Inspiring Ted Talks

“Inside every great teacher, there is an even greater one waiting to come out.” – Author Unknown

Every now and then we need a little inspiration. Here are a few Ted Talks that I have enjoyed recently.

Christopher Emdin: Teach teachers how to create magic

Ramsey Musallam: 3 rules to spark learning

Fawn Qiu: Easy DIY projects for kid engineers



“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” By Albert Einstein

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Google aims to make their search site as useful as possible including having what is referred to as instant search cards. Instant search cards are when interactive information is the first result which allows you to “experience” what you searched for. Below are the top ten instant search cards you can utilize in your classroom with your students!

  1. Roll a die: When you type this in a six sided die will appear for you to interact with by rolling it to see what number appears.
  2. Timer: When you type this in a timer appears that you can use for multiple reasons in the classroom such as for transitions. Student also love using it to help with time management.
  3. Weather: When you type in weather your local weather will appear.
  4. Flip a Coin: When you type flip a coin, like the die, a coin appears so you can “flip” it. It is a great way to see who starts first or for probability lessons.
  5. Definition of: When you type “definition of” and the word you want, the results will bring up a featured definition snippet in Google. No more going to a dictionary website for what you need!

There always fun Google “easter eggs” (an intentional hidden message, joke, or feature in a work such as a computer program, webpage, video game etc) such as pacman and “do a barrel roll”. My favorite is Google in 1998 as it takes you back to what Google looked like when it first launched in 1998!

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” By Jim Rohn

One of my goals on my professional bucket list was to be published; I am excited to say I have accomplished this goal!  I would love for you to download, How to Leverage Personalized Learning in the Classroom, my new FREE book co-written with Allison Zmuda. We dig into what personalized learning is and isn’t and how you can implement this philosophy into the classroom, school and district level.

I would love to here your comments, thoughts, questions and feedback! Please message me or add them into the comment section below.

“Nowadays, social media is the easiest place to go to find something. “By David Nail

Social Media consists of websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Some of the best known social media platforms are Twitter and Facebook. Today we are going to discuss how these two powerful platforms can grow your network and improve your craft as an educator.

Let’s start with Twitter. Twitter is an online social networking platform where users post and interact with messages, known as “tweets.” In education there are many ways that you can use twitter. Here are the top three ways:

  1. Follow Education Experts: Lots of ‘famous educators’ are on twitter that you can follow and see what their latest research or learn about the best practice that are happening in their classrooms. Some of my favorite people to follow are Paul Solarz, a practicing fifth grade teacher and author of Learn Like a Pirate, Pernille Ripp a 7th grade ELA teacher and author of a few books but my favorite of hers is Passionate Learners, Craig Gastauer, a high school teacher and Persinalized Learning Lead for his school, George Couros, principal and author of Innovator’s Mindset and Steven Weber, Associate Superintendent. We can also learn a lot from other experts outside of our elementary, middle and high school educators, such as psychologists, college or university professors, or education consultants who have plenty of research to share as well.
  2. Informational Text: Tweeters share a lot of great articles that you can use to grow yourself in your craft or for integrating into your classroom as part of relevant real world text. Follow hashtags or topics based on your interest. Some of my favorite hashtags to follow are #21stedchat, #edleadership and #cmspdl.
  3. Education Chats: Twitter chats may be the perfect form of professional development because they’re free and you get to choose the topic you want to learn about when you want to. Twitter chats  happen regularly and they give you access to a global community of educators with lots of perspectives. If you google education twitter chats, multiple twitter chat hashtags, dates and times will appear for you to choose from. Chats usually last one hour, but you may jump in and/or leave at your convenience and your needs. To begin slowly start be simply liking or retweet others’ chat responses to show support and to validate the ideas that resonate with you. The next step is to start commenting on others’ responses. Typically chats have Q = Question and A = Answer format so the narrator of the chat might have a tweet that says Q1 followed by a question and you would respond with A1. My twitter chat is #21stedchat and it happens every Sunday at 8:00pm EST.

Facebook is another great social media networking platform. Many think of it as a way to connect with friends but you can also use it to connect with educators.  

  1. Groups: There are a lot of great Facebook groups that share a lot of resources, ideas and can also serve as a great place to have though partners. Some of my favorite groups are Personalized Learning Collaboration, The Innovator’s Mindset (MOOC), Breakout Edu General Discussion and The Reading and Writing Strategies Book Community.
  2. Pages: Pages are a great place to follow as they also post resources and ideas but it is not as interactive as groups. Some of my favorite pages are CMS Personalized Digital Learning,  Learning Personalized, Edulum LLC and Getting Smart.

