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Posts tagged ‘Brian Kelley’

From the Classroom: Response to Literature

This month’s “From the Classroom” column features a lesson from Brian Kelley, PAWLP Fellow and 8th grade language arts teacher. If you feel inspired after reading Brian’s post, please consider sharing your own favorite lesson here on the blog! To learn more about contributing, please click here.

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From the Classroom: Advice on Landing a Teaching Position

by Brian Kelley

Since we write blog posts From the Classroom, I am writing to education students or recent graduates about how to join us inside the classroom. While every school building will have its own unique criteria for prospective candidates to interview, I thought I might be of some service to English teachers seeking a position. I have been involved in the hiring process during several occasions throughout my career–twice for assistant principals, three times for teaching positions.

Recently, I was asked to consider 100 applicants for an ELA position and to pull a very small sample for screening interviews. Several colleagues also went through this exercise.

First, I did not expect to feel a grave responsibility–but I did. Sure, I wanted to respect our kids, staff, and community, but I felt an overwhelming responsibility to read and think through each application in order to honor each applicant. The decisions I made (yes/no) impacted one hundred people. Ultimately, my decisions would contribute to someone starting or continuing their career.  Read more

From the Classroom: Everyone Needs a North Star

by Brian Kelley

Over 5000 years ago, the Phoenicians discovered that Polaris, or the Polar Star, is positioned so that the entire Northern sky revolves around it. A reliable piece of data, the Phoenicians guarded this secret as long as they could and dominated sea navigation. While most ships and trade routes hugged coastlines, the Phoenicians ventured further into regions no one else dared.

Polaris, or what we know today as the North Star, inspired confidence. And that confidence and knowledge encouraged the Phoenicians to be risk-takers on the sea.

This scenario strikes me a bit like education.  Read more

From the Classroom: Organization is an Act of Revision

By Brian Kelley

CaptureI’ve always admired my father’s garage. It is organized. Utility shelves on the left. Steel pegboards and hooks on the rear and right walls. Every tool has its place. He knows where everything is, yet he is constantly revising the content of the garage.

My mother keeps adding stuff to the house, and older stuff is belched out to my father into the garage. So, my father makes decisions. He replaces and rearranges. He adds what he must. And he deletes. I know for a fact that he would love to delete a lot more.

When I teach organization to middle school writers, the lessons of my father’s garage must be in the DNA of my methods. Everything has its place. Nothing starts organized, and this includes writing.

Organization is an act of revision.  Read more

From the Classroom: Success Defined

By Brian Kelley

Searching photos on a phone while writing on a Chromebook.

Searching photos on a phone while writing on a Chromebook.

Change bothers most people.

We can be good teachers and still make room for change. Change does not mean we are bad teachers making bad decisions. There are many ways to teach, but consider this blog post as an invitation to grow.

Consider change as growth. Everyone can grow.

For example, I changed my approach in the classroom by adding writing and technology to my life outside of the classroom. It wasn’t a drastic change–and if writing and technology are changes you would like to make, neither needs to cause a seismic shift in your day.

Asking teachers to write is a scary proposition. Asking teachers to become more fluent with technology is a scary proposition. It sounds a little like going off of the script.  Read more

From the Classroom: Toughest to Teach

By Brian Kelley

In preparation for a guest appearance in a Classroom Management course at Temple University, adjunct professor―and PAWLP co-director―Jolene Borgese asked her college students to email questions to me.

One question gnaws at me. For several days I have felt the need to write about it: Which students are toughest for you to teach? How do you address those students?

If I answered this question twenty years ago, I would have said the resistant students. My answer is different today. Yes, even after 20 years, I still find some students tough to teach. And I think I always will.

The toughest students for me are the students whom I do not know.

This one, my friends, is squarely on me. Not on the students.  Read more