Games, Encouragement, and Leadership

This week's topics include increasing student engagement with games, effective ways to use praise, and Women's History Month teaching and learning resources.

Games, Encouragement, and Leadership
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TGIF Teacher Newsletter


Greetings from Gulf Shores, Alabama. This week's newsletter was written between the ebbs and flows of my Spring Break. I'm grateful for the time with family, the beautiful scenery, good friends, and abundant seafood options.

Here are three things that were on my mind this past week.


It's important to remain hopeful. Life has a long arc, and it's easier to be happy when you believe that most things will work out in the end.


If you want to bring your family closer and have opportunities to build your patience 😀, just drive across the country together in a small-ish vehicle.


Maintaining the current educational system requires more than kindness. The escalating demands and hurdles are well-known to most educators, but they sometimes feel too overwhelming. Yet, teachers persist in doing what is needed for their students while hoping for systemic reform that could make the profession more sustainable.

In today’s newsletter…

  • Increase student engagement with game-like elements.
  • The right way to praise kids.
  • Women's History Month teaching and learning resources.

The News

Here are some articles and resources that grabbed my attention.

  • Let’s Play - By integrating game-like elements such as scoreboards, badges, and challenges into lesson plans, you can increase student engagement and deepen understanding. This approach makes learning fun, promotes efficient attainment of learning objectives, and caters to various learning styles.
  • Encouragement - When praising kids, it’s best to focus on effort, be specific, and avoid overpraising. Thoughtfully using positive words of encouragement helps students build self-motivation and develop their “internal voice.” This list of 125 positive words of encouragement will help you get started.
  • School Leadership - Trust is the cornerstone of effective school leadership and significantly impacts a leader's effectiveness. Six key behaviors for fostering trust are building positive relationships, following through on commitments, admitting and correcting mistakes, maintaining confidentiality, avoiding judgmental behavior, and demonstrating vulnerability while acting confidently.
  • Resource - March is Women’s History Month. Here are some teaching and learning resources from the National Women’s History Museum.
  • Resource - Learn like a champion.
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

  • Stoic Wisdom - “In today’s fast-paced world, it may be difficult to embrace adversity with happy thoughts, but even the ancient Stoic philosophers knew back then that having a bad attitude when things don’t go as planned won't change things. They believed that mental preparation was needed to cope when life gives us a curveball.” Here are 75 stoic quotes about life, happiness, and wisdom.
  • Advice - It’s not about you. Everything gets old. Everyone can teach you something. Write more about life. Choose optimism. More advice here.
  • Still True - If you want to add up to 20 years to your life, embrace the tried-and-true recommendations. It comes down to sleep, stress, and regular exercise. The hard part is putting knowledge into action.


"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." — Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

Favorite Things

  • Adventure - We went to Fort Morgan during our vacation week. Upon arrival, I knew very little about the fort. After a great presentation, I was amazed at how one place can have so many connections to historical events.
  • Book - The Philosophy of Modern Song* — A friend gave me this book. Bob Dylan writes essays offering his take on songs and the artists who sing them. I’m having a great time creating a playlist of the songs as I read about them.
  • Great Word - Ludibrious - Def. Ridiculous, mocking, or scornful. Example - The notion that teachers can effectively educate and manage a classroom of 30+ students without adequate resources is ludibrious.

How am I doing?

I love hearing from readers, and I’m always looking for feedback. How am I doing with Why Edify? Is there anything you’d like to see more of or less of? Which aspects of the newsletter do you enjoy the most?

Hit reply and say hello - I’d love to hear from you!

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