10 Strategies to Ensure Success in School, Work, and Life

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Click the image above to view my presentation slides.

1. DON’T Accept the Default

  • Seek out an option that is BEST for YOU.
  • Make it your mission to fight: “We’ve always done it this way” thinking.
  • ALWAYS find a BETTER way!


  • Remind yourself that failure is an important part of learning. FAIL FORWARD!
  • Understand the power of positive self-talk. Change your words; Change your mindset.
  • Look to examples of famous people who failed multiple times before achieving success.

3. Be so GOOD They Can’t Ignore You

  • Do MORE than the default – Arrive early and stay late!
  • PRACTICE what you don’t know. WORK on your weaknesses.
  • Be AVAILABLE at ALL times!
  • Volunteer for everything.
  • CRUSH the competition!

4. NEVER Stop Learning

  • Embark on self-directed, passion-based professional and personal development.
  • Listen to podcasts, view webinars, and READ whatever you can get your hands on.
  • Become an expert in your field at your own blistering speed. “The standard pace is for chumps.” Kimo Williams
  • Curate and share content with colleagues/friends.

5. CREATE as Much as you Consume

6. SHOW your WORK

  • Brag about your successes, your creations and your workplace on social media.
  • Don’t hold back because you worry that it’s not good enough or original enough. “To be original, you don’t have to be FIRST, you just have to be DIFFERENT and BETTER.” ~Adam Grant
  • Create a website, a digital newsletter or a YouTube channel to spread the word.
  • As a job-seeker in the new millennium, you are your own personal brand. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to promote yourself.

7. Establish a POSITIVE and PROFESSIONAL digital presence for yourself

  • Understand that your digital footprint (tattoo) is permanent and you have total control over the content you put out there. So keep it positive and appropriate!
  • THINK before you POST!
  • REMEMBER that employers will VET your social media accounts.

8. GET Connected

  • Discover the VIBRANT community of AMAZING professionals on Twitter. Follow hashtags! This has been a true GAME-CHANGER for me! I’ve learned more on Twitter in months than in years of traditional PD.
  • Grow your PLN (Personal/Professional Learning Network).
  • Go to meetups, conferences, and workshops (the topic matters less than the people you connect with).


  • Keep a journal and or blog about your successes and failures in school and the workplace.
  • Take pictures, make “Best of” slide shows, and share your work: product and process.
  • Keep a digital portfolio of everything you do with your students.
  • Digitize your resume using apps like Smore/Canva and continually update it.


  • and you will rarely be disappointed!

Authenticity Matters: 12 Ideas To Make Learning ‘Real-World’

contributed by Shireen Jaffer

As educators, we have all had at least one student approach us with the question, “How will this help me in the real world?”

Every year, teachers are reminded of the academic requirements they must help their students fulfill. These requirements typically involve students taking many tests throughout the year. Accordingly, educators feel pressure to ensuring their curriculum leads to passing test scores.

This pressure can also leave teachers struggling to ensure their lesson plans allow students to apply their learning to their interests in the real world. To help you alleviate this struggle, here are 12 activities for your classroom that encourage interest exploration.

Click here to continue reading.

Instructors as “Guides on the Ride”: Implementing Genius Hour and Focusing on Student-Driven Learning

Genius Hour, a movement of inquiry-based and student-directed activity, allows students to choose and investigate a topic of their choosing. Lee Araoz began facilitating Genius Hour because he wanted to lessen the compliance mode of instruction and increase the energy and motivation of his students. Genius Hour is based on Google’s 20% policy, where employees are permitted to work on something that interests them 20% of the time. This activity allows for the real-world application of 21st century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, communication, creativity, character, and citizenship. Genius Hour generates innovation, stirs imagination, and creates a genuine excitement about learning. Instead of passively consuming technology, students have the opportunity to actively create it.

To continue reading, click this link.



Student-Centered Learning: Be the Guide on the Ride

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Take a ride on the Student Learning Express as we discuss tips, tools, and strategies educators can use to make the transition from a teacher-centered classroom to a learner-centered one. Learn how to be the Guide on the Ride as you facilitate student-directed learning experiences like Genius Hour, Literature Circles, Learning Menus, and Choice Boards.

FlipGrid #MADPD Session Intro

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Be the Guide on the Ride #MADPD Session Recording

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Literature Circles 2.0: Technology-infused book clubs in the digital age

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This article was originally published in 
literacyworldwide.org | January/February 2018 | LITERACY TODAY
When used to create content and connect students with authentic audiences,
technology empowers learners and prepares them for the workplaces of the future.
Unfortunately, many school systems have spent millions of dollars to equip
students and staff with cutting-edge technology tools, only to use them with
antiquated teaching methods. Therein lies a second digital divide, which separates

those with the skills to benefit from technology use from those without. Rows of silent students completing digital worksheets on their Chromebooks or iPads is not effective technology integration. Using one-to-one tablets to complete weekly multiple-choice quizzes simply replaces paper, pencils, and grading.

One means of effective technology integration is through literature circles, a collaborative and student-centered reading strategy. In traditional literature circles, small groups of students gather to discuss shared readings. Students assume rotating roles, typically as the “discussion director,” literary luminary,” “vocabulary enricher,” and “connector.” In a technology-enhanced literature circle, these job assignments are infused with technology tools.