts

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Overall, I genuinely enjoyed reading this book again because I’ve finally found some answers to question I had my first time. This story focuses on a kid growing up in a changing society, and I have read very few books that capture the fear of growing up and facing societal expectations with such emotional depth and clear purpose like To Kill a Mockingbird. One book that comes to mind that shares an honest and emotional depiction of growing up in a changing society particularly would be The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini which tells the story of two friends, with very different lives, growing up together during Afghanistan’s political turmoil leading up to and following the fall of the monarchy. It’s written with heart and honesty like TKAM. Honestly, a good book grabs every bit of  the reader’s attention in the best way and TKAM and…

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Blog Post #2- TKAM

Some excellent thoughts about To Kill a Mockingbird from one of my 10th graders.

Puzzling Thoughts

Overall Ratings

For those who have read “To Kill A Mockingbird,” the novel definitely takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride, watching the characters grow up and experience the extreme racism throughout Maycomb county. As I continued reading the book, I had doubts if this story would interest me because in my opinion, the book started off very slow with little action. However, as I found myself reading the trial scene, my interest- level immediately increased. For someone who loves reading realistic-fiction novels, compared to other genres, I would rate this book 3 out of 5 because as of right now I am reading “The Hate U Give,” which takes a modern twist on TKAM. This novel, although relatively similar to TKAM, captures my interest a bit more. With that being said, I have become more curious with the focus of the “secret lives we live.” It is quite…

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To Kill A Mockingbird #2

Just want to give a shout out to one of my students whose blog post upon finishing To Kill a Mockingbird nails so much of why we read great books, and why we still read (and more important NEED TO READ) this book.

Please check out his post, minor grammatical warts and all, and give him some “like.”

Once Upon a Time...

Okay, I finally got To Kill A Mockingbird all squared away, and the first thing I have to do is apologize. I was way too hard on the book in my first entry, and while I still stand by my statements, they were spoken without the full context of the book in mind. Most of the first half was setup and nothing more, and without the payoff it’s easy to see how one could get bored. Regardless, with the knowledge that everything interesting in this book happens in the second half, I can confidently place this book among the ranks of the treasured few required reading books I actually enjoyed.

Blue and Gold Cover Book on Brown Wooden Shelf

Since it’s the “lens” my class is trying to focus on this time around, I’d like to take another look at secret lives. More specifically, what secret life the community of Maycomb lives as a whole. Their racism penetrates every…

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Redesigning Education: Designing for Deeper Learning



What counts and what matters in learning?  Contrary to centuries of practice, it is not really the grades.

Since April of 2017 I have been reading about and, now, practicing gradeless-ness in my high school 9th and 10th grade English classes.  Sure, I know that such a practice is not new, at least not in independent schools, but what I did not know was how widespread the practice had become in public-school classrooms around the nation.  The Facebook group, “Teachers Throwing Out Grades“, and more recently, the group “Teachers Going Gradeless” have been incredibly active in promoting this movement, and its history is as old as our system of public schooling itself.  While seemingly counterintuitive, given most Americans’ experiences in public school, going gradeless is a key aspect of the move to deeper learning….

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Redesigning Education: Iterating towards Mastery


I recently listened to a podcast with Scott Looney, Headmaster of the Hawken School in Cleveland, Ohio, and also the founder of the Mastery Transcript Consortium.  Mr. Looney discusses not only the project-based work he has introduced at Hawken, but focuses a good deal of his time on the history and philosophy around the Mastery Transcript Consortium–a group of independent and public schools devoted to shifting the high-school transcript away from meaningless letter grades, Grade Point Averages, and Carnegie Units (HS credits) to something more representative of the skills and knowledge students possess and the actual work  they can do….

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