September 25, 2018 Leave a comment

I am finally writing a quick review of the blindspot.  It was very interesting book.  The book Blindspot by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald discusses the Implicit Association Test which looks at hidden-bias blindspots and discovers what it contains.  If you haven’t seen these from Harvard, check out the website at:

The book discusses how Malcolm Gladwell took the implicit test on race and realized he had some racism in his blindspot, which shows that anyone can have them.  The authors even took the same implicit test again and again to try to score better.  But there is not a better score, those blindspots are just there.  It is good to know about them so that you know you have them but you can’t change them.   The term truthiness is defined as “the tendency to accept propositions that one wishes to be true as true, ignoring the usual verification standards for facts.”  In the book, the authors describe mindbugs as “ingrained habits of thought that lead to errors in how we perceive, remember, reason and make decisions.” Social mindbugs are particularly dangerous because they may allow us to trust people we shouldn’t trust or the opposite. Some of our mindbugs are caused by our evolution.  For example, staying away from people that are different from us used to be a necessity, not it could cost a company money.  Mindbugs can be less dangerous if we understand the disparity between our inner minds and outward actions.

Grey lies are usually used in order to spare your own feelings. Humility must be had about self-insight because we have little access to our conscious minds.  The book asks, “can we outsmart the machinery of our own . hidden biases?”  In order to do this, humans must have an awareness of the mindbug, a desire to improve and a way to do it.


Make it Stick Book Study

August 21, 2018 Leave a comment

This summer reading included “Make It Stick” by Peter Brown.  This book should be read by all educators and trainers.  Many good information in it that can be used for “how to learn”.  These are my notes and favorite quotes from the book.

The idea of failure has always intrigued me.  I believe that the word fail means the first attempt in learning.  Brown discusses that failure gives us useful information and can make us dig deeper or try other strategies. “Making mistakes and correcting them builds the bridges to advanced learning.” (p7).  There is a lot of discussion of whether re-reading is more helpful than other ways of to review.  In fact, two many re-reading has “negligible benefits at the expense of . much more effective strategies that take less time.” (p15). The authors also discuss the applying of knowledge to real world problem solving. “Mastery requires both the possession of ready knowledge and the conceptual understanding of how to use it.” (p18) .

The core ways to learn are retrieval, spacing, interleaving, variation, reflection and elaboration.  The retrieval practice effect is when learning sticks far better when we have to retrieve the information rather than just re-reading the information.  Retrieving the information changes the memory of the information enabling it to be retrieve again easier. “Practice that’s spaced out, interleaved with other learning, and varied produces better mastery, longer retention, and more versatility.” (p 47) What the authors really want you to do is mix it up.  If we practice all addition and test on addition, then we practice all subtraction and test on subtraction,  the learning doesn’t stick as much as mixing it up. Mixing it up allows us to learn context and decide on the best way to answer the problems. Life is not all addition at a time, life comes at us un predictably and out of sequence.  Practice like you play and you will play like you practice is an old sports adage that does make sense.  Too much repetition is boring, so you need to change how you practice and you always need to keep practicing fundamentals.

Spacing allows for you to forget what you learned so the retrieved can then embed into your learning more.  “Beware of the familiarity trap; the feeling that you . know something and no longer need to practice it.”  Interleaving allows you to switch topics during the practice, not wait for one to be complete.  Studies show that is is more effective to practice different skills at the same time.  When you study flashcards, you shuffle them.  You should not always practice them in the exact same order.  Reflection is a form of retrieval practice and elaboration.  You should ask what happened and what would you do differently next time.

“The process of strengthening these mental representations for long-term memory is called consolidation.” (p71) Consolidation helps the brain give the learning meaning and make connections to your own experiences. “(B)ecause new learning depends on prior learning, the more we learn, the more possible connections we create for further learning.” (p76)   Generation describes not getting spoon-fed information but having to try to solve a problem or answer a question. Studies show that attempting to answer the question incorrectly is better than not trying. Reflection also helps you embed the learning in your brain by using retrieval, elaboration and generation.  “Write to Learn” reflection is about taking new knowledge and learning about how it connects to previous knowledge.

