For seven years, I taught middle school language arts. Half that time was spent in an east-coast state, the other half in a Midwestern state. I earned my National Board Certification in 2004. Then, after having my first child, I left teaching to stay home with my kids for a few years. In 2008, I was hired by a local university to teach pre-service teachers. This work gave me new passion for preparing and supporting educators.
When I was in the classroom, I felt alone in my nerdiness. The teachers’ lounge was never a safe place, and finding others to share my real thoughts and feelings with took a lot of work. I learned to stifle the urge to gush about some new strategy I was planning to try or to open up about a struggle I was having with my students. I came to expect that my genuine questions would be met with sarcasm. Most of the time, anyway. I did work with some amazing people, too, and I’ll be yanking them over here as quick as I can.
With this site, I hope to create what I did not have myself: a vibrant, encouraging, stimulating community of teachers, supporting each other toward excellence. I believe if we can reach across the limits of geography and find each other, there’s no limit to the amazing things we can accomplish.
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Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School
co-authored with Mark Barnes
This book grew out of conversations Mark and I were having with other educators; we kept hearing great stories about creative solutions educators were coming up with to solve some of their most persistent problems. We pulled these together, including some of our own, and developed them into this collection of practical, inexpensive, innovative ideas that you can learn today and start implementing tomorrow.
The Teacher’s Guide to Tech: A Cult of Pedagogy Digital Binder
Available exclusively on Teachers Pay Teachers
When I started this website, my plan was to occasionally choose an interesting tech tool to review. After the first year, I realized there were far too many to choose from, and teachers were telling me that one of their biggest problems was feeling overwhelmed by all of the options. So I decided the most helpful approach would be to create a kind of catalog, an encyclopedia of tech tools that groups them into categories, explains how each one works, and provides ideas for how each tool can be used in the classroom. Instead of creating this as a physical book, which would not “do” much and whose freshness would expire quickly, I chose to create the Teacher’s Guide as a digital binder, a robust PDF with tons of internal links for easy navigation, and tons of external links to the tools’ websites and videos that show each tool in use. Watch my video tour to see it in action.
I have also written elsewhere…
Why No One Reads Your Classroom Newsletter, Corkboard Connections, February 2015
10 Ways to Sabotage Your Classroom Management, MiddleWeb, November 2014
Your Rubric Is a Hot Mess. Here’s How to Fix It. Brilliant or Insane, October 2014
What Makes a Parent Love a Teacher, Corkboard Connections, September 2014
Modifying the Flipped Classroom: The “In-Class” Version, Edutopia, March 2014
Jennifer Gonzalez Asks Teachers: What Makes a Principal Great? Education Week, December 2013
Awards and Recognition