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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

[VIDEO] Is Teaching Worth It?

For all the great educators I’ve met, including those who are soon to lend their passion and talents to the field. Please share this with an educator you know! Huge gratitude to Kevin Romeo, Daniel Juan Martinez and the whole RHINO MEDIA PRODUCTIONS team, as my student volunteers.

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…

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…

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…

Survive your upcoming school year with Staff Meeting BINGO!

It’s coming. Soon. Before you know it, we’ll be back in school trying to bolster up our mental fortitude for that one reoccurring event that taxes our patience and our joy: The dreaded staff meeting. Soon we’ll be jammed into a library or cafeteria, forced to awkwardly create those collegial good vibes and hurrahs. If…

7 Ninja Moves for Increasing Academic Risk-Taking

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…