Hot Links- 11-14-18

Google Slides icon boards for low-prep, visual thinking– Matt Miller has a cool activity that all students can engage in AND doesn’t take the teacher much time.

3 Challenges for the Future of Education– I love George Couros’ idea for his blog. Sometimes it’s just a reflection piece. He does not always suggest he has any answers.

Stop Taking Grading Home– Catlin Tucker shares some thoughts.

HOW TO SURVIVE AS AN INTROVERTED TEACHER– I need all the help I can get.

Should You Enforce A Consequence For Inattentiveness?– Michael Linsin answers this question.

Enjoy your week. Let me know your thoughts about what you read or share a new site/article with me.




Hot Links- 11-7-18

Short one today. 🙂

Top Tips For Building Number Sense for Upper Elementary– Christina Tondevold gives some great tips

Guided Reading: Organization and Planning Tips– I always need help here.

One Important Question That Leads to Student Empowerment in Schools


Hot Links 10/30/18

A Fun Way To Teach Students How Not To Behave– Michael Linsin offers some fun advice.

Why Picking Your Battles Is Bad Advice– Sometimes consistency is better. Many time, it is. Michael Linsin offers some reasons why he thinks that picking battles could harm your management.

10 WAYS TO INTRODUCE YOUR STUDENTS TO BLOGGING– Some cool ways to get your kids started.

2 Things To Focus On This Year for Elementary Math Teachers– I really like Christina Tondevold. Be sure to check out this post and others from a Recovering Traditionalist.

Accerlerated Reader- What Works Clearinghouse evaluates the studies and claims of AR. This is certainly on the more technical side. Good information.

Have a great week.


Hot Links 10-25-18

Change from “Make a Ten” to “Make it Friendly– Find out why Christina Tondevold thinks it would be more helpful.

3 Simple Ways to Check for Understanding– Michael offers some cool ideas.

How We Stopped Using Accelerated Reader– How one school stopped and what they did instead.

3 Ways Blogging Has Helped Me Grow as a Learner– This is a great post. It has a couple reasons I continue to blog. I like his idea about sharing what you are learning, even if you don’t have it all figured out.

Teaching Math the Right Way- Focus on Content Emphases (At Each Grade Level)– Christina Tondevold gives an idea for when we can’t get through all the math curriculum. How about focusing on the areas that are emphasized?

EDU Blog- Pendulum

If you have been in education for longer than about 5-7 years, you may have seen what is often referred to as the pendulum swing. I am sure this occurs in other areas of work, but it seems to happen a lot in education. The pendulum swings based on what is the major focus of education and it is often associated with the current standards.

I was teaching during the time of high stakes testing, where there was accountability for teachers, which is good, but it was filled with extra pressure because it was tied to testing. If you didn’t get a certain score on your end of year state tests, your job could be on the line, regardless of the truth behind the data. I have had some students through the years that could not give a rip, and my livelihood is on the line? That is not a pleasant work environment. Hold teachers accountable for teaching, yes, that is good. But there is a big component–the kids–that also had a lot to do with the test.

Anyway, another pendulum I grew up with had to do with math fact fluency. In the past, the ONLY way you got fluent was to memorize your facts (add/subtract/multiply/divide). No other way. And if you got it, you were “good” at math and if you didn’t, the implicit message was you were “not good” at math.


Recently, there has been a push in changing our idea about what fact fluency actually means. I will not go too in depth (not enough time with this post), but I actually think the swing of the pendulum in this caseis a good thing. I was ‘good’ at math- real good at memorizing and following directions (procedure). However, recent work I have studied from folks like Jo Boaler, Christina Tondevold, Graham Fletcher have really challenged the notion, in a good way.

The focus is switched from speed to real Number Sense (or a sense of the numbers- crazy, right?), number flexibility and understanding the relationships between numbers. It has been a fun journey to see maths (short for mathematics) in a new way. Understanding that there is more to maths than ‘do these steps’ or ‘memorize this’ is a pretty cool change. I hope it doesn’t go back to the drill and kill I used to know and love (mostly because it was memory)

There are many more areas where we could notice this pendulum. A big pice, in my view, is that we need to be mindful of the changes. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, but also, don’t just keep doing things because it’s always been done that way. Good teaching and pedagogy is good whether it’s a new strategy or old. Bad teaching is bad whether it’s new or old. Use what is good and try to avoid the bad.

