Cultivating an Innovator’s Mindset in schools today

The world is changing quickly, and schools must change, too, to stay relevant to their students. Here are ideas from The Innovator's Mindset that inspired me. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

Sometimes, when I get ready to write a new blog post, I have this nervous excitement in my fingertips. When that happens, I know I have something really good to share with you. Today’s one of those days. The world is changing very quickly. Technology is changing. The workforce is changing. Our students are changing, and […]

Google Apps “GAFE Smashing” activities — Part 1: Dynamic Docs

Google Apps are powerful classroom tools by themselves. When you smash multiple apps together in one activity, magic can happen. Here are some examples. (Public domain image via

Google Apps make so many fantastic classroom activities possible. When you smash together multiple Google Apps to create one big activity, those possibilities grow exponentially. Have you ever heard the phrase, “We’re better together”? That’s the way Google Apps are. This idea was discussed by the moderators of the #DitchBook Twitter chat (held Thursdays at […]

End the school year with Epic Review Olympics (free templates!)

The end of the school year is high time for review. Make your experience EPIC with the review to end all reviews!

As the school year starts to come to a close, a couple of things are certain. Student motivation will be soaring high. (Not!) Reviewing previous content get more and more important. There are lots of ways to make review engaging, but my students have always responded to review games. They get the competitive juices flowing, […]

15 ways to use Snapchat in classes and schools

Classes, schools and districts can use Snapchat to engage and connect with  students and families safely. Here are some ideas. (Public domain image via / Luis Wilker Perelo / CCo)

Companies are starting to flock to Snapchat. McDonald’s and Taco Bell are using it to get Snapchatters interested in their products. The NBA and MLS are giving behind-the-scenes footage from their sports worlds. CNN is reporting news content, and The Food Network is providing an extension to its programming. They’re providing content that’s interesting. They’re […]

Snapchat 101 for teachers — What you need to know


In my first conversation about Snapchat with another educator, I didn’t have a very open mind. “Let’s Snapchat each other to talk about it more!” she said. I politely declined. I didn’t want anything to do with it. Snapchat had gained a reputation as a place where kids go to swap inappropriate pictures. Today, it […]

14 copyright essentials teachers and students must know

Using copyrighted material incorrectly can land teachers and students in hot water. Here's what you need to know to stay safe. (Image by geralt via / CC0)

Students and teachers toe a very fuzzy ethical line every day — many without even realizing it. Some end up on the safe side of the line, but others cross the line and cross ethical boundaries — and sometimes costly legal ones. That line is the copyright line, deciding how teachers and students can respect […]

Use Google Drawings for brain-friendly visual notetaking


Our brains like words. But they really love images. The brain works in images. When we talk, our brains change the information we’re receiving into images to encode it and make it available for recall later. A powerful way to take advantage of that is visual notetaking — recording ideas using both images and text. […]

How to make resources more accessible for struggling readers

Creating digital resources for students is important, but we must make sure they're accessible to all students. Here are some tips. (Public domain image via

I’m a huge fan of creating custom resources for student learning. We, as teachers, know exactly what our students need much better than a textbook company hundreds or thousands of miles away. For me, that often came in the form of Google Docs with information my students were responsible for and a website for pointing students […]

10 research-based insights on how the brain learns

What we believe about learning is sometimes totally opposite to how the brain actually learns. Here are 10 insights on how the brain learns. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

I remember struggling with social studies classes in high school and college. The content fascinated me. I loved hearing the stories of conflicts and resolutions. Wars and strategies. Politics and leverage. Power and influence. Plus, I met my wife in a social studies class (Intro to Political Science) as a college freshman, and she’s now […]