If you want to be good

If you want to be good- and I mean, really, really, good- what you do has to take over everything in your life.

You have to breathe it.

Drink it.

Become it.

You have to go to bed thinking about it, and wake up early ready to do more. You have to stay up late and wake up early. You have to skip breakfast. Skip lunch.


Building Culture

The best classrooms have established a culture for themselves.

This is not an accident.

This culture stresses and rewards the ideals of the teacher, as shown to the students. The culture has to be- and this is key-  absolutely authentic for the teacher. It has to be real. It has to be genuine.

Be unabashed. Be bold. Be a dork. And do it every day, with a smile, and with no patience whatsoever for anything less than enthusiasm.

Just getting by will be the death of the culture of your classroom.


Getting multiple people all to share the same vision is a wildly difficult task.

The issue is compounded if people are passionate about the subject matter. Emotions become involved. Tempers flare. Rational thought takes a back seat.

It can be worth bringing in an objective unattached third party to make sure the relevant issue are the ones being debated.

Every Single Day

I’ve been posting here every singe day.

And what’s strange is it’s getting easier.

I was always worried about having enough to talk about- that I’d run short of ideas. But the more I write here, the more ideas I have.

So do something every single day if you want to get better at it.


I’m back to keeping a list of books to read- physically written down in my daybook.

A daybook, you might be wondering, is a notebook you carry with you everyday. Everything goes in it- lists, projects, ideas, research, resources, diagrams, contacts- everything. You date the first entry. You date every entry after that. You number the pages and don’t tear any out.

When it’s done, you write the start and end dates on the spine, and file it in the archive. If you’re really good, you index it first, or at least tag the most relevant/important ideas and projects that come out of it.

The daybook becomes an extension of your brain. It allows you to always have someplace to capture your ideas- however small- and be able to get back to them.

It allows you to get back to good ideas that happen at the wrong time.

Two types of projects.

The first type is the sort where you can do things in chunks. Spend 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there, and make consistant (though small) progress.

The second type requires larger focused chunks- three to eight hours of hard deliberate time, all at once. Things not doable in smaller increments.

Make sure you identify which of the two you’re embarking on.


Letting go.

A bunch of the bio’s of me floating around out there mention me as an “archivist.” That’s two steps away from being a hoarder. One, maybe. I keep files on all sorts of things- projects, mentions, ideas, discoveries, artifacts of my life- and I’m pretty good about keeping it organized and culling from time to time.

I found an old unfinished project of mine the other day- a book I’d been working on called “Cinderblocks & Greasepens.”

The file itself is very complete- it has the full succession of proofs from the start of the project up until it’s abandoning. Original art, cropping notes, color tests- the works. The shocking part for me was to re-visit and see how many proof cycles it had been through. My quick counting showed at least 8 full proofs. That’s not counting testing and drafts and everything else. The book kept evolving- shrinking and expanding- as time went on and I struggled to find the exact right tone and combination of design parameters to satisfy my shifting tastes. That book will stay in the archives- it’ll never get finished and never be released. It’s time has passed.

And what this really tells me is that sometimes you just have to pull the trigger. You have to say “That’s it.” And even if you’re not 100% sure about the thing, you have to let it go anyway. If you don’t it’ll spend it’s life mumbling around some archival purgatory- and worse yet- you’ll never get the feedback you need to know what to do on the next project.


Thank you, Instapaper

Instapaper has added the excellent Open-Dyslexia font to the options for readers.

That means you can read anything you’ve saved to there in a lovely bottom-weighted font that helps with letter confusion and swapping.

Get to it, people!

Why do we let non-educators…

…decide anything about education?

I mean, in my state, if you’re an educator, that means you have both a BA or BS, as well as a MS/MA. That means that we have advanced graduate degrees in the field of education. That would make us experts.

But we allow non-educators, laypeople, politicians and the like to tell us how/what we need to being doing.

I don’t tell particle physicists how to run experiments.

I don’t tell my doctor how to treat my illness.

I don’t tell an architect how to design a building.

So why would someone else tell me how to teach?