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Tag Archives | student motivation

How and Why to Use Storytelling in the Classroom

It was the first day back from winter break, and after students completed their written warm-up, I started class like this: When I was in high school, I remember one summer break when I worked for my stepdad selling Little Debbie snack cakes. The way it worked was you’d drive this big truck from grocery […]

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How to Show Appropriate Affection for Students

It is a sad sign of our time that I have to add “appropriate” to the title of this post. Without it, our minds quickly slip to inappropriate affection, conditioned as we are by so many salacious stories on the local news about criminally inappropriate teacher-student interactions. Despite the news stories (and the fear they […]

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When Humor Hurts: The Trouble with Sarcasm

When I started, this post was called “The Case Against Sarcasm in the Classroom.” But upon doing the research and reflecting on how my own practice intersects with the topic, the case became less clear. And so I shifted my stance to the more nuanced, exploratory approach you’ll find below. I hope you don’t mind […]

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How (and Why) to Use Humor in the Classroom

Laughter is not just laughter. It’s the most fundamental sign of safety and connection. — Daniel Coyle, The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups Have you ever had one of those awkward moments where you tell your students a joke or share with them something that you think is funny, only to have […]

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Improving Student Motivation via Micro-Commenting on Papers

I’ve written and spoken passionately about the need for us to think better about grading and feedback. When feedback isn’t fast, it’s a triple loss. Our quality of life decreases as we drag papers around with us for weeks. The usefulness of the feedback decreases because our kids, when they get the work back a week or […]

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The Five Key Beliefs: More than Band-aids

When a student walks up to me with a cut on their finger, I point them toward a drawer near the back of my classroom. Band-aids are great for tiny wounds like this. Teaching strategies are kind of like band-aids for teachers. For some teacher troubles, band-aids are perfect: How do I hook students into […]

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