Your Words Matter.


I had a teacher who once told me I would most likely be a college dropout. Her words mattered. When I told my wife I wanted to write a book and she said without blinking an eye, “Do it.” Her words mattered. I told my daughter the other day how proud I was of her [...]

10 Ways for New School Leaders to Use Twitter


I'm the new guy at our school district, and this is my first administrative role in a school. Let me first say that it is a lot of hard work, but it is also a lot of fun connecting with new teachers, administrators, and an entire community. In the past few months all of our [...]

Spark Innovation In Your Classroom with Passionate Teaching


This was originally published in a TeachThought guest post.  John Maeda grew up working in his family’s Seattle tofu store in the 1980s. He was a bright and curious student who self-taught himself some computer coding in high school with no internet to learn from. Like many high school students he had dreams, but very little [...]

This is not a lesson plan.


Coming into student teaching I was really confident about my lesson planning abilities. I was a bit worried about classroom management, designing assessments, and handling the demands of a first-year teacher…but lesson plans? Ha. I aced every single one of them during college. That was the easy part. We were teaching Frankenstein when I finally got [...]

Why It Is So Important to Visit Other Schools (and how to do it right)


I recently lead a team of six Middle School teachers and our Middle School Principal on a school visit. We are just starting a Chromebook pilot with our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Language Arts teachers, and this visit was to a school district that has a 1:1 Chromebook initiative running from 5th-12th grade. It [...]

Why I Let My Students Argue for Their Grades


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 say. As I headed to the whiteboard a hush fell over the room and one student asked, "do we get [...]

We’re All Doing Something…But What are We All Doing Together?

It seems everywhere I turn change is happening in schools. I read articles about technology initiatives, new standards, education reform, no tests, more tests, opt out, opt in, no homework, more homework, longer school days, shorter school days, LMS, MOOCs, blended learning, new apps, Google Apps, big data, social media, PLNs, education conferences (there is [...]

Scratch Your Itch Education


"Scratch Your Itch" Education is my favorite way to describe the inquiry-based learning process. It always starts with an itch, and you never know what is going to happen once you start scratching. I'm writing a book called "Scratch Your Itch" and this post started my journey towards that idea. When I was in high [...]

Stop Teaching Kids to Play the Game of School

School Is Not A Game

Bobby was an 11th grade student in my English class…and he was angry. "I don't understand this project, Mr. J. What are we being graded on and when is it due?" I looked around at the class to see a handful of students just like Bobby. They weren't used to this. In their 11 years [...]

Classroom Designs That Inspire (and how to share your space!)

With a little over 2 weeks to go in the Classroom Cribs Challenge, I'd like to share some of our favorite submissions so far! We’d love to see your classroom featured on – you can submit your class to the challenge in just a few minutes using this form! Over 3000 educators have signed up to [...]