Friday, September 25, 2009


Today, teachers across our district got an email from our district Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum Coordinator, who used to teach at my school. Here's how he began his email:

To All Open Minded Teachers -
This coming Wednesday is the first of a three-part series featuring Arts in your classroom (see attached flier). The workshops cover Puppetry, folkdance, and the mini-musical. You are invited to learn more about how to infuse these creative thinking lesson plans into your curriculum.

Count me as among those close-minded teachers who will not be using puppetry, folkdance, and the mini-musical to teach algebra.

I asked a fellow teacher if he was open-minded, and his reply was typically insightful: You will never be asked to keep an open mind by someone who actually has one.


Ellen K said...

I hate it when one discipline tries to justify itself by foisting itself into other areas. For example, I teach art as you know. We have a mandate to do two online activities that offer assessment possibilities per nine weeks grading period. I can possibly see the value in remote museum visits or research, but if we want to make artists, we should let them make art, if we want to make athletes, we let them practice. Math should be math. And this attitude of having to make everything palatable for the short attention spans of students is driving me nuts.

Darren said...

I had a feeling we'd agree, EllenK.

Anonymous said...

"I had a feeling we'd agree, EllenK."

The best part is that I can imagine you, Darren, with a sock puppet saying this :-)

-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

Mark, you are so wrong. I actually said it while folkdancing.

maxutils said...

Sock Puppets RULE!

David said...

Ellen K said..."I hate it when one discipline tries to justify itself by foisting itself into other areas"

I think there are a fair number of educators...and a fairly high % of educational administrators...who are so non-intellectual that they really can't imagine anyone being seriously interested in algebra or history or whatever...hence, in projecting their own lack of interest in knowledge of any kind, they figure that by hooking as many of these boring (to them) subjects together as possible, they will somehow by alchemy become interesting.

MiaZagora said...

Awwww, Darren. Don't be a spoiled sport! You could sing a song about theorums while folkdancing in a kilt. It would surely end up on YouTube and you'd be famous!


allen (in Michigan) said...

You district has a Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum Coordinator?

I guess with public education being so desperately underfunded it's important to have the most cost-effective personnel utilization.

The Detroit Public Schools district has, or had, an assistant superintendent in charge of safe, clean and healthy schools.

In the race to staff the most specious positions I'd say Detroit has a comfortable lead over your district.

Mrs. C said...

LOL I'm cracking up at these comments! We used Battleship to learn coordinates in our homeschool, though. And we watched Ken Burns' Civil War documentary when we were studying that. I know the "tie-in" is a terribly overused thing, but it can be useful every now and then. :]

Ellen K said...

Darren, I am sure that with beatbox accompaniment you could develop a rap based on Order of Operations. Hey, you could get a grant for that and then go mainstream, get saturated in the celebrity scene at Chow and spend your evening's on Conan telling everyone what to think. It's a PLAN!!

Anonymous said...

i think society as a whole has lost interest and respect of knoweledge for the sake of simply knowing, or curiousity.

and the solution to creating curiousity? sock puppets, apparently. or, in my district, let the students pick a topic and then theme my math unit around it. . .while i make sure to hit all the state eligible content. whatever. i think we should be teaching self-discipline - meaning, discipline one's self to study something, even if you don't personally find it completely interesting.

sorry this isn't witty as everyone else's =)


Lisa H said...

I love your tone and ideas! I invite you and all of your readers to join our discussions on Conservative Teachers of America. Our Ning discussion site can be found at:

Our original site (smaller--search engine magnet) is

Please stop by and join our discussions!

Great thoughts--keep talking :)
Founder CTA