"The more you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Dr. Seuss
Reading creates opportunities.

“The more you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Dr. Seuss

So often the kids you’re the trying to inspire are the ones who end up inspiring you.

This quote was retweeted more than 60 times since I shared it the other day on Twitter. This quote resonates with so many of us teachers.

There is something wildly special that happens when we’re giving all we’ve got to help a student get excited about learning and BOOM – it happens.

When you get close enough to see the furrowed brow and the chewed pencil eraser, you might glimpse the spark of learning ignite. Witnessing this spark is an addictive adrenaline rush of meaning and power like no other

What is greater than seeing learning take fire?

What is greater than giving all you’ve got and seeing it make a difference?

Teaching is hard. But there are precious moments when it is more than worth it. These are the moments we file in our minds and hearts and treasure for the hard days when we don’t feel like anything we teach is reaching them. Reach anyway. You can do this teacher — see how inspiring your students are because they are.

App Programming Requires Writing Too!

I’d just like to point out just how much writing is required to program an app. As students are programming their apps with Crescerance‘s MAD-Learn program, they are writing. We are drafting the language for their presentations and the app store submissions in Google Docs.

The best projects include all disciplines. In fact, this app also includes Art. So they are programming, using graphic design, writing, and learning about art.

App programming rocks for so many reasons!

5 Fantastic, Fast Formative Assessment Tools: A Must-Read Guidebook via @edutopia

When you test you should already know what they know. You should know if your students understand your content EVERY SINGLE DAY. Two weeks or two days is too long to wait to know what they know.

This isn’t just “one more thing” it is THE THING EVERY teacher should learn to do THIS YEAR. It isn’t hard. It is actually very easy. You can do this. Here’s my formative assessment guidebook. (Edutopia posted it on their site.)

Socrative, Kahoot, Zaption, chat tools, Plickers, and mobile scanners are ways any teacher can use formative assessment. A class not using formative assessment is a class not reaching its potential.

I’m reminded of economist John Maynard Keynes. His work impacted economic theory in the 20th century. He asserted:

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from the old ones.”

Teaching for 2 weeks and then testing is not only an “old idea” – IT DOESN’T WORK!

Formative Assessment is Easy and Useful

Start Now by Reading: 5 Fantastic, Fast Formative Assessment Tools on Edutopia

I’d love to hear your stories. I’m looking for some teachers to interview on Every Classroom Matters on this topic.
What Makes Us Happy on the Job?

This new chart from the Boston Consulting Group is no surprise to many of us. The things that make us happiest on the job have to do with work environment and our jobs. Topping the list?

  1. Appreciation for Your work
  2. Good Relationships with Colleagues
  3. Good Work-Life Balance
  4. Good Relationships with superiors
  5. Company’s financial stability

So, stability doesn’t come in until number 5.

If principals and superintendents want to improve their schools, start looking at these aspects of jobs. In particular #3 (Good Work-Life Balance) is very hard for educators. In times of struggle and change all five of these are impacted. It is an excellent study and those focusing on leadership will want to read the whole thing.

Source: Decoding Global Talent: 200,000 Survey Responses on Global Mobility and Employment Preferences by the Boston Consulting Group

Why I love Harry Wong’s Book: The First Days of School

This is a picture of my classroom after my 10th graders hustled out of the room sixth period Friday. It is not photoshopped and I didn’t do a thing to clean the room. I’m officially a Harry Wong fan because his book The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher, 4th Edition has made me an even better teacher.

How I’m Leveling Up My Learning This Year: Classroom Management

Remember last Monday how I challenged us each to level up our learning? Well, my personal goal this year has been to improve the workflow and take the most frustrating things about my job and work to get those improved. It is happening as we speak.

Admitting that you want to improve classroom management is NOT admitting you’re a bad teacher. But you can go from great to greater or good to great — there is a difference. Lots of teachers do this.  A teacher without a learning goal has only the facade of being a lead learner.