For the visual learners out there, or for those of you who are like me and sometimes want a picture to help spark an idea of your own, Instagram is the social media network avenue to take.  Like Facebook, Instagram can be used with a professional lens. There are lots of educators using Instagram to post pictures and videos of their classroom in action, as well as anchor charts and other resources they have created.  I suggest checking out @keslerscience and @nittygrittyscience where you can collect hands on science tasks and resources, and @worldlangcafe for my spanish and french teachers and  @subwaybookreview is another Instagram account to follow, but this one is a little different in that it is a collection of book reviews from subway riders from all over. Also, there are several Instagram accounts that are awesome ones to share with your students: Zion National Park (@zionnps), The National Gallery in London (@nationalgallery), The Smithsonian (@smithsonian) and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (@noaa).

There are other great social media networks out there besides Twitter and Facebook such as YouTube, Pinterest and Google+.  Social networks help to keep you in the loop about what is currently going on in education.  Today’s technology allows you to connect with people all over the world while in the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is scroll your newsfeed, join a group, or sign up for notifications and you will be apart of an amazing educators network!


“Innovation is creativity with a job to do.” by John Emmerling

One of my favorite conferences is #ncties18. This conference always gets my brain thinking in new ways and reenergizes me. There is a lot of great information in just a few short days so it always takes me a few days to process. The one word I could sum up this conference this year would be #inspired.


  1. Marley Emerson Dias: She is the amazing young lady that started #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign and wrote the book Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! She is the youngest to be named Forbes 30 under 30. Check out her resource library here.
  2. Kevin Carroll: I can’t say enough things about Kevin Carroll as he truely is a game changer and amazing at his job! I often times feel guilty that I don’t have the best work/life a balance but he made me realize that it is okay not to because I LOVE what I do! He had so many great quotes but these three are my favorites
    1. “The master in the art of living makes little distinction …..blur the lines of work and play and find the joy every single day.” Kevin Carroll
    2. It’s not enough to have an idea. You have to advance it.   The difference between a dream and a reality is action.” Kevin Carroll
    3. “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato
  3. Students at Stedwick Elementary School: I can’t do this video justice with words….just watch, The Lie.

New Tools and Ideas:

  1. YellKey – cool shorten link site
  2. Ziteboard: – white board for web browser
  3. #booksnaps – great way to add in digital literacy into your lessons

“Technology alone is not enough. It is technology married with the liberal arts married with the humanities that makes our hearts sing. When you keep people at the center of what you do, it can have an enormous impact.” Tim Cook


“The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion.” – Thích Nhất Hạnh

Mindfulness is the practice of paying careful attention to your thoughts, feelings, and environment and more and more schools are adding these practices into their classroom to help students. This past week I saw a few mindfulness strategies that helped students make better choices. The students were able to use these strategies to self-regulate their behavior whether it be from fear or anger. Below are a few ways you can start to add mindfulness practices into your classroom.

  1. Stress Relievers: Have an area in your classroom with stress relievers so that students can acknowledge when they are stressed, upset etc and make a positive choice. In this area you can have things like a Kinetic Sandbox, stress balls or fidget cubes.
  2. Morning Meetings: During this time you can incorporate strategies for students to learn such as positive affirmations or writing in a gratitude journal.
  3. Read Alouds: Choose books that center around mindfulness so that the characters are teaching the lesson. Some great read alouds that have a mindfulness themes are:
    1. The Snowman by Raymond Brigg
    2. I Can Handle It by Laurie Wright

    3. Be Kind  Pat Zietlow Miller

*Bonus: Adding in Random Acts of Kindness (see previous blog post) is another great way to add in mindfulness.

Here are more Mindfulness resources if you want to dive deeper:

How Mindfulness and Storytelling Can Help Students

Rethinking Professional Development: Using Mindfulness to Explore the Emotional Labor of Teaching

Mindfulness in the Classroom


“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life. ” By Joseph Addison

One of my favorite things to do is read. I am always reading two books at a time, a “fun” read and an educational/professional read. I feel it is important to always to continue to learn but just the other day I heard an educator say “I don’t read professional books anymore because I don’t know what else I can learn about my profession.” After being shocked, I pulled up my good reads list and gave her several book titles.

I believe no matter how old you are or what level of education you have, you can always learn and improve your craft. In dedication to this moment and to hopefully help others, I am sharing 5 non-educational books that taught me things about education that I have used in my job and classroom.

  1. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

  2. Soup: A Recipe to Create a Culture of Greatness by Jon Gordon

  3. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

  4. Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer  


I am always looking for a good read so please share your must read books below.

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