Feedback and I have a love-hate relationship. We've had horrendous moments, lowlights including: YouTube comments from trolling strangers; The parent who threatened to sue me for targeting his daughter by – get this – reminding her of homework due dates; A teacher's constructive feedback of “Wear better clothes” after a PD; Blog commenters arguing that … Continue reading A 3 Minute Tradition for Powerful Feedback
Seventy high schoolers I’ve never met are either staring at me or pretending I don’t exist. I’ve come 750 miles from my home in Kalamazoo to spend a day teaching this eclectic group of freshmen and sophomores, who struggle with school. I have just 6 hours to build rapport with them, to shift their thinking, and … Continue reading 4 Power Moves for Building Rapport
It's hard not to feel like our society needs more empathy – more shared connection rather than polarized disconnection. What if we approached teaching empathy the way we teach literacy?
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 … Continue reading A Call to Help Students Find Purpose
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 … Continue reading Podcasting with Weston Kieschnick
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
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
“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.
We sometimes find ourselves in a culture of product-based praise. The A's, the high test scores, the right answers: These are our educational celebrities. But we lose sight of the process, the effort, the risk it takes learners to achieve those great scores and grade point averages. In doing so, the message is sent: The product is … Continue reading 7 Ninja Moves for Increasing Academic Risk-Taking
Picture a baby. A fresh one. Straight out of the womb. It's probably making a bunch of noise. It's probably gross looking (let's be honest: this whole “cute newborn” thing is a myth). Despite the grossness of this baby, it came into the world wired with a certain skill set. On a résumé, this baby … Continue reading How Academic Risk-Taking Dies in the Classroom