I thought that new – and veteran – readers might find it interesting if I began sharing my best posts from the first half of this year. You can see the entire collection of best posts from the past thirteen years here.



A new follow-up study of first generation college students found that, particularly for African-Americans who had participated in the simple one-hour intervention, its effectiveness carried years into adulthood.

In the intervention, younger students basically heard from older ones about the challenges they had faced and how they had overcome them, and then the younger students wrote about the experience.  The purpose was to communicate that the adversity was temporary and could be overcome.

Several years ago, I had learned about similar research and experimented with how this Social Emotional Learning exercise could be applied to my high school students.

The entire lesson plan is in my third book on student motivation.

I had students in my Theory of Knowledge class write about the challenges they had experienced as younger students (you can see what they wrote here) and had my ninth-grade students read and reflect on them.

I didn’t approach the experiment through the lens of a being a rigorous researcher, but every time I did it, ninth-graders seemed to benefit from the lesson and it provided a common experience to refer to during the year. The primary focus was on the challenge many ninth-graders face – self-control, stress, etc.

I’ve done similar versions with my English Language Learner students.

It’s just another tool in the toolbox – we need as many as we can get!