Peg Grafwallner

How I learned in my summer vacation

How I Learned In My Summer Vacation

Categories: Authors, Instruction, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), Student Engagement

Years ago, it wasn’t unusual for the teacher to assign the usual “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” essay to welcome back students to the classroom. Teachers Pay Teachers (a website I would never recommend) has nearly 458 activities that incorporate the “summer vacation” theme. There are thousands of “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” images available on Google for teachers to download, print, and give to their students. “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” appears to be a part of an academic rite of summer passage.

However, the iconic “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” writing activity is not morally, nor culturally sensitive. There was a time when teachers used the traditional writing assignment to get to know their students’ interests and family hobbies. There was an assumption, albeit misguided, that most students and their families vacationed in the lovely Adirondacks or students attended neighborhood play dates with Dick and Jane or students took part in “up north” camps.

Simply put, the assignment no longer reflects our society or what it might define.

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Asking Questions? Teaching Inquiry?

Are You Asking Questions, or Teaching Inquiry?

Categories: Authors, Instruction

Asking questions—good questions—is, arguably, the basis for a curious, passionate classroom. There is no way to explain that feeling when a classroom is erupting in enthusiastic discussion. It is magical, both for the teacher and for the students.

However, asking questions and teaching inquiry are often misconstrued as the same thing. If I’m asking thought-provoking, open-ended questions, I must be teaching inquiry. Not necessarily. Read more