Hot Links 10-17-19

Students Are Often Terrified About Launching Their Work. Here’s How We Can Fix It.– John Spencer shares how to help students overcome fear about sharing.

Games to Improve Executive Functioning Skills– Fun ideas for students.

Students who flex their executive-functioning muscles learn better– ISTE has an article on executive functioning.

20 Seesaw ideas with Chromebooks for K-12 classes– Matt Miller offers some great ideas for using Seesaw.

The Secret to Classroom Management—No Matter Where You Teach– Always default to compassion.



Hot Links 9-20-19

Our Response Matters– Daily 5 sisters talk about the importance of relationships and helping our students feel valued.

10 Things That Happen When Students Engage in Project-Based Learning– John Spencer continues with his series on PBL

How To Handle Students Who Don’t Do Any Work– Michael Linsin offers some thoughts to help with this problem.

What To Say To A Needy, Dependent Student– Michael Linsin again. Be sure to sign up for his weekly newsletter. Lots of good info.

Sorry it has been a while since I posted. I have been busy with a new school. It has been good, but a lot of work. I hope to share some reflections in the coming weeks and months.


What Do Teachers Make?

I saw Taylor Mali a couple years ago at CUE, a teaching conference. He was one of the speakers. I thought this was an interesting beat poem dealing with a “fictional” critic of what teachers make.

While I think the message could be given with more grace than the character does, I think it is thought provoking.

Taylor Mali

What do you think?


Hot Links- 7-26-19

HOW TO BUILD A TRUE CULTURE OF INNOVATION AT YOUR SCHOOL THIS YEAR– AJ Juliani discusses how to encourage innovation for the whole school.

Knowing Your Students As Individuals to Help Them Grow Forward– George Couros on the importance of learning who our students are.

Four Research-Based Strategies Every Teacher Should be Using– Jennifer Gonzalez shares some ideas about retrieval practice, spaced practice and 2 other strategies that could help our students.

Do This, Not That: Aligning to Standards– Math Coach Corner shares some cool ideas to have math workstations that helps students think more deeply and creatively about a problem.

“We’re supposed to do “whatever it takes” to ensure every single student in our class succeeds. But I think there is an operative word that most of us miss [or it is missing completely] out on. WE have to do whatever it takes. WE, as in the school community. Not YOU, one individual teacher who’s constrained by a school system that’s not designed to support teachers or kids.” Angela Watson

40 Hour Teacher Work Week- I think the WE is a huge component that we must push back against. We must work together or we will burn out, or fail to improve the best we can be.

PLC Training Sessions

George Couros recently suggested that one the things he uses his blog for is to exhibit learning he is doing. But another reason is to have a storehouse for interesting things. This is one of those things. Bill Ferriter is sharing some of his resources from a conference on Professional (Personal) Leaning Communities.

I have not gone through it all but looks like some good stuff.

Session Materials – Solution Tree PLC Institutes


Hot Links 6-30-19

An #atplc [All things PLC] Reminder: Playing in the Same Sandbox is NOT Good Enough.– This is a great post, particularly with the templates that help teams work together. Working together, while important, is not always true collaboration. This template is great in helping teams work through some things before they become a “thing”.

The power of PLCs. . .– Good look at why having a PLC that you trust and listen to is important.

To Share or Not to Share…or to Sell?– Is there a time and place for us to share our stuff for free and/or put it on Teachers Pay Teachers. Kristin Oropeza shares her thoughts.

30 collaborative Google Apps activities for schools- Some great ideas from Matt Miller

Ditch That Grade! 9 ways to move beyond the grade and on to meaningful learning– A good look at other options to share feedback with students in a way different than a traditional grade.

I hope you are enjoying your summer break. I am–that is why I have been only doing one post every couple weeks. 🙂


Hot Links 6-15-19

Embracing Vulnerability in PBL– PBL Works (BIE) shares why vulnerability is a key component in collaborating well, especially in PBL.

What Happens When Students Don’t Finish Projects? (Hint: It’s Not As Bad As It Seems)– John Spencer explains why abandoning a project is not always a bad thing.

