Defining Actions, Reading Comprehension, and Leadership

This week's topics include the benefits of print reading, open educational resources, and journaling for students and teachers.

Defining Actions, Reading Comprehension, and Leadership
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TGIF Teacher Newsletter


Today is my last day of school before Spring break. Many students have already planned to start their vacations early. I'm grateful that my administrators are watching my students in the afternoon, giving me time to complete my grading, reset my classroom, and start the decompression process. Teaching is rewarding but extremely tiring. I think it's tiredness that only other teachers can understand.

What changes would you implement to make teaching more sustainable? Share your thoughts in an email reply.

Have a great weekend (and vacation if you're lucky enough to be one)!


The Commission on Reading has said that “the single most important activity for building knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children." This is also beneficial for older students. A good children's book is a powerful teaching tool.


We have a choice about how we live each day. Choosing to connect with others in positive ways is something anyone can do regardless of job title or status.


If we can find ways to embrace the “tough stuff” in life, we will experience more joy. How can the ability to embrace challenges be developed?

In today’s newsletter…

  • Benefits of traditional print reading.
  • Open educational resources and artificial intelligence tutors.
  • Benefits of journaling for teachers and students.

The News

Here are some articles and resources that grabbed my attention.

  • Comprehension - According to a recent study, digital reading might not be as beneficial for comprehension as traditional print reading. The study analyzed data from nearly 470,000 participants and found that digital reading doesn't yield the same comprehension benefits as reading print materials. There was a significant negative relationship between digital reading and comprehension for primary and middle school students. My take is don’t throw away those old-fashioned paper books just yet.
  • Open Education Resource—CK-12 is an Open Education Resource for middle and high school students. Students can use this resource to learn math, science, and history. CK-12 recently added Flexi, an artificial intelligence chatbot. I’ve started using it with my 8th-grade science students. They ask questions, request examples, and can even ask Flexi to simplify instruction to make it more understandable. It’s been a useful tool, especially for reluctant learners.
  • Defining Actions - Charles Clark has been a janitor for over 25 years at Trinity School. He loves his job and does it well. He also helps many students as a mentor. His kindness and support make a big difference in their lives. Every job is important, and each of us has the potential to make a difference in the lives of others. Our title doesn’t define us. Our actions do.
  • Resource - Take a virtual field trip with Google Arts and Culture Expeditions.
  • Social Wisdom - Here is some solid school leadership advice.
STRONG Teacher Toolkit
Here are some of my favorite resources, ideas, tools, services, and miscellaneous gadgets and goodies that keep me STRONG in both my personal and professional life.

Ideas, resources, tools, and free downloads to make your teaching life easier and more enjoyable.


Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • Effective Leadership - Learn about the traits shared by effective leaders. “From workplaces to schools to national governments, leaders everywhere are being called on to solve complex problems with humility and bravery. This hour, we consider what it takes to be a leader.” There are many pathways to becoming a leader, but all start with deciding to lead.
  • Journaling—Journaling is one of the most powerful tools for developing wellness. It helps reduce stress, manage negative thoughts, deepen self-discovery, and more. Let go of perfection, set aside a few minutes, and see what happens.
  • Vacation - Use happiness research to build your best vacation ever.


“A leader. . .is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.” ― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom*

Teacher Commuter Playlist - Guantanamera by Compay Segundo

Favorite Things

  • Vacation—There have been zero snow days this school year, which is unprecedented in northern Wisconsin. I didn’t know how much I relied on them until they were gone. To say a vacation is needed is an understatement. Tomorrow, I will officially be on one.
  • Battle Bots—I challenged my crew to create a Sphero-powered Battle Bot this week. It turned out to be engaging and fun. Here’s a little footage from last year. I’m working on an updated video with an improved introduction from this year’s showdown.
  • Great Word - Dysania - Def. It is hard to get out of bed in the morning. Example - I seem to have contracted a serious case of dysania this last week before spring vacation.
  • Swag - Work in Progress
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