The Advantages of Teaching Whole-Class Novels (Edutopia featured article)

English teachers are typically literature lovers, so it is natural for them to share their passion for reading with their students by introducing them to great books. However, some teachers find the prospect of reading and analyzing an entire novel with their classes overwhelming or problematic. Teachers' most common concerns center around these questions: How … Continue reading The Advantages of Teaching Whole-Class Novels (Edutopia featured article)

A Balanced Approach to Teaching Literature: Pairing Whole-Class Novels with Independent Reading Choice

This is a companion to my Edutopia article, Getting Everyone on the Same Page. Since I believe that balance in all aspects of education is crucial, I teach whole-class novels right along with assisting my students in choosing the books they read independently. In fact, my middle school students are always in the process of reading … Continue reading A Balanced Approach to Teaching Literature: Pairing Whole-Class Novels with Independent Reading Choice

Teaching the Whole Child: The Four Indispensable Aspects of Education

What if the key to narrowing the achievement gap was to focus on closing any serious gaps in student motivation? It is entirely possible for teachers to markedly inspire, influence, and embolden every student, but only when they do so in a manner that honors and embraces the four elemental needs of all children. Imagine … Continue reading Teaching the Whole Child: The Four Indispensable Aspects of Education

The 12 Cs of Student Engagement (Edutopia article and featured by the U.S. Department of Education)

Meaning is magnetic! Creativity is captivating! Passion is powerful! Emotion is engaging! Charisma is contagious! Discover compelling ways to draw your students in and invite them to dream and innovate. Transform your curriculum into exploration and adventure. Entice even your reluctant learners and hold them transfixed. There is a marked distinction, however, between teachers who … Continue reading The 12 Cs of Student Engagement (Edutopia article and featured by the U.S. Department of Education)

Nurturing Responsible Global Citizens

Every parent naturally strives to raise children who are respectful and responsible—as much for their child’s sake as for their own peace of mind. Yet in this interconnected global village in which we all now live, character traits like courtesy and cooperation are only a first step. To truly be a world citizen, confidence and … Continue reading Nurturing Responsible Global Citizens

Putting Engagement First: Think Differently about your Students- Guest Post by Gillian Judson

There’s a “new kid” on your block. Tilt your head a little more to the left—just there. See? Tucked in among all of the faces you easily recognize is one that’s unfamiliar. He doesn’t look that different, really, but he’s definitely new. And he’s looking right at you. Will you walk toward him or walk … Continue reading Putting Engagement First: Think Differently about your Students- Guest Post by Gillian Judson

It Takes Strong Adults to Raise Strong Children (Part Three of a Four-Part Series)

Admittedly, firm leadership runs the occasional risk of the adult authority figure being perceived by some children as unpopular or as the “bad guy.” Yet if one of your greatest fears as a parent or a teacher is falling into disfavor, no matter how temporarily,  with the very children you are endeavoring to raise right … Continue reading It Takes Strong Adults to Raise Strong Children (Part Three of a Four-Part Series)

It Takes Strong Adults to Raise Strong Children (Part Two of a Four-Part Series)

Parents and teachers alike need to stop thinking that cultivating warm and fuzzy relationships with kids is all that is needed to produce successful, secure children. I can understand people’s good intentions, but I am sick of constantly hearing that the fruitful rearing and educating of children is “all about” relationships. Just because you sincerely … Continue reading It Takes Strong Adults to Raise Strong Children (Part Two of a Four-Part Series)

It Takes Strong Adults to Raise Strong Children (Part One of a Four-Part Series)

During my twenty-four years teaching a wide variety of more than 3,500 students, I have witnessed a worrisome decline in strong, intentional adult leadership. Too many teachers and parents today are inadvertently shortchanging the kids they care about. By failing to properly develop in those children the common courtesy, cheerful cooperation, and consistent conscientiousness that … Continue reading It Takes Strong Adults to Raise Strong Children (Part One of a Four-Part Series)

Dispelling the Myth that Intelligence = Instant & Easy (NCTE growth mindset guest article)

A starling number of students believe that if you are smart, correct answers and brilliant ideas come quickly and with little exertion. They think intelligence equals “instant and easy.” Consequently, they also assume that the students who pause, ponder, or take pains of any sort must not be brainy. They even equate scholarly labor, multiple attempts, … Continue reading Dispelling the Myth that Intelligence = Instant & Easy (NCTE growth mindset guest article)