Excuse Me While I “Just” Go Innovate

This is really an awesome post and I would highly recommend it to teachers who are being pressured right now to be “innovative”. I think Ms. Ripp does a good job in arguing how teachers are already innovative in their classroom.

It has been building for a while.  This idea that teachers need to “just” innovate more.  That we need to break the system, try a new idea every day.  That we need to just do more.  Just do it better.  Just be more.

But that little word “just” has such a huge implication.

It tells me that what I am doing is not already innovative.

That what I am doing is not enough.

That I am not good enough, nor enough for the very kids I teach.

That if I only would “just” be a better teacher then perhaps all kids would run into my classroom with a smile on their face and beg me not to send them home.

But I teach real live children who have friendships, and emotions, and families, and lives to live and so no, I don’t get offended when they don’t run into my classroom…

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Schlechty’s Levels of Engagement

Pretty good video about student engagement. Definitely describes all students.

7 Must Have Apps, Tools, and Resources That Develop Critical Thinking Skills – The Tech Edvocate

Gone are the days where children were expected to memorize facts and recite them at any given time. Instead, it is hoped that children will develop critical thinking skills so that they can analyze situations, think about different outcomes, and present well-reasoned conclusions. To help children develop critical thinking skills, there are some apps, tools, and resources. Here is a list of the top seven. Guess the Code While this app is presented as a game, it is actually a great way for children to look at patterns and sequences, and try to figure them out. The app generates different […]

Source: 7 Must Have Apps, Tools, and Resources That Develop Critical Thinking Skills – The Tech Edvocate

If We Have to Give Kids Grades, Let’s Let Them Argue Their Merit.

I sensed the anticipation as soon as I entered the classroom. Groups of students were huddled together flipping through notes and documentation. A few were going back and forth about what they were going to

Source: If We Have to Give Kids Grades, Let’s Let Them Argue Their Merit.

Interesting take on grades. Good points made about Teachers letting their students do this. The idea I know is not new I’ve heard of various ways to do this. I have not done this, but it might be a good idea to try it.


Helping Students Learn Project Management – John Spencer

If we want students to think like artists, entrepreneurs, and engineers, they need the chance to design real projects. But this also requires students to learn how to engage in project management. Listen to the Podcast Just

Source: Helping Students Learn Project Management – John Sp

Designing Group Projects So That Everyone Participates – John Spencer

Collaborative projects can easily fall apart in the classroom. You start with a great idea but next thing you know, you have half of your students checked out. So, how do we fix this?   Listen to

Source: Designing Group Projects So That Everyone Participates – John Spencer

After listening to the podcasts I’m rethinking my group projects. How do you get all parties involved in the project? Buy in? How do you get students to own the process? John Spencer does a great job in giving teachers ideas how how to do this. But obviously each classroom is different, and something that works for me might not work for you. And there will always be that one or two students you just can’t get to work. Its frustrating I know, but its one of the things Teachers have to accept, its called “human behavior” (well that’s what I think). The classroom can’t be perfect.

 “It’s complicated, John Spencer says and its because kids are complicated”.

I know the projects that are successful in my classroom are the one’s that students are engaged and have ownership. “Creative Collaboration”, definitely agree here with John Spencer. Our earthquake towers are one of the most successful projects we do in class. Students take ownership and work together on building something.

I’m definitely taking some of John Spencer’s suggestions and implementing them in the some of my projects in class.

Thank You Mr. Spencer great article!


30 creative ways to use Padlet for teachers and students – BookWidgets

Source: 30 creative ways to use Padlet for teachers and students – BookWidgets

Has some nice ideas for using padlet. I’ve used it before and it works great. Using it as an exit ticket I think is a great idea.

Ten Things Pixar Can Teach Us About Creativity – John Spencer

For the last two decades, Pixar has produced some of the most creative and epic films of this era. But this is the result of a culture of creative collaboration built on ideas of being

Source: Ten Things Pixar Can Teach Us About Creativity – John Spencer

I’ll add to this, I read the Creativity Inc.

The book really did a good job talking about Creativity. As Mr. Spencer says we are not a business, but the book and ideas in it are really good. In this podcast Mr. Spencer goes through different points and how they can help you as a Teacher. One of the main points, I think, throughout the book is collaboration and how to be honest in this collaboration. I do agree with Mr. Spencer the chapter on “Honesty and Candor” is something that is important in our class too. Peer review and criticism sometimes can be hard to accept. Teaching students this can be tough, but worth it in the end.

A definite read. I would advise listening to Mr. Spencer’s podcast then read the book, it will give you some great ideas in class.

The POWER of a Teacher’s Presence | Teachonomy

The power of your presence in the lives of others can leave a remarkable impact.  How you wield that power will determine the impact you have each day.

Source: The POWER of a Teacher’s Presence | Teachonomy

4 teaching mistakes that drained my energy (and the solutions that changed everything)

I am always looking for ways to save energy. I shared in my book Unshakeable that energy is one of our most precious resources because unlike time, energy does not naturally replenish itself. We have to be intentional about how we use our energy. If we don’t pay attention to the things that drain it […]

Source: 4 teaching mistakes that drained my energy (and the solutions that changed everything)

If you get a chance this is really good podcast/article about how you can save your energy in teaching. I know recently I lost some of my energy in teaching and that is why I wasn’t doing the things I enjoyed. I’m starting to get it back. There are some really good points in this article.

First step is getting back to my blogging. Enjoy!