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Owning It

Proven Strategies to Ace and Embrace Teaching

With its conversational style, Owning It prepares teachers both new and experienced to take command of their many roles in their classrooms, schools, and communities. Learn to embrace the struggles teachers face daily and implement effective teaching strategies to ensure all students succeed and close the achievement gap for youth at risk.


  • Acquire straightforward strategies for dealing with everyday situations found in classrooms, schools, and communities.
  • Understand the multifaceted role of a teacher in today's schools and how to balance the numerous responsibilities—from classroom management to relationships with colleagues.
  • Feel inspired and motivated to bring out the best in yourself as well as in your students.
  • Observe creative approaches to improve teaching strategies and student engagement.
  • Answer reflection questions to connect with and relate to the strategies covered in the book.

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Owning It

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Part 1: Owning It in Your Classroom: Strategies for Creating an Environment of Achievement
Chapter 1: Time to Get Real: Revisit Your Personal Philosophy’s Value
Chapter 2: First Impressions: Make the Most of the First Five Minutes of Any Class
Chapter 3: Visibility Is Everything: Increase Your Classroom Presence to Seem Like You’re Everywhere at Once
Chapter 4: Please Stop Thinking: Understand Four Things Teachers Say That Sabotage Learning
Chapter 5: I Said Be Quiet . . . and Start Talking: Help Students Learn Out Loud and Still Keep a Handle on Your Classroom
Chapter 6: Deal With Data: Transform Your Perception of Data and Help Your Students Succeed
Chapter 7: It’s Test Time: Think Outside the Bubble on All-Important Standardized Tests

Part 2: Owning It With Your Most Challenging Students: Strategies for Succeeding With Students Who Are Struggling or At Risk
Chapter 8: It’s About Time: Close the Achievement Gap With Struggling Students
Chapter 9: Let’s Talk About Race: Bring Ethnic Identity and Culturally Relevant Curriculum Into Your Classroom
Chapter 10: The Secret to Motivating the Unmotivated Student: Succeed With Students Who Are At Risk
Chapter 11: Beyond the Bad Kid: Manage Disruptive Classroom Behavior
Chapter 12: No, or Quid Pro Quo?: Negotiate With Students Who Are Struggling
Chapter 13: The Uninvolved Parent: Reel Parents in With Three Basic Strategies
Chapter 14: Student-Led Conferences: Empower Students by Putting Them in Charge

Part 3: Owning It at Your School and District: Strategies for Succeeding as a Member of a Staff Team
Chapter 15: Making Meetings an Hour to Empower: Turn “Not Another Meeting” Into “Let’s Get to Business!”
Chapter 16: Welcome to Teaching. Please Stay: Help Your School’s New Teachers Succeed (and Stick Around)
Chapter 17: Talking ‘Bout My Generation: Improve Schools by Minding Collegial Generation Gaps
Chapter 18: We Need to Talk: Approach a Colleague About a Conflict
Chapter 19: Turn Job Shares Into Win-Win-Wins: Learn Five Ways to Make Shared Positions Work for Teachers, Students, and Administrators

Part 4: Owning It in Your Community: Strategies for Making a Positive Impact Beyond Your School and Classroom
Chapter 20: The General Public on Teachers: Turn Potential Foes Into Supportive Allies
Chapter 21: Start Spreading the News: Put the Spotlight on Your School
Chapter 22: Community-Based Professional Development: Get Teachers Into the Community and the Community Into Teachers
Chapter 23: Teaching Teachers: Step Up and Share Your Ideas With Fellow Educators
Chapter 24: The 5-5-5 of Teacher Blogs: Use Blogs to Learn, Share, and Influence Others




  • Hierck, T. (2017). Seven Keys to a Positive Learning Environment in Your Classroom. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Novak, S., & Slattery, C. (2017). Deep Discourse: A Framework for Cultivating Student-Led Discussions. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
  • Watanabe-Crockett, L. (2019). Future-Focused Learning: Ten Essential Shifts of Everyday Practice. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.