Honoring curiosity & risk while keeping class on track

It’s great when students are curious. It’s exciting when students aim high. It’s rewarding when students make connections. It’s thrilling when students take risks. But what about those times when one of these can get the class too far off track, or when satisfying one student’s curiosity would lose the rest, or when a student […]

Do You Really Care about Human Beings?

Nothing is as important as human beings. Not ideas, not subjects, not institutions, not goals, not lessons, not information, nothing. This hit me harder than usual in the past week during some fraught threads on social media. I realized that I was drawn to some views more than others not just because of the overall […]

How Did This Get Here? (Activity + Add-On)

How Did This Get Here? is a simple, no-prep interaction that can be a standalone activity or a recurring routine. Inspired by “Thank the Farmer,” an activity in Susan Kaiser Greenland’s Mindful Games (p. 47), it invites students to ponder the provenance of an item they take for granted. Channeled through my language-teacher-brain, it also fosters […]

Introducing: Tuned-In Teacher Mantras

Both during my summer travels and in online teacher communities a recent pattern has stood out: anxiety for the new school year, often in spite of—or perhaps because of—extensive prior experience. Others experiencing anxiety are new to the profession or, like you, are boldly trying new ways of teaching. I identify so strongly with this […]

Marianne’s Takeaways from Agen Language Lab with JSB

Note: Marianne shared the following write-up with me after Day 4 (of 5) of my Latin language lab at the Agen Workshop that concluded yesterday. I found her observations to be both encouraging and practical. I have added several links to help you find more information about the things she mentions. Enjoy! Justin ~~~ In […]

My Outfits Are Ready for ACTFL

Are you? Tomorrow I head to New Orleans to join old and new friends in the CI Posse, a growing group of twenty-odd teachers and content creators working together to boost joy and success at ACTFL 2018 and beyond. If you haven’t discovered it yet, check out the CI Posse blog, which includes my “Why […]

Cut Yourself Some Slack. Actually, Tons of Slack.

Feeling guilty watching screaming goat videos instead of working? Cut yourself some tons of slack. Haven’t exercised since summer? Cut yourself some tons of slack. No time to write “good enough” replies to the emails stacking up in your inbox? Cut yourself some tons of slack. Did something for no good reason? Cut yourself some […]

YOU Are What’s Best for Your Students

Your students are tremendously fortunate to have YOU as their teacher. Don’t let anyone–including yourself–tell you otherwise! No one else cares about your students like you do. This makes you uniquely able to exercise the patience that teaching often requires and to advocate for your students–with the administration, with other teachers, in the community, with their […]