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)

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

The Myth of the School-to-Prison Pipeline

The term "school-to-prison pipeline is an unfair way to describe what's happening because the schools just don't have the resources to be the intervention against poverty that they need to be." Anna Deavere Smith, actor and author of Notes from the Field. The next time you are inclined to seek scapegoats, stupid slogans, and simplistic "solutions" for … Continue reading The Myth of the School-to-Prison Pipeline

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)

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

A Teacher’s Response to the Trump Election

After nearly a quarter century of educating three generations of public school children, the majority of my former eighth grade students are now of voting age. I therefore take the election of Donald Trump and what he represents very personally. Frankly, I had thought that I, as well as my colleagues across the country, had … Continue reading A Teacher’s Response to the Trump Election

The Fallacy of Failure: Getting Growth Mindset Right (ASCD featured article)

Using the word “failure” sends the wrong message to students about what true growth mindset entails. It is time to STOP telling kids to embrace failure and to instead help them persevere through everyday struggles, stumbles, and setbacks while on the way to eventual success. Failure is all the rage in education circles these days—but … Continue reading The Fallacy of Failure: Getting Growth Mindset Right (ASCD featured article)