Running a Growth Mindset with Edu Ninja Mindset


A few weeks ago, I was on my Facebook when the time hop showed up. I saw a few pictures of myself in 2014, 2015 and one just from last year. I looked at those pictures and went: “I look better then.” Physically that is, I was in better shape, I was thinner and I had more hair. Now, most would say: “Well, that’s getting older.”, but I really started to wonder what changed. Then I started realizing it, it was how I was moving and how I was thinking.

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Be Real by Tara Martin Review

As many of you know, I am currently on my summer reading. I’m reading a lot (I’m on book 9) of incredible teacher books. Ranging from individual authors to of course the Dave Burgess Consulting Inc and IM Press print. Late last week, Be Real by Tara Martin arrived. If the name sounds familar, Tara is the founder of #Booksnaps. Booksnaps if you are wondering in Tara’s own words: “Documenting our key takeaways and creating this visual digital representation of our thoughts between face-to-face meetings. Then, add them to our “Snap Story” for daily viewing.” I have to admit, I have been Booksnapping a lot since that article came out. I was someone who really did not see the point of Snap Chat. Seriously, I had students coming to my office asking for help with the App a couple of years ago and I was going: “Seriously? Instagram is so much better.” Then I switched school and several of my co-workers were using it for various filters and video. So, I jumped on board, but it was Tara who really showed me the great use for using Snap Chat in education (sorry Maggie Cox). That was what Tara did, she taught many of us a “real” way to use Snapchat in education and that’s where my review of Be Real comes in.

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Giving Students Learning Opportunities with Donors Choose

A few days ago, I was thrilled to see that one of my Donors Choose Projects, The Flipgrid Studio part 2 was fully funded. Allowing me to get the needed materials to start giving students more of a voice in my classroom through Flipgrid. The plan for the recording studio was to be the start of what I’m hoping will lead to students to be more creative in the classroom. In Sparks in the Dark by Travis Crowder and Todd Nesloney, the two talk about giving students new learning opportunities that are not available to them. Using resources such as Donors Choose and other school funding when there are limitations. Most of the time those limitations are placed on ourselves when we don’t think outside the box. I started using Donors Choose almost three years ago when a fellow teacher and I wanted to start bringing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art & mathematics) to our art curriculum. Something that was unheard of and we didn’t have the budget to get the needed items to start using drones and spheros in the classroom. We went with Donors Choose and while we had a high goal we had to accomplish. We were able to do it with a few weeks left in our project and our student and school were better for not giving up. It lead to many of our fellow teachers working their own Donors Choose Projects and through a lot of networking and hard work. We usually got them funded. However, there were still nay sayers going: “What do you have to prove, sometimes kids just can’t get the resources they want or need.” That was a challenge I took to heart.

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#DBC50Summer Reading


Summer is here, like many educators, we look at the days of the 3 other Rs: Refuel, Recharge, and Read. Summer was always a time of reading for me, back to the day where I would sit on the front porch in summer reading comic books or the latest novel that caught my interest. In the Summer of 2014, something drastic happened, as many of you know as the school year came to a close in 2014 I was feeling burned out. I wasn’t feeling very motivated, I was more of an administrator than teacher and I would go into my office and just look at my screen after finishing paper work and go: “Now what?” However, it was that Spring I discovered Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess and things completely changed. I found a re-ignition of passion and began buying every book that would be released by Dave Burgess Consulting Inc and they became my constant PD books during the summer. In the past two months thanks to Dave and Shelly Burgess, Jay Billy, Wendy Hankins and some well timed Amazon Gift Cards. I started my Summer of 2018 reading list in early May of a whopping 8 books. I’m here to give a brief review of them, what I found amazing about each one and a little sneak peak at home I’m using them in the classroom this upcoming school year as I begin building the Classroom of Pixels (#PixelClassroom).

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Pepper Effecting Bloxels

The past few days, I have been working on my summer reading and in the past few days I have been reading: Lead with Culture by Jay Billy and just recently started The Pepper Effect by Sean Gaillard. In Lead with Culture, Jay talked about being intentional with our actions. He highlighted a great point in chapter 8 on page 68 about a teacher who used a Letter–type format for students to practice. The original intention was for students to practice spelling. The teacher saw the activity on Pinterest and thought it would be fun and it was. In the classroom. When it was given as homework it lost it’s purpose and really rang true with me. Something I try to avoid is busy work for students, but a trick is make activities and lessons with a purpose. I’m currently working on a Donors Choose to get a full classroom set of Bloxels for my students for the spring of 2019. My past students found Bloxels amazing, as they were able to create their own games. However, reviewing my past students, many students just saw using Bloxels as making games and weren’t finding the main purpose in their learning with Bloxels. So, I began to do research on how to make learning with Bloxels have a larger purpose with my high school students when we get our Bloxels and I didn’t have to look much farther than The Pepper Effect.

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Letting Students Speak

A few days ago, I received my copy of: Let Them Speak by Rebecca Coda and Rick Jetter. Let Them Speak! is an amazing book on how to find out what your students really think, feel, and need, and what to do with the feedback you get from students, and how to use student voice to improve education and school culture. As many of you know, I have been a big advocate for Student Voice for a few years and in the last year, I have used Flipgrid to amplify Student Voice. So much, I am working on several Donors Choose projects to turn half of my classroom into a Flipgrid Recording Student. You can learn about that more here. As inspiring of the book is and the many notes, I have taken, I wanted to try something a little different to give students a focus on what they want to speak about. Sometimes students know what they want to talk about, but are not sure if it is: a question, idea, an thought of change or something completely innovative and I found just the thing with a little Pixel Classroom and Perler Beads.

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