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My Favorite TED Talks for Educators

One of the big items on my Bucket List was to be a part of a TED Talk audience. I am fascinated by every single speaker I have seen on the TED website and knew I wanted to be a part of that energy.

Two years ago, I got my wish at TEDxMileHigh in Denver. It was the greatest way to spend the weekend; I left intrigued, inspired, emotionally exhausted but also uplifted... it was perfect.

If you ever get the chance to go to one near you, bring someone you can process with. There are so many layers to each talk, it is worth revisiting over and over again!


If you aren't familiar with TED Talks, they are short (less than 20 minutes) lectures on a problem, question, or possible solution to a problem or question in our world. Speakers range from scientists, researchers, poets, teachers, religious leaders.... you name it!

What I love the most is how much of a punch these speakers can pack into such a short amount of time. Nearly any of these speeches you can watch over and over again, always gleaning new information or a different insight.

I have my favorite go-to TED Talks and wanted to share a few of them with you: both the tried-and-true, as well as some of the newer ones I'm still digesting. I hope you'll enjoy watching these for inspiration throughout your week and my fingers are crossed that you can experience one of these events live!


Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability



If you know me at all, you know how much I love and adore the work of Brené Brown. I first watched this talk back in 2012 and sobbed and laughed (often at the same time) through the first hundred times I watched it. It was transformative for me, and if you haven't seen it, please, please, please do. It not only will impact your teaching, but personal relationships with others and, most importantly, yourself. Then head over to check out each of her amazing books. My favorites are Daring Greatly and Rising Strong. She is a treasure.


Rita Pierson: Every Kid Needs a Champion



I recommend watching this after a bad day at school when you wonder if you're making a difference or if it's even worth it. Rita Pierson was a lifelong educator and a phenomenal speaker. She speaks the truth about the not-so-great parts of being a teacher, but directs her focus on how we positively impact students every day. Mixed in with the realities of teaching and some laughs, she describes how she inspires and leads from the classroom, changes the perspectives of students, and leaves a legacy of love. Grab some Kleenex and have a watch...


Linda Cliatt-Wayman: How to Fix a Broken School? Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard



Wow, what a principal! She is dynamic, fearless, inspirational and not afraid to do the hard things to ensure that all of her students benefit. You have to love a leader who is fiercely honest and has a clear, precise vision, especially when the students are her driving force. As a principal of a very low-performing, high-poverty school, she shares three slogans that guide her leadership. They will make you laugh, give you hope, and bring tears to your eyes. She leads with love, purpose, and pure authenticity-- you will love this one.


Carol Dweck: The Power of Believing You Can Improve



Carol Dweck is the guru behind Growth Mindset: knowing that the process of learning is more important than the product, and she champions the power of thinking "Not Yet" instead of "Can't". In such a short TED Talk, she packs in lots of research, strategies, and think abouts that will challenge your thinking, the words you use in the classroom, and how you can start to enact change tomorrow with your students. I love how she breaks down Growth Mindset and proves that it is something you can teach and develop. If you are in need of a mid-year pick-me-up, I recommend watching this and then reevaluating your next unit to see if you can implement just a strategy or two she suggests. Then, look to see how your students react to these small, but powerful changes.


Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts




How many of us are extroverts? Introverts? What about our students? And how have we constructed our classroom environments for both? I am slightly more extroverted when it comes to teaching, but introverted at home and in life outside of the classroom. This TED Talk is a beautiful explanation of life as an introvert, and how we as teachers, admin, and policymakers have typically created classrooms and learning environments geared toward the more extroverted students. I appreciate all of her research and the real-life strategies we can implement to ensure that every student, whether they be extroverts, introverts, or ambiverts, can thrive in our class.

. . .


Those are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to inspiring TED Talks, believe me! My original list had over twenty and I struggled to narrow it down to only five. I highly recommend visiting the TED website and clicking through the thousands of talks on every topic you can possibly imagine.

What is a TED Talk you would add to this list?

Happy viewing!



Classroom Organizing Challenge: January, Week 2: Student Desks {Name Tags & Flexible Seating}


How did your first week go with organizing student numbers and pencils?

