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

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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 … Continue reading The ABCs of Fostering Optimism

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 … Continue reading The Cost of Our College Obsession

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

What it’s like to be a kid with OCD (and what teachers can do to help)

One of my greatest thrills is helping my students share their experiences, their passions, and their lessons in writing.  So, I'm geeked to share the following post my student, Bailee Rieman, wrote for WeAreTeachers.  Check it out. What It's Like to Be a Kid With OCD by Bailee Rieman "I don't want to live anymore." I said … Continue reading What it’s like to be a kid with OCD (and what teachers can do to help)

Why I have faith in American educators: I see America teaching

Traveling always strengthens and reaffirms my faith in teachers across America.  Read on for a reflection I wrote for WeAreTeachers during a recent stint to work with a small village in Alaska. For years I've been teaching. For these same years I've been exposed to conversations about teachers in America. Each day I hear people talk about what … Continue reading Why I have faith in American educators: I see America teaching

7 Books About the Brain Every Teacher Should Read

My wife and I love to play a game called, "Y'know what blows my mind?"  It consists of one of us randomly ranting about things that blow our mind -- things beyond our comprehension.  Outer space.  How tiny humans grow inside larger humans.  How our voices can be made into invisible data, thrown into the … Continue reading 7 Books About the Brain Every Teacher Should Read

To Make Change This School Year, It’s All About the Benjamins

Some critics of education quip that teachers need to change, as if we don't face change on a weekly, a daily, a minute-to-minute basis. Think about all the changes you were expected to make in just the last year of your teaching. Ten. That's the number – a conservative estimate – of changes we faced as a … Continue reading To Make Change This School Year, It’s All About the Benjamins

Motivation Killed

What Kills Student Motivation? We Asked Them.

“What are your thoughts on student motivation?” my principal recently asked. Knowing that I have an interest in motivation, as well as a love of working with at-risk students, he wanted to know my thoughts on why our achievement gap wasn't narrowing. As a teacher, I of course had many thoughts. But, the many thoughts … Continue reading What Kills Student Motivation? We Asked Them.