Whatever It Takes

From a book I am reading, by writer’s I highly respect, comes this statement, “Whatever it takes — that’s the job of a teacher.”

A statement like this sets off alarms in my head, but for this Monday, I want to do something that I ask of my students. When they first read a text, I ask my students to read “with the grain.” That means they are going to accept it as true, agree with the author, and see what’s there. Later they are asked to read against the grain, which we will do later this week. For now, let’s go with it.  Continue reading “Whatever It Takes”

Which Stream Do You Frequent?

When work needs to get done, what do you listen to?

When I am grading student work or writing engaging content, I need a little help. I need something that keeps me energized and takes up just a little of my attention. So I turn to music.

During my grading and writing sessions, I steam the upbeat jazz station. It has a tempo that keeps me going, but I don’t get distracted by lyrics.

My stream is at Amazon Music Unlimited, mainly because I am a satisfied Prime customer.

What about you? When work needs to get done, what do you listen to? Which stream do you frequent?

All suggestions are welcome.

Summer Reads

What are you reading?

Summer is here, and for most teachers that means getting to the books they have put aside for months. I have a growing list, but let’s keep it simple here.

These are my top five titles that I want to complete this summer, in no particular order:

  • Write Short Kindle Books: A Self-Publishing Manifest for Non-Fiction Authors by Nathan Meunier
  • Visible Learning for Literacy: Implementing the Practices That Work Best to Accelerate Student Learning by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie
  • Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris
  • Well Spoken: Teaching Speaking to All Students by Erik Palmer
  • All These Shiny Worlds: The 2016 ImmerseOrDie Anthology by Jefferson Smith et al.

What are you reading?

Connect with me over at Goodreads.


Together we can get more from our students.

If you’re reading this, and its the top post, you’re on the ground floor of this project. This is the quiet launch of Make Them Master It, a space for strengthening teachers to help their students do more. Too often, the onus of student learning is put on the teacher instead of the learner.

In just over a decade of teaching, I have only seen this problem get worse — teachers do more and more of the work, while students become less and less responsible for their own learning. More and more students do the minimum (sometimes less) and expect the maximum.

Well, I’ve had enough! Over the years I have developed some instructional strategies that encourage students to do more of the heavy lifting. I would like to begin sharing those with you.  If you join me, together we can turn the tide. Together we can get more from our students. Together we can Make Them Master It!

What do you say?