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

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

An Open Letter to Myself: Don’t Give Up

Twenty-four of my students are failing. Only two are passing. They are failing in the grade book. They are failing in mastering content. They are failing in overcoming the abyss of apathy that is a characteristic of the students I teach. And, because of this, I am failing. I have tried dozens of techniques and … Continue reading An Open Letter to Myself: Don’t Give Up

Staying Present in the Classroom: Practicing Mindful Teaching

How am I going to transition to the next lesson? What's that smell? What am I going to have the kids who finish early do until the bell rings? Do you think any of them actually like this book? I hope our staff meeting doesn't go long; I've got to get home to my puppy … Continue reading Staying Present in the Classroom: Practicing Mindful Teaching

The Lesson of Every Conversation: Encouraging Teens to Have Meaningful Interactions

Nothing is worse than not having a driver’s license as a teen. Other than having to wait around for your mom to pick you up. Which is my life right now. Waiting. Watching every other jerk get picked up from driver’s training. They’ve all been scooped up by their timely parents. All except me. And, … Continue reading The Lesson of Every Conversation: Encouraging Teens to Have Meaningful Interactions

Searching for Sasquatch: Why unmotivated people don’t exist

Picture an average teenage boy.  Probably smells like stale sweat doused in a layer of Axe Body Spray.  Atrocious haircut.  Eyes glazed by the flashing images of Call of Duty blaring from the screen.  Poster child of "whatever."  His parents, not wanting to raise a child into an adult pile of mud, want to see … Continue reading Searching for Sasquatch: Why unmotivated people don’t exist

What Students Really Need to Hear

It's 4 a.m.  I've struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can't.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I'm so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to … Continue reading What Students Really Need to Hear