How to become a teacher who innovates

Have you ever thought, "I'm not one of those innovative, creative teachers?" Innovation is a skill. Build it like a muscle. Here are some ideas. (Sketch by Matt Miller)

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’m just not one of those innovative teachers. Creative ideas don’t just pop into my head.”? This post and this video are for you. (Know someone who thinks that? Maybe you can pass this along to him/her.) I’ve felt this way most often at teaching conferences. I’ll sit in […]

Engaging classes vs. test prep: Can we have both?


Teachers are so buried in requirements, paperwork and other demands on their classroom time. To make matters worse, high-stakes tests can sap the joy out of teaching very quickly. When there’s more content to cover than there is time to do it meaningfully, every day in class can feel like a threat to a teacher’s […]

8 ways this middle school innovates for its students

What students need from school is changing, and schools need to keep up. Here are eight ways this middle school is changing to make school more relevant. (Wikimedia / U.S. Navy)

Some schools are really ditching that “textbook” view of education and finding creative ways to reach their students and meet their needs. I was fortunate to visit one of those recently. I got to check out New Fairfield Middle School in New Fairfield, CT, the 2014-15 Connecticut Middle School of the Year. After a tour […]

Seeing tech in the classroom as ‘just another thing’

Technology doesn't have to be something else to add to your already full plate in the classroom. It should be the secret sauce that takes class from good to great. (Sketch by Matt Miller)

Jam-packed curriculum. State assessments and required lessons. Field trips and school assemblies. Our lesson plan books are already packed to the gills. Class time is so precious. With all the interruptions and impositions on it, we feel like we have to make the most of every minute, especially when lots of goals and benchmarks ride […]

6 easy ways to start flipping your classroom now

Flipping your classroom frees you up to work more directly with students in class. Here are some practical ways to make flipped learning happen. (Creative Commons image via

Flipped classroom is definitely a buzzword in education. It has been for years. And rightfully so — the model leverages technology to create an environment that can make a huge difference in many classrooms. Some people see the flipped classroom as something complex or hard to reach. With a little direction and some determination to […]

A framework for creating wildly engaging lessons

Looking for the secret sauce that helps you create wildly engaging lessons? The five parts of this framework have helped me. (Sketch by Matt Miller)

As a teacher, I’ve always been looking for that secret sauce for creating lessons that students love. You know, those lessons that they’ll think of and talk about long after the bell rings. Those special lessons that help them remember a tricky concept they might not get otherwise. In my years of teaching, I’ve found […]

10 ways for teachers, students to share links in class

Links are like digital currency in class. Teachers and students can distribute those links quickly and easily with these options. (Public domain image via

In a class with technology, links are like digital currency. If you have the right ones to the right places, you can quickly open up doors to great learning opportunities. The key is having them at the right time and being able to deliver them to students. Sometimes, teachers ask me, “That’s a great activity, […]

8 interactive Google Slides activities for classroom excitement

Google Slides isn't just for delivering presentations to an audience. Here are eight activities that bring interactive learning to students. (Public domain image via

So often, people think of presentation slides as just that: a visual aid for delivering a presentation in front of an audience. But these slide apps (like Google Slides and PowerPoint in Office 365) really are powerful tools for delivering interactive user experiences. They can also create visually stimulating products to deliver a message and valuable […]

Ditch That Textbook’s Best of 2015

2015 was full of change, and 2016 is full of promise. Here are the top 10 best posts from Ditch That Textbook for 2015. (Public domain image via Pixabay)

2015 was a whirlwind year full of change. In education, Google Classroom was around for its first full year and became a mainstay in classes around the world. New tools like Periscope and Seesaw became more popular than ever. More and more educators became connected, joining Twitter, Voxer and other social media. For me and […]