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How do you encourage a growth mindset in your school or classroom?


I tell my students about the scaffolds I have in place and why I try to put things in an order in the first place. They ask lots of questions about why we’re doing this or that, and I get to tell them about their brains getting new information by playing around with it in different dimensions - with their bodies, their writing, their words, etc. - in a social environment. That’s why we do particular warm ups when we’re trying to achieve certain goals during a lesson, and why the warm ups change and evolve as our goals get more challenging. 

We also talk about how learning is like lifting weights (you don’t just go to the gym and stare at the weights! you have to lift them and sweat and be sore and want to give up and get thru it to get swol!) I love my job - theatre is a wonderful discipline to experiment with growth mindset because of its historic recognition as a craft and lifelong practice.


Blended Learning in the Mix: The Proactive Teacher

In a blended learning environment, the need to plan and develop thoughtful units of instruction has emerged as one of the most critical factors in creating a successful instructional program.

When creating units of instruction, focus on larger themes and big-picture concepts. Too much emphasis on small skills and minutiae will have you feeling like you are drowning in apps, digital content, and 25 individual student learning paths and lesson plans. Reflect on your blended learning philosophy and evaluate its presence in your unit design. If you find you’re not using the tool in the manner that you initially intended, make adjustments.

image via flickr:CC | queensu


There’s no such thing as a “normal brain.” In fact, there’s a lot of diversity in how different brains process information — a challenge for educators tasked with teaching a diverse group of learners. Dyslexia is a common variation that affects how kids read, but what’s really going inside the brain of someone affected by it? Kelli Sandman-Hurley’s TED-Ed video explains.

What’s Going On Inside A Dyslexic Student’s Brain?



A Still Quiet Place: A Mindfulness Program for Teaching Children and Adolescents to Ease Stress and Difficult Emotions by Amy Saltzman MD


A Still Quiet Place presents an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program that therapists, teachers, and other professionals can use to help children and adolescents manage stress and anxiety in their lives, and develop their natural capacities for emotional fluency, respectful communication, and compassionate action. The program detailed in this book is based on author Amy Saltzman’s original curriculum, which has helped countless children and adolescents achieve significant improvements in attention and reduced anxiety.

One of the easiest ways to find the still quiet place within is to practice mindfulness—paying attention to your life experience here and now with kindness and curiosity. The easy-to-implement mindfulness practices in this guide are designed to help increase children and adolescents’ attention, learning, resiliency, and compassion by showing them how to experience the natural quietness that can be found within.

The still quiet place is a place of peace and happiness that is alive inside all of us, and you can find it just by closing your eyes and breathing.

Find it Here

I am hoping to use some to use this book this year to help create a culture of mindfulness in our classroom. I will be sharing a number of other books on mindfulness that I hope to use in the classroom this year.

-Adventures in Learning


Watch 70 years of educational progress in 30 seconds

The generation that really made a difference was those veterans’ children — the baby boomers. The number of public colleges in the US doubled between 1960 and 1980, and college enrollment nationally more than tripled. And graduation rates followed. Among the Baby Boom generation, Americans are still the best-educated people in the world. It’s younger Americans who have fallen behind.


I asked my tumblr followers:

What book should every teacher read?

here are zwelinzima answers:

In no order,

1.) The Book of Learning and Forgetting, by Frank Smith, discusses social relevance and control

In this thought-provoking book, Frank Smith explains how schools and educational authorities systematically obstruct the powerful inherent learning abilities of children, creating handicaps that often persist through life. The author eloquently contrasts a false and fabricated “official theory” that learning is work (used to justify the external control of teachers and students through excessive regulation and massive testing) with a correct but officially suppressed “classic view” that learning is a social process that can occur naturally and continually through collaborative activities. This book will be crucial reading in a time when national authorities continue to blame teachers and students for alleged failures in education. It will help educators and parents to combat sterile attitudes toward teaching and learning and prevent current practices from doing further harm.

2.) Teaching as a Subversive Activity, by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner, speaks, again—directly and eloquently—on liberating young minds (here is my recommendation again)

“There is no way to help a learner to be disciplined, active, and thoroughly engaged unless he perceives a problem to be a problem or whatever is to-be-learned as worth learning, and unless he plays an active role in determining the process of solution.”
Neil Postman, Teaching as a Subversive Activity

3.) Walking on Water, by Derrick Jensen, has just awesome stories with terrific lessons about asking questions (Note: I also recommend this book highly)

Walking on Water is a startling and provocative look at teaching, writing, creativity, and life by a writer increasingly recognized for his passionate and articulate critique of modern civilization. This time Derrick Jensen brings us into his classroom—whether college or maximum security prison—where he teaches writing. He reveals how schools perpetuate the great illusion that happiness lies outside of ourselves and that learning to please and submit to those in power makes us into lifelong clock-watchers. As a writing teacher Jensen guides his students out of the confines of traditional education to find their own voices, freedom, and creativity.


Text reads: When you look at the kind of schooling that’s all about superior results and “raising the bar,” you tend to find a variety of unwelcome consequences: less interest in learning for its own sake, less willingness to take on challenging tasks (since the point is to produce good results, not to take intellectual risks), more superficial thinking … and more cheating. -Alfie Kohn (Feel-Bad Education)

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