Free Masterclass: 15 Best G Suite Tools for Schools

Note: G Suite is the new name for Google Drive

15 best tools for Gsuite Users

If you only used 15 tools in Google Docs and Apps, what would they be? Don’t be overwhelmed with all the choices.  I can help. In this free masterclass, which you can access here… I’m going to share my 15 Best G suite tools for Schools and how to use them in the classroom. Join me on […]

FREE WEBINAR: 9 Ways Writing Has Been Reinvented in the Classroom

Join me, August 25 at 7pm EDT

Writing has been reinvented. Learn about the tools, techniques and writing tips that are changing everything. Thursday, August 25, 7pm EDT The webinar is live and free. As with the other webinars, I’ll be recording and posting this on the store. Check out my book Reinventing Writing.  

36 Edtech Tools I’m Using Right Now in My Classroom and Life

and a Link to a Free Resource with More Tips

36 edtech tools I'm using in my classroom and life right now

So many of these tools are essential to me. It is amazing how I use them every single day. Here’s what I’m using all the time in my classroom (and life) right now. Some even hum along and do their job and I didn’t do a thing but set them up. 36 Tools I’m Using […]

How to Safely Connect Six-Year-Olds to the World

Kathy Cassidy shares her secrets for blogging, sharing and keeping kids safe online

Six-year-olds can blog. Canadian first-grade teacher Kathy Cassidy has long shown us the way as she has been blogging with six and seven-year-olds successfully for many years. She shares her secrets of keeping kids safe, helping them build a portfolio and the workflow for helping kids become independent bloggers. Show Notes: How to Safely Connect Six […]

Love Song to My Readers: Cool Cat Teacher’s 10th blog birthday

Cool Cat Teacher, established December 9, 2005

Cool Cat Teacher's 10th Blog Birthday

After 10 years of blogging, this blog birthday has me grateful for the several million teachers who have dropped by and given my work a read. On this day in 2005, I started blogging. It took me a week to write my first post. On this day ten years a go, I found the strength […]

Project Based Learning: Teaching Students to Be Curators

Every Classroom Matters Episode 191

project based learning students as curators

What is the secret to effective online project based learning? How can we get kids excited about writing? Nancy White shares how. She reflects upon two big projects. Nancy had one that worked well. She had another one that floundered. What was the difference? Apply Nancy’s principles and have better online writing today. Important Takeaways- […]

4 Writing Tips to Help the Writing Process

Make Writing Essays Easier

4 Writing Tips for Students

My student cried when I showed her how to voice type in Google. Then, instead of 90 words in one class period, she typed 500. She edited it. She turned it in early. Tears of joy happen when the right tool is taught to the right student. Technology isn’t flashy. The right technology makes lives better. Make […]

FREE: “10 Habits of Bloggers that Win”

How to write great blog posts that motivate readers to engage and share your work

Ten simple habits have helped me grow this blog. Blogging can change your life (like it has mine) and the life of your students. But blogging is a new form of writing. How do you do it? Blogging is not hard, but there are a few simple tips that make a big difference. So, you’re not […]

Show Your Work Book Review (Workman Publishing Company, 2014)

Austin Kleon has two great books you should pick up:

These are empowering books for writers and educators alike. They are so beautiful, though, you’ll want to buy the print version. I particularly love Show Your Work! for two reasons:

  1. Kleon shows that sharing your work should be part of what you do every single day.
  2. Many of us are paralyzed by perfectionism. We don’t want to “show” our work because our work isn’t perfect.

Kleon convincingly shows how showing your work is part of a journey to better work. By sharing and showing, you get feedback. By getting feedback, you get better. When you get better and share more, you get more feedback. Thus, showing your work and learning from others as you do is the path to awesome. He puts into words what many of us who blog and share feel about our own journey. As I blog, I believe I learn far more than I share. The more I share, the more I learn. Crazy, isn’t it? Not convinced — buy the book.

Be an Excellentist not a Perfectionist

Since reading his book I”ve committed to shun my desire to be perfect. I am now a self-proclaimed excellentist not a perfectionist.

Perfect is a lie. Excellence holds true. Perfection implies everyone has to love you. Perfectionism — for us mere humans — is unattainable.

Excellence is a commitment to do your best and to achieve a high standard of excellence in your field. I aspire to be that.

The term excellentist is one I coined as I was talking to two of my students who struggle with perfectionism.I had these two students wouldn’t hand in a project because it wasn’t perfect yet. Seth Godin talks about this also when he says to “ship it.” (Someone else may say this word too, if they do, I don’t know it but it is a good term, so hey, I’m that.) 

Perfectionism is a problem that keeps us from being creative. It can limit your life and your ability to thrive. Excellentism is a much more worthy habit as long as it is something worthy of being excellent in. I am happy to satisfice and pick any old pen to write with, however, I want posts on this blog to be excellent.

Shun the Vampires

He also talks about shunning the vampires in your life — those people who suck all the creativity and joy out of you. He uses the example of how sculptor Constantin Brancusi wouldn’t tolerate the life-sucking habits of Pablo Picasso. Before the years of Facebook, he “defriended” Picasso. Quite literally in real life.

A chapter title from Steal like an artist, Austin Kleon's first book.

A chapter title from Steal like an artist, Austin Kleon’s first book.

Sometimes the teacher’s lounge is a hangout for vampires. If so, don’t go there. Run away!

Great Graphics and a Simple Read

The other thing I love about both of Austin Kleon’s book is the graphic appeal of it. He uses graphics, text, and even poetry in ways that are appealing. I have both of his books on my coffee table and read them when I need to be inspired to keep going and sharing.

Who Will Like This Book?

  • Teachers and educators who advocate helping students publish their work.
  • People who want to use social media but don’t get the point of why they should share.
  • Perfectionists and creatives of all kinds will love these books.

My favorite of the two is Show Your Work! but that is kind of like saying whether I like chocolate ice cream or Moose Tracks — both are pretty doggone good.

What are you excited about in your classroom?

You… you teachers. You are doing amazing things to level up every day. You’re not settling in the land of complacency. You’re innovating. You’re leading. You give me and all these other teachers out here struggling great hope. So, when I asked a simple question on Twitter Thursday night, magic happened. Below is the storify […]