Why Every Classroom Should Be a Makerspace

This is the first post in a week-long series on makerspaces.  I once taught an eighth-grade student who had written four novels online, despite the fact that she had only been learning English for three years. She spent her free time in class looking up how to set up lead magnets and create funnels for […]

Teachers Need a Roadmap, Not an Instruction Manual

Last October, A.J. Juliani shared an idea for a book we should write together. After we had talked about student choice, voice, and ownership, he said, “I want to do a follow-up to Launch called Empower. Let’s make it a why book. Let’s make it a book about a big idea.” We decided to make a different kind of […]

School Should Be Impractical (The Practical Benefits of Being Impractical)

Schools are designed to be practical but this has a hidden drawback. Innovation is often impractical because it’s unpredictable. So, what if the push toward “practical skills” in school is actually making learning impractical? And what if impractical ideas and skills we ignore are actually what students will use later in life? Listen to the […]

Find the Hidden Opportunity

It seems counterintuitive but gratitude can actually help us find the hidden opportunities that lead to creativity and innovation in the classroom.   Listen to the Podcast Just click on the audio below to listen to this Creative Classroom podcast. You can also listen to it on the go by subscribing on iTunes (ideal for iPhone […]

You Don’t Have to Wait to Innovate

When I was a first-year teacher, my team leader Nancy gave me this heaping box of classroom supplies. On the top, she placed a notecard with the words New Teacher Card. On the back of the notecard, she wrote a note explaining that I could play this card when I messed up. “You’re new and you make […]

Treat Every Lesson Like an Experiment

I’m just going to put it out there. I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to making videos. For the last six weeks, I’ve been experimenting and trying things out. Every time I get ready to publish a video, these fears swirl around my mind. What if it’s not good enough? What if […]

Should school be more confusing?

Before getting started, I thought I’d let you know about my vlog (video blog) that I’ve been doing each week. Here’s my latest one on this very subject. If you like this video, please click “like” and share it with others. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my channel. It would mean a lot to me. I […]

How Action Research Sparks Innovation and Boosts Creativity in the Classroom

What happens when you give students exemplars? Do they simply copy the pre-existing examples? Do they fail to take creative risks? Do they internalize the idea that their work must fit a previous model? Does it implicitly tell students “this is what it should look like?” These were the questions swirling around my head a […]

Innovation May Be a Buzzword, But It’s a Term I’ve Grown to Love

If you like this sketchy video, I encourage you to subscribe to my channel and be the first to see my latest short videos. I used to hate the word “innovative.” See those quotes right there around the word? Those are actually air quotes that I would use whenever I used the term. “It’s a […]

It’s a Big Deal to Someone (The Power of Tiny Innovations)

My kids don’t have homework this year. Both the middle school and the elementary school in our area have abandoned the practice. The result? My oldest son is researching ancient civilizations and peppering me with questions about the Assyrians (yes, they were that brutal and they included them in their frescos). My middle son has […]