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Showing posts from 2015

Assignment: 6 things to do this break to prevent burn-out

What's your restoration plan? I mean, despite the holidays and travel and grading and planning and presents and stress, how do you plan to be ready to return in January to school rested and restored and ready-to-rock? Well, I have an assignment for you. I gave a similar one to my students, with only slightly different rationales. 1) Go for a walk. Outside. The weather may be cold and wet, but exercise, fresh air, and natural light are good for you , preventing brooding. If you're like me, and work in the Northern Hemisphere, there's a good chance that you've been going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark only to balance grading, family, and holiday preparation. Your mental health and circadian rhythm will thank you for taking a walk outside in a natural setting. I've got such a kick out of walking in the morning this week -- in daylight nonetheless! 2) Express gratitude. Sure, if you express gratitude to others, their day will be better, hol

Using intrinsic motivation to nurture good writing

Recently, I had the pleasure with David Cutler to speak to Rae Pica from Studentcentricity, BAM Radio's Internet educator radio show . Radio interviews are fairly new for me; I haven't been on the radio since Jennifer Moranda and I hosted a sports radio show in high school! David Cutler and I on Studentcentricity, BAM Radio The interview pace zinged almost faster than my brain, but Cutler and I agreed on so much! Students need real writing tasks that they help choose with real audiences and real feedback. We both teach a class devoted to publishing ( the Modes of Writing has been producing great stuff! ) and trust that our students can handle real feedback that helps them grow as writers. Please give the 10-minute radio interview a listen. I could use feedback on how to improve my performance in that particular format; it's so different that than an elevator speech or hour-long professional development. You can read more about these ideas at Twitter:   @SpinEdu ,

Zombies and Halloween and fake blood

I would love feedback on this essay and poem pair to improve them and get them ready for publication. Please give me feedback in the comments. I want to have a serious discussion with you today about zombies. Although I like science fiction and fantasy, my identification with particular characters has never been strong. I’ve never felt the need to buy elf ears, vampire glitter, Star Trek uniforms, or Renaissance dresses. Perhaps my sense of whimsy is broken. But in the last decade, I have developed a fascination for zombies in my media: Day of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Walking Dead, etc. It wasn’t clear to me why. I don’t believe in actual zombies. They lack glamour for a good Halloween costume.  I dislike the genres of horror and goth usually. And yet. I needed to laugh at them, to shudder at their sudden flesh-eating appearance on screen. I eventually made the connection that I associate methamphetamine users with zombies. The p

Books and movies to use with children when thinking about positive psychology

Books matter. I know you know this. But as adults, we have an opportunity to put books in kids' hands that change their minds about themselves, their minds, their emotions, and their futures. The stories inside our head shape our reality, and the stories we read help shape those stories. As the research of  positive psychologists Martin Seligman , Barbara Fredrickson , Carol Dweck , Edward Deci, and Richard Ryan illustrate, how we think about the events of our lives affect stress levels, feelings of control and competency, and positive feelings about ourselves and others. The story we tell ourselves matter. We can fill kids with stories about understanding and accepting emotions and finding new strategies when faced with obstacles. I would love to hear more suggestions as well. Please comment below with other children’s media that help use the big ideas of positive psychology with K-12. Talking about, naming, accepting, and discussing strategies for dealing with  e

Some Eleanor Roosevelt quotes to fuel your weekend inspiration

Do something every day that scares you. Happiness is not a goal; it’s a by-product. With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts. It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot. People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how

Exciting 2015!

You haven't heard from me in 2015, because I wrote a book proposal for my book Teachers, Mindset, and Motivation: Connecting kids to their positivity, passion, and purpose for Rowman & Littlefield. Contact me to read a sample! I'm excited to get feedback and help teachers connect students to their positivity, passion, and purpose.