Great Mistakes and Critical Issues

Positive errors in the classroom, critical issues, and ChatGPT as a planning partner.

Great Mistakes and Critical Issues
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TGIF Teacher Newsletter


Happy Friday!

Here are three things I’ve been pondering this past week.


Getting caught up in thinking about how things used to be can be easy. Lamenting for the past can be a source of stress. Sometimes, accepting that things have changed is relaxing. It makes it easier to focus on what’s happening in the present moment.


Tuesday was tough with fire alarms, difficult moments with students, and missed expectations. I was in the game, but my efforts weren't producing results. Sometimes, it's best to reset the scoreboard and try again tomorrow. Keep track of the wins, not the score.


This is a tough time of the school year. It’s helpful to focus on things within our control. Consistency in expectations and effort can help teachers weather classroom storms. This, too, shall pass.

In today’s newsletter…

  • Positive error climate in the classroom.
  • Teachers’ perspectives on critical issues.
  • ChatgGPT as a planning partner.

The News

Here are some articles and resources that grabbed my attention.

  • Great Mistakes - A groundbreaking study published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology reveals that a positive 'error climate' in classrooms, where mistakes are seen as natural and opportunities for learning, can significantly reduce students' sense of alienation from their teachers. The longitudinal study found that students in such a positive error climate felt more connected to their teachers over time. Teachers can use these findings by creating a supportive environment where errors are considered important parts of the learning process. Celebrating "great mistakes" and teaching students how to learn from them can help teach them a valuable life skill: learning from failure.
  • Critical Issues - “We asked teachers what impact current debates about how public schools should be teaching about topics like race and gender identity have had on their ability to do their job.” The Pew Research Center conducted comprehensive research to understand teachers' perspectives on discussing topics of race and LGBTQ+ issues in schools. The study utilized a tool known as the Ipsos' Knowledge Panel to ensure the accuracy of the results. The study is helpful for teachers as it provides a broader understanding of how our peers navigate these critical issues. While these topics may be controversial for some, beginning with understanding, education, and empathy is a good start.
  • Planning Partner - Meet the time-saving, project-designing AI assistant starting to make waves in education: ChatGPT. AI can help with project planning, brainstorming, and organization and even provide feedback to students. By outsourcing some organization to ChatGPT, you can focus on creative, engaging projects centered around what students care about in their communities. Some of my favorite ways to use AI are for idea generation, creating drafts of rubrics, and generating different versions of the same text at different reading levels.
  • Resource - Teach With Comics
  • Resource - Explore how to use portfolios as a means of assessment and how to use them to prepare students for Passage Presentations.
  • Social - Don’t underestimate the power of whiteboards.
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

  • Month by Month - Take baby steps, month by month, to gradually improve your fitness. By the end of the year, you'll have improved strength, flexibility, endurance, and overall wellness. This year, my goal is at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. This past week, I made the mistake of lying on the couch, allowing gravity to get a hold of me.
  • Create - Adults can lose some of their creative powers as they age. Leave some time in your busy day to build them back up again. Start small and expand from there.
  • Embrace All Emotions - Toxic positivity, the cultural expectation of maintaining a positive attitude regardless of emotional pain, can lead to self-induced shame and emotional isolation. Embrace all emotions, not just the positive ones. This is the true key to self-care and emotional well-being.


"We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down."—Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (If This Isn't Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young)*

Teacher Commuter Playlist - Running by Norah Jones

Favorite Things

  • Classroom Poster - Think for yourself*.
  • Weekly Review - Each week (well, almost every week), I complete a short review of things that I learned, quotes I liked, and whatever else feels right. I compile them in a list and send them out into the world. It’s starting to become a habit. Maybe you’d like to join me.
  • Great Word - Bafflegab - Def. confusing or generally unintelligible jargon (noun), Example: When the speaker started talking about "synergistic educational paradigms" and "dynamic learning ecosystems," the teachers exchanged baffled glances, wondering when educational jargon had become such bafflegab.
  • Family Dinners - I love the rare occasions when my entire family gathers around the table to eat together. Unfortunately, these moments are becoming less frequent
Trust Me, I'm a Teacher Shirt

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