“Be so good they can’t ignore you” and other things I learned this week

Rough draft thinking – Interesting thoughts here on rough draft thinking. Essentially the idea is that you encourage students to view their talk in class discussions as being in rough draft form. This encourages students to use talk in a way that they don’t feel like they have to have the right answer, especially initially. This encourages students, ideally, to worry less about being right, recognizing that their working towards a better understanding.

My writing – I wrote up this post on How ten minutes on Twitter reminds you that you’re awful and not trying hard enough. It discusses how it’s easy to fall into the mental trap that everyone around you is doing better than you. I also wrote this post entitled It’s just a notebook and it’s stupid. This was a fun piece about how I agonized for months over the best way to use my shiny new notebook.

34 Reasons my Toddler Lost her Shit – by Stephanie Wittles Wachs If you have had, do have, know of, or were a kid then you might appreciate this article. It’s a great 2 minute read that perfectly encapsulates life with a toddler.

Tim Ferris Podcast (again) – As has tended to be the case in the weekly recap, I ended up with a couple revelations listening to The Tim Ferris show podcast. The episode was Marc Andreessen — Lessons, Predictions, and Recommendations from an Icon. Marc said two things that stuck with me. The first was “Smart people should build things”. The second was a quote from Steve Martin which was, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” (Click here to jump directly to that part of the podcast.)

My AP Calc students finished their final projects (In which they had to spend two weeks learning anything they wanted) and there were a few that stood out. Check out this time-lapse video of a student building a card house. One of the most interesting projects was by a girl who’s family is originally from Palestine. She chose to learn two things. First, she wanted to learn documentary filmmaking. Second, she wanted to learn about her family history. She put these two things together and produced the short video below. Have a look!

Last, I’ve been giggling about this meme all week. Thanks for reading!

This is a weekly recap of the major things I learned or have been thinking about this week. It’s primarily for me but I thought other people might find it interesting as well. All these posts have been categorized under “Weekly Recap”.

Never stop learning – Life after my master’s

At the risk of writing too in depth about how much I plan to write, I’m going to explain my plan to write more and the reasons for it.

The primary reason I started a blog early on in my career is that many educators that I encountered on the internet via social media maintained blogs. These were frequently deep wells of resources and insights into the teaching profession from which I gained much. A recurring theme on the purpose of these blogs was reflection, and I see now that this is a form of deliberate practice for educators. It keeps reflection purposeful and useful, going beyond sitting at your desk at the end of the school day wondering what just happened and what the hell you’re supposed to take from it (e.g. how I spent many afternoons in my first couple years).

But ever since I started getting into the Internet I’ve enjoyed putting my thoughts out “there”. I used the “notes” feature in Facebook frequently (which nobody else really used and I’m not even sure exists anymore), including a time that I posted a term paper I wrote in college to see what people thought.

I can’t explain why I enjoy the process of creating something and putting it out in the open. But I guess I do and to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t matter. I like it so I’m going to do more of it.

I could end the post there I suppose. One of the purposes of this post was to pin down my reasons for changing my approach to my blog/site. Having done that, I’ll briefly explain the changes I plan to make.


I’ve avoided consistently writing/posting/sharing/reflection for a number of reasons but time is the main one. In the last five years I’ve had a child, got a dog, taught a college class, taught every high school math class we offer, sat on school improvement teams, presented at conferences, and coached quiz bowl. Oh, I also earned my Master’s in education technology. Not that this is unlike many young teachers, but it didn’t leave much time to work on my blog.

Now that I’ve graduated there are a few things I hope to accomplish with my site.

First, I want to increase posting frequency. I want to continue my weekly recap post. I plan on making it a bit shorter but I think there’s value in that post for me and possibly for others (see last week’s here). In this post I sum up a few of the things I’ve been reading, learning, listening to, and thinking about over the previous week. It’s good for my learning and maybe provides a nice curation of interesting stuff for others.

Second, I want to post some sort of reflection/idea/thought once a week. Topics will likely frequently be about education but I’m allowing them to veer away from it as well (you’ll see why in the upcoming post “Not letting my career define me”). I’m calling these “Backpages”. If your curious as to why, you can read about that here. I also hope to explore some more creative mediums for these.

Third, I want to do more researched posts on topics in education. I’ve found that many of the things I believed, especially before getting my master’s, I didn’t know that much about. Too much of the information that contributed to my beliefs was from sound bites on Twitter or short blog posts. I learned a great deal from the in depth research I had to do for my master’s. The purpose of these larger posts is to help me more deeply explore topics, but also to provide a post to other people that goes deeper than the typical reflection blog.JPEG image-09FB6197890C-1

Ultimately I hope to more effectively contribute to the conversations around education. I want to be a resource for other teachers that are trying to navigate the noise that is social media.

Also, I love writing. On mornings that I know I’ll be writing I wake up before my alarm. So, I’ll also be writing more because I simply love to do it. I view this as a form of deliberate practice to improve my writing.

I’d love to hear feedback, positive or negative, from you as I begin posting with more frequency. That’s the only way that I’ll get better.