Paint Night: We Did Van Gogh's Sunflowers

I’m no Van Gogh. I have both 👂. But I love a good communal 🎨. With my collegial krewe, we paint and pass the time.


It’s Lunar New Year 2021 — Drink a Bubble Tea and Rejoice

Lunar New Year in 2021 at Garden School in Jackson Heights, New York City
Me, vibing, with bubble tea — a New Year's gift from a fellow teacher.

It's a new year in the Lunar East Asian Calendar. Shout out to friends in mainland China 🇨🇳, Taiwan 🇹🇼, Tibet 🧧, Vietnam 🇻🇳, and the United States 🇺🇸!
新年快乐!身体健康! 万事予以!
It's the year of the ox.

I'm spilling the tea with @yang2010who gifted me with some warm bubble tea.

Do you celebrate the Lunar New Year? What do you do?

PDF Copy for Printing 


Teach Plato’s Allegory of the Cave with a Digital Educational Download from Stones of Erasmus

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com

If you want to teach philosophy to young people, start with some of Plato's myths, as recounted in his book The Republic. The most potent myth from Plato is the Allegory of the Cave. It's such a vivid metaphor for illustrating a specific type of search for truth  that your students will get it right away and not only enjoy reading the source material with you, but they'll surprise you with their takes on the narratives and connections to the real world.

Plato's Allegory of the Cave Digital Download
Download the digital resource on TpT, Amazon, or Made By Teachers!

If you want to teach philosophy to young people, use this lesson plan that introduces students to Plato’s theory of reality. I was inspired to create this resource when I retold the story of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (from The Republic) in plain languageIn this story, Plato imagines a world where one man wakes up and questions what is real and not real. Have your students read this story with you, and use my handy dandy comprehension questions and discussion activities to lead your students to examine Plato’s metaphysical thinking. 

*This resource is optimized for distance learning. The product includes an editable Google Docs link. Modify this resource for use on Google Classroom and other classroom management sites*

This resource includes the following features:

Essential Question: How do I know what is really real?

  • The text of the story is included in this resource.

  • The story is retold from the source material in easy-to-understand English. Great for a class read-and-share. Or, have students pair-read the text and then have a whole-class discussion.

  • 15 reading comprehension questions

  • Useful for homework. To flip the classroom — assign the reading before you plan to discuss and have students complete the reading comprehension questions beforehand.

  • 6 Discussion Questions

  • Perfect for group work or a carousel activity — get your kids moving while discussing Plato!

  • 1 Chart to Explain Plato’s Two-World Theory 

  • Useful graphic organizer to understand Plato’s worldview

  • An answer key for both comprehension and discussion questions

  • Suggested Lesson Plan 

  • With more ideas and instructions on how to use this resource

  • Bibliography

  • I use the bibliography as a further reading resource for my students. Assign your curious scholars a research assignment or have students do projects based on books, links, and other material related to Plato they may find interesting or exciting.

Suggested Uses:

  1. Humanities Course on Ancient Greece

  2. World History Course on the History of Ideas 

  3. Literature Course

  4. Ethics Course — See how I used this resource in an Ethics class with 8th graders!

  5. Introduction to Philosophy Course

  6. Student Advisory Course on Drug and Alcohol Abuse 

  7. A Lesson on Truth

  8. A lesson on Appearance and Reality

    Discover More of My Philosophy in the Classroom Series 

    That Time My Mother Mailed Me a Mardi Gras King Cake from New Orleans

    King Cake from Gambino's Bakery in New Orleans
    Fedex delivered a king cake in a box
    from Gambino's Bakery in New Orleans.

    Unfrosted King Cake from Gambino's Bakery
    King Cake Before Its Frosted
    With Green, Purple, and Gold
    Today, Mom sent a king 👑 cake to me from @gambinosbakery in New Orleans. @ceiacrema helped me to open and decorate! Who’s ready for a king cake party? And who’s gonna get the baby? As a kid, we used to have Mardi Gras classroom parties. Think a colossal sheet cake from @winndixie covered in purple, green, and gold, and your entire first-grade class goes into a diabetic coma. Thankfully teachers knew to save the cake as a Friday thing (at the end of the day). Otherwise, nobody was learning anything. I know it’s a crazy year to celebrate 🎉 , but it’s Mardi Gras season y’all. Be safe, stay masked, and do your part to stop the spread of Covid-19. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a slice, honey.


    Teaching the Anatolian Tale of King Midas to Middle and High School Student: Graeco-Roman Mythology Series

    In this post, I discuss the story of Midas, the foolish king of Phrygia who turned everything he touched into gold, grew a pair of ass's ears, and apparently is based on a historical king in what is today part of central Turkey and Asia Minor.

    King Midas was an ancient Phrygian monarch 
    and son of Gordius, and some say of the Goddess Ida. Image Credit: Unsplash

    The story of King Midas has been told and retold throughout history, and for good reason. It's the premise behind a quite humorous candy commercial, and perhaps you first heard of the story through a widely distributed Disney animated short film. The story, however, is a cautionary tale. In my English Language Arts and Humanities middle and high school classroom, I use it to prompt young people to think critically about folly, ignorance, fraud, greed, and the unintended consequences of our actions. And even further, I use this story to spark discussions about morality, ethics, and the importance of self-reflection.
    With an easy-to-use map and anchor chart
    I can introduce students to the historical context of the Midas tale.

    First, I introduce my students to the story's historical context. King Midas was a ruler of Phrygia, an ancient kingdom located in what is now parts of central Turkey and Asia Minor. This helps to ground the story in reality and shows that the lessons it teaches are rooted in history and culture. That's an important piece.

    Next, I read the story of King Midas to my students. I like to use the version from Robert Graves' fantastic collection of Greek myths. Plenty of versions are out there, including a famous one by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Whichever version you choose, and you can share more than one, I ask students how they would feel if they suddenly became rich beyond their wildest dreams or if everything they touched turned gold.

    After we have discussed the story itself, I like to focus on the character of King Midas. I ask my students to consider his actions and motivations and how they ultimately led to his downfall. I have many activities that lean into this part of the story. We talk about the dangers of greed and how it can blind us to the things that matter in life, such as family, friends, and happiness.

    One of the most memorable parts of the story is when King Midas grows a pair of ass's ears after foolishly wishing for the ability to hear everything. This powerful image can illustrate the idea that our actions have consequences and that we must be careful what we wish for.

    I use writing prompts to get kids' creative juices flowing.
    To reinforce the story's lessons, I like to use creative activities that allow my students to explore the themes more personally. I pull from art and literature to showcase how the story has been adapted, leading to a creative writing activity. For example, I might ask them to write a modern-day version of the story or create a piece of artwork representing the dangers of greed.

    Here is a monologue one of my amazing students wrote, re-imagining the version of Midas by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In this version, Midas turns his daughter into gold when he touches her:

    The Gilded Daughter's Lament

    It's funny, isn't it? The thing I always wanted that would bring me the most happiness is now the very thing that's destroyed me. Gold. My father's touch turned me into a statue of gold.
    I used to dream of being wealthy and powerful, of having everything I could ever want at my fingertips. But I never stopped to consider the cost, the price I'd have to pay for all that wealth. And now, I'm paying it in full.
    I can't move, I can't speak, I can't even cry. I'm just frozen in this golden shell, a monument to my father's foolishness. And what will become of me now? Will I be placed on display for all to see, a tragic curiosity? Will I be melted down and turned into something else, something that someone else desires?
    It's funny how quickly your desires can turn against you. How one moment you can be chasing after something, thinking it will bring you happiness, and the next moment it can become your greatest nightmare. I wish I could go back and warn myself, tell myself to be careful what I wished for. But it's too late now.
    So here I am, a statue of gold, unable to move or speak, watching as the world passes me by. And all I can do is wonder if anyone will ever see me as more than just a thing to be owned and possessed.

    Overall, the story of King Midas is a wonderful tool for teaching important lessons about morality and ethics. By engaging my students in thoughtful discussions and creative activities, I can help them better understand these concepts and how they apply to their lives.

    If you want to teach the story of Midas to your middle and high school students, head over to my TpT store, where I sell a compelling lesson and activity that features the story of this Anatolian king!
    Midas Anatolian Tale: Mythology Series for Middle and High School (Grades 8-10)