Determined to Raise Test Scores? Try Teaching Kids Grit!

This short audio clip is well worth the time it takes to listen.  It is an interview of author Paul Tough by a reporter at The Economist.  Tough recently wrote a book about teaching children to succeed in which he argues that skills like determination in the face of failure are as important – perhaps more important – than raw I.Q. scores.  Good food for thought no matter what the demographics of your particular classroom happen to be.



Monday Morning Roundup #15

mondayHere’s a few educational resources to start off your week.

1.  33 Digital Skills – Here’s a blog post about the 33 digital skills every teacher should have in her bag, with multiple links for each skill.  See how many skills you already possess. FREE.

2. Scoop It – Scoop It is a great resource for curating all those online articles and other resources you find on a given topic in one place.  Scoop It culls the web for articles and websites related to your topic.  Then, you pick and choose what you wish to “scoop”.  With Scoop It’s free version, you can archive resources related to up to five separate topics. FREE and paid subscriptions.

3. Zeen – Zeen is currently in its beta stage and is currently free.  It allows users to create digital magazines.  Your magazines can include text and pictures but also video and audio files as well.  If you’ve used Flipsnack, consider this a step up. FREE.

4. Presidential Inaugurations – Currently EDSITEment is spotlighting presidential inaugurations with a host of lesson plan ideas.  Whether you are an American history or government teacher or an English teacher studying public speaking, this site might offer some useful ideas. FREE.



After a great Christmas break, I am back to the world of blogging.  Second semester is off and running, and the first two days have gone well.  I will have more educational resources posted on Monday, but I wanted to take a moment to recommend a book I read over the break.

The book is called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.  You’ve probably already heard about it since it is a bestseller and has been shortlisted for a number of awards.  I think all teachers could benefit from this book, whether they themselves are an introvert or because they want to better understand the introverted students in their classes.  (Note: Introversion and shyness are often confused.  Both introverts and extroverts can be shy, but shyness – unlike introversion or extroversion – can be overcome.  As a child and adolescent I was very shy, but for the most part, I’m not anymore.)

I’ve taken many Myers-Briggs-like tests over the years, and I always score at around 90% or above when it comes to my preference for introversion over extroversion.  That’s a fairly extreme score on the scale.  I knew I was an introvert from a very young age, but when I decided to pursue teaching, I always wondered how it was that I could be fairly comfortable interacting with students all day. Cain explains that research suggests that introverts who are deeply passionate about something can “play” the extrovert…for a time.  There is, however, a tradeoff. “Playing” the extrovert expends a ton of energy, which explains why I am drained (albeit in a positive way) by the end of the school day and need to recharge with lots of alone time in the evenings and on weekends.

Studies show that introverts like me need two or even three hours of alone time for every one hour we spend with people.  If this is accurate, and from my own experience I believe it is, just take a moment to think about what that means for the introverted student who spends 6 to 8 hours a day around people having to perform and participate in a very extroverted way.