Ten Book Report Ideas Students Love

Can teachers sustain a student’s enthusiasm for a recently-completed novel while also reinforcing that student’s understanding of the literary elements and figurative language they have been learning? Can teachers be certain a student actually read and understood a book on their own and simultaneously encourage that student’s creativity so they begin to write like the … Continue reading Ten Book Report Ideas Students Love

Teaching the Benefit Mindset to our Youngest Children

What kind of world would we create if we provided our youngest children with ongoing experiences that met their social, emotional, soulful, and intellectual needs? What kind of learners, leaders, innovators, and artists would children who were nurtured and educated in such a way become? At the forefront of this whole-child approach is Primrose Schools, … Continue reading Teaching the Benefit Mindset to our Youngest Children

Can’t Remember? Don’t “Just Google It”

Last night, I attended a party for a 50th wedding anniversary. At one point, my husband pointed to the lovely centerpiece adorning our table and asked me, "What's the name of that flower?" It was a natural question since, before I was a teacher, I was a floral designer for ten years, and I prided … Continue reading Can’t Remember? Don’t “Just Google It”

Education Talk Radio Interview: Trauma-Sensitive Teaching and Social-Emotional Learning

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Larry Jacobs on Education Talk Radio. In this lively 30-minute conversation, I discussed winning the SmartBrief Education Editor's Choice Content Award for my Edutopia article about Character Therapy, "Life Lessons from Fictional Characters."  Please listen to the full interview here.

Enhancing Students’ Written Responses and Conclusions with Complex Sentences

Since all essays require some type of analysis, opinion, or argument on the part of the writer, teachers of every subject must provide strategies that allow students to express themselves with both scholarship and passion. Instead of waiting until the final paragraph of their essay, however, students can also add their appropriate responses and conclusions … Continue reading Enhancing Students’ Written Responses and Conclusions with Complex Sentences

The Benefit Mindset’s Call to Action for Educators and Parents (Education Week commentary)

“We are all one. And if we don’t know it, we will learn it the hard way.”  Bayard Rustin, civil rights leader The first quarter of the 21st century finds the American people in deep thought: What is happening—or not happening—in our schools, families, and communities that causes our teens to take their own lives or … Continue reading The Benefit Mindset’s Call to Action for Educators and Parents (Education Week commentary)

Character Therapy: A Novel Way to Teach Students to Triumph over Trauma (Edutopia featured article)

With teen suicides and school shootings on the rise, educators are searching for interventions for students at risk of taking lives—both their own and others’—as well as for ways to prevent troubled youth from becoming maladjusted adults who also take lives. This cycle of hopelessness and hurt must end, but how do we teach all … Continue reading Character Therapy: A Novel Way to Teach Students to Triumph over Trauma (Edutopia featured article)

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)