Essential Questions for 13 Reasons Why

If you work with teenagers (or parent one) you’ve probably heard of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, a series based on Jay Asher’s book of the same title. It’s that show everyone seems to be talking about. The gist, if you haven’t seen the series or read the book, is this: A teenager, Hannah Baker, takes…

Let the writing begin . . .

Many people know that I’m an avid “bucket lister.”  The list, which I started 8 years ago, has pushed me to take risks, prioritize, and never lose sight of my passions.  Soon, I will get a chance to check off one of the most daunting items on my list: #5: Publish a book. Since September,…

A Call to Help Students Find Purpose

The simplified story is that one of my students cried after I made her pick up garbage for a day. The real story goes more like this: Each trimester, I take my students on a service learning field trip. We spend a morning volunteering at a local homeless shelter. In the afternoon, students pick up…

The 9 Types of People Ruining Your School Email

I love 5% of the “reply all” emails I get at school. Wait . . . I hate 100% of the “reply all” emails I get at school. I only love the 5% of reply alls that get hijacked by my smart ass colleagues who turn them into jokes. Take the day we got notice…

EDU TERM: Soul Janthem

“I Found My Smile Again” by D’Angelo is keeping me going these first few weeks.  Post your Soul Janthem and share with a teacher you know!

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…