Lauren Porosoff

Lauren Porosoff teaches middle school English at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in Bronx, New York. An educator since 2000, she also has experience as an elementary teacher, grade-level team leader, and a diversity coordinator, as well as leading curriculum-mapping and professional development initiatives.

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Flexible Context Sensitivity and Functional Coherence in Student Projects

Empowering Projects: Opportunities for Students to Choose What Works

Categories: Instruction, Literacy

Based on the book EMPOWER Your Students

Fostering Flexible Context Sensitivity and Functional Coherence

Students at my school do lots of projects. They choreograph dances, design experiments to see what affects plant growth, and give talks about Nobel Prize–winning women. In math, the sixth graders map food deserts to learn about the concept of a radius. One time in science, the eighth graders built a potato cannon. Preparing for a test is a project. In English, we do writing projects. Read more

Values-based portfolios can drive meaning and student engagement.

Values-Based Student Portfolios

Categories: Instruction

This blog post is based on the book EMPOWER Your Students: Tools to Inspire a Meaningful School Experience.

Academic portfolios can reveal what students can do and what they need to work on next. They might also reveal interesting correlations, such as whether students do their best work individually or collaboratively, in a particular subject or format, or even at a particular time of year. Perhaps most importantly, portfolios can provide the students themselves with a tangible record of their learning, with all of the associated struggles, opportunities, discoveries, risks, and rewards. But what should go into an academic portfolio? Read more

Foster a sense of community for your students.

Building a Learning Community All Year

Categories: PLC, School Improvement

This blog post is based on the book EMPOWER Your Students: Tools to Inspire a Meaningful School Experience.

How do you build community in class?

Sometimes we do activities designed solely for community building, such as filling out bingo boards with each other’s names (“Find a classmate who was born in another state.”), interviewing each other (“What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?”), bringing in pictures or artifacts for show-and-tell, or creating a class handshake. Usually we do these kinds of activities early in the year; we want to ease into the school year and get to know a little bit about who’s in the room before starting our schoolwork. Read more

Teaching for Racial Justice

Categories: Instruction

After the white supremacist riots in Charlottesville last summer, many of us felt moved to act. We tweeted with the #CharlottesvilleCurriculum hashtag, shared articles and resource lists, and liked each other’s posts on Facebook. We knew that white supremacist thinking and action thrive under white complacency, and that if we continue to teach the same stuff the same way, we can only expect the same result. It seemed we were in a moment of renewed commitment to racial justice in our classrooms.

How about now? Now that the school year has started, are we putting our racial justice values into action, or are we back to covering content and meeting benchmarks? Are we using the Charlottesville curriculum resources, or have we set them aside, promising ourselves we’ll return to them at some point, because our curriculum is too prescribed and tightly packed for us to stick in content we’re not required or allowed to teach? Read more