The Power of a PLC

When some of the best teachers in our school said they are Harry Wong fans and suggested we study it, I wasn’t convinced. (Learn more about this PLC on a blog post I wrote for Class Dojo.) ]

As we met last May, these teachers told me and the other teachers that the students should handle everything in my room and that I could keep up with my grading every day. They told me I could quiet my classroom without saying a word. Wong challenges you to have a wordless way for students to have help.  Really? Not in my classroom. But OK, I trusted them and I need to improve in those areas, so here we go.

Our PLC studied The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher, 4th Edition and met twice over the summer to talk procedures. My colleagues gave me advice and supported me on the frustrations of just how things were in the computer lab. They never criticized but offered support as I worked on the procedures. It is so exciting. I will take time to share some of those at some point but I just wanted to let you know: I’m doing fine, I’m leveling up learning, and making progress towards my goals for this school year.

Starting Well

I followed his Classroom Management section to the T as we started school and I can tell you that while I was unconvinced before — now I am.

How Are You Leveling Up Your Learning?

So, now, how are you doing? Are you putting in place the procedures so your classroom can flow like water? It doesn’t mean I have a quiet classroom. It doesn’t mean that I have some sort of teacher-centric classroom — quite the opposite. Learning moves center stage when the hassle gets off. Most classrooms are like a stage where a toddler has run out on front and started playing with play dough — the messes of daily hassles are show stealers.

Take the time to reread this book and to emphasize procedures. More procedures and less rules. But it takes discipline to start. All I know is I have a lovely classroom to show that we are proud of where we learn. It speaks for itself.

A big shout out to my fellow teachers Andrea Stargel, Jill Pollock, and Kirk Woodall — YOU WERE RIGHT! Thanks for encouraging all of us to be more! This is why I love our school and think I teach with some of the best teachers on the planet! You amaze me! Thanks to all of you who — by choice — came to the PLC this summer and to all of you who couldn’t come but read the book anyway and are joining our PLC this fall — YOU ROCK. 
Bluetooth Wireless Speaker
The Wireless Bluetooth Speaker I Use in My Classroom

It looks like a bullet, sort of. The silver speaker is a stand alone and uses blue tooth and the kids love it. We take turns doing music in my class and if they have bluetooth, they can just send it to the speaker remotely. No more getting up or fussing with wires.

Wireless Bluetooth Speakers Rock

The best thing about the wireless speaker is the lack of hassle and commotion when I turn it on and how we use it.

My One Problem

The worst thing is that we use it so much so sometimes they forget to turn it off. I have to plug it in and it will be a few minutes before the rechargeable speaker has enough power to boot. I’ve sort of got that system down now and remember to check it after my keyboarding class.


Compatibility with Droid and Other Devices

I’m also not sure if it works with the Droid devices or if I just don’t have any audiophiles with a Droid. I’ve got to figure that out but it could be a drawback if some aren’t included.

There is a jack to plug in directly, so I can move the speaker and a regular audio cable to students who can’t make the bluetooth work.

Where I use this speaker

The speaker I have sends out a lot of sound and we can use it anywhere. So, if we have a trip outside and I want us to listen to a recorded book on Audible, we can move and they can listen that way. I enjoy the wireless speaker. It is a convenient, no hassle way to share music in the BYOD classroom using Airplay.

Note: If you Buy Weird Colors it is Cheaper than the grey one I bought. Note – JUST BUY ONE. It is all you need. –
HMDX Audio HX-P230BL JAM Classic Bluetooth Wireless Speaker (Blueberry)

Writing Teachers: Other Ways to Say…

Colorful charts can help writers in your classroom. This is an awesome chart that got more than 100 likes when I shared it on Facebook this week so I thought more of you might want to get a copy.

The problem is, I’ve had it for a while and can’t find the original source. If you know, please let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to give credit. This is a must share for English teachers.

Quick Key App: Grade by Snapping a Picture with your iPhone

Talk about saving time! Wow. Create a quiz on Quick Key and then you can print out a bubble sheet. Snap a picture of the quiz with your iphone and it will grade it for you! Wow. Just remember that if all you do is bubble in – you’re probably not testing very well. Hat tip to Richard Byrne’s “Free Technology for Teachers” Facebook page for this one! (Free Technology for Teachers)

For more see: http://ipadapps4school.com/2013/11/26/quick-key-turns-your-iphone-into-a-scanner/