The Benefit Mindset: Embracing the We in Me

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”  (John Muir) Fundamental separation is an illusion. Disconnection—not just between human beings but between all life forms—is a lie. Separation will always lead to unhappiness and disaster, for both the individual and the group. Essential sameness, … Continue reading The Benefit Mindset: Embracing the We in Me

Four Note-Taking Strategies for Films (Guest article by Peg Grafwallner)

I recently read Robert Ward’s exceptional article for KQED's In the Classroom blog “Teaching Film as Literature” and was immediately struck with the simplicity of the implementation. While there is undoubtedly a great deal of background work that goes into designing, implementing, and assessing a lesson such as this one, this strategy can be differentiated for students … Continue reading Four Note-Taking Strategies for Films (Guest article by Peg Grafwallner)

Teaching Film as Literature (KQED featured article)

I teach English Language Arts at a film and media magnet in Los Angeles, CA. The main novels my 8th graders read in my class are Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor and The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis. Both books are Newbery Award winners written by African-American … Continue reading Teaching Film as Literature (KQED featured article)

We’re All Developing at Something (Education Week featured article)

Sometimes the most impactful ideas that help reshape and improve your teaching come in small packages. That is how I feel about this little gem of an article written by Peg Grafwallner for Literacy and NCTE, the official blog of the National Council of Teachers of English. Struggling Reluctantly is Peg’s eloquent argument that when … Continue reading We’re All Developing at Something (Education Week featured article)

Communication Skills for Students and Teachers (Edutopia featured article)

The longer I teach, the more I realize my rapport with each student is based on how effectively I speak with them, both publicly and one on one. When I express empathy, my students’ thoughts, feelings, and experiences are validated. Through my words of warmth and acceptance, each child becomes an integral part of our … Continue reading Communication Skills for Students and Teachers (Edutopia featured article)

Character Therapy: Examples, ACE, and a Sample Dialogue

This post is a companion to my Edutopia article, "Life Lessons from Fictional Characters." That article explains in detail the purpose, process, and benefits of Character Therapy, a literature-based approach to helping children overcome the negative effects of adversity. Examples of Young Adult Books Suitable for Character Therapy When looking for possible sources of conflict and … Continue reading Character Therapy: Examples, ACE, and a Sample Dialogue

Fueling Your Growth Mindset: Two Interviews

I recently had the pleasure of doing two interviews. One was facilitated by Larry Ferlazzo from Education Week. Two other educators and I discussed articles that had a big impact on our teaching: BAM Radio 4/18/18. You can also read my EdWeek article on this subject. I also was interviewed by Melissa Hallman, a graduate student at Wilkes … Continue reading Fueling Your Growth Mindset: Two Interviews

Free Summer Book Study: Teaching the Whole Child and Empowering Parents

Here's a summer PD opportunity not to be missed! I'll be hosting a free summer book study of my latest book, Talented Teachers, Empowered Parents, Successful Students, via a five-session weekly Twitter EdChat. These fast-paced, 30-minute chats will take place on Tuesdays at 6:00 p.m. PST/ 8:00 p.m. CST/ 9:00 p.m. EST during June and July 2018. … Continue reading Free Summer Book Study: Teaching the Whole Child and Empowering Parents

The Four Crucial Components of Collaborative Learning

Any teacher who wishes to have their students interact and work together must keep in mind four overarching aspects of collaborative learning. 1. The Group Work Litmus Test A good test for whether group work is even necessary for a particular assignment is this: After you have provided your students with the essential knowledge and … Continue reading The Four Crucial Components of Collaborative Learning

Ten Essential Tips for Marketing a Class Blog that Gets Seen and Shared (KQED featured article)

If you’re looking to take your students’ work to the next level, creating a class blog is a great way to motivate students to produce their best work — precisely because with a class blog, your students, who are usually limited to an audience of peers, parents, and teachers, are now exposed (and strategically marketed) … Continue reading Ten Essential Tips for Marketing a Class Blog that Gets Seen and Shared (KQED featured article)