How Nature Inspires Better Design and (What This Means for Students)

We want students to be makers and designers. But there’s a surprising source of inspiration for design: the natural world. This is the key idea behind biomimicry, which encourages engineers to pay close attention to nature in order to improve their designs. The following post is an exploration of what this idea means for classroom […]

The Maker Monday Challenge: Begin Each Week on a Creative Note

One of the key take-aways from Moore’s Law is that technological developments tend to double every six months. Products that sounded like science fiction a generation ago are now so commonplace we take them for granted. We are in an era of rapid changes in social, technological, and economic systems. We live in an era […]

10 Creative Risks to Take with Students This Year

My daughter looks up from her cereal and says, “You know what day I can’t wait for?” “Um, your birthday?” She shakes her head. “Next Christmas?” She shakes her head again and then says, “The first day back to school. I can’t wait to see my friends and my teacher. I don’t know what projects […]

A Different Way to Set Goals for the New Year

With the new year coming up, there’s a good chance you’re coming up with some resolutions. Personally, I like the idea of coming up with a few really easy New Year’s Resolutions just to make it easier when I bomb in another area. I think this year I might make a resolution to eat breakfast […]

Design Thinking Can Work in Any Subject

Every day, I ask my kids, “What did you make in school today?” Too often, they can’t give me an answer. But on the days that they do, their eyes light up and they passionately describe their projects. It’s in those moments that I am reminded that making is magic. I want to see schools […]

Seven Teacher-Tested Strategies for Finding Renewal on Your Winter Break

I still remember my first winter break in my first year of teaching. I scratched out Christmas Eve and Christmas as true “days off,” but then I worked the rest of the time. I read two books on teaching. I took home a giant box full of papers to grade. I planned out my first […]

Join the Empower Book Club

Book clubs are a powerful form of professional development. It shifts professional reading from something solitary to something collaborative and social. When this happens, you get the chance to wrestle with hard questions and bounce ideas back and forth with a community. For this reason, I will be launching a book club for Empower. Where […]

Ten Creative Alternatives to Showing Movies Before the Break

Don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of this post to download the Ten Creative Ways to End the Semester Resource Pack.  Let’s just put it out there. December is exhausting for teachers. The days are shorter. The weather grows colder and (at least here in Oregon) wetter. Students are anxious — whether it’s a […]

Five Ways to Boost Student Engagement with Flow Theory

If we want students to develop a maker mindset, we need to empower them to hit a state of creative flow. Flow Theory explains what happens when we hit that place of “optimal experience,” where you are fully engaged, present, and focused. The following blog post explores what it means to help students reach a […]

Because of a Teacher

Last Tuesday, I experienced that weird role reversal of parent-teacher conferences. Suddenly, I felt that same anxiety that I had seen with so many of the parents of my former students. Were my son and daughter doing okay? Were they making friends? Were they being respectful? Were they mastering the standards? My son and daughter […]