I have a real distaste for canned curriculum. The memories of being forced to follow a pacing guide, being reprimanded if I wasn’t on the same page as the other teachers, making photocopies of worksheets, and being bored out of my mind while I read a script to my students… it sends shivers down my spine. I did not spend precious years of my life engaged in deeply understanding the world and its complexities to be told by a set of unknown individuals working at a corporate firm what to teach and how to teach it. …


It’s a four-hour drive through the central part of California, turning east on highway 180 and on up into the mountains to get to summer camp. It’s a camp that I loved as a kid. When I was 12, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. My doctor recommended a diabetes camp where I could learn to manage my diabetes amongst my peers and with adults thriving and living with the condition. Camp is staffed with a medical team 24/7, so access to care is at the tip of your finger. I was nervous about going that first year. My…


Image of three friends: Jessa takes a power stance with one arm open wide the other reaching down, Mariah crouches with her hands on her knees, and Geoff squats closer to the ground with his arms crossed and resting on his knees. The pose in front of their first keel boat.
My first crew! Jessa, Geoff and Me.

They call the wind Mariah. I am named after that song. I’ve always loved that it means the wind. And with my new study, interest, and practice in sailing, I’m getting a whole new way to understand who I am.

Sailing Lessons?

My friends have been shocked. Sailing really wasn’t in my repertoire or cultural schema. Every time I mention that I started taking sailing lessons, I am met with “What? Really? How did you get into that?” There are many answers. I had my first experience on a chartered trimaran on the Pacific ocean when I was 18. We took off…


When your creative drive fails you, build a structure. The last few weeks have been too much on top of too much. We grieved the passing of beloved Representative John Lewis, our otherworldly superhero Chadwick Boseman, and now the Notorious RBG. The enduring terrorism by white supremacists, abusive policing, an abusive president, the dismantling of the USPS, the ban on teaching critical race theory, oh, and the pandemic. I nearly forgot.

The personal and collective losses are mounting.

So this is where my body says “nope” can’t process anymore. Everyone’s snapping point is different. I am actually not sure that…


Me and my baby cousin Giselle in Jamaica, West Indies.

Our children are going through a crisis of epic proportion that they will remember for the rest of their lives. They will experience existential questioning, changes in community and social behaviors. And it is very likely that they will grieve someone they have loved or watch their community grieve for a loved one.

Ways of being are changing. Though a lot of good, joy, and creativity is coming from the adjustment of this time, we are facing collective anxiety, uncertainty and grief. We are experiencing anticipatory grief. …


A playlist working to build a more beautiful community for our children.

The album cover for “The Love” by the Alphabet Rockers

I don’t teach Kindergarten anymore but this album really makes me wish I was holding circle with a bunch of 5 year olds! I am over-the-moon delighted with the new album from The Alphabet Rockers. It is the medicine our society needs: doses of love, actions towards liberation and the encouragement of staying responsible for our own lives and for each other.

The album begins with an acknolwedgement of the indigenous land and peoples who have gone through genocide and centuries of systemic violence. The opening reminds us of their names, their languages, and the fact that we must reckon…


(May You Live in Interesting Times is the theme for the 58th Venice Biennale.)

Getting here wasn’t that easy. I was sick on the plane ride over, left my computer on the plane (remembered while standing in line for customs and bolted back for it like Usain stuck in a configuration of boobs, bootie and belly with a 20 lbs backpack on), and had a white knuckling, shout “Jesus’ name” out loud, plane ride from London to Venice. Ugh.

But my friend and I, arrived safe and sound after midnight and fell straight into bed. The next day, we gave…


November 12, 2015

Let me jump straight to the point. Movement based learning supports neural pathways for cognitive growth! Dr. Kenneth Wesson, tells us this “Young, developing brains benefit most from a rich variety of one-on-one emotional, verbal, visual, physical and tactile engagements.” (2011) When we use movement to help students understand content, we are helping them encode information to be stored in the brain far more effectively than when we try to dump information into their brains through the old sage on the stage model.

Why does this work? Simply put, the brain needs glycogen to function. When you…

Mariah Rankine-Landers

Mariah Rankine-Landers, Ed.M co-leads Studio Pathways for transformative school and organizational change that centers the cultural and contemporary arts.

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