Four Threats to your Personal and Professional Growth

As we begin the second half of the school year, let’s commit ourselves again to the importance of continual growth. Let’s resolve to fight against those forces that might hinder our progress and keep us from being as effective as possible for our students.

To do this well, we need to acknowledge the barriers that most impact us and work vigilantly to root them out. If you feel stuck in a rut, or are working hard to ensure you don’t get trapped in one, look out for these four pitfalls.

9 Tips for a Memorable and Meaningful Holiday Break

Congrats! You’ve made it to Winter Break and have survived what I’m sure was a crazy home stretch this week. Now, what to do with all the time you’ll have?

Let’s fight the pull toward either end of the spectrum. On one side is completely vegging and disconnecting. On the other is running frantically between parties, last minute shopping sprees, and family obligations. What’s the middle ground? What will help you go back to work in January feeling rested, recharged, and eager to enter the New Year?

Ready, Set…December! Framing Our Messages in a Season of Excitement & Anxiety

The December push has begun!

In the midst of all the joy and excitement, do you find this time of year a little extra challenging? With the energy levels (positive and negative) increasing a few ticks each day, things can sometimes come off the rails in terms of classroom policies, student behavior, and our patience levels. Caution: This is a perfect recipe for an, “I wish I hadn’t said/done that” situation.

Framing our Messages Effectively: Helping Students Hear & Not Just Listen

At the heart of being a teacher is being a messenger. Our days are filled with communication—-verbal, written, and electronic—and this brings countless opportunities to share our hearts and minds with students and families. Unfortunately, it also carries with it plenty of chances to make mistakes.

How can we frame our communication in a way that helps students not only understand what we say but also receive our messages in a way that increases buy-in and decreases resistance?

Rethinking the Bell Ringer—How a Common Routine Might be Sabotaging Your Classroom Culture

Known by a variety of names: Bell Ringer, Do Now, Warm Up, or Daily Work, this management tool can serve a variety of important functions in your classroom. When done correctly, it is purposeful. And it should continue.

So if its usefulness is not in question, what’s the problem? Well, to speak plainly, it’s very possible that the bell ringer—or more specifically, the way it’s being implemented—is threatening all the work you’ve done to establish a positive classroom culture.

When the Honeymoon Period Ends: Three Principles for Dealing with Classroom Management Challenges

Has the novelty of the new school year started to fade? Have you found yourself wondering what happened to the enthusiastic and friendly students who were in your class just a few short days ago? If so, don’t worry. You are not alone, and things can get better.

By offering principles, rather than strategies, I hope to give you a framework with which specific techniques can be developed. Checking your classroom management approach against these principles will help you create a culture where you and your students can flourish.

It Starts at the Door: The Importance of Developing A+ Routines

We want our students to have a meaningful experience in our classrooms, to thrive during their “visit,” to want to come back. Certainly, then, we should do all we can to help them understand our customs and norms, to help them fit in as members of the community and not to feel like outsiders. When we don’t show them explicitly how to make the most of their time with us, or when we neglect to warn them of potential pitfalls, we make it less likely that they will enjoy their time or fully experience the sweet rhythm of belonging.

So how do we do this well? And how can we fight against the tendency to accept the idea that we shouldn’t bother?