Positive Energy, Powerful Results

The Seven Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Students

“You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind

The scene was 2003 and the Berkley Bears hockey team was losing by three goals late in the second period of a semifinal playoff game. Players’ heads sagged on the bench, the team looked down and out. Unless of course, you looked behind the bench. There, you would undoubtedly find one particular coach pacing up and down, energy as high as ever, yelling to the players, “All we need is one, boys! All we need is one!” That coach was my dad and one of the earliest and most important lessons he taught me was the power of positivity. This is a lesson I try to teach my students every day and one of the greatest gifts we as teachers can give to our students.

Continue reading “Positive Energy, Powerful Results”


Developing An Attitude of Gratitude

The Seven Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Students – Gift #3

We’ve blogged before about the importance of living mindfully, for teachers and students alike. Mindfulness in itself is a gift that we must strive to give to our students. We have to let them know that there’s a fulfilling way to live their lives that leads to contentment. Bringing a sense of peace, calm, and serenity to the classroom can pave the way for a culture of safety, curiosity, and deep learning. In this post, we’ll remind you of all the reasons you want to teach your students to be present in the moment, but we’ll also add another important dimension to this philosophy: cultivating the attitude of gratitude in your students and yourself.

Previously, Zach wrote about one simple word that can change one’s life: YET. There’s another magical word that our classroom reveres… and it isn’t “please” or “thank you”. The word that we put up on a pedestal (right next to yet) is: GET. Yes, the title of this blog post is an in-line rhyme. And yes, YET rhymes with GET… but the way in which this word can change the culture of your classroom is very different and equally powerful. Whereas YET can turn a fixed mindset into a growth mindset, GET plants the seeds of gratitude in the hearts and minds of our kids.

Continue reading “Developing An Attitude of Gratitude”

Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life

The Seven Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Students –  Gift #2

Another essential gift we must give to our students is the power to believe in themselves. We need  students to believe that with hard work and effort, they can achieve anything they set their minds too. Too many people go through life doubting themselves and being afraid to follow their dreams. We must give students the gift of knowing that if they change their mindset, they can change their life!

Luckily, Dr. Carol Dweck has brought the idea of developing students mindsets to the forefront of education and I am very grateful for her work. In her amazing book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck defines two contrasting mindsets that people generally fall into; a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.

Continue reading “Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life”

7 Days of 7 Secrets: The Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Students

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! We hope your students are showering you with the well-deserved praise and appreciation that you deserve. We would like to mark this occasion with a series of short blog posts that will help you show YOUR appreciation of your STUDENTS! We are going to post a mini-series of articles explaining the greatest gifts we can give our students (No, we are NOT talking about Fidget Spinners again). We are talking about the knowledge and skills that kids need to be successful in life. We believe that we need to teach kids the real skills they are going to need to be successful in the world, no matter what career, college, or community they end up in. So, enjoy the gifts you receive this week, and pay them back a hundredfold with these!

Gift #1: The Big Secret to Success

Continue reading “7 Days of 7 Secrets: The Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Students”

Fidget Spinners: Putting a Positive Spin on The Latest Fad

If you have been within 100 yards of an elementary or middle school in the last week… in the United States, the United Kingdom, or pretty much any other developed country, you’ve surely seen a Fidget Spinner, the small gadget on ball bearings that spin crazy fast. They have invaded the field at t-ball practice, the mall, and… my latest sighting: The hostess who recently seated our family while eating out this past weekend. These “educational toys” are the latest fad to hit schools and to break our students’ piggy banks. If, however, you’ve been living under a rock, here’s what a Fidget Spinner is:

Every year it’s something new; from “dabbing” to rainbow loom weaving, slamming POGs to Silly Bandz, Pokémon cards to… whatever comes next! It’s been this way for as long as we can remember, and most likely will stay that way as long as children attend schools. Usually, these fads are a nightmare for teachers and they get banned within a week. We’ve seen on social media that a lot of teachers are currently being driven crazy by the newest craze, but we’re here to put a positive spin on them.

Continue reading “Fidget Spinners: Putting a Positive Spin on The Latest Fad”

Amplifying Student Voice

Before you read any further, watch this video. http://tinyurl.com/k4yorxj Seriously.

Now imagine you were a 4th grade student who just watched that video. You are one in a class of 28. The teacher asks the class for their thoughts: “What can we learn from that video?” Your neighbor raises her hand but doesn’t get called on. You sink lower in your chair, slipping under the radar as usual. The boy in the front row gets called on (as always). Someone blurts out without being called on. How rude, you think! The teacher reminds the class to raise their hands to speak and calls on two more people. With two minutes left until recess, the teacher shares their own opinion of the video, validating some students’ ideas, and adding the other take-aways that didn’t come up. How many people were able to share their thinking? Sadly, too often, the vast majority of students are not directly engaged with the learning because their voices are not asked for or heard.

Continue reading “Amplifying Student Voice”