18-Lynne Sturtevant and the Great War on Yoga Pants (Don’t get Buried Under an Avalanche of Spandex)


A few years ago, our administration got all exercised over the yoga pants epidemic. Perhaps because I’m a dude and I don’t care much about dress code, it was tough for me to get excited about the Banning Yoga Pants Crusade. I watched the battle unfold instead of participating in the combat. It was fascinating. The conservative forces of the status quo lost big-time! They got buried under an avalanche of spandex. I knew the war was lost when I went to a basketball game and saw a lot 30 and 40 something moms sporting yoga pants. I recently commented to my students about this struggle, “Girls…when it came to yoga pants, you just wore everyone down.” A proud young female nodded and said, “We sure did.”


Don’t get buried!

If you listen to this episode and think, Well, if we put those kids in uniforms that problem will be solved…you’re missing the larger point. Whether or not girls wear yoga pants to school is merely a manifestation of a larger phenomenon:

When teachers battle against powerful social trends, they risk becoming irrelevant

To demonstrate the timeless nature of such struggles, I decided to commission a student voice. Lynne Sturtevant graduated from high school…45 YEARS AGO! Her story about the generational struggle at her school should reassure you. There’s truly nothing new in the world! Lynne will give you great advice on how to be calm and allow your students to express themselves generationally!


My big sister in 1970

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My big sister in 2016 @LynneSturtevant

Lynne authored 2 books about the history of Marietta, Ohio:

Haunted Marietta: History and Mystery in Ohio’s Oldest City

A Guide to Historic Marietta, Ohio

Episode Template

The Problem:

You risk alienating students by battling powerful social trends.

The Solution:

Evaluate the relevance of your classroom policies.

What You Can Do Tomorrow?

  • Create a SurveyMonkey about school and classroom policies.
  • Play devil’s advocate in the ensuing class discussion. 
  • Challenge students to embark on a nostalgia hunt.
  • Encourage kids to contact a decision maker advocating for the retention or elimination of a policy.
  • In the privacy and safety of your empty classroom, evaluate your classroom policies.

Teachers undermine student engagement when they cling stubbornly to out-of-date policies. Let them help you out of the abyss.


Listen to the episode for more detail:


17-Debbie Olsen HOOKS Reluctant Readers with Voxer


When I was in 3rd grade, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was read a book. Debbie Olsen, an inclusion teacher from Long Island, New York, certainly recognizes this attitude. So, she decided to use Voxer, the 21st Century Walkie Talkie, to get 9-year-old boys excited about reading. Listen to this episode and you’ll be hooked on Voxer’s potential to engage your reluctant readers!  

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Inner Beyoncé?????

Debbie is entering her 25th year of teaching. Much of that time has been spent in Bay Shore, New York as an inclusion teacher. She’s also worked as the building Literacy Coordinator for many years. Reading is her true passion. She loves to share that passion with her students. Debbie believes every child can love reading, if we get the right books in their hands. You can find her on Twitter, @olsencrew.  If you are looking to try ‘Voxing’ with your class and want to talk it through, her Voxer handle is olsencrew. You can also email her at olsencrew95@gmail.com. She’d love to connect with you!

Here’s Debbie’s letter home to parents describing Voxer:

Voxer Bookclub

Episode Template

The Problem:

Boys aren’t excited about reading.

The Solution:

Hook them by creating a Voxer reading group.

What You Can Do Tomorrow: 

  • Craft a letter to parents explaining your objectives.
  • Demonstrate Voxer.
  • Designate a reading for the full Voxer treatment.

Create a Voxer book club. It’s a cool way to hook reluctant readers.

Listen to the episode for more detail:


16-Penny Sturtevant and Strategic Questioning


For the past 30 years, Penny Sturtevant has been a science teacher, a guidance counselor, an assistant principal, a principal, and next year, she’ll work at the district level. Oh…she’s also my wife. Penny has observed her share of lessons. When I asked her about student engagement, she responded immediately, “QUESTIONS.” Quite simply, Penny believes that questioning students is an essential art that can be mastered with practice. In 500 BCE, asking students strategic questions was the foundation of Socrates’ instruction. His pedagogy has been celebrated for 2500 years. Penny will help you harness this timeless and powerful educational tactic, not only to engage, but also to foster deep understanding!




Episode Template

The Problem:

Teacher questions are often arbitrary and ineffective.

The Solution:

Include creating great questions and plan when and how to ask them.

What You Can Do Tomorrow: 

  • Evaluate the essential questions.
  • Create a handful of follow-ups.
  • Highlight your seating chart.
  • Decide where and how in tomorrow’s lesson you’ll unleash these questions.
  • Encourage students to formulate questions. 

Essential questions are merely a starting point. Engage learners by going deeper with irresistible questions asked in a strategic manner.

Listen to the episode for more detail:


15-Tracy Enos Puts Kids in the Driver’s Seat with her Magic Wand



I’ve always been intimidated by student-directed learning. I hate to admit it, but I’m a bit of a control freak and I worry about classroom anarchy! That’s my gut’s hesitancy. My head knows that it’s a wonderful way for kids to learn and it’s highly engaging.

If you, like me, are hesitant about student-led learning…I’ve got a guest that’ll help us get over the hump! Tracy Enos is a middle school teacher from Rhode Island. She’s ALL about putting students in the driver’s seat! Listen to her impassioned message and then climb in the backseat and fasten your seatbelt.

Here’s why Tracy is convinced that student-led learning helps kids:

  • Creat
  • Collaborate
  • Think Critically
  • Be Active Learners
  • Develop 21st Century Skills

These wonderful attributes materialize when Tracy waves her magic wand! SORRY…you’ll have to listen to solve that mystery!

And finally, check out Tracy’s student playlists.

Skills Lab Playlist-Parts of Speech Review Nouns Verbs Adjectives Adverbs

Argument Writing Playlist

Dystopian Literature Book Club Student Playlist

Intro to Anne Frank Group Playlist to Share

Episode Template

The Problem:

Students often aren’t engaged because they’re too passive in the classroom.

The Solution:

Create an environment where student-led learning is the norm!

What You Can Do Tomorrow: 

Apply these 4 questions to tomorrow’s lesson:

  • How much time is needed to practice/ master skills?
  • How can students have a voice concerning where and when learning takes place?
  • What does each individual student need to accomplish their goals?  
  • How can they show that they’ve understood the topic or mastered the skill?  

Listen to the episode for more detail: