Innovate your life as an educator 

Do nothing and slide into oblivion. Innovation is risky, and success is not guaranteed. Doing nothing guarantees failure. 
I saw that she cartoon on twitter a few months ago and I immediately knew that this explains a lot about what I think about leadership.

In school, you see a lot of safe plays. Safe PD, safe lessons, safe rules, safe grades, safe policies etc.

I agree that safety is paramount in the k-12 school system, but where does innovation enter the equation? It seems that there can always be someone there with a counter point for any project you undertake. Sometimes that is necessary on your way to.a compromise.

However safety and futuristic vision need to be weighed together and acted upon. In order to provide our students with activities and lessons that are valuable and provocative in order to keep our twitter-generation student attention spans.

I see a lot of great ideas on twitter. Most of the time I ask myself: “why can’t we do that?” Sometimes the answer is knowledge or resources, but other times it is the willingness to take risks. 

We instill in our students the need for a growth mindset.  The need for grit to persevere in the face of adversity. Then why are adults always erring in the side of safe decisions rather than risking failure to bring about real change? 

P.s The cartoon is from Check it out!

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants

We all have a Growth Mindset (sometimes)

Playing video games or sports are examples of where we persist. We never give up because we get frustrated and want the notoriety of beating the game, or scoring the game winning goal. It is competitiveness and it is the way we are wired. So, use that to your advantage as a teacher when talking with your students!

I started talking about Odell Beckham Jr. (a favorite among most middle school football fans) and his famous catch. It is ridiculous. The sports world went crazy for how impossible this catch was. Afterwards, when the dust settled from this amazing touchdown, we realized that it wasn’t luck. It was a skill that he has been developing for a long time.

I took a ball and passed it back and fourth with a student gingerly. Asking the class if we are going to make a crazy catch like that. Of course not! We’re not testing ourselves. We’re not trying new things, not practicing running and catch, or defending the pass from the defender(he was also fouled on the play).  What about the one handed catch?

I then showed the catch to the students… They all loved it.See it below.


Afterwards we talked about the catch, it’s insane! Talked about how it could be luck, but then I showed my students this video.

He is still practicing his one handed catches. Something he knows he needs to work on to be the best receiver he can be.

What can you do work on? What have you failed at that you need to get better? What is something that you failed at first, that you worked on to be successful?

Hands flew up. Many sports stories about goalies letting in easy goals to hockey skating skills. I want students to see that they already have a growth mindset in some areas, you just need to tap that drive to compete and be successful and harness it for other areas of your life.

Let your students fail.




This week in my technology classes I have been trying to explain what it takes to have a growth mindset to my students. I have done this in the past as a few inspirational speeches but I’ve tried a few things this week that I think are helpful to teaching this awesome outlook on life. First up is Letting your students fail.

I’ll say it again, let them fail.

We love to tell students and then let them practice this new skill before we let them experience life before we (hopefully) brought new knowledge into their lives. For growth mindset teaching to students, I think it is important to show students first that they might fail while trying an assignment. So, you might let your students try an activity with vague directions, or no directions at all. This might be hard and confusing for students, so don’t let this go on for very long. Then stop the class, talk about failures and successes, what worked? What didn’t? Focus on how failure can help your students learn what not to do on the road to learning the correct process!

I thought hard about failure this week and it is really a great thing, it shows our students what doesn’t work. Sometimes, it is frustrating, but it is another rung on the ladder of success. Try to celebrate those times when a student fails, then decides to use that information to a new academic or relationship success!