The Surprising Science of Project Fatigue (And How Teachers Can Help Prevent It)

My students (pre-service teachers who will be graduating in late April) walk into the room ready to move into a workshopping phase in their action research projects. However, instead of an open-ended project workshop time, I give them a warm-up question: What does it mean to find balance? For the next hour, we have a […]

7 Ways to Inspire Divergent Thinking in the Classroom

The world is unpredictable. The corporate ladder is now a maze, which means our students will need to think divergently. In this article, we explore how to integrate divergent thinking into our everyday classroom practices. This is an updated version of an article that was originally created in March 2018.  Listen to the Podcast If […]

Six Strategies for Tackling Perfectionism

The following is a variation on a post I created for the New Teacher Academy. Each year, I ask my pre-service teachers to describe what teaching will be like when they move from surviving to thriving. Common themes emerge. “Every student will listen each time I’m talking” or “I won’t have any upset parents” or […]

Podcasting Can Work in Any Subject

Last week, I shared why student podcasting is a great idea. Podcasting is a powerful way for students to share their voice with the world. Along the way, they learn to communicate, engage in critical thinking, and go through the design process as they ultimately publish their work to an authentic audience. I believe podcasting can […]

5 Reasons to Pilot Student Podcasting Projects

I just learned that New York City doesn’t actually have alleys. Okay, they have a few private alleys. However, after listening to the latest 99% Invisible podcast, I learned that the idea of alleys throughout NYC is a bit of a myth. Does this matter? Probably not. But it’s what I love about podcasts. I love […]

Seven Strategies for Building Empathy in Students

A few days ago, my son said something that surprised me. He said, “Dad, we have the best cafeteria lady at our school.” And I said,  “Wait, what?” But then he went on to describe how this woman chose to memorize every students’ name in his middle school and how she knows his order each […]

The Power of a Mid-Year Reboot

So, it’s the beginning of the year and all around I’m hearing conversations about New Year’s Resolutions. One friend is going Paleo, another is doing Cross Fit, and still, another has decided she’s going to read 100 books in a year (which might be doable if you include graphic novels and audiobooks–which I think are both totally […]

What Our Rescue Dog Taught Me About Life, Learning, and Creativity

I wasn’t always a dog lover. I used to be a dog-liker and most of the time a dog-tolerator. I never understood why people would get bumper stickers with their favorite dog breed and I cringed a little when I heard the phrase “he’s part of our family.” But I’ve become that guy. I have […]

Finding Renewal on Your Winter Break

Originally written on December 18, 2017 I still remember my first winter break in my first year of teaching. I scratched out Christmas Eve and Christmas as true “days off,” but then I worked the rest of the time. I read two books on teaching. I took home a giant box full of papers to […]

10 Teacher-Tested Strategies to Engage Reluctant Writers

A few years ago, my son opened a Google Document and started typing. I asked him about it and his eyes lit up as he described the shared story he was writing with classmates. This was the first day of summer break but he was choosing to write for fun. It might not sound like […]