The Complete Guide to 20% Time (and Genius Hour) in the Classroom

Time Window designed by from the Noun Project

It's been almost a full three years since I told my students they would have 20% of their class time to work on whatever project they were inspired to create. Since then I've learned so much from my students and our amazing community of 20% time and Genius Hour teachers. I have tried to share [...]

Schools Should be Like Netflix, Not Blockbuster

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Teaching has changed forever (and will continue to change). Want to know why? It's not because of new standards. It's not because the state is telling us to do something differently. It's not because the federal government is asking for more accountability. Our teaching practice has to change because of one very important truth... Our learners [...]

The Manifesto We Should Read to Students Every Day


The Holstee Manifesto is a reminder of what life is about. As we continue to "prepare" our students for "college & career" throughout their education…let's not forget about their lives. It is easy to get caught up in the grind for both teachers and students. But this Manifesto can bring everyone back to what we [...]

Google Drive Ate My Homework…and Other Excuses That Don’t Work

When I was in high school my excuses for missed assignments were the stuff of legend (at least I thought so). I usually had some type of reason that made perfect sense to me, but really must have confused the heck out of most of my teachers. Then again, I'm betting they knew...because as a [...]

Your Words Matter.


I had a teacher who once told me I would most likely be a college dropout. Her words mattered. When I told my wife I wanted to write a book and she said without blinking an eye, “Do it.” Her words mattered. I told my daughter the other day how proud I was of her [...]

10 Ways for New School Leaders to Use Twitter


I'm the new guy at our school district, and this is my first administrative role in a school. Let me first say that it is a lot of hard work, but it is also a lot of fun connecting with new teachers, administrators, and an entire community. In the past few months all of our [...]

Spark Innovation In Your Classroom with Passionate Teaching


This was originally published in a TeachThought guest post.  John Maeda grew up working in his family’s Seattle tofu store in the 1980s. He was a bright and curious student who self-taught himself some computer coding in high school with no internet to learn from. Like many high school students he had dreams, but very little [...]

This is not a lesson plan.


Coming into student teaching I was really confident about my lesson planning abilities. I was a bit worried about classroom management, designing assessments, and handling the demands of a first-year teacher…but lesson plans? Ha. I aced every single one of them during college. That was the easy part. We were teaching Frankenstein when I finally got [...]

Why It Is So Important to Visit Other Schools (and how to do it right)


I recently lead a team of six Middle School teachers and our Middle School Principal on a school visit. We are just starting a Chromebook pilot with our 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Language Arts teachers, and this visit was to a school district that has a 1:1 Chromebook initiative running from 5th-12th grade. It [...]