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The Work of School
The Work of School

Kerry, a first grader in southern California, once shared with us his definition of school: “It’s a place where you come and they make you do stuff so you’ll learn.”

We like this definition of school. It is simple, yet profound. Most important, the definition comes from a student perspective, rather than the teacher’s perspective. And yet, our first grader recognizes that the basic structure of first grade consists of three parts that we, as teachers, must also distinguish.

  • “A place where you come and they . . . ” Teachers
  • “. . . make you . . . ” Students
  • “. . . do stuff so you will learn.” Content

While Kerry was figuring out school in California, another group on the East Coast ...

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