The Myth of the School-to-Prison Pipeline

The next time you are inclined to seek scapegoats, stupid slogans, and simplistic "solutions" for complex educational issues, please keep this fact in mind: Schools and teachers, both individually and collectively, are not the problem. Now, I may be preaching to the choir on a blog dedicated to educators and parents, but sometimes we too … Continue reading The Myth of the School-to-Prison Pipeline

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

Growth Mindset Is Not Enough: Edutopia featured article

We educators may be tempted to believe that once students develop growth mindset, they are adequately prepared to face life’s challenges and changes. While in one key respect this is true, outlook and affect are not nearly enough to thoroughly outfit any person with all it takes to attain one’s full potential. Possessing a positive … Continue reading Growth Mindset Is Not Enough: Edutopia featured article

Outcasts and Underdogs: 8 More Young Adult Books that Teach Gratitude, Grit, and Growth Mindset (Edutopia featured article)

Superheroes and superstars already captivate kids, and many could teach a master class on these subjects. The fresh perspective teachers offer is how students themselves can and should be heroes. As advocates of growth mindset, teach children that heroism does not require obsession with perfection or product. When educators also value process and progress, students … Continue reading Outcasts and Underdogs: 8 More Young Adult Books that Teach Gratitude, Grit, and Growth Mindset (Edutopia featured article)

Parents Deserve Professional Development, Too!

If we truly believe that parents and teachers must be allies in education and partners in the nurturing of the whole child, then we must consistently explore ways to not only engage parents with the school community but to actively involve them in the process of meeting the essential needs of every student. If we think of … Continue reading Parents Deserve Professional Development, Too!

Four Ways to Reduce Classroom Risk and Reach the Whole Child – ASCD guest article

Intention is everything, especially when educating and nurturing children. Words matter, and specificity with vocabulary determines whether or not adult interactions with kids have the desired impact. One misguided message many teachers instill in their students is that risk-taking is good. On the surface, this may seem like a worthwhile component of social-emotional learning. Yet … Continue reading Four Ways to Reduce Classroom Risk and Reach the Whole Child – ASCD guest article

A Teacher’s Inside Advice to Parents: radio interview

On Sunday, May 21, 2017, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Lamont Patterson and Dr. Matthew Anderson on their excellent World Movement Enterprises radio show. The subject was my book, A Teacher's Inside Advice to Parents: How Children Thrive with Leadership, Love, Laughter, and Learning. As the American Library Association's Booklist said in their review … Continue reading A Teacher’s Inside Advice to Parents: radio interview

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

Let's dispel a major misconception about motivating and managing kids: Proper, proportional adult leadership is always less about control or compliance and so much more about cultivating willing cooperation and courtesy in children. That said, "compliance" and "control" are not dirty words, and they certainly should not be dirty little secrets when used with adult … Continue reading It Takes Strong Adults to Raise Strong Children (Part Four of a Four-Part Series)

4 Questions Every Parent Should be Asking about School

A parent’s involvement with their child’s education is imperative, but staying informed does not always necessitate visiting the school site. Besides phone calls, emails, social media, and all manner of new apps, there is another crucial way parents can remain actively engaged and intimately apprised about what is going on at school—all without leaving their … Continue reading 4 Questions Every Parent Should be Asking about School

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