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Melissa Bollow Tempel
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Entries by Melissa Bollow Tempel

My Children Are Not Gifted

(5) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 5:57 PM

Every time I post a video of my daughters on Facebook playing the piano or the ukulele, singing, performing dances from West Africa or Puerto Rico, winning ribbons at swim meets, or speaking to a crowd, people compliment us on our "talented," "fabulous," "wonderful," and "amazing," children.

Sure, they are...

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My Friend Andy, a Gay Teacher

(2) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 3:44 PM

A few years ago, I worked with a teacher that changed my view of not only teaching, but the world. Andy and I co-taught literacy at a school in the city. Every morning Andy would join us with a smile on his face and we would greet the students. He...

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Testing Our Limits: The Trouble with Computerized Exams

(7) Comments | Posted March 22, 2012 | 3:43 PM

Melissa Bollow Tempel 1st grade teacher & co-editer of Pencils Down: Rethinking High-Stakes Testing and Accountability with Wayne Au

I walked away from the rest of my class and over to the three computers in the corner of my classroom. Two of my 1st graders, Jasmine and Jayden,...

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Deporting Elena's Father

(365) Comments | Posted January 1, 2012 | 7:48 PM

I am a bilingual teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools. Over the years, I have seen many students deal with deportation. People ask me, "How does deportation affect children?" The question I'd like to pose today is, "How doesn't deportation affect children?"

Last year I had a student in my 1st-grade...

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It's OK to Be Neither: Teaching That Supports Gender-Variant Children

(421) Comments | Posted December 21, 2011 | 4:27 PM

This piece first appeared on

Allie arrived at our first-grade classroom wearing a sweatshirt with a hood. I asked her to take off her hood, and she refused. I thought she was just being difficult and ignored it. After breakfast we got in line for art, and...

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