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

Enduring the Educational Pendulum: Education Week guest article

After twenty-four years in the classroom, teaching gets tougher for me with every sweeping swing of the educational pendulum. Like clockwork, a “new” strategy or solution is inevitably espoused, everyone eagerly (or forcibly) jumps on the bandwagon, and the poor baby is again thrown out with the bathwater. Occasionally, these shifts are truly progressive and … Continue reading Enduring the Educational Pendulum: Education Week 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 guest 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 guest article)