Belief matters: How a growth mindset unlocks confidence and achievement

Recently, I had a rather enlightening conversation with my son and three of his friends. Two of his buddies absolutely hate school. They struggle and muddle their way through. Of course, they have their own special gifts; basketball is an area where they excel. But things like reading, writing, and math? Those don’t come as […]

100-year-old advice to shape our activities and lessons today

It’s amazing how wisely John Dewey could speak to educators today in an age without digital devices and the Internet. In Dewey’s day, individualization and differentiation of instruction was heresy. Rote memorization and recitation were common practices. The more I dig back through his life, his views on education and his quotes, the more I learn about […]

Raid the Supply Closet: 50+ creative remixes of standard class supplies

We know that poster board makes posters and that paper clips hold papers together. But what if they had hidden super powers? The things you may have laying around the classroom may be the keys to unlocking some exciting, engaging learning activities. (Or if you don’t have them, they could be at the top of […]

How do you ditch “safe teaching” when prepping for THE test?

In a recent blog post, I suggested that what we consider “safe teaching” might be risky teaching after all. In this post, I talked about how all the traditional, overused teaching techniques — lectures, worksheets, etc. — are easy for students to ignore. And when they’re ignoring instruction, there might as well be no instruction […]

You are in the miracle business — the best business to be in

The system is getting in the way. Sir Ken Robinson has counseled education leaders all over the world. He’s seen what works and what doesn’t. And there’s a lot we can do in the United States — and in other countries — to improve. Take standardization and competition. We’re mass-producing lessons and units for the […]

Safe teaching is risky teaching

I remember lots of important moments from my time in all levels of school. Many of them are my times with friends, conversations at the lunch table, sports competitions, etc. I remember some lessons from the classroom. The most vivid ones are projects I did with others or collaborative activities: I remember getting worksheet packets (blech!) […]