There’s a reason students think their teachers are weird.Read More
For him, it was either summer school or being locked inside his house for 3 months.Read More
Educators often feel pressure to be perfect, but that is not something we should strive for.Read More
These are way better than putting on a movie.Read More
You are more than just a teacher to your students. For many, you are home.
Why we hate it and what to do about it.Read More
Get Your FREE Epic Class Contract PosterRead More
Teaching this month does not need to be a nightmare. Here's some ideas.Read More
There’s a reason we turn to educators when in crisis.Read More
Epic projects are easy when you have a plan.Read More
You can’t stretch yourself and grow within your comfort zone.Read More
My goal isn’t for students to love me, but for them to love learning.Read More
Our students are not BORING, they’re just BORED.Read More
When I saw a veteran teacher get 30 kids' attention by simply looking at them, my MIND. WAS. BLOWN.Read More
Book dioramas and baking soda-vinegar volcanoes may be fun, but that is not Project Based Learning.Read More
There’s no story if there’s no conflict.Read More
One of the hardest parts about doing engaging and dynamic projects with your students is the simple fact that it could potentially crash and burn.
Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic, but when you task your students with creating something meaningful, that goes beyond the walls of the classroom, there is a chance it is not going to end up the way you wanted it to. Sometimes (more than once in my room), it just plain tanks. The deadline isn't met. Students weren't that invested. The final products were terrible. You and/or your students are left wanting to curl up into a ball and never do a project again.
Sometimes ambitious teaching leads to failure.
And failure sucks.
But it's also one of the best things that can happen to teachers, school leaders, students, and people in general. Failure is when the very best, transformational learning happens. In this video, I talk about a project that was an absolute disaster and the incredible learning moment that followed with my students.
So you'll see me say this in the video, but I'll say it here too---
Failing is quite alright. As long as we fail forward.
We get it, kids need to collaborate. But have you ever tried to get 4 seven year olds to work together? How about 4 seventeen year olds?!
Let's talk about group work.
The career-world has rapidly changed in the last few decades, and a student's need to be able to collaborate has increased dramatically. From law enforcement, the medical field, business, to teaching, collaboration is required to be successful in the 21st century. Unfortunately, the ability to work with others, combine skills and strengths, and give strong critical feedback is not something we are born with. Collaboration has to be taught, and that is not always a painless task.
However, there are tools and processes that can make group work in the classroom easier and more effective. That's what I talk about in this video. Give it a watch, and leave a comment about ways you teach and promote collaboration in your school.
If you are diving into the first week of the school year right now, good luck! This is one of my very favorite times to be an educator. No matter what grade you teach or position you work in a school, energy is high this time of year. Kids won't admit it, but most are excited to be back in school. And at least for me, so am I. It's a time of new beginnings and fresh slates.
This is why I think how we plan the first week and what our focus is during it is so vital. This is the week where you start relationships with students. It's where you set the tone for your class, expectations, culture, and everything else.
In the video above, I talk about some of the activities I do in this first week, and share a story about how the power of the beginning of the year can have a huge effect on the rest of it.
Sometimes you need to practice your jump shot while you're teaching. Sometimes it's with bottles of rotten milk. And if that bottle accidentally explodes against the wall, sprays rotten milk everywhere, and makes your classroom unusable the rest of the day--- you need to be flexible.
Here is another ridiculous (but all to common) story from school- and hopefully a little wisdom gained from it.