6 Ways to Grow Gratitude

You haven’t felt emotion until you have seen a parent cry. Some of you are going to a dark place in your mind, thinking about that condescending jerk from conferences, crying in shame. Although that would definitely engage emotion, that’s not the kind of crying I’m referencing. I’m talking about tears of pride and connection…

Stop the Blame Game: Teaching Students to Take Ownership

A second grader made me cringe the other day. I visited my wife’s class and a girl was showing the class her pictures from a recent soccer tournament. Someone asked how her team did. Her response? “We got second place. BUT, we actually should have gotten first because the other team cheated and the refs…

Ready to Quit Teaching? Try Job Crafting First

At the end of this year, I had a major thought: I need alcohol. Then, I had a more productive thought: I need a change. You’ve had those years, right? When the challenges of teaching stalk you like dementors, sucking the life out of your soul? But as much as I’ve thought about waving goodbye…

Podcasting with Weston Kieschnick

This final sprint at the end of the school year is always chaos.  Between teaching, grading, organizing my hot mess of a room, trying to motivate the end-of-the-year sloths called students, and trying to motivate the end-of-the-year sloth called myself, life is jam packed. However, one thing I will always make time for is connecting…

My Problem With the Grit Movement (And How We Can Fix It)

This post is a part of the Thriving Learner Series and originally appeared on WeAreTeachers.com. File this one under “Accomplishment Strategies.” Imagine hundreds of jigsaw puzzle pieces strewn across a table, waiting to be put together by a student. There are numerous shapes, sizes, and colors. Some puzzle pieces are flipped upside down. The student searches…

The ABCs of Fostering Optimism

This post originally appeared on WeAreTeachers.com.  File this one under “Accomplishment” concepts. We’ve all seen it. A high achieving student shutting down after a few minor mistakes. A kid who doesn’t even try, even when the task at hand is easy. A student who wails, “I suck at math.” Each of these scenes represents one…

Grit Ladders: A Simple Strategy to Fuel Motivation

I celebrate D-minuses. I celebrate class averages that are just barely above passing. Sometimes I even celebrate a kid just turning in a paper. Not because I have low standards. D-minus is not my end goal. A group of kids barely scraping by in their education is far from my definition of satisfactory teaching. But I…

23 Practices for a Thriving Life

This is part one in a series on nurturing thriving learners from AffectiveLiving and WeAreTeachers. “Why do people go to school?” This is one of my favorite questions to ask my students. “Because we have to,” is usually the first thing I hear. But they know my response to what I call “have-to-ism:” You don’t…

The Cost of Our College Obsession

American education has a faith problem.  No, I’m not talking about the debates about religion and to what extent it influences schools.  I’m talking about the blind, unquestioning faith we have to the god of educational purpose: College. American education is obsessed with college as the answer to all our woes.  College will fix our…

Free eBook: G Words – 20 Strategies for Fostering Grit and Growth Mindset

Hi all, After months of drafting, adding, and re-writing, I’ve finally finished a collection of strategies I’ve used to help cultivate grit and growth mindset in thousands of students.  This beefy 60 pager is free for anyone, no strings attached.  Just click on the link below (or the “free ebook” menu option). Below the image is…

Empowering Students to Change the World

It’s a bittersweet snow day today.  It’s sweet because . . . well because it’s a snow day.  It’s bitter though because my Positive Psychology class’s planned service field trip will have to be cancelled.  Empowering students to value altruism is central to my philosophy of education, so to help overcome this snow day bummer, I thought I…

Why you haven’t heard from me in a bit

Hi all, You may have noticed that I haven’t posted here in months.  Let me explain why: I have a new job, one that has taken a lot more time, attention, and energy than even my most liberal guesses.  I’m now a parent of a fussy, growing, baby boy.  So, if you’re wondering why I…