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TEACH FOR AUTHENTIC ENGAGEMENT is about how to design instruction so students connect with the content, their work, and each other. The book includes practical tools and strategies to make academic learning a source of meaning, vitality, and community in students’ lives — not regardless of who they are, but fully regarding their identities, interests, needs, and values. Readers will learn to:

  • Choose inclusive materials that ensure students can see themselves reflected in their learning and encounter unfamiliar stories, perspectives, and ideas.​​​

  • Write connective prompts that help students say something meaningful about the content and make it relevant in their lives.​​

  • Create orienting rituals that enable students to navigate transitions between topics and bring their values to their learning.

  • Offer values-based task choice so students not only choose how they learn the material but make those choices based on what’s important to them.

  • Design affirming assignments that ask students to create things that matter—to them personally and in the world.

  • Use empowering work processes so students find projects intrinsically fulfilling.

  • Co-construct definitions of success that recognize established learning objectives and honor what matters to the student.

  • Lead respectful discussions that become a site of relationship-building within the group.

  • Use collaboration protocols to foster academic understanding and interpersonal connection during group projects and inquiry-based lessons.

  • Have students use appreciative reflection so they acknowledge their own learning, one another, and the group as a whole when they come to the end of a lesson or unit.

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TEACH MEANINGFUL is a practical guide to designing curriculum that meets standards, serves personal and institutional values, and intentionally leads to successful student learning. Identifying which understandings, knowledge, and skills are “most important” for students to learn is always a question of values, so getting clear on values gives teachers a starting place to design cohesive and meaningful units, courses, and programs. The book includes:

  • Stories of failures and successes in designing curriculum for various subjects and grade levels.​

  • Metaphors from everyday life to help teachers understand curriculum design as a process rooted in values and culminating in meaningful learning.

  • Examples of essential questions, assessment guidelines, lesson calendars, unit plans, and curriculum maps.

  • Exercises and templates teachers can use to create and assess curriculum.

  • Protocols designed to encourage inclusive participation and critical reflection when colleagues look at curriculum together.


EMPOWER MOVES FOR SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING offers tools and strategies that help students make school a source of meaning, vitality, and community in their lives. Using this book’s interconnected processes—exploration, motivation, participation, openness, willingness, empathy, and resilience—students clarify and commit to the values they want to live by. You will learn 28 activities, as well as extensions and variations for each, that increase student engagement not only in school but in building meaningful lives. This book helps educators:

  • Discover a process-based, personally relevant, culturally affirming approach to SEL.

  • Implement SEL as its own curriculum, as a pedagogy for academic units of study, or as a one-to-one intervention.

  • Facilitate 28 adaptable SEL activities that invite students to identify their own values, choose how they live, and overcome internal struggles.

  • Evoke students’ personal values without instilling particular values.

  • Enhance intrinsic motivation, psychological flexibility, student and teacher self-reflection, and student voice.

  • Build relationships, community, a sense of belonging, and compassion in the classroom.

  • Have productive conversations with students and their families about living meaningful lives.


DESIGNING UNITS FOR MAXIMUM ENGAGEMENT, a Quick Reference Guide, is about how to create units that invite and enable students to connect authentically to their learning. Discover how to identify and articulate the unit's learning goal—to explore an essential question, develop a skill, or create a product—and choose instructional strategies that foster meaningful engagement with that goal. The six-page guide includes charts and visuals to make engagement pedagogy clear, accessible, and useable.

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TWO-FOR-ONE TEACHING is an approach to instructional design that integrates student-centered social-emotional learning into every stage of an academic unit. The book contains 30 protocols, rooted in evidence-based psychological science and progressive pedagogy, that actively teach social-emotional and academic skills. Readers will:

  • Develop an understanding of what values are, how they impact the way we live, and the need for students to choose and live by their own values.​

  • Understand how to develop a classroom culture of willingness that empowers students to discover and do what matters.

  • Help students approach academic work in ways that align with their values.

  • Explore ways to integrate values exploration into student learning throughout instructional units in any discipline.

  • Receive 30 customizable protocols rooted in scientific and behavioral research that simultaneously facilitate academic and social-emotional growth.


EMPOWER YOUR STUDENTS offers strategies for how teachers can put students’ own values at the center of their learning, so that school becomes a source of meaning and vitality in students’ lives. EMPOWER stands for exploration, motivation, participation, openness, willingness, empathy, and resilience. Readers will:

  • Understand what values are and how they are different from preferences and goals.

  • Discover how to help students determine which values they want to enact at school and in life.

  • Examine how to incorporate values work into all content areas.

  • Explore 21 classroom practices that empower students to do meaningful work, develop meaningful relationships, and live meaningful lives.

  • Learn how to bring your own values to the classroom to become the teacher and colleague you want to be.

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THE PD CURATOR is about how to design inclusive, participatory, cohesive, and effective professional learning experiences. Leaders play a role that isn't so much administrative as it is curatorial. Just as art curators can legitimize artists by including their work in a gallery or exhibit, PD curators have the power to legitimize work of a diverse community of educators. Learn to create immersive intellectual, emotional, and social experiences — all while caring for the professionals and the profession. This book will show you how to:

  • Structure teachers' schedules to make time for in-house professional learning.

  • Select content and create a process for how people interact with it.

  • Fit professional learning events together into a meaningful whole.

  • Discover whether the event has been successful.

  • Use practical tools and protocols to plan professional learning that affirms the expertise and interests of a diverse faculty.

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