Author Archives: Harmony Button

Questions, Invitations, and Classroom Languages

by Harmony Button My last two posts have been about using questions in the classroom.  Sometimes, the best kind of question isn’t a question at all, but rather, an invitation – to think, to explore, or to raise your own … Continue reading

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A Question of Questions, Part II: How to Respond to Wrong Answers

by Harmony Button If you want to encourage curiosity in your classroom, you have to create an atmosphere that rewards intellectual risks and celebrates “good” mistakes. This doesn’t mean that you need to sugarcoat every failure. In fact, trying to … Continue reading

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A Question of Questions, Part 1: Open and Closed Questions

by Harmony Button The answers you get from literature depend on the questions you pose. ~ Margaret Atwood The Thinking: As teachers, we all know the pleasure of curiosity – that spark of interest that isn’t driven by the promise … Continue reading

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Speaking of Discussion

by Harmony Button If you tend to slip into the same old discussion strategies every day, check out the following ways to shake up your classroom dynamics: The Thinking:  We know that students are creatures of habit — just like we … Continue reading

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The “Write” Game

by Harmony Button Why do people love games? What makes something a game? If a game is merely a structured activity in which there are set objectives and clear parameters, where a player’s success is measured by demonstrations of skill, … Continue reading

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Your Brain Moves By Train While Your Hand Is Still On Foot

by Harmony Button This post is about the practice of freewriting — a style of brainstorming that writers frequently practice in both creative and critical pursuits. The Thinking: One of the most frequent complaints that I get from students about their … Continue reading

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Writing About the Arts

by Harmony Button It’s Arts Week in the Middle and Upper Schools at Waterford! We take this week to celebrate our rich performing and visual arts programs through gallery openings, special assemblies and performances — and as always, we should … Continue reading

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Listening is a Part of Speech

by Harmony Button “We can learn a lot about a person in the very moment that language fails them. In the very moment that they have to be more creative than they would have imagined in order to communicate. It’s … Continue reading

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A Matter of Voice

by Harmony Button “Don’t lose your language. Don’t lose your culture. The written word is the most persuasive form of communication.” — Justice Sonia Sotomayor Last week, the entire Waterford Upper School travelled to the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake … Continue reading

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Expressive Writing as a Vehicle of Change

by Harmony Button “It may sound like self-help nonsense, but research suggests the effects are real.” — Tara Parker-Pope The Thinking: There have been a flurry of articles recently that quantitatively verify what writers (and educators) have long thought to be … Continue reading

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