“Difficulties are desirable because they trigger encoding and retrieval processes that support learning, comprehension, and remembering. (p98) Learning happens in three stages: 1) encoding where it goes to short-term memory, 2) consolidation where you organize and make connections to the past, and 3) retrieval where you can apply it when needed. “One problem with poor judgement is we usually don’t know that we have it.” (p102) “Every time we call up a memory, we make the mind’s routes to that memory stronger, and this capacity to strengthen, expand, and modify memory is central to how we deepen our learning and broaden the connections to what we know and what we can do. ” (p112) But that means that “even your most cherished memories may not represent events in the exact way they occurred. (p112)

In Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman breaks up our analytic system in two: System 1 is the automatic system which works unconsciously and immediately and System 2 is the controlled system which waits for reasoning and our consciousness to weigh in.  One problem with society is that we don’t like ambiguity.  We always try to search for an explanation of why things happen.  Psychologists also coined the term “curse of knowledge” which is the tendency to believe that others know what we know.   “Incompetent people lack the skills to improve because they are unable to distinguish between incompetence and competence.” (p121) . They see know need to improve because they believe that they are competent.

“The responsibility for learning rests with every individual, whereas the responsibility for eduction rests with the institutions of society.”  We know we need to get students to take control of their learning.  We also know that you should never get rid of material you think that your students have mastered because they need to review it again and again to make sure it sticks.

“People who receive instruction in a manner that is not matched to their learning style are at a disadvantage for learning. ” (p132) . The author refers to Carol Dweck’s growth mindset.  We need students to understand that intelligence is fluid.  Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.   Besides learning styles there are also rule learners and example learners.  Knowing what kind of learners all your students favor, will help you be a better teacher.  Students also need to know “use it or lose it”.  “Success is less dependent on IQ than on grit, curiosity, and persistence. ” (p182) In order to increase your ability you need expert performance that comes from deliberate practice.

They discuss Memory Training from the book “Moonwalking with Einstein” . I have the read the book and it is totally worth the read.  The tools are mnemonic devices – such as acronyms to remember things.  The other tool is a memory palace which enables you to take a location you know well and put your memories there so that you can walk through and have a visual reminder of your memories.  Pictures are easier to remember than words. The peg method is for rhyming to remember.  The author ends with these three key skills for learning – quizzing or retrieval practice spaced out, interleave – variety is the spice of life, elaboration – find layers of meaning in new material. Generation is when teachers quiz before teaching.

During discussions the English department like the example of  Stanford Baseball, which translates as creating a classroom where Unpredictability is seen as a an opportunity and not a threat. They called it Predictable chaos.

The Science Department took the following notes:

  1. Theoretical and some very practical. Salient points for the classroom.
  2. There is lots of memorization in Science and how can we do it better?
  3. Learning Style Inventory in Biology textbook talks about how it is not valid.
    1. It is good for students to know how you learn and how your teachers teach. Students need to advocate for themselves when they don’t get the learning with their teachers’ style.
    2. Discussed screencasting and flipping your classroom and how it connects. Need to make sure there is accountability. Taking notes during screencast helps the students process the information.
    3. Students in Simon’s class have to take an outline from every reading. This has improved their scores and comprehension. The book mentions the weekly summary – What have we learned this week?
  4. Quizzing – more quizzes to test their knowledge.
    1. Students need to write the quiz and teacher takes the quiz and then have the students grade the teacher.  Right, Solve, Grade (including evaluating the question).
    2. Have students grade their own quizzes with an answer key.
  5. Teachers emphasize recall, but the experts ask for more modeling and conceptual diagramming. Interpreting the data, not just using the data. What is your understanding of the model?
  6. Carol Dweck’s work on growth mindset.  We have many students who are really smart, but are not resilient.  Comment on their process and work ethic, and less about how smart they are.
  7. We need to let them struggle but then follow up.  Give them the feedback so that they can grow.
  8. Challenges – work through the difficulty, not having the answer or giving the answer.  Open ended problems that give them creativity.
  9. One idea is to give students the answers and then ask them to explain how to get to those answers.
  10. Make sure the students know why you are teaching the way you are teaching.
  11. Memorization needs to become knowledge retrieval and then application
  12. Using a synthesis grade.  How can you take the separate chapters and pull them together?