**Also, please get rid of timed math facts tests (Check out Jo Boaler’s work that suggests this is a big cause for math anxiety for many.). There are better ways.

So much more could be said.


Developing the Learner

I ran across this great quote by George Couros’ book, The Innovator’s Mindset

“I believe it’s possible to have kids who are deep thinkers, creators and innovators, and still do well on their exams, but I do not want to forsake those critical elements for the latter. Twenty-first century education is not about the test; it’s about something bigger…What I care about is that kids are inspired to be better people because of their experiences in my school.”

Hot Links 10-19-18


macro photography of brown and black lost cat signage on black bare tree

Photo by Pixabay on

So, it has been like 2 months since I have posted anything here. Yikes! That is not good. Here’s what happened: At the end of last year, I enrolled in a Digital Innovators Certificate Program with Fresno Pacific University. It was a quick 15 unit set of courses associated with CUE. It was a really cool thing and I learned a lot of practical ideas while strengthening my pedagogy (I still sometimes have to look up the word). If I don’t share specifics, I will certainly be using some of the things I learned.

One big takeaway for me is the website I developed. My goal was to create a home base for resources: for me, my students, teachers and parents. Here is the link to that website. It will be a continual work in progress, but I am mostly proud of what I did. So, check it out if you get a chance. Let me know if there is anything I need to add or things you might like to see.

Here are a couple links for you.

10 ways to make good Google Classroom assignments better– Matt Miller offers some tips.

3 Things in Education That Have Stayed the Same and How They Have Changed– George discusses a few things

Avoid these 4 edtech mistakes in your classroom!– These are some great tips from the ISTE website. I know I have done all these.

Have a great weekend,


Hot Links- 8/9/18

Why Grammar Instruction Does Not Improve Student Writing: How to Teach Writing and Grammar– This article explains (ie..some of the research is showing) how traditional isolated grammar lessons does not lend to significant student growth in their writing. They are wanting to sell a product to help, but the article has some good points.

Teaching Writing and Grammar: Writer’s Workshop, Spiraling Writing Curriculum, Authentic Writing, and Isolated Skill Drills– This post is next in the series and offers some thoughts on Writer’s Workshop

How to Get Started With Genius Hour for Elementary Classrooms?– Erin Klein offers some pointers to get started with Genius Hour

Can We Stop Saying “a PBL”?– John Larmer of Buck Institute writes about why it is not helpful to high quality PBL to refer to it as “a” PBL.

Self-Paced Learning: How One Teacher Does It– Jennifer Gonzalez (Cult of Pedagogy) shares an interesting approach one teacher uses in her class.

Use it or don’t


Hot Links- 8/2/18

Here’s the next set. If you only read one, I recommend the critique of the Common Core. It puts a different spin on it. And why, when taught with fidelity, it may be discouraging critical thinking as a byproduct.

A Democratic Critique of the Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) Standards.

10 Education Truths That Support Project-Based Learning

20 video project ideas to engage students-  Matt Miller gives some tips.

10 research-based insights on how the brain learns– More Matt Miller

14 copyright essentials teachers and students must know– Good to know

Hot Links- 7-25-18

53 Ways to Check for Understanding– Great ideas beyond the test or quiz.

Can We Make Lesson Plans More Than Just Compliance Plans?– AJ Juliani makes some interesting observations about his own journey with lesson plans.

STEP IN, STEP OUT: A STRATEGY FOR THINKING DEEPLY ABOUT TEXT– A clever way to teach Point of View. HERE is the free resource associated with it.

HOW ADDING A LITTLE MYSTERY CAN CREATE CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT MAGIC– I saw a long term substitute at my site doing this great idea.

REVISITING #ONEWORD– Mr. G offers some thoughts on the word CURIOSITY. Oneword is a cool idea about choosing a theme word for your year, like growth, connection, curiosity.