Jan 232011
 
A Former Student's Against-the-Odds Egypt Travel

It was late at night last month, and I was power-walking through the tunnel between the Red Line and the Orange Line in Boston’s Downtown Crossing. Suddenly a radiant grin appeared in front of me.

“Ms. Marshall!” my former student, ShiSha, hollered, and we fell into an embrace.

“How have you been?” I asked, breathless from the coincidence.

“I’m still working at Artists for Humanity,” ShiSha replied, referring to an amazing urban youth art [...Read More!]

Jan 182011
 
Big Dig and Waterfire: We're ALL Developing Countries

What magic, the advancements that have occurred within the past few years in our “Developed” country!  I’m astounded at the changes that have taken place in the United States within my lifetime.

We in America like to prance around and declare ourselves “Developed,” while we proclaim poorer countries “Developing” or “Less Developed.”

But terms like “The Developed World” make us seem fixed, finished, and all set.  In fact, no, we sure aren’t!  From [...Read More!]

Jan 132011
 
Sparkling Photos from our Double Snow Day in Boston

There’s at least one moment every few days when I think to myself: “Teaching really is the best career in the world.” Sometimes this thought is spurred on when a student finally understands a concept.  Other days it’s activated by the zing of a vibrant classroom discussion.  Sometimes it comes from the intellectual buzz of making a tough text like Shakespeare accessible.  But, in the case of this week… my [...Read More!]

Jan 062011
 
On Being Voted Top Travel Blogging Diva of 2010!

Before we left on winter vacation, I forced all my students here in Boston to write Appreciation Cards.  We defined an “Appreciation Card” as a letter (decorated nicely) telling someone why you appreciate and admire them.

The power of such a card is massive!  We think people around us know how much we care about them and why, but how often do we actually say it? In fact, our loved ones may [...Read More!]

Dec 242010
 
Illegal Thai Fruit, Odd NYC Veggie, and Ghana Intensity

Exactly one year ago, I was almost arrested in Bangkok, Thailand for bringing an illegally smelly fruit onto a public train.

You can read the whole dramatic story by clicking here, but the short version is that durians (giant, monstrously spiky fruits common in Asia) smell so horrifically bad that there are signs all over public transport in Southeast Asia warning against carrying them.  And I did.  And a Thai policeman nearly [...Read More!]

Dec 202010
 
Why You CAN Draw Well, and Why Dumb Doesn't Exist

“Waahhh, I wish I could draw!” is a lament I’ve heard from mouths across the world.

If YOU have this same complaint, listen now and listen good: You CAN draw, and you can, if you work at it, eventually draw WELL. The only thing that’s stopping you is… practice!

As a teacher, I firmly believe that people aren’t born smart. Rather, people work hard and get smarter and more skilled with practice.  So [...Read More!]

Dec 142010
 
How to Run a Successful International Penpal Exchange

So you dream of global understanding, connection, and communication. What better way to create this than to have students across the world write letters to one another?

Ahh, the romanticized International Penpal Exchange idea: so beautiful and so grand!

And yet, as those of us who have tried it often soon realize… so full of potential mayhem and chaos!

During the three months I volunteered in Sogakope, Ghana, I helped run the Youth Creating [...Read More!]

Dec 032010
 
The Glow of Appreciation after 2 Years Without Winter

The resounding song in my universe since returning from nine months of travel has been entitled: “Appreciation!”

There is nothing like being away from something for a time to make you re-see it in its original glory.

That said, life isn’t always a happy-shmappy song. Right now, for instance, I’m in a nutty mood.  My daily 5:30am alarm this morning was not enough to force me out of bed fast enough to catch the [...Read More!]

Dec 022010
 
The Sexiest Buildings in Boston: Part 5

All right, so our chat about Boston architecture has taken a rather irreverent turn, with articles on the Un-Sexiest Building in Boston (about a building so infamous that a Bostonian friend currently living in the Dominican Republic said she knew what the article was about without even opening it), followed by a post on two Sexy-Ugly Buildings.

But let’s get back to pure beauty.

Gaze, my friends, upon Downtown Boston’s Custom House Tower! [...Read More!]

Nov 282010
 
A Fascinating Context Tour of Boston's Big Dig, Part 1

The first thing you must know is that Teachers frequently make atrocious Students.

We’re used to be the ones doing the explaining.  We’re used to being in control.  Our job necessitates that we move and talk constantly in order to be effective, not sit obediently and listen.

Hence, ironically, Teachers can be really annoying folks to have on the other side of a classroom.

This is to say that when a friend suggested that [...Read More!]