Opening Inservice 2018 Purpose

August 13, 2018 Leave a comment

Our headmaster started with a great speech about “We can’t control our world, we can only respond to our world.:


Ross Wehner from World Leadership School discussed “What kind of impact you want to have in the world?” He explained that “Purpose” is about something outside of ourselves. The goals are to help everyone understand purpose and why it is important to the learning process and to have a sense of your own purpose.  40% of adults have a strong sense of purpose. 95% of all teachers have a strong sense of purpose. With a little coaching and help from a listening co-worker you can strengthen your purpose..


Purpose is a stable intention that is meaningful to you but beneficial to the world. Positive Psychology is about what makes humans thrive. Aristotle: happiness  – hedonic – pleasure/pain, taking, examples hungry you eat. Eudaimonic – thriving, giving, making meaning, examples

Victor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning. Those who survived were those who made meaning out of their prison experience.


Benefits of Purpose for Adults

  • Longevity
  • Fewer heart attacks
  • Faster healing
  • Increased happiness
  • Less stress, more sleep
  • Better relationships

Benefits for students

  • Increased happiness
  • Better relationships
  • Internal locus of control
  • Academic efficacy
  • Managed stress better


Student Agency- youth purpose – most students associate schools with stress, bored, tired.

The biggest problem growing up today is not actually stress, its’ meaninglessness – Bill Damon, Director of Stanford’s Center on Adolescence. High school Students have 20% clear purpose, 24% no purpose in life, 24% self-focused life goals (dablers at independent schools we have probably 40% of these), and 31% Dreamers. Teachers recognize the clear purpose students. For these students stress drives them to go towards their dreams. World Leadership School – k-12 – global travel, project based learning. TeachUnited is for rural schools around the world.


Talents+impact = purpose

To share opportunities, resources, tools

So that I can help teachers do their jobs better and easier.


Owen and Eliza – Gustke makes you want to strive, very professional but our friends or equals.  He is a mentor. Stupid night out allowed Eliza come out of her shell, which made her more confident.  SNO allowed Owen to see how far he can go outside his comfort soon.

Interim – shows classmates in a completely different light. You see the person for who they are.  Eliza came to FVS because of the student/teacher relationships, swim team really spoke to her. A place that she can thrive.  Owen – FVS is about you getting there, about the process. The end is important, but not the why.


Make meaning through stories.  It explains who we are.


Purpose Myths

Purpose is a survival skill.

Purpose is not a luxury, it is fundamental

Purpose is not revealed, it is a practice.

Purpose is not a cause, it can be simple, example “to grow and give”

Purpose is not a single passion, a stable intention beneath many passions.

EdTech Summit Colorado Springs #edtechteam

July 23, 2018 Leave a comment

The day was amazing, here is  my Mystery Location Presentation is on Google Slide.

Notes from the day:

The first session was one of the keynote speakers, Jessica Loucks. She started with the fact that she teaches like Saturday Night Live “We don’t go on because we’re ready.. We go on because it’s 11:00 pm” Lorne Michaels. Email to get tickets to SNL Charlie Todd started Improv Everywhere. The organization does things like: no pants subway ride, Magical Port a Potty, Fake press conference, Best Buy shirts. “When nothing is sure. Everything is possible.” Margaret Drabble. Lorne Michaels from SNL puts in one structure. During Table Reading Days on SNL, every single person has EQUITY of VOICE.  The definition of Improvise is “to create and perform spontaneously or without preparation. There are rules and structures to Improv, but lots of room for creativity and flexibility.”  Tina Fey’s BossyPants has 4 Rules of Improv

  • Always say YES – always keep an open mind
    • ( You need to listen and associate )
    • You should not say “Yes, BUT”
    • “I see what you’re doing. I’m adding to it. I’m not gonna let you fail. I’ve got your back.”
  • Always say YES AND we need to contribute
    • Yes, And by Second City – Team and Ensemble
  • Make Statements
    • Don’t worry about being the expert
  • There are No Mistakes – only perfect opportunities
    • Be a learner with your students

Jess brought 4-5 people up and played

  • the Yes And Give a statement and you have to go back and forth with YES, AND
    • Must listen
  • Make Statements – Gave them scenarios and they had to pose without talking.
  • Human Machine –
    • Repeat a Movement and a Sound Effect – for the Alarm Clock.

