Since 1993 I've taught AP government, philosophy and US history in the Chicagoland area. I have an undergraduate degree in political science and philosophy from Bradley University and a M.S. in education and social policy from Northwestern University.
I served as a member of the committee on pre-collegiate instruction in philosophy through the American Philosophical Association from 2012-201. Additionally, I work with NCSS to create and instruct online courses designed to help middle/high school teachers integrate Big Questions into their classrooms.
Respect is something adolescents think a lot about.
After all, there are great rewards to being respected: more friends, love from parents, favors from teachers and acceptance from society. That’s a pretty sweet deal.
American history is replete with leaders who also recognized the rewards of being respected and did everything possible to get it. Nowhere is this pursuit better seen than in the years after the Civil War when African-Americans, freed from the bounds of slavery, had to pursue respect under the most difficult of conditions– Jim Crow. Continue reading →
Organic farm serviced by students from local elementary and high schools.
Over the summer 2018 I learned about the power of questions in the most novel of places, Kenya. I participated in an educational trip organized by Me to We, a path-breaking service organization based in Toronto, Ontario run by two social entrepreneurs, brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger. Both have fascinating stories about how they seized on an idea for improving the world and wouldn’t stop until it became a reality. Their appreciation for questions is what I’ll remember most. Continue reading →
Last week I attended a fantastic AP government redesign workshop through Northwestern University led by Vanessa Lal ( @vlal ). I was heartened to see that inquiry is a centerpiece of the new format. In fact, the College Board has designed specific Big Questions to underpin each of the five broad content categories: Foundations, Interactions Among Branches of Government, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, American Political Ideologies and Beliefs and Political Participation. Continue reading →
We’ve all seen the images, heard the audio and read the tweets. The immigration debate has everybody busting at the seams on both sides.
And August is just around the corner.
And we know what that means.
Students will be walking into our classrooms confused, tired, angry and needing answers. And we will be trying to figure out ways to teach a historical, psychological, sociological or political understanding of the immigration issue while at the same time resisting the impulse to impose our own opinions– a delicate and seemingly impossible burden.
My friend’s high school-aged daughter volunteers every week in Chicago at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. There she gains invaluable experience working with individuals who suffer from physical limitations brought upon by a spinal cord injury, stroke, amputation or some sort of traumatic brain injury. She will play card and board games, for instance, to help patients work on memory and fine motor skills. These tasks, once routine, now require intense mental effort and energy. Continue reading →
This big question comes from a New York Times article by Beverly Gage, which was shared via Twitter by Mary Ellen Daneels ( @daneels_m ), lead teacher mentor for the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and contributor to IllinoisCivics.org
The article does a fantastic job giving historical perspective on the various movements which have taken root, which include contemporary ones like MeToo, Parkland and Black Lives Matter as well as those dating back to the 60s and before that the temperance and anti-Catholic movements of the early 19th century. There are so many intriguing lines of inquiry and observations but one that I found most compelling was this observation about how movements of today lack staying power. Gage writes… Continue reading →