Who Can We Not Humanize?

Over a career of more than 30 years, I have taught some literature that has confronted students from late elementary grades straight through high school with the reality that human beings can do brutal things to each other.  In works of literary nonfiction, as well as in fictionalized depictions of abuse and atrocities that we [...]

Another Dimension for Quarterly Assessment

At my school, the marking period ends this Thursday.  I usually require students to write a reflection of their learning experiences so they can assess their growth.  Part of this includes a review of how their skills and capacities have expanded, but another consideration altogether can make all the difference. I have an old wooden [...]

Lovely Sunday

One vision for me of a pleasant Sunday starts with forbidding weather. It would rain, and depending on the season, it might be cold and raw as well.  In any event, the gray and wet would hardly invite. I might be alone or with a companion–someone who does not mind a day indoors once in [...]

Saturday Cooking: Spicy Baked Shrimp

I relish the elegance of simplicity, and I savor good food.  After a friend prepared this straightforward shrimp dish for me, I asked for the recipe.  When we cooked the dish together, I admired it all the more for its ease and flavor. It gives me pleasure to share it here. Ingredients: three tablespoons extra [...]

Dichotomy: Childlike vs. Childish

As an English teacher, I strongly advocate subtlety and nuance in language.  Dichotomies often help me to draw out concepts. I have heard many adults–teachers included–say things such as, “Sometimes we need to let kids be kids.”  Most people understand the rough idea of that statement, tautological though it may be. The same adults, however, [...]