These small steps will add up to long-lasting benefits as the rest of this challenge and your school year continues, so be sure to read January's Week 1 Challenge HERE if you haven't done so already.

Today we'll be building on last week's and laying the groundwork for the rest of this month by discussing name tags and flexible seating.

You may have one, both, or neither of these in your classroom now, but hopefully you can tweak some of these challenges to fit your own classroom and needs.

To recap, here's our 2019 yearly plan:


January: Student Desks 1, 2, 3, 4
February: Teacher Desk
March: Visible Storage
April: Hidden Storage
May: Technology/Digital
June: Classroom Library
July: Student Life
August: Class Routines
September: Teacher Life
October: Home-School Link
November: Mom Life
December: Maintenance

. . .

Week 2: Student Name Tags & Flexible Seating


One of my favorite things to shop for in the teaching world pre-TpT (gasp!) was student name tags. I loved all of the choices and the possibilities that each offered.

2019 Goal: Reading Female Authors, A-Z

One of the things I love about summertime is reading non-children books. Please don't get me wrong, I *adore* children's picture books, novels, poetry... everything! But there is something freeing about escaping into a book written specifically for adults.

I've been dabbling around in WWII fiction like The Nightingale, All the Light We Cannot See, and Beneath a Scarlet Sky (Warning: I like heavy reads but these three are so good!!), but wanted to challenge myself this year, all year, with a solid reading goal. Something I realized I was not well-versed in was female authors. Many of the books on my nightstand or authors' names that come to my mind automatically were male. Therefore, this year I want to delve deeper into the long list of accomplished female authors of both the past and present.



Classroom Organizing Challenge: January, Week 1: Student Desks {Student Numbers & Pencils}


Welcome to the first month of my Classroom Organizing Challenge!

I can't wait to dig in each month this year to a specific part of our classroom to get rid of clutter, organize, streamline, and make our classrooms more stress-free!

Below are the list of topics and months, so you can join in and/or catch up anytime.

If you haven't read the Getting Started post, I recommend reading that first for some simple tips, a fun playlist, and a big-picture view of 2019.


February: Teacher Desk
March: Visible Storage
April: Hidden Storage
May: Technology/Digital
June: Classroom Library
July: Student Life
August: Class Routines
September: Teacher Life
October: Home-School Link
November: Mom Life
December: Maintenance

. . .

Student Desks/Work Areas

While I don't have student desks in my class, I wanted to think of this first challenge as the area where students spend most of their work time and the spaces where they keep most of their supplies.

Classroom Organizing Challenge: Getting Started


Happy 2019!

I'll be honest, I usually don't make New Year's resolutions because, after thirteen years of teaching, January always feels like mid-year with August being the first day of my new year.

That being said, I am challenging myself this year to do something a little different and I hope you can join in and follow along.

Attention-Getters In The Classroom



In my opinion, one of the most important management strategies in our classrooms is getting everyone's attention in a quick, efficient, and low-impact way. I try to change these up every year, since I am always learning about new and exciting strategies. Plus, I have found that the novelty each year makes it more effective for both me and my students.

For example, when I first came across Whole Brain Teaching, using the call and response of "Class? Yes!" was highly effective and completely new for all of us. Fast-forward five years and the kids have all used this before (for years and years) and I was ready to try a new strategy.

One of the other traps I am wary of falling into is the "shh"-ing routine. It is the default response to noise in our world, but I have found that it is not only ineffective, it can be downright aggravating when used too much. Have you noticed that? I find myself "shh"-ing from time to time and realize I am falling back into lazy habits and need to reinforce the strategies and routines I use for my classroom.

In case you're like me and like to switch things up, or if you're looking to add to your bag of tricks, I want to share some of my favorite ways to get your students' attention in class:

All About Matter: Solids, Liquids, and Gases


One of our main science units this year was teaching the states of matter. This is always an engaging unit since we live in Colorado and tend to see all three outside during the winter months!

Since many of my students were familiar with the names of the three states, we delved a bit deeper into the atom arrangement and the changes from one state to another. We got the chance to get up and move and celebrated at the end with a sweet treat! We also used my newest flipbook along the way to track our learning.

All About Matter Flipbook



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