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

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)

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)

Twitter Education Chats: Expanding your Personalized Learning Network (Edutopia featured article)

Teachers must be models of lifelong learning, but besides occasionally reading books and blogs and attending conferences and collaborating with a handful of colleagues at school, how can we extend both the reach and frequency of interacting with our fellow educators? Twitter education chats (EdChats) are the answer for an increasing number of teachers and … Continue reading Twitter Education Chats: Expanding your Personalized Learning Network (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

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)

Improving Twitter Education Chats

Someone should have warned me: Twitter education chats (EdChats) can become addictive. I never knew how fast two or three hours could go by as some evenings I participated in chat after chat - and some weeks I chatted every single day. But if you want to grow your PLN and check in with your loyal colleagues … Continue reading Improving Twitter Education Chats