T.G.I.F. Teacher Newsletter | Culture Wars, Grades, and Letting Things Go

T.G.I.F. Teacher is a weekly newsletter featuring educational news, and teaching, personal development, and professional learning resources. Topics for this week include culture wars, grades, and letting things go.

T.G.I.F. Teacher Newsletter | Culture Wars, Grades, and Letting Things Go
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Happy Friday!

T.G.I.F. Teacher Newsletter #46

Check out Refind. Every day Refind picks 7 links from around the web for you, tailored to your interests. It has over 50k+ curious users.

Recommendation - If you haven’t tried Poo~Pourri* you’ve been missing out. Protect the atmosphere of your "teacher" restroom with fresh fall smells*.

Hello Friends and T.G.I.F.

Things are ramping up. It's a downhill race to Winter Break. Student energy levels appear to be inversely proportional to my own. I've managed to fall asleep in my Lazy-Boy chair...on more than one occasion.

I will persist, and I know you will do the same. Momentum alone will carry us over the finish line.

A big welcome to our new subscribers this week. Welcome! If you enjoy this newsletter share it with your colleagues and friends.

Happy Friday - Have a great weekend! 😄

Here are some things I thought were worth sharing this week.

The News

Here are some articles that grabbed my attention.

  • Culture Wars - What do the experts have to say about how the most urgent problems in education should be addressed? Some of the solutions include teaching the truth, asking lawmakers to trust teachers in a respectful manner, and finding ways to promote diversity in schools.
  • Five-Minute Conferences - Offer feedback to students and guide reflection in five-minute conferences. One of the main goals of these shorter conferences is to help students build metacognition. With the right system in place, short conferences are effective and efficient. Often students disregard written feedback. Face-to-face feedback is more engaging and also does more to build relationships.
  • Grades - When grades are used in the right way they can be an important part of the learning process. I am a proponent of standards-based grading. I thought when our school switched to this type of assessment that my students would start to embrace the learning process, and take time to revisit the material until they hit the learning targets. This wasn’t exactly the case. Grades can be effective if they are used as part of a conversation on how improvements can be made. This means taking time to reflect on progress and then putting systems in place where improvements are made.
  • Organized - Organizational skills offer lifetime benefits. It’s been a challenge over the span of my teaching career to get students to embrace planner usage. It’s helpful to spend time teaching students about the benefits of using a system to stay organized. Here are some tips to get students to up their organizational game.
  • Resource - 10 Ways to Give a Better Lecture - Direct instruction often gets a bad rap. Truth is, it can be highly effective. There are things you can do to improve the quality of your lectures such as providing more structure, keeping them concise, and embedding ways for students to interact with the content. When used correctly, lecturing can be an essential tool in your teacher toolkit.


Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • Brain Danger - How close are you to breaking your brain? Maybe you are somewhere between “cracks in the facade” and “crushing commitments". If you find yourself climbing up the seven levels of busyness it may be time to take action.
  • Let It Go - Spend less time caring about what other people think. Get to know yourself, get uncomfortable, and find your tribe. Most people are too busy dealing with their own life to really pay too much attention to you, and when they say something to you it’s often a reflection of what's actually going on with them. Growth comes from being uncomfortable, then confidence follows.
  • Motivation - Regular exercise helps you have more energy during the day, builds strength, and has impressive mental health benefits. We should all probably be exercising 5 or 6 days per week which is easier said than done. When motivation is waning try reminding yourself how good it feels when you’ve finished working out. Having an accountability partner can help you get moving as well. Every minute of movement, no matter how long or short, is beneficial.
Build Your Personal Greatness*


Here is a quote I’ve been revisiting this week:

"Kids don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are." - Jim Henson (It's Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider)*
Get Creative - Check out Canva*

Favorite Things

  • 🎵 Music - It's common knowledge that exercise is good for your mental health. Research shows that jamming to your favorite tunes is just as good for your brain as jogging around the block.
  • 🕺Friday - Do you have a Friday Building Exit Routine?
  • 😁 Smiles - Some American cities smile more than others.
  • 🛠 Teacher Gadget - Lined Sticky Notes* - I like to use these to add notes and to-do list items to my teacher planner. It's a plus to be able to move them from page to page.
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