How to Teach Empathy

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?

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One Happiness Practice You Need to Try…Now

My dad is a stoic man, hardened by a blue collar upbringing. Thirty-plus years of working construction made his hands and his personality calloused and sinewy. He's prone to show joy after a few drinks and anger after minor annoyances. I've seen him cry twice. The first time, he took a baseball straight to the … Continue reading One Happiness Practice You Need to Try…Now

Why Teens Don’t Talk to Us

"My friend told me I should talk to you. I'm really struggling and I didn't know who else to talk to..." Frequently, students come to my room, starting conversations like this. Some of them I have in class. Some I've never met. I work with them after school or during their lunch, listening to their … Continue reading Why Teens Don’t Talk to Us

Stop Hoarding Emotions: Become a Goodness Curator Instead

My wife once pulled a human tooth from her pocket. For a split-second, I thought she was a serial killer who finally let her evidence slip (I watch too much t.v., I know). Then I remembered that: a.) she was a 2nd grade teacher and b.) she often helps students pull their loose teeth.While she felt … Continue reading Stop Hoarding Emotions: Become a Goodness Curator Instead

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. I celebrate … Continue reading Grit Ladders: A Simple Strategy to Fuel Motivation

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)