Infuse chaos into your classroom with improv.

  • The ability to process on the fly
  • A willingness “to relinquish power”
  • Individuals who can :learn to learn from failure”
  • “Creating space for others to contribute…”

Nuts & Bolts Youtube Channel @TeaAtOne,, Check out #YesAnd and #improvEducator.  Embrace the creative chaotic potential within your students.


Second Session, I also saw Jess (because she is awesome) @JLenore – Chaos & the #ImprovEducator


  • Why Improv?
  • Tackling Hurdles
  • Developing and #improvEducator Mindset
  • How do I infuse into my classroom?
  • Resources

“Debriefing is an essential skill for all improv teachers to develop in order to help students make meaning from activities, progress in their learning, and have a positive classroom experience.”   Start small for the shy kids during the Debriefing. Have students talk about agree and disagree. Who’s Classroom is it anyway? – We need to model for our students. Don’t have anyone be pushed. Let them just be.


Google Save time for Creativity.


The third session was Visible Thinking Through Living Comics @taramartinedu.  (she also does #booksnaps)


  • Relatable
  • Expose Vulnerability
  • Approachable
  • Learning through life

LOOM is a great extension to record your screen and yourself. Bitmoji extensions – you need to create your bitmoji on your phone and then you can use it on the extension. Using Comics to explain a process, unit reviews. In Flipgrid you can now upload MP4.


The fourth session was The Infused Classroom – Powerful Checks for Understanding – Holly Clark (who is amazing)

The Pedagogy – formative assessment, differentiated instruction, demonstrations of learning, curation and reflection. Effective Technology Integration – Making Thinking Visible, Student Voice, Sharing Work.

Ideas for flipgrid

  • What inspires you to be an educator? For future employees.
  • 8th graders leave some for the incoming 6th graders.
  • Get to know your parents
  • Get to know your teachers
  • Ask Czop, Dorothy and Sara for a FLIPGRID for our bed writers.

Ideas for Socrative

  • Check for understanding.
  • Quizzes
  • Surveys

The fifth session was Comics with Sylvia Duckworth – slide show

Demo Slam


  • Face Oscar
  • Run Pee
  • Swagbucks

Sylvia Duckworth

  • Characteristics – dedication, equality, motivation, open-mindness, skills, level-headedness, aim to reach all students, model

Lisa Highfill

  • Draftback extension

Kelsey Sherer

  • #teachwithtech fail
  • A Google Form for Summer reading


  • Tools, Color, Transparent
  • Search for a youtube video 10 minute timer


  • REALYOUSnaps

Nick Park

Christine Liebe, Computer Science Content Specialist CDE


The second day started with the keynote speaker Holly Clark. Her presentation was on “Who are we teaching” . Gen Z – they are not tech savvy they are tech dependent  Password Video. Nick S from UK invents Summarization App At the age of 15 he sold it to Yahoo for 30 million.  Bella T. –  Kidzcationz website – the trip advisor for kids – from Australia

Class 2031 is now here.  What happened in 2005 that wasn’t her in 2018?  Facebook, Youtube, Smart Phones, Google Maps were not here. What do you think 2031 will be like?  Self-driving car, no drunk driving, traffic will change, no car insurance. Uber is making flying taxis – Holy Jetson.  Our phones will be controlled by our thoughts. AI will change everything.

