It’s All About Which Way You Look.



Motivating Teens to Read and Write

“Teens say the most important factor for them to feel motivated to write is using it as a way to connect with, and receive feedback from, teachers, family members, and friends.”

Prouder to be a Reader than a Big Time Football Player

What a great story about Malcolm Mitchell, a star football player for the University of Georgia, and how he joined a women’s book study because he works hard to be a reader.  This will be a writing prompt for my students coming up soon.

Football Star Shows You Can’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Professional Learning: 5 Special Strategies for Teaching Tweens by Rick Wormeli

5 Special Strategies for Teaching Tweens

This short and easy to read article provides some simple things to remember about and to try with our tween students.  I am really working on the idea of formative assessment this year.  The transition to semester grades is a little daunting because the kids are going to have so many grades by the end of 18 weeks if I put a GRADE in the grade book for every assignment that they do.  Today, I met with each child as he/she finished a short assignment to talk quickly about the errors on his/her paper.  Even though many of the kids were making the same mistake, I wanted to see if the kids got more out of the one on one explanation of errors.  We’ll see…

“Of all the states of matter in the known universe, tweens most closely resemble liquid.”    This is a quotation from the article, and I love the metaphor.

Caine’s Arcade

This morning, I worked on planning part of my unit that is focused on persuasion.  I knew that I wanted my students to work in partners to create a print advertisement as part of their work, but I didn’t know what I wanted to use as a base for the learning activity.  Then, I remembered the YouTube video, Caine’s Arcade.  My students are going to love Caine and creating an advertisement for his arcade.  I am excited to get to this point in the unit!

Teaching Students to TRY

I spent some time tonight reading different blogs that I visit regularly, and I came across a great post on Lessons from the Middle about teaching students to TRY using this video.

This got me to thinking. What other ways could we illustrate TRY for students?

How about paddling upstream?

How about finishing a race when you know you’re not going to win?

How about swimming in the Olympics when you can barely swim?

How about growing up and living despite being sick?

How about a baby duck too small to jump a curb?


Isn’t TRY one of the most important lessons we can teach our students?  Isn’t it much more valuable than the subject we teach?


Professional Learning: John Wooden

As I explored, I came across this great video of John Wooden sharing his thoughts on teaching and the difference between winning and success. What a man!


Here are links to his TED Talk and his pyramid of success.

John Wooden’s TED Talk

The Pyramid of Success