Saturday, April 3, 2021

Update: Why I Haven't Been Writing

Writing during a pandemic

You would think a pandemic would be a wonderful time to write. And, it was. At least for the first six months of the pandemic. At that time, I was writing a lot. It was at this time that hardly anyone was seeing anyone outside their home face-to-face. Most people weren't traveling either. I was not living with friends or family, so my interactions with people was strictly video or with neighbors who happened to be outside (six feet away) when I was.  

Connecting during a pandemic

Once October rolled around however, some of my friends and I began connecting outdoors in our small group of beach volleyball players. It felt good to reconnect for the first time in months, with those close to me. We went back to the beach and played volleyball outdoors several times a week. We played in the mornings, afternoon, and evenings. After we played we watched the ocean, the sky, had food and drinks on the beach. 

After being isolated so long, all I have wanted to do in my spare time is be outdoors, on the beach, playing volleyball and hanging out with my friends. It trumps all other activities, television, social media, dating, and even writing.  

When you have something taken away, you appreciate and value it more. For that reason, my priorities right now are the face-to-face time I can spend outdoors on the beach with those close to me. Today, the weather is not conducive to playing and it's a weekend, so no work either. Since I had the chance, I jumped over here to my other passion, writing, to say I'm still here, but just with different priorities right now.

I'll be back

I have some ideas for future blog posts, so please do stay subscribed and know that while I'm not sure when I will be back, it will definitely happen.

Four women on the beach in front of a beach volleyball court
Beautiful beach volleyball day & beautiful friends

Monday, February 8, 2021

Podcast Playlist - 10 Podcasts for Innovative Educators

While some people Netflix bindged during the pandemic, I choose another form of entertainment: Podcasts. Podcasts are great for multitaskers like me. Whether you’re jogging, cleaning, driving, flying, doing yoga (don't judge me) or out walking your dog, a podcast provides a great way to keep the learning going while you’re doing something else. Check out the playlist below to see what I'm listening to these days.

Screenshot of Google Podcast Subscriptions

Podcast Playlist 2021

10-Minute Teacher Podcast 

  • Overview: Full-time teacher Vicki Davis, dives into what matters most to classroom teachers. The best and brightest educators and idea creators will inspire you as they are interviewed on this show. You'll learn behind the scenes tips, classroom ideas, and practical mindsets for anyone working with today's kids.
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: Quick bite-sized tips and ideas for busy educators.

Class of 2025 

  • Overview: Class of 2025 offers an in-depth exploration of some of the issues that students from Oregon face today, seen through the lens of the students themselves. 
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: There are unique insights into learning during the pandemic.

Code Switch

  • Overview: Fearless conversations about race hosted by journalists of color. This podcast tackles the subject of race head-on, exploring how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. 
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: Great conversations about race that are relevant in classrooms today.

Ed Surge 

  • Overview: Join EdSurge reporters as they sit down with educators, innovators and scholars for frank and in-depth conversations about education and how it is changing.
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: Talks about current topics and trends in education like should teachers use TikTok.

Exponential Wisdom

  • Overview: Learn about how technology will impact and change the present and the future, often faster than you think. 
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: Provides insights into areas like education and careers from leaders in the field.

HBD IdeaCast 

  • Overview: A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management.
  • What innovatie educators may like about this podcast: The podcast gives food for thought about the world we should be preparing students for.

Mic Drop

  • Overview: Mood-swinging, dream-chasing, rule-breaking dramas and adventures told directly from teens.
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: Get insights about teens, from teens.  

Nice White Parents

  • Overview: If you want to understand what’s wrong with our public schools, you have to look at what is arguably the most powerful force in shaping them: white parents. A five-part series from Serial Productions, a New York Times Company. Hosted by Chana Joffe-Walt.
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: If you teach in a diverse system, this podcast may give you unique perspectives.


  • Overview: The past is never past. Every headline has a history. Throughline goes back in time to understand the present. These are stories you can feel and sounds you can see from the moments that shaped our world.
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: Great for innovative educators who discuss social studies or current events with their students.

WSJ Tech Briefing

  • Overview: The Wall Street Journal's reporters and editors highlight leading companies, new gadgets, consumer trends and cyber issues. 
  • What innovative educators may like about this podcast: If you're an innovative educator, you're interested in the lastest in tech. This podcast gives it to you in 10-15 minute episodes. 

Your turn

These are some of the podcasts I'm listening to these days. What about you? Are you listening to some of these? Are there any that sound of interest?

Sunday, January 3, 2021

5 Books for Families Who Are Rethinking School

For many families the pandemic brought school home giving them a birds eye view into what their children are learning. While some parents are seeing their children thrive, others are frustrated by what they see. They find it hard for their children to sit all day working on screens. They are discovering a lot of what their children are doing is having information fed to them that they could have easily learned by watching YouTube videos. When they see what kids are learning, they're wondering if this is really that useful for their 21st century lives. They are also realizing that this is not just a pandemic problem. It is likely equally hard for their children to sit all day being fed information in class too. 

Book cover: Fix the school, not the child

Fix the School, Not the Child

Many parents are doing everything they can to help their children succeed. But perhaps it is not the child that needs help, but the school that can teach and support learning in a way that better meet the needs of children. 

To help with that parents can read “Fix the School, Not the Child.” The book provides parents with 20 concrete actions they can take to advocate for the rights of their child in school today. 

Supporting Student Personal Learning Networks

Book cover: Supporting personal learning networks
Some working parents are having a particularly difficult time having to support their children at home while also doing their jobs. However, it doesn't have to be that way. Parents can support their children in developing
Personal Learning Networks (PLNs). These are connections individual learners make to suit their specific perceived learning needs. 

We know that there is value found not only in what you know, but also who you know and how to make the most of those connections. This holds true for youth as well. Supporting Student Personal Learning Networks walks parents through how to help their children build their own personal learning network with first-hand accounts and advice from students and their parents.
Book cover: The working home educators guide to success

The Working Home Educator's Guide to Success

For working parents who find their children are thriving at home and considering making a change to homeschool but are not sure just how that can work, there is The Working Home Educators Guide to Success. The book has advice and stories from parents who homeschooled their children while also working.

Parents will learn that homeschooling does not have to look like school at home for their children to thrive. They'll also find there are numerous creative and unique ways to do scheduling and learning so children and parents will succeed and maybe even have more time then when their children were in school.
Book cover: How to Opt Out (not drop out) of School

How to Opt Out, Not Dropout, of School

For parents with teens who are considering continuing to learn from home there is How to Opt Out, Not Dropout, of School. This book will help parents on a path to empowering their child to take control of their own learning and discovering their own path to pursuing their passions.

The book provides the information and encouragement young people need to determine their best education option to meet their goals and be prepared for the present and future college and/or career.
Book cover: The Uncomfortable History of Schooling in America

The Uncomfortable History of American Schooling in America

While many families are eager to get back to the normal life they're used to, the pandemic provides an opportunity to reexamine how children spend their days. Many parents and children are enjoying the family time. The time to pursue hobbies and interests. The time to spend more time outdoors and active.

The Uncomfortable History of American Schooling takes a look at why we do what we do when it comes to school. Then it challenges us to consider if back to normal is really what we want or if it’s just what we know. It helps us grapple with the question: Could there be something better? For answers to that we look at the through-line from our past starting in the 1500s until today. We consider what our Prussian model of compulsory government schooling is designed to do: turn out well-disciplined students who would move by bells and follow orders without questioning authority. Then we look at alternatives that worked in the past, and could work in the present, and future to see if there is something better.