Open is shifting the focus from how we should teach to how they should learn. Open can be accepting the new literacies. Transliterate -Fluent across all mediums of information not just reading and writing. Literacy vs Fluency – Literacy is competence or knowledge and MAKING MEANING but Fluency is ability to express oneself articulately with an understanding of how to reach a desired effect AND application of knowledge. Math is about learning formulas but what is the quadratic equation for? Sawubona – Zulu word that means “I see you”  What a great way to start the year! We need to understand how people learn when they have a choice, and bring that into the places where they are required to learn.” Davide Price. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  William Butler Yates. Bike with wrong direction handlebars – If we teach today as we taught yesterday we rob our children of tomorrow.” – John Dewey

The first session was on Pear Deck withNick Park – Everything you do is saved in google doc. You can use a PPT or JPG to put in Pear Deck. Pear Deck gives each student a voice all the time, but you are getting feedback constantly. Active Learning, deeper learning, social learning for 100% student engagement. Pear deck reduces the achievement gap=- 50 % between socioeconomic groups, 100% between genders, 6% all. Can lock screens and there is a KIOSK mode. You can insert Kahoot! You can use Student Paced Mode allows you to get a link that you can share as homework or absent students.

The second session was with @JLenore24Jess Loucks google photos. Google Photos = get the app for phone. On phone go to hotdogs, settings, backup and sync ON.  Backup account should be your current gmail account. Leave “ when to back up “ is turned off.  Especially for cellular data. Photoscan app to scan photos

Vail, Colorado Certified as First Sustainable Mountain Resort Destination in the World

July 23, 2018 Leave a comment

Amazing read about Vail by my friend Kristen Gill!

Kristen Gill

vailVail is the first destination in the world to be certified to the Mountain IDEAL sustainable destination standard.

“Recognizing that mountain destinations are acutely threatened by climate change, waning freshwater resources, and seasonal tourism peaks, Vail has made important strides in balancing the needs of its delicate ecosystem with the wants of travelers and the local community,” said Geoff Bolan, CEO of Sustainable Travel International.

Like many mountain resort destinations, Vail’s economy is highly dependent on tourism. While the town is home to just under 5,500 local residents, it welcomes 2.8 million guests annually. Since the ski area’s founding in 1962, and the Town’s founding in 1966, Vail has focused on balancing tourism growth with local environmental and community needs.

It has taken many years to work towards the sustainable destination certification, which builds upon Vail’s long history of environmental conservation. Notable past achievements include the protection of open space…

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Amazing Transgender Training by @VentureOut_ ‏

May 30, 2018 Leave a comment

Today at Fountain Valley School of Colorado we had 3 hours of training from Venture Out Project. Perry and Malcolm were our facilitators and they were amazing.  Venture Out started as an Outward Bound type company for the transgender community.  They have since expanded to help schools learn more about the individuals who identify as transgender.  The first exercise consisted of matching words with their definitions.  These included non-binary, intersex, cisgender, transgender, ally, etc.  The second exercise was defining “Fitting In”, descriptions included external, others say whether, others judge, you fit in, you sacrifice or conform.  The third exercise was defining “Belonging” descriptions used were more internal, personal, you feel like you belong.

We then overviewed the Genderbread Person and how each of the pieces interact together or don’t.

Genderbread-Person-3.3.jpgWe then did some scenarios about pronouns.  Typical pronouns are He, him, his; she her, hers; they, them, theirs (this last three are sometimes used instead of gender specific ones). Ze, zir, zirs are the non-gender pronouns that some individuals want to use.

Oregon in 2017 became the first state to add the option of X as your sex on it’s drivers’ license.  We could have students inquiry this on why the letter ?  Why would someone choose it?  Why do you think they did this?  For more info, read here.

FVS is looking at overall guiding rules and principals to make our campus a safe place for all students.

In the FVS library, we have many fiction and non-fiction books.  “This book is gay” and “Rethinking Normal” are both great non-fiction to understand more terminology and experiences.  “Gracefully Grayson”, “Everyday”,  “The Symptoms of Being Human” and “None of the Above” are all great fiction that explores experiences of our youth.

Tech Tools (weekly)

May 26, 2018 Leave a comment

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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