Tentpole Teaching

In 2005, I remember telling a student that I was working on a ten-year plan. That is, I hoped to be a significantly different and better teacher in ten years. And I think I am, mostly because of tentpole teaching–where I try out a major new way of teaching each semester. If a big idea […]

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9 High School Learning Games

Games unite many of the most powerful initiatives in education: problem based learning, brain-based strategies, technology, collaboration, inquiry, and student engagement. If you aren’t paying attention to gaming, you’re missing a major transformational force for student learning.With the help of Christine Leary, I’ve assembled 9 of the best technology-based learning games–a few of them are even […]

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Talking Engagement with Edspiration

This week, I was interviewed on John Linney’s Edspiration podcast about a post that he read on this blog Everything Your Brain Needs to Know about How to Engage Students. Here are the highlights from that 30-minute interview. 1. What is a favorite quote that inspires you? Why?I customized one of those tacky silicone wristbands with […]

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10 Things Your Brain Should Know about Standards Based Grading

Why STANDARDS BASED GRADING?The purpose of STANDARDS BASED GRADING is to provide a more accurate indicator of students level of achievement or performance (Stiggins, 2008) and to accurately link curriculum standards to grading.When did STANDARDS BASED GRADING start?The national standards-based reform movement that emerged in the 1990s called for “high standards for all students” to […]

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16 Flicks about Teachers

Top Teaching DocumentariesNumber 7 It’s important for our students to see us there, and approachable, and in their community.” 180 Days: Harsville (2015) Number 6 We want technology to help us create an environment where students are active and engaged.” Future Learning (2012) Number 5 It’s the teacher’s job to point young minds towards the […]

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Got Social Media? That’s Classroom Engagement

There is a tendency for each generation to privilege the popular literacies that they grew up with and dismiss literacies embraced by subsequent generations. For example, those milk toast Nancy Drew mysteries in the 1950s were lambasted by adults for causing kids to distrust authority. Today social media is similarly targeted by teachers as a […]

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Everything Your Brain Needs to Know about Engagement

40 Strategies to Enhance Student EngagementWHAT IS ENGAGEMENT? Ask yourself, what affinity did you engage in when you were 12 that you had an absolute passion for? That is the definition of engagement. What does engagement feel like? Lean forward in your chair, than lean back. Feel the difference? Schoenbach and Cynthia Greenleaf define engagement: […]

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How to Help Young Writers

This evening, I was interviewed about how to teach writing by an East Carolina University student, Mikel Peterson. I’ve written the questions from Mikel below, along with my answers. How do you get student to explore relationships with literacy? Half the job is modeling, the other half is giving students rich literacy experiences. The real way […]

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Tough Class? Use the 1st Rule of Hypnotism

On my first day as a teacher in Minneapolis, I knew that any type of professional hesitation on my part could lead to classroom management disaster, particularly since three English teachers had already quit before I was hired late in September. And despite my best effort, I was completely overrun. Here’s what the first few […]

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Obama Reads Like a Writer

Obama’s summer reading list doesn’t surprise me. Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri All That Is by James Salter  (Source: Entertainment Weekly) It doesn’t surprise me because […]

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