Oh the melancholy that comes with the last day of summer vacation and, in my case, the last day of the sabbatical that took me to Finland in the first place.  This is the day.  Today.  Tomorrow I reenter my high school and my role as a social studies teacher there.  Tomorrow my sweet boy … More Sigh…


“Suspended in time.” That is the phrase I most often use to describe our little family’s five months in Finland earlier this year.  We arrived during the darkest time, navigated weeks of frigid cold, socialized with each other in our warm apartment punctuated by quick trips to the grocery store and playground.  Despite our clear lack … More Reentry

Inquiry Project: Professional Development for K-12 Educators

The culmination of my time in Finland is the creation of a professional development framework for K-12 educators based on my research and work here.  Feel free to use the resources in your own school district and do not hesitate to offer feedback.  Kiitos! Professional Development Framework: Cooperative Learning Strategies as a Best Practice in … More Inquiry Project: Professional Development for K-12 Educators

The real deal

For most of our time in Finland I have had a rather conflicted relationship with the place. It was a tough adjustment for me during the cold, dark days of winter when I had no language skills, no ski gear, and no Finns to call my friends. Despite enjoying the overall experience of living in an … More The real deal


In one of the Moomin stories by Tove Jansson, Moomin and Little Dragon, Moomin has found and brought home a baby, fire-breathing dragon which he is hiding in a jar in his bedroom.  He wants to keep the dragon a secret until he can show it to his best friend Snufkin.  When he is leaving Moominhouse … More Moominmamma

No such thing as a?

Free lunch. If I had to make only one recommendation to American policymakers about how to improve the state of public education based on what I have observed in Finland it would be this: give every kid a free lunch, every day, no questions asked. Give each kid one hot, nutritious meal regardless of family … More No such thing as a?

Sink or swim: Thoughts from Finland

The following was the basis for a talk I gave as part of the Fulbright Forum on March 17 at the University of Jyväskylä and hosted by Fulbright Finland.  My four-month research project is “Cooperative Learning Strategies as a Best Practice in Student-Directed, Globally-Minded Classrooms.”  Basically, it was a chance to present on my thinking at the … More Sink or swim: Thoughts from Finland

The kids are all right

Up here in the northern latitudes, adults start placing trust in their youth from a very young age.  Moms place six-month-olds in the arms of their 18-month-old siblings on plastic sleds and pull them around town as a mode of transportation in snowy conditions.  Toddlers ascend impressive heights on the playgrounds while their parents nonchalantly … More The kids are all right

Get on the bus, Gus

Moments that remind us to be humble can be moments that change our lives.  At the same time, what is humbling might also feel temporarily humiliating.  I recall learning to snowboard at 22 when it felt like everyone else had been doing it since birth. Trying to figure out telemark skiing at 37 renewed feelings of … More Get on the bus, Gus