Category Archives: K-12


It started with a picture and a hashtag.  The picture showed a classroom whiteboard with an inspirational quote written decoratively on it.  The hashtag was #whiteboardwisdom. Since I love alliteration, quotes, and anything that might make me wiser, I searched the hashtag on Twitter.  Of course, that delivered many more motivational messages, and I resolved to see if any of my students would like to be in charge of providing a weekly #whiteboardwisdom.  That seemed kind of humdrum, though, so I did a Google search for #whiteboardwisdom in the classroom.  And that’s how I ended up here, a Pinterest rabbit hole of teacher and student creativity that I never even knew existed.


Many of the pins that I saw seemed to be inspired by a teacher named Brittney Briggs, who is incredibly creative and artistic from what I can see.  The common thread among all of the images in this Pinterest smorgasbord was that they invited student interaction instead of merely giving them something to think about.  Sometimes the students respond directly on the board, and other times the teachers offer sticky notes for responses.  Although I certainly can’t do justice to all of the great ideas out there, here is a sampling I chose to demonstrate this fun concept:

  • Monday Made It – What is the Coolest Thing You Have Ever Made?
    image from teach_happy on Instagram


  • Tell Us Something Tuesday – One Thing That Most People Don’t Know About You?

    image from mrs.litz on Instagram
  • What Will You Create Wednesday – Find a Doodle and Turn it into a Masterpiece!
    image from lovin7th on Instagram


  • Theme Song Thursday – What Should Be Our Class Theme Song?


  • Finding Dory Friday – What is Something You Lose or Forget to Do Often?findingdoryfriday

The Power of Design

One of my favorite podcasts is “TED Radio Hour” on NPR, on which each episode examines TED talks that address a particular theme.  Last week, the theme was, “The Power of Design,” and I found many parts applicable to education.  The show includes Tony Fadell, who speaks about the thought processes that went into the first iPod, and Janine Benyus, who speaks about what designers can learn from nature (very applicable to my 2nd grade unit on structures), and three other TED speakers.  Alice Rawsthorn speaks about the rebellious natures of the best designers – such as Blackbeard.  Yes, the pirate.  You can thank Blackbeard for the skull and crossbones.

I have been thinking about innovation and creativity quite a bit, and how I can help my students to try to be more original and less derivative.  Listening to this podcast reminded me of this recent interview with Quentin Tarantino when he was asked for his advice. “My advice for when you want to find a story you want to tell is: What is a movie you want to see?” Tarantino said. “What is it that you want to contribute? There’s a whole lot of movies you could see without you. What’s the movie that we have never seen because you haven’t made it. Make that movie. Make the movie that’s the reason you’re going to be doing it.”

What’s the ______________ that we have never seen because you haven’t made it?  The story, the invention, the picture, the school, the educational system…  Fill in the blank with what you want to design.



Skype in the Classroom Bingo Cards

One of your goals this new school year may be to “flatten” your classroom walls by making more global connections.  “Skype in the Classroom,” which I blogged about earlier this year, is a great way to get started.  The site now offers Bingo Cards as a resource that you can print out for your students to keep track of all of the fantastic Skype experiences they have throughout the year. You can also use a bingo card to get a nice collection of ideas for Skype sessions!  There are teacher instructions, and there is even a set of cards that you can use for professional development.  All of these downloadable PDF’s are free, and just the tip of the iceberg when you explore everything that “Skype in the Classroom” has to offer!

Skype Bingo

Dot Day 2017

It’s almost September 15th-ish, which means that Dot Day is quickly approaching!  For those of you who have not encountered Dot Day before, it is an international event inspired by the Peter Reynolds book, The Dot. It’s all about celebrating creativity and “making your mark”!  In last year’s post about Dot Day, I shared a few “new to me” Dot Day ideas for the celebration.  This year, Breakout Edu has announced a brand new breakout adventure for elementary and middle school students based on The Dot. Students must solve the clues to set creativity and inspiration free. I recommend doing the breakout activity and then giving your students the opportunity to unleash their own inner artists as a follow-up!

image from Denise Krebs on Flickr


Steve Wyborney recently published this article on Edutopia about a series of math problems he has created on Powerpoint called, “Splat!”  The challenges begin at a low enough level that you could use them with Kindergarten, and increase in difficulty to a point that even secondary students will enjoy the intellectual stimulation.  Steve provides all 50 of the downloadable Powerpoint files here, along with a video in which he explains the process.  Basically, students are shown a group of dots, some of which are then covered with one or more “splats.”  They have to deduce how many dots are under the splats.

I love the potential for rich math conversations with this activity and the natural algebraic thinking that will evolve from solving each of these challenges.  Thanks to Steve for providing these great resources free to educators everywhere!

image from

What You Missed This Summer – Inspirational Videos

I know that my readership takes a dip June-August each year as many educators go on vacations or take breaks during those months.  Although I did not post as regularly as I meant to this summer, I did share some resources that I believe are worth repeating in case you missed them.  I am going to spend this week spotlighting some of those.

I already shared the Jennie Magiera video this week, but here are some others that I posted this summer that you may have missed:

As always, you can find hundreds more Inspirational Videos for Students and Inspirational Videos for Teachers on my Pinterest Boards!

What You Missed This Summer – BOY Ideas

I know that my readership takes a dip June-August each year as many educators go on vacations or take breaks during those months.  Although I did not post as regularly as I meant to this summer, I did share some resources that I believe are worth repeating in case you missed them.  I am going to spend this week spotlighting some of those.

Here are some ideas I mentioned this summer that can help you and your students to get to know each other so you can develop great relationships at the Beginning Of the Year.

Chat Pack for Kids – Great icebreaker, attendance, and transition time questions that kids love to ponder!

#Awards – I used this idea, originally from Joelle Trayers, at the end of last school year, but it could also be an illuminating activity for the first week of school.

MyRebus – You and your students could create rebuses of two lies and a truth, a simple sentence about their summer, etc…  Also fun to create codes for BreakoutEdu.

Me – The User Manual – If you could give someone a set of instructions for interacting with you, what would you say?  This idea is a fun way to summarize what people need to know about you.

Week of Inspirational Math #3 – Kick off your school year by developing positive mathematical mindsets with these activities for K-12.

DreamBingo – Help middle and high school students develop specific goals to work toward this year as they learn about the “life skills” that are required for successful careers.

Did you already start your school year?  That doesn’t mean you can’t use any of these! Developing and maintaining relationships should happen throughout the term, not just at the beginning.

image from Pixabay