Getting Organized

On most Day 1 and Day 2’s we’ll focus on organization. Going forward, I’ll confer with you about the work you are doing in other classes  and how you are managing that. This week, as IPads are rolling out, we’ll set up our study planning notebooks, and we’ll step back and think about what we’ve done in the past to keep track of our work and what we may want to change this year.

When I was in middle school, there was only really one way to track homework: you’d write it down. The only  question was whether you’d write it in a calendar, a binder, or on a scrap of paper. I know I tried them all, with varying degrees of success.

Now at AES in 2017, there are many more options. Some students track homework by writing it into a hard copy calendar, such as the AES agenda. This is what I often do, myself. Others rely on electronic tools, such as Notes, Reminders, or Google Calendar.pic calenar

I thought it would be interesting to share with each other the systems we use for remembering what we have to do and when we have to do it. Please tell us what you do and why it your think it works for you in the comments below. If you are planning to use new tools this year, please share those as well. And while you’re at it, why not read what other students are doing? You might learn a new trick or two while you are at it. Don’t worry if you are new to AES middle school; we’ll be helping you find a system that works for you.


Welcome to All Kinds of Minds the blog for the Advisory, Study Skills, and Academic Support classes in AES M206. You can read more about my philosophy here. You can find the Academic Support course overview here and the Study Skills course overview here.

Ms Khanna and I are looking forward to a great year.  We are so glad you are here where we celebrate diversity in learning styles, language and culture; we agree with  Temple Grandin when she says, “the world needs all kinds of minds.” We will be working this year to use the strength of our many minds to do some exciting thinking.Blog pic

I am very pleased to be working with Ms. Khanna again this year. She received a B.A. in Commerce from Delhi University and has four years experience at AES in the elementary and middle schools. Ms Khanna has completed her teacher training program in IGNOU, Delhi, so she is also a certified teacher. She is one of the most effective educators I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and in my twenty years of teaching, I’ve worked with a lot of good people!

I’ve spent half of my career as a general education classroom teacher and half as a special educator.  This is my fifth year teaching Middle School at AES; I also taught fifth grade here for six years from 2005-20011. AES is a unique school, and one of my favorite places to teach and learn.

My eldest son graduated from AES and is attending university in the US this year;  I have another son at AES in twelfth grade and a daughter in tenth. Portland is the American city I’m proud to call home. I was born in Iowa, and I still return to the Midwest to visit family from time to time.

Reading and writing is important in my family. My partner is a writer; her third book, Bicycle Dreaming, was published in January, 2016. She now volunteers full time as a community organizer for The Community Library Project, which has its roots in an after-school read aloud program she and I started in 2008 and expanded in 2011 with the help of AES colleagues and fifth grade students. The CLP now runs two libraries in conjunction with local NGO’s, and we’ve helped start several other community libraries that we continue to support. You can read more about the Delhi library movement here.

I volunteer at The Community Library Project every weekend and during summer holidays. This summer, I coordinated an intensive three week reading fluency program which for 26 students–and we helped a half-dozen students learn to read their first words–in Hindi. We can always use more volunteers; let us know if you are interested.

In my spare time, I read and write poetry. This summer I read several collections of poetry, including Central Time by Ranjit Hoskote and The Country Without a Post Office by Agha Shahid Ali. I also write poetry and am hoping to finish my first collection in the next couple of years. You can find links to some of my published poems here.

Students, I’d love to hear what kinds of reading or writing you did this summer. Why not leave a comment below? Parents, you are welcome to comment as well, and I hope to meet you all at Back to School Night later this month. In the meantime, if you have any questions or ideas to share, do get in touch. The contact page will show you how.