Posted in Books, EdTech, Uncategorized

Questions for #TLAP discussion on July 3 @7pm

Here is my brainstorming page for questions for the Teach Like a Pirate Twitter chat

Q1:  What about your “first three days” of school will be different this year?  Do you plan to keep anything the same?

Q2:  What techniques do you use/plan to use to “immerse” yourself in the moments in your classroom?

Q3:  Remember the Honda Odyssey story?  What questions do you plan to ask yourself in order to spark more creativity?

Q4: What lessons in your repertoire need reframing (like the heart bracelet that became pirate treasure)?

Q5:  What “hook” sections do you already feel comfortable with?  Which ones do you plan to refer back to for inspiration?

Q6:  Given Jimmy Johnson’s quote “Do you want to be safe and good, or do you want to take a chance and be great?”, what chances do you plan to take this year?


Here are some pages with more ideas:


Posted in Books, Uncategorized

My reading and SummerLS experience thus far

I think I’ve read more books so far this summer than I have for an entire year.

Our schools in District #227 were charged with reading Anthony Muhammad’s Transforming School Culture: How to Overcome Staff Division .  Although I cannot say that I agree with him about everything, I appreciate the fact that his book will hopefully open discussion.  I like the fact that I actually have an argument and that my “homework assignment” inspired me to read more.  In fact, I’ve been ditching TV lately and reading instead (this has never been something I’ve done in the past).   It’s also inspired me to read more to my son which is a bonus.

The second book I read was about Standards Based Grading entitled “Transforming Classroom Grading” by Marzano.  I will note that I thought that it was strange that he often quoted himself.  However, I guess if you are Marzano, you are allowed and SHOULD do that.  It has really made me think about my grading practices.  The rubrics and ideas in there I would like to implement in my classroom.  I am slightly scared about the workload for this endeavor, but nothing good ever comes without some work attached to it.

The third book I read is  Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day by Bergman.  I love the conversational nature of this book.  I read it rather quickly and am very intrigued by the possibility of flipping my lessons.  I think after reading all of the other books this summer I plan to flip strategically.  When thinking about my lessons, I think that I want to utilize this strategy in place of ANY direct instruction in my class.  Any time that I plan on using direct instruction in a given week I would like to video tape it instead.  Then classtime can be devoted more to projects and homework.  Again, I am slightly daunted by the workload associated with this endeavor but I think that with some strategic planning I can get ahead of the workload by making some of the videos this summer.

My MOST EXCITING read thus far is Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator by Dave Burgess.  I’ve been wanting to read the book but have put it off.  Recently, through getting involved in the Summer Learning Series through Twitter (#SummerLS) one of the challenges posed was to read one of the books suggested by the leader of the series.  I found this to finally be my opportunity/challenge to do this.  I’m only 46 pages in and already am inspired.  Also through a combination of this week’s challenge posted by #SummerLS and through Dave’s discussion of writing down your creative thoughts, I started this blog.  I’m pretty excited to start the school year and although I’ve always been excited for a new year, it hasn’t felt like this in years.  

I think I might do some fun reading next since there are a TON of ideas floating around in my head right now and I need to actually start making some of the BEST ONES come into fruition.  Thanks for reading my thoughts and I hope you enjoy my future stuff.