"Creativity is contagious, pass it on." ~Albert Einstein

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

I'm fortunate in the fact that I get to work with Kindergartners. 

Six years ago when I started in my current position, the thought of going into one of our five Kindergarten classrooms flat out intimidated me.  

Today, I look forward to going into any of those five Kindergarten classrooms in our district.  I can be having the worst day ever and I will walk out of one of those classrooms thirty minutes later smiling from ear to ear. 

As I reflect upon the many learning adventures with my little friends over the last six years, I've come to one realization...

We need to be more Kindergartner. 


Because in Kindergarten, we hug more.

In Kindergarten we forgive easily.

In Kindergarten everyone is a friend.

In Kindergarten we are curious.  All the time. 

In Kindergarten we are eager and full of enthusiasm.

In Kindergarten it's okay to pick your nose.  Okay, that's not true...I just wanted to see if you were still reading. Well, maybe it is true...just a little. 

In Kindergarten we are allowed and encouraged to be creative...and not judged when we are.

In Kindergarten we jump up and down when we get excited. 

In Kindergarten we soak up learning like a sponge. 

In Kindergarten we get to play to learn.  

Love is everywhere in a Kindergarten classroom

Kindergartners are non-judgemental. Somewhere along the line, we start doing this the older we get.

We laugh a lot, and sometimes we even cry in Kindergarten. 

My Kindergarten friends have taught me so much over the last six years.  

Thank you to Mrs. Huenefeld, Mrs. Hudson, Mrs. Phillips, Mrs. Groetzinger and Mrs. Anderson for letting me venture into your learning emporiums.  You truly make a difference in every student that steps foot into your classrooms.  


Monday, March 5, 2018

Thanks for the click. You were scrolling through your Twitter stream and something caught your attention.  Perhaps it was the simple image embedded in the tweet. Maybe you said to yourself, "I wonder what Craig is babbling about now?" Nonetheless, thank you for taking the time to read this far. 

I'm reading a book right now that I believe every student in grades 5-12 student should read.  I believe their parents should read it.  While we are at it, I think every teacher should read it. 

The book is "Legacy vs Likes" by Mike Smith.  I won't go into the details of the book.  You can do that on your own.  At the end of each chapter in the book, Mike issues a challenge that ties with the content of each chapter.  I was intrigued by the fifth chapter in which Mike talks about how we spend our time in regards to social media. Mike dropped some powerful statistics on how much time we invest in information that has no real impact on our lives.  Consuming social media.  Scrolling through our social media feeds. Can you relate?  I know I can. 

The challenge at the end of this chapter was to work on a craft for 2.5 hours. To create something instead of consuming.  

Here I am blogging. Creating.  Working on a craft that I love to do, but tend to put it off.  I always tell myself that I don't have time even though I love the feeling that writing gives me.  

I saw a quote somewhere recently that said, "Instead of 'I don't have time' try saying 'It's not a priority' see how that feels."  

Blogging is now a priority.  I've put it off for too long.  It's my 2.5 project. Stay tuned.  Thanks for the nudge, Mike. 

What's your 2.5 project going to be? 

Monday, January 8, 2018

I didn't pick a #oneword for 2017.  

I'm gonna give it a go again this year.  My word this year stems in part from my 2016 word and an event that has recently transpired in my life. 

My word this year is "perspective."

My son was diagnosed with Crohn's disease during his eighth-grade year.  You probably didn't know that.  He doesn't share that too often.  From what I understand, a lot of Crohn's patients don't openly share about their disease. I completely understand. 

As I compose this blog post I am sitting in the hospital with my son as he recovers from surgery that was needed because of his Crohn's disease.  We are on day 4 of recovery.  It's a hell of a lot better than day 1.  Day by day he is getting better.  

Watching my first child work through this whole process has been a challenge. If you are a parent, you know that there's