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

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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.

How Academic Risk-Taking Dies in the Classroom

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

Three Questions Worth Asking

The following is adapted from a 2014 National Honor Society induction speech I was asked to give to the students of Plainwell High School. Read on 'til the end for a personal challenge.   -------------------------------------- There’s a saying in education: “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.”  Have you heard this before?  I think … Continue reading Three Questions Worth Asking

Going beyond grades: Why we HAVE to do better.

What do you think is the lowest G.P.A. I need in order to get into a good retirement home -- one of those fancy ones with never-ending soft serve ice cream and Jeopardy tournaments in the common area?  How many gold stars do you think I need in order say, "I'm happy"?  Oooh, most importantly, … Continue reading Going beyond grades: Why we HAVE to do better.

Four-Horsemen of the Motivational Apocalypse

NOPE!  N.O.P.E.  I refuse.  I won't.  I don't want to.  I can't.  These are the words we teachers loathe to hear, yet seem to hear on the daily.   Lack of motivation (amotivation) is one of our greatest plagues on the individual, educational, and societal level.  What contexts cause it? And, is there anything we … Continue reading Four-Horsemen of the Motivational Apocalypse

The “L” Word: Education’s greatest disease (and no, it’s not Lupus)

Hundreds of yawning, red-eyed students are crammed in pairs, stretching the school gym.  A dull hum, like distant locusts, murmurs the space as pencils scratch hundreds of little bubbles.  It's state-test day, and there is an air of anxiety among more than just the students.  We teachers have one thought: "How are they going to … Continue reading The “L” Word: Education’s greatest disease (and no, it’s not Lupus)