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!


Summer Book Reads and short reviews.

I am so excited to be gearing up for this school year. I have been reading and thinking all summer about things I can do to make my classes more fun and increase the learning of my students. I have already had a few sleepless nights as I just couldn’t get thoughts out of my head from some great books that I have been reading. At a few points I had to get them on paper so I would not forget the next morning.

I would like to share where my head is at so far.


I started reading the book Invent to Learn and it has completely sold me on the ideas of Constructivist education. Most notably championed (or created) by Seymour Papert. The book is a great overview of tinkering with students and how by allowing them to play with objects and to try new things, they actually end up learning more and it becomes self directed learning. I rented this book from Amazon, but I will need to buy it, I have too many highlights that I will need it for a reference.

Pure Genius: this goes hand in hand with Invent to Learn. Pure genius is about giving students a dedicated time during the week for them to pursue their own projects that they set for themselves. At first I was worried about this idea because I know how much structure students seem to crave at times when introducing a new project. Through reading and a few good  ideas I think it really is possible to pull off! Another one I will have to buy as I am going ot introduce a Genius Hour this year and I really have just this book to go off from. Wish me luck on that one.

Drive: This book has a lot of hype and I did think that it was good to take a look at motivation. Teachers need to teach content, but if we do not motivate our students they will not care about our content. I think this is super important, or else we will sound like the Charlie Brown teacher to our kids! then they  will fail, which means we fail. I have not finished this one, but it reinforces the fact that students are dying to learn about topics that interest them, and when they are able to do so, they will do a lot better job and exceed our expectations!

what have YOU been reading?

Educational Technology Opportunities

Teaching about technology in school is my thing, but I have realized that there are plenty of other opportunities from companies and organizations outside of my school that can help get students excited about learning new things about technology and even might help propel them into a STEM field later in life. Below I will make a list of good programs or websites that are helping to put technology into the hands of K-12 Students (that I know of).

Google Ninja Program: The Ninja program is a free tutorial site that allows users to learn about specific Google products and services. This is great for teachers, parents and students who want a fun and easy way to learn about Google Apps.

Technovation, Global Technology Entrepreneurship Program for Girls. This program looks really exciting, it is a free program that teaches girls how to build a sample business plan and how to code an app. No prior knowledge is necessary. It looks like it is a lot of work, but the experience and results are very compelling! First place in the Middle School category wins $5000 and a trip to Silicon Valley to pitch their app!

MIT App Inventor: App Inventor is an Android app creation software that helps using a block style way of coding to help students create an Android app!

Explore MIT App Inventor logo