The Power of a Launch (Why Students Should Share Their Work)- On the other hand, John Spencer also writes about the importance of sharing student projects to an audience beyond the teacher and their parents’ refrigerator.

The Most Important Teaching Skill for the Modern Educator to Master-  I’m not sure it is the most important, but the “ability to turn things around” is an important part of teaching well.

“We’re a Family” and Other School Norms that Can Cause Burnout– Great thoughts on how to maintain relational balance between school and home.

If you are on break, I hope you are enjoying it. If not, sorry. 🙂



Hot Links 5-25-19

The Elephant in the Room: Grading in Project Based Learning– PBL shares what works for grading and how it looks different.

Ditch the clips: Create a behavior management system that works– Guest post- I have gone through the year this time without a chart. It has been a cool opportunity to utilize morning meeting more to establish relationships and build community. It has largely worked. I have had some relapses, so be gentle with me.

Report: Can Personalized Learning Actually Deliver?– Interesting look at the idea of Personalized Learning. One of the important things I look at when reading is looking at the views that seem to go against what I may be doing, trying, wanting to try. This helps me make what I am doing a little better, because oftentimes the critics may see something I don’t and I can work to avoid the pitfalls or look at trying something different.

This goes to the next one as well. I have not done a lot of research on the topic. However, while I think there are good things about restorative justice, as I said above, it is important to look at what others are saying.

The promise of ‘restorative justice’ starts to falter under rigorous research

Have a great weekend, folks.



Use It or Don’t

So, to my 3 readers, and any others who read. :-), you may have noticed that I changed the title. The content will remain the same, largely curation with a few posts that are more personal and original.

This last March, I went to CUE, of the CUE Boom presenters was Kyle Anderson. In his 3 minutes, he talked of branding, even as an educator. It wasn’t long, but it got stuck in my craw. I kept think ing how I didn’t have one, what that would mean for me, etc.

cropped-Use it or Don't (3)

I don’t plan on getting rich off my brand. Not even close. It’s not even on my radar. What it did make me do is think about what I can offer to others. Oftentimes, I read a ton of things and try to share those things that inspire, or speak to me in some manner.

My coworkers would often get tired of my sharing, even if I wasn’t even using the idea in my class. And frankly, it never even bothered me that the idea was not used. I would have liked it sometimes, but it was not the goal.

Time and energy. When I encounter a new idea, I found that I needed to have time to implement and the energy to figure how I could make it work. If I didn’t have both, I just saved it to post to my Hot Links weekly-ish


post. Time and Energy are a valuable commodity for teachers.

So, I just started ending my emails with Use it or Don’t. It started as a joke, but as I thought about it in terms of branding, it sparked my creativity. Plus, with STICKEMANIA at CUE, I thought I should work on a sticker. Because why not?

So, I got 10 stickers and changed my Blog Title to reflect the idea. USE IT OR DON’T. I added the tagline something to learn, try or adapt. I think it works well with what I am trying to do on this blog and what I try to do in my class and what I try to teach my kids, and anyone who will listen.

It reminded me of this quote, often attributed to Bruce Lee.

Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.

I hope you like it, but if you don’t, that’s okay too. 🙂

Use it or Don’t


Hot Links 5-19-19

10 steps to create a student-driven classroom -Matt Miller offers some good ideas, as usual.

Challenge Is a Part of Learning Responsive classroom ideas for helping kids embrace challenge.

A+SEL Competencies- Interesting look at some other types of competencies regarding social emotional learning.

MAKING THE JUMP FROM ENGAGING STUDENTS TO EMPOWERING MAKERS– AJ Juliani suggests making the next step from engagement.

Antidote to Learned Helplessness: Productive Struggle in PBL – Great article from PBL Works (Buck Institute) about how using PBL can help with learned helplessness.

“Some students understand concepts in science, but their writing does not necessarily reflect this. Are you assessing their writing ability of a concept or their understanding?” George Couros 

Enjoy your last days of school. We are nearly done- Just about 3 weeks, for me. The end is in sight, but I am not just looking to end it. I am trying to enjoy the last bit of time with these young learners. Many I may not see for a long time, if ever again. I am moving schools, to take part in a cool opportunity, but most will stay or move on. That weighs on me a little. Maybe more than a little.