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)

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)

Benefit Mindset: Transforming Students’ Attitudes of Empathy into Acts of Altruism (Edutopia featured article)

As communal creatures, we all crave belonging. Feeling understood and integral among a wide variety of people creates connections that make our lives complete. At our core, each of us is searching for the feeling that “we are all in this together.” Acceptance and affinity are especially important in the classroom, where each student’s social-emotional … Continue reading Benefit Mindset: Transforming Students’ Attitudes of Empathy into Acts of Altruism (Edutopia featured article)

Should Students Be Branding and Marketing Themselves Online? (KQED In the Classroom featured article)

My niece Nina, a high school senior, recently showed me her new website and YouTube channel offering tips about makeup. Her homepage alone boasts more than 50 photos of creative ways to apply eyeshadow! When I discovered this was all part of her AP English Literature assignment, however, I began to ask more questions. Nina’s teacher had explained to … Continue reading Should Students Be Branding and Marketing Themselves Online? (KQED In the Classroom featured article)

Classroom Strategies for Including All Families as Allies in Education

Shouldn’t every parent be a teacher’s greatest asset and ally in nurturing and educating all students? Shouldn’t every teacher actively include and empathetically engage with all parents, especially those who seem the most clueless, careless, or cantankerous? Robert Ward's latest book, Talented Teachers, Empowered Parents, Successful Students, provides educators with a wealth of creative strategies, practical solutions, … Continue reading Classroom Strategies for Including All Families as Allies in Education

Educators to Read, Follow, and Learn With in 2018

In 2017, I began my 25th year teaching middle school English, and it has been my best year in classroom ever. My career as an author and blogger also hit some high notes: In June, my Rewarding Education blog was honored as one of  the Albert Index's 2017 Top Blogs in Education for Parents and … Continue reading Educators to Read, Follow, and Learn With in 2018

The Super-Ordinary Hero Project: Matching Growth Mindset with Benefit Mindset

"If more people follow their superpowers-- and everyone has one-- then we're going to be better as a society" (Adam Neumann, founder of WeWork, in Time magazine, 2016). Try this inspiring, interdisciplinary culminating project that works well with students at any grade level. Since kids of all ages are obsessed with superheroes, channel their natural interests … Continue reading The Super-Ordinary Hero Project: Matching Growth Mindset with Benefit Mindset

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)