What's Important

Topics for this week include note-taking skills, test retakes, and morality in schools.

What's Important
Photo by Claudio Schwarz / Unsplash

TGIF Teacher Newsletter


TGIF Teacher Gadgets and Gifts
Every day should be Teacher Appreciation Day. Here are some teacher-approved gifts and gadgets that will bring smiles in and out of the classroom.

I'm in the middle of a Thirty-Day Challenge. This is 10/30.

Happy Friday!

This is the 100th TGIF Teacher Newsletter. Here are some things I've learned along the way.

Have a great weekend! Here are three things I pondered over the last week.


Good health makes everything easier in the long run. You win twice when you do something to take care of yourself: once in the present and again years down the road.


Perspective makes all the difference. Take time to pause and look at things from different angles, and then pick the path that's in line with the person you truly want to be. I hope you'll watch the video below about the memorable cup of coffee. It's about more than coffee.


What's one small change that would have a big impact on your health?

In today’s newsletter…

  • Teaching students notetaking skills.
  • Test retake systems.
  • Morality in schools.

The News

Here are some articles that grabbed my attention.

  • What’s Important - Students today have easy access to information, but that doesn't guarantee quality work. Teaching note-taking skills is essential for enhancing critical thinking and learning. Personalized notes empower students to develop their understanding and differentiate between original thinking and copied information. 1:1 conferences help evaluate student understanding and strengthen their comprehension of key concepts. If you can make time to have students explain their notes it becomes an effective formative assessment strategy.
  • Test Retakes - There are many different systems you can put in place when it comes to test retakes. Some teachers allow retakes only after all missing assignments are complete while others allow them after a structured remediation process. It’s also quite a bit of work for teachers to orchestrate retakes, especially if the student is resisting the process. When systems are in place it does send a message that showing evidence of learning is important. In my opinion, retakes are worth the effort. This guide from Rick Wormelli is a great resource.
  • Teaching Morality - The question of which morals should be taught in schools is a contentious one. “Using public education to teach universal values and strengthen society has always been central in the development of our education system. Our historical and current problem is that we cannot agree what our nation’s universal values are and who we need to strengthen our society.” The key lies in using a diverse and inclusive approach that respects different perspectives. This would emphasize critical thinking and ethical reasoning rather than imposing specific moral values.
  • Resource - AI tools are popping up everywhere. It can be overwhelming. Worse than getting lost in the sea of options would be choosing not to learn about them at all. I’m starting small. Here are my thoughts on using Magic School AI in the classroom.
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

  • One Minute Secret - Christine Carter, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, and coach dedicated to redesigning the way people work—so that they can lead their most joyful, productive, and fulfilling lives. Her Ted Talk, “The 1-Minute Secret to Forming a New Habit” is an engaging resource to help students take steps towards habit change. It is a worthwhile watch for adults and kids alike.
  • Instrument for Life - Just as Musonious Rufus suggests that philosophers need a well-prepared body for physical activity, teachers can benefit from maintaining good physical health. Regular exercise, proper nutrition, and sufficient rest contribute to increased energy levels, mental clarity, and overall well-being.
  • Cup of Coffee - How can a cup of coffee reveal the simple secret to happiness? Watch below to find out.


"Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you're keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls...are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered." — James Patterson (Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas)

Teacher Commuter Playlist - Aretha Franklin - Think

Favorite Things

  • Shower Thought - "Much of the world depends on adults who stay awake by drinking bean juice." [source]
  • Games - Get your fix of classic card and board games.
  • Dogs - I love how excited my dog Wally gets every time he gets to go for a ride in the truck. It reminds me of how I feel about snow days and sleeping in.
Say hello to Wally!

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