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Photo by Florian Schmetz on Unsplash

I see a lot of articles get posted in my social media feeds parading the novelty and excitement of tiny home installations. A lot of these probably come from an algorithm that has been curated for my tastes (I guess I’m a sucker for clickbait?), but it does evidence that there is a lot of media attention on tiny homes right now in a positive light.

I’ve seen a news bit lauding Home Depot for producing a line of “Tuff Sheds” which can be doubled up into affordable tiny homes.

I’ve also been advertised the video that celebrates the tiny home access that homeless veterans will have in Kansas City, as they get back up on their feet. …


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Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

I’ve spent the last couple of months developing my series on remote learning. I’m sure I will in the future return to remote learning with more key insights, but for now, a new series: Social Justice in the Classroom.

As we sideline our curricula for more pressing worries or sanity and safety, it’s easy to lose sight of other causes that drive us as educators. …


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Photo by Philippe Bout on Unsplash

I’m a both-sides-of-the-coin kind of gal.

As an educator who is not currently in the public school classroom, I’ve had the privilege of looking at the should-they-or-shouldn’t-they-open-schools debate from the outside in. With less stake than I would have had three years ago, it’s been easy for me to see validity to both sides of the controversy.

Largely, I’m passionate about the integrity of the teaching corps and have strong opinions on the role and treatment of teachers. So it’s been easy for me to insist that schools need to close.

Teaching is about instilling our students with strong character, curiosity, conviction, a breadth of insights. The roles that teachers have been filling in the last months have let them do anything but — Instead, they’ve been babysitters, frontline workers, school nurses. Considering that this is what their roles have been reduced to — and the in-school learning experience therefore can’t trump an online version anyway — we might as well cut our losses, let the teachers teach from home, and keep everybody safe while we do so. …


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Photo by Estúdio Bloom on Unsplash

There’s been a ton of teacher complaints about remote learning since we went digital last school year. We’ve all seen the memes. We’ve read the tweets, watched the video clips, skimmed the threads on Facebook.

And with good reason. Teaching from behind a screen may be better than dawning PPD and keeping a six-foot bubble, but not by much. There are a lot of really terrible things about remote learning. To start:

  • Kids are by nature kinesthetic learners. Remote learning is not.
  • Kids surf the web and think we can’t see the reflection change the color of their faces.
  • Microphones are always too loud or too quiet. …


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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Earlier this week, I published an article outlining the oft overlooked disadvantages of mask wearing in the early childhood classroom. A piece of fabric covering the half of your face as an educator means that your young learners aren’t able to make the same gains in language acquisition, social skills, emotional intelligence, and habit forming.

Another casualty of 2020.

As educators, we’re recognized for our creative problem solving abilities. Never a part of the job description, but always a reality of the position — with so few resources at hand, we know that from boundaries spring creativity.

As I spoke to in the last piece, simply not wearing masks is not a viable solution. There’s been a strong correlation found via many rigorous studies between mask wearing and decreased contraction of COVID-19. To avoid mask-wearing would be to simply reignite a different host of classroom issues — and much more grave ones at that. …


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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I hate it when people wear masks.

Let me rephrase that. For health reasons, I find relief every time adults around me are wearing masks. Huge supporter. But for every other reason, I hate it.

Masks started trending as a response to COVID relatively early in 2020. As a regular person, I was happy to oblige and have in fact found masks to be a complementary accessory to a number of outfits (I’m a New Yorker; the accoutrement is always black). As a teacher, I’ve found my opinion on masks to be much more nuanced. …


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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

I teach French to kids and adults. Teaching kids is easy; formulaic. Find a text, teach the content, and pull out reading, writing, speaking, and grammar to help develop their second language.

Adults aren’t so simple. Adults are eager to capture the unique nuances of a second language. Sure, they’ll follow along with new verb conjugations, but mostly want to be able to pass for French in a cafe. They want to embody the canonical Frenchman on a bike with a beret, mustache, marinière, and baguette. They want to feel French, verb conjugations be damned.

So while teaching language conventions, I try to lead the way with the kinds of cultural cues that inspired my adult students to learn French in the first place. …


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A third-grader once wrote on my whiteboard, “Ms. Head is nuts.” That tracks.

I finished my masters degree in May 2020. If I’d had the foresight to know that I would be graduating into a pandemic and a recession, I never would have quit teaching to study full time. 74 flopped job applications and six months later, I’ve turned to the freelance life. Kids need tutoring, and I’ve got a couple of degrees, a bundle of experience, and some award nominations to show for it. Enter: Heads Up Learning.

I’m learning content creation while I develop bilingual curriculum for french and english students. Kids need to learn about human-tech relationships, citizen responsibility, activism, and the environment — I make these the tenets of the learning series I write. More importantly, I’ve become a baseless fiend for social media. …


The rules are made up and the points don’t matter. So why do kids bother trying?

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Photo by Andrew Ebrahim on Unsplash

Last week, I published a little vignette on my poor decision-making skills. The story starts with me in total ignorance of an impending Lord of the Flies moment and ends with a saccharine and original reflection that the rules actually work.

It’s nice they worked, but it left me with a reckoning: Why do the rules work, even though I don’t have the student prizes I had before?

Every other Friday before dismissal, the Room 305 store opened for business. Any third grader with enough tokens to make a purchase could come up, consult the inventory, and pay me off (see last week’s blog entry for an explanation on tokens). Prizes were exactly what you’d think: Stickers, erasers, and little plastic doo-dads that came in packs of 50 or 100 from Oriental Trading. When I was really on my game, seasonal trinkets would be in limited supply. …


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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

A good teacher rule of thumb is to have your classroom rules come from your students. It empowers them to know that they’re the ones who curated the classroom culture, and increases their awareness of how they should behave.

In the first week of school every year, I reliably workshopped new rules. I put the onus on my eight-year-olds, letting them craft the laws that reflected their community and their values. (Little did they know that each year, the rules would look virtually identical to the last, thanks to a little subconscious direction from yours truly.)

Each year, the rules worked. Yes, there was always a window of time when the kids had to acclimate, and yes, there were always days where tensions ran high and we needed to revisit the contract. But the rules were there as a moral foundation to our class of growing minds, and they served their purpose. …

About

Laura Head

Passionate educator writing insights on learning, travel, and whatever else comes to mind. Founder of Heads Up Learning. headsuplearning.co

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