Technology Pursuit

Blending Technology Into the Language Arts Classroom

Month: November 2018

Thankful for the Imperfect

I connect to so much of what Suzy Lolley writes in this blog post. Social media makes other lives seem perfect. I’ve often been guilty of reading teachers’ books or seeing their presentations and thinking, Wow, they’ve got this teaching gig figured out. For a long time, I saw how far I still had to go compared to them.

Slowly, I’ve realized that we all feel this way. None of us feel like we have it figured out. None of us will be perfect teachers. I don’t have to aim for the perfect classroom performance every day. It’s okay to be imperfect.

Read more here:

Social media can really skew our view of ourselves. I don’t know about you, but the more I see people’s perfect families, perfect houses, and perfect lives, it makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me. It can make my gratitude meter run a little low. However, in this month of gratitude, I want to be very intentional to be thankful for the imperfect.





Who’s Your Guide When Things Get Tough?

This time of year can make it hard on us teachers. It gets dark early. We’ve been in school a few months, but Christmas Break is a long ways away. To help us, though, we have all kinds of people around us.

Maybe we should take some time to recognize them and be grateful. Josh Stock does just that in this post below!

Who is your guide when things are tough?

Grateful to Hit the Reset Button

In honor of gratitude month, some friends and I decided to share posts of what we’re most grateful for. My friend Adam Powley writes about how he is grateful for the reset button.

In the B.C. years of my marriage (that is Before Children) my wife and I rocked Guitar Hero. Neither of us play guitar but ability to pretend to be rockers, enjoy the music, and just be goofy with each other got us through some tough times. We were in the B.C. era because of infertility issues and jamming on together on a fake plastic guitar was one way for us to have what game designer Nicole Lazzaro called “Serious Fun”, or mind altering play. This silly game, with its cartoonish rockers and its Superstar Mode Power Up, was a way for us to escape and find a meaningful connection with each other.

During one of our jam sessions one of our guests noticed that I picked up on new game mechanics pretty quickly and told me it was “evidence of a misspent youth”. I took this to mean that I had spent a lot of time playing video games in my childhood. There was a negative connotation to this but I wasn’t upset because I did play a lot of video games but I did a lot of other things too. Flash forward to marriage AD (Achieved Descendants)* and my new job as an 11th grade US History teacher and that misspent youth began to pay off when I joked with a colleague during lunch duty that school should be more like a role-playing game. This discussion led me on a journey towards gamification and game-inspired classroom designs and has radically improved both me and my students’ classroom experience. There are so many game inspired concepts that I am grateful for but I am extremely thankful for the notion of a reset button.

Want to read more? Of course you do! Go here…

Yes, I’m Telling You to Be Grateful for Stress


It’s been a stressful past two weeks. I was senior sponsor for Homecoming. We’ve had daily rehearsals for our one-act play. I’ve had observations by our local service unit and the department chair of our local college (and as much as I’d like to say that doesn’t make me nervous, it’s still an energy zapper).

I may or may not have eaten an entire bag of cheese popcorn and a bag of dark chocolate chips this weekend.

This was the first time this school year when I felt myself slipping under the water, where every time I crossed something off my to-do list, two more things popped up. I was simply surviving the days, dragging myself home, and procrastinating my ever-growing list. I was missing the proverbial forest for the trees–focusing only on what I had to do and forgetting about my long-term goals, my vision to help others, my commitment to my blog.

Then I ran across this Facebook post:

Could you believe this made me grateful for stress? OK, maybe not super grateful for the stress itself, but a reminder that teaching –and the stress that comes with it–is what creates meaning in my life. Sharing engaging, playful ideas for the classroom creates meaning for me. Presenting at conferences and meeting other fantastic educators creates meaning for me. In her TED talk, Kelly McGonigall also talks of the health benefits of stress, and no surprise, one of the biggest is the oxytocin boost we get when we….help others!

I’d venture that we all have weeks–or multiple weeks–where we feel overwhelmed with teaching and all the meetings, paperwork, and “duties as assigned” that go with this profession. And, at least for me, it’s so easy to have tunnel vision, to survive just long enough to leave school by 5pm, grab a bag of my favorite white cheddar popcorn and collapse in my living room.

However, I can’t forget to be grateful that I’m doing what I love doing. As the post says, we have to trust ourselves that we will be able to handle the stress, that we will get through this, that we are making a difference and doing what we enjoy.

This week I was accepted into the doctoral program at the University of Nebraska (back to my first alma mater–GO HUSKERS!), and for that I’m extremely grateful. But I’m also extremely anxious about the load that is going to come with taking doctoral classes and writing a dissertation the next 4 years.

I have no idea how much stress this program will introduce into my life. Yet, anytime we push ourselves to innovate and take risks, we’re going to experience stress. It’s the cover charge for growth.  As hard as it is, and will be, we need to take a moment and view stress from that perspective: BECAUSE we have jobs where we teach amazing kids, jobs where we get to innovate and create, we will have stress.

The next time you’re at your wits end with a never-ending to-do list, here’s your challenge (and a challenge I make to myself):

Be grateful. You are a teacher; you are making a difference in others lives; you are creating meaning in your own life. Stress is simply a by-product of having great job of Educator.

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