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

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)

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)

Orphans & Outsiders: 8 Young Adult Books that Teach Gratitude, Grit, and Growth Mindset (U.S. Dept. of Education featured article)

Have you ever noticed that the main characters in a great deal of young adult literature are orphans? It has to be more than a coincidence that the inspiring protagonists of some of the most beloved books from the young adult canon are either parentless or are suddenly isolated from the love and support of … Continue reading Orphans & Outsiders: 8 Young Adult Books that Teach Gratitude, Grit, and Growth Mindset (U.S. Dept. of Education featured article)