Friday, February 16, 2018

Teaching Tip #105



Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #105

Do you have an innovator’s mindset?  Here are the 8 characteristics of the innovator’s mindset.

6.  Creators

What I love so much about the innovator’s mindset in my classes is that I get to create right along with my students.  Over the years, I’ve come to have students produce and create more projects than I have them simply do small menial tasks that meet the standards.

Here are some of my favorite things my students create: Linchpin boards, braided essays, Sticky-Note book talks, MGRP, and TED Talks.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Teaching Tip #104


Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #104

Do you have an innovator’s mindset?  Here are the 8 characteristics of the innovator’s mindset.

5.  Observant

I think this is one of the best things about our mandated peer observations.

There are so many great things happening . . . in our buildings!

Observe them and steal, steal, steal.



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Teaching Tip #103


Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #103

Do you have an innovator’s mindset?  Here are the 8 characteristics of the innovator’s mindset.

4.  Networked

Twitter to the rescue here.

I always tell my UND students that if you can’t spend 30 minutes on Twitter and get a year’s worth of professional development, you’re following the wrong damn people on Twitter.

Here is a list of amazing people with whom you should network.

Twitter, of course, isn’t the only place to network.  Pinterest, Facebook, and Youtube are great ways to connect.

And there is always good old email.

That is how I was able to get in touch with one of my all time heroes.



Monday, February 12, 2018

Teaching Tip #102


Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #102

Do you have an innovator’s mindset?  Here are the 8 characteristics of the innovator’s mindset.

3.  Risk takers

When I look back on all the cool things we do in College Comp I and College Comp II (the Linchpin boards, the exit interviews at Digi Key, the “remarkable” project, the braided essay, the mock TED Talk, reading The Ghost Map, students presenting their own lessons for Steal Like an Artist . . . these all have come out of risks I have taken.

As Mr. Zutz advised me every time I asked him if I could take a risk for one of these projects: “Go for it, Kurt,” Shane always said.  “Just make sure that if you fail, do it in front of your students.”

“Why?” I asked.

“So you can model how you recover.  Students need to see us take risks and see how we recover when those risks don’t work out.”

That is brilliant.




Friday, February 09, 2018

Teaching Tip #101


Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #101

Do you have an innovator’s mindset?  Here are the 8 characteristics of the innovator’s mindset.

2.  Problem finders/solvers

This TED Talk makes a great point about our curriculum – even if this teacher happens to focus just on math – but the problems in the real world aren’t just found neatly in the back of the book.  So how do we help students find problems and work to solve them.  

Here is another great TED Talk – again from a teacher, this time an elementary school teacher – that looks at how the future problems are not going to be as simple as multiple choice.

I don’t think that means they magically have to actually solve them.  I think the most important thing is that they identify the problems around them and work to find a solution . . . hopefully with others.

Isn’t that what we really want our kids to grow up and be able to do?

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Teaching Tip #100


Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #100

Do you have an innovator’s mindset?  Here are the 8 characteristics of the innovator’s mindset.

1.  Empathetic

Do you remember what it was like to be the age of your students?  Was your subject the #1 priority in your life back then?

Probably not.

Thus, have some empathy for students.

That doesn’t mean cut them a break.  It just means try to look at your class from their perspective.  This leads – if done correctly – for us to try and make our learning more engaging.

Now engaging means many things.  I can’t watch a lively debate and be totally engaged.  I can watch a slick Youtube video and be totally engaged.  I can read an article in Time and be totally engaged.

Engagement doesn’t always mean entertainment.

One of my former students gave me incredibly high praise when she thanked me for teaching her and – in her words – “for never making any of it boring.”

That’s as good as it gest for me.


Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Teaching Tip #99



Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #99

Be better than everyone else, part 3.

One of my favorite professional development resources is the podcast Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey.


Cockerell notes that the niche that sets you apart can be anything –

Are you willing to just work harder than anyone else?  One thing that drove me nuts about Mr. Zutz was that every Sunday when I pulled up to LHS, he was already there working.  That set him apart.

Are you willing to serve on more committees than anyone else?  One thing I admire about Kelly Weets is that she is involved in everything. And she is so damn good at helping others out by getting involved in committees.  That sets her apart.

Are you willing to coach or advise?

Are you willing to earn extra degrees?

Are you willing to engage with students more than anyone else?

How do you go about setting yourself apart so that you are exceptional for your students?