Dear Santa:

Dina Strasser asks Santa for her ideal classroom. It’s cute, and at the end, she adds this detail:

There’s no teacher desk. There isn’t now. I got rid of it in August, which I consider one of the small successes of this school year. I sit (when I do sit) at the writing conference table or among the kids, which is astonishing– astonishing– in its simple power to help me communicate with and manage the class. More on that later, I think.

Can’t remember the last time I sat in my teacher desk during class, but last week I didn’t have answers for the six assigned classwork problems so I declined student questions for five minutes and sat among them, asking myself questions aloud, in part to model the problem-solving process, and, in full, to disrupt the buffer I have inadvertently established between the teacher and his students.

PS: Dina Strasser is my favorite new blogger of 2008. Go subscribe.

PPS: I have no problem with Edublogs monetizing their unpaid blogs but those double-underlined ad links had better be generating millions because they’re the most annoying advertising on the ‘net. Until I install the relevant Greasemonkey script, I instinctive reload every Edublog site I visit, just to clear them out.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school teacher, former graduate student, and current head of teaching at Desmos. More here.


  1. Dina

    December 24, 2008 - 1:09 pm

    What, I wasn’t astonished enough in the post?! :)


    And yeah, about the ad links– I’m with Graham on this one.

    Including the getting my butt in gear and becoming a paid member of Edublogs so perhaps, in that utopia for which I continue to strive, we can return to ad-free blogging over there.

  2. Dina

    December 24, 2008 - 1:13 pm

    Wait a minute. 2008 is almost over. Was that a backhanded insult from you?? (peals of laughter…)

  3. Rich

    December 24, 2008 - 5:25 pm

    I caught what Dina points out in her second post (that 2008 is nearly over) but we all know what you meant by your recommendation.

    And I did just subscribe to her blog. FYI, Dan, I use Google Reader and I don’t get any of those Edublog double-underline links at all when I read it within Google Reader. Only if I have a particular reason to go to the original page do I get them; I think that I only leave Google Reader about once every 20 postings or so (e.g., to reply like I’m doing to your posting right now).

  4. Rich

    December 24, 2008 - 5:27 pm

    Oh, and I forgot – I very rarely sit at my own desk during any class. And for better or for worse, I don’t have spare student seats in several of my class sections; I just don’t sit down at all. I even wind up doing each night’s homework standing up at the Smart Board at the front of the room every day after school.

  5. Mr. G

    December 24, 2008 - 6:05 pm

    The double-underlined edublog links are HORRID. Not only that, they lead readers to believe the writer is linking words when they’re not. I also have no problem with edublogs finding revenue for their site, but not this way…

    And happy holidays to you, still the #1 edublogger out there.

  6. Dale Basler

    December 25, 2008 - 7:43 pm

    That’s what I like about our school- most of us have offices so our desks aren’t getting in the way in the classroom.

    Oh, I hate those double lined pop-up links too but I can’t get them to stop- even after reloading.

  7. Kevin

    January 3, 2009 - 3:07 pm

    Re: ads. Firefox with AdBlocker. I’ve never seen the ads you talk about, despite reading a few edublogs sites.