What Our Rescue Dog Taught Me About Life, Learning, and Creativity

I wasn’t always a dog lover. I used to be a dog-liker and most of the time a dog-tolerator. I never understood why people would get bumper stickers with their favorite dog breed and I cringed a little when I heard the phrase “he’s part of our family.” But I’ve become that guy. I have […]

Was Yoda a Good Teacher? (Happy Star Wars Day)

Happy Star Wars Day! Here’s a reflection about Yoda, teaching, and the deeply human element of being a teacher. Why Yoda Was a Bad Teacher A Fixed Mindset: Yoda took one look at Anakin Skywalker and determined that he had no future. He believed that Anakin’s current character would define who Anakin had to become. […]

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 […]

I Was Just Like Neville Longbottom When I Was a Kid

When I was in the 7th grade, I this pair of shorts that were, well, embarrassing. They were way too short. They were pleated. They were plaid. They were everything you were not supposed to wear if you didn’t want to get beat up. But I wore them anyway because my grandma had made them for […]

Who Are the Hagrids in Your Building? How Are You Helping Them?

At first glance, it would seem that Hagrid has all the makings of a great teacher. He is willing to take creative risks. He has a deep and passionate knowledge of his content area. And most importantly, he cares about his students. But unfortunately, content knowledge and compassion aren’t enough to guarantee success. There’s a […]

Would you let your kids attend Hogwarts?

Warning: this post may contain spoilers. If you haven’t read the books, go do that now and then come back to this post later.  Let’s just put it out there. Hogwarts is probably a terrible place to send your kids. It’s dangerous, and I’m not just talking about the basilisks, trolls, and dementers. It’s also […]

Want Students to Be More Creative? Try Adding More Play.

We’re from Phoenix, which alternates between blazingly hot and nice. We had two seasons: football and baseball. The only thing that changed color in the fall were the license plates of all the people ditching this thing called snow, which I’m just discovering now that I live in Oregon. When we first moved here, people […]

In an Age of Artificial Intelligence, Philosophy Is More Vital Than Ever

Imagine you are building a self-driving car. Chances are you’ll look for a team of engineers who can figure out how to make each part work fluidly in an interconnected manner. You’d look for software engineers and mechanical engineers and experts in user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. But then you realize that people […]

The Benefits of Being Goofy

William Chamberlain is one of my favorite teachers on Twitter. He is bold, humble, relentless, and unabashedly curious. The other day he tweeted this out, so, as a joke, Philip Cummings and I both turned these into “inspirational” quote images for tweets. As I think about my oldest son moving into middle school, my hope […]