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20 October 2014 ~ 2 Comments

Lessons learned from 30 days of PIRATE teaching

Lessons learned from 30 days of PIRATE teaching

For an entire month, I morphed into a pirate in my classroom. Well, that’s not totally accurate. There were no eye patches, hooks, peg legs or parrots. I morphed into a PIRATE, as in “Teach Like a PIRATE,” the widely-read teaching book penned by Dave Burgess. The word “PIRATE” in his book is an acronym [...]

16 October 2014 ~ 1 Comment

The Google Classroom Quick-Start Guide + tips and tricks!

Thousands of teachers are certainly finding their way to Google Classroom. It has been as billed by Google: less focus on tech, more focus on teaching. It has made managing Google Apps files in schools more streamlined and communicating with classes easier. Have you set up Classroom in your classroom? If you’re like many teachers [...]

13 October 2014 ~ 1 Comment

Want to promote creativity? Battle self-consciousness

Want to promote creativity? Battle self-consciousness

There’s so much emphasis on creativity, on students creating. For good reason, too. The term “create” is at the heart of the word “creative.” Someone who creates, by definition, is creative — one who creates. Often, people see themselves as “creative people” or not so, but it’s not exactly that simple. A study done by the [...]

09 October 2014 ~ 2 Comments

Sheldon Cooper, Barney Stinson, Elsa and Connected Educator Month

October is Connected Educator Month. There are tons of resources to help teachers get connected to each other, learn about topics of interest, and get the support they need. Being a connected educator, personally, has changed my life. Just a few years ago, I was an isolated high school Spanish teacher — the only one [...]

06 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Gamification: How Clash of Clans changed my class

Gamification: How Clash of Clans changed my classroom

My 5-year-old son loves the game Clash of Clans. If you’ve never played this online multiplayer game, the premise is this: You create an army of warriors and a village for them to live in. Then you find armies of other users of the game and you do battle against them. You earn gold and elixir [...]

02 October 2014 ~ 3 Comments

10 ways to take your Google Apps activities to the next level

10 ways to take your Google Apps activities to the next level

As computers became more widespread in schools and Microsoft Office were the staple programs, it felt like enough to assign a student to create a Word document. Create a PowerPoint. Create an Excel spreadsheet. End of story. Although that still exists today (I slip back into that mindset if I’m not careful), there’s so much [...]

29 September 2014 ~ 3 Comments

Struggling with a class? Words of wisdom from my readers

Struggling with a class? Words of wisdom from my readers

If you haven’t heard, I’ve had a rough time with one of my classes. A quick recap: big class, big personalities, shushing, punishing, yelling and cutting off from technology. That’s the 12-word summary of my post from last week. After I published that post, two great things happened. One was that I had a couple [...]

25 September 2014 ~ 29 Comments

Turning into the teacher I don’t want to be

I’m struggling with a class right now more than I have in years. I know that these posts here on Ditch That Textbook aren’t generally about me and my situation, but I really feel compelled to write about this one. It’s a large class — so large that I had to find a spare desk and [...]

22 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

The biggest hurdle in educational technology — and how to clear it

There’s a reason the phrase “don’t reinvent the wheel” came into existence. Often, we don’t have to start a new idea from scratch when a simple tweak will do the trick. But sometimes, we just have to destroy that wheel and build a new one. That’s basically what we’re committing to do when we cross [...]

18 September 2014 ~ 6 Comments

How to change this classroom habit we’ve gotten wrong for years

How to change this classroom habit we've gotten wrong for years

For a long time, I’ve called myself the “King of the Stick Figure” in my own classroom. If we’re telling a story in my Spanish class or practicing with vocabulary terms, they’re usually all over the board. They’re what I’d call “modified stick figures” or even “glorified stick figures” with accessories: shoes, hair, a cane, [...]