November 9, 2017 - Michael Salinger

Singapore American School


Karen’s class getting psyched to write poems for two voices.

What can we say? Singapore American School feels like a home away from home for us. We have visited here so many times that we have a favorite grocery store. We love our trips to this school.

Why? Because they push us – every time we come they throw another challenge our way that makes us better presenters and teachers. And, of course they do, because that is the mindset of this school. Never resting on their laurels – SAS is constantly looking for continual improvement. It’s a high energy, high expectation environment with high-flying teachers and students.


Sara leading social studies students through writing frameworks on poverty and social injustice.

One might think that this could present a problem with so many uber-talented staff and pupils – but it is my experience that egos are kept in check. Everyone is eager to learn new things, or to take another approach, to seek out adopt, adapt and improve best practices.

Extra added bonus this trip our friend and colleague, Nancy Johnson, was visiting at the same time. She introduced us to the school a half-dozen years ago or so and we’ve been pretty much coming back every year. Extra Extra super bonus – our dear comrade  and teacher supreme, Lee Ann Spillane has begun teaching here this year. It really was a reuniting of friends.


Lee Ann – a blur in the classroom.

We worked with Language Arts and Social Studies classes in the 6th, 7th and 9th grades. Writing across the curriculum. Not much more to add here – everyone sopped it up like the last smidgen of curry being captured by a piece of garlic naan.

Thanks to Scott Riley for bringing us in again, Betsy Hall for sheltering us in her cozy home, Karen McDowell for trusting us with her class and her husband Erik for getting me out on some bike rides.


Out for curry in Little India with Betsy, Scott Townley, and Lee Ann.

Look for Scott, Karen, Nancy and us to be presenting at NCTE sharing some of the work we did this year.

Thanks SAS – can’t wait to come back!




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“Sara and Michael bring infectious energy and joy leavened with deep knowledge of best practices in literacy to their work with children and teachers.” Ellin Keene – Author of Mosaic of Thought and The Teacher You Want to Be
“Sara and Michael bring magic, and a contagious love of words to both students and teachers alike!” Georgia Heard - Author of Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School More testimonials...