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?
"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
You haven't felt emotion until you have seen a parent cry. Some of you are going to a dark place in your mind, thinking about that condescending jerk from conferences, crying in shame. Although that would definitely engage emotion, that's not the kind of crying I'm referencing. I'm talking about tears of pride and connection … Continue reading 6 Ways to Grow Gratitude
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)
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
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
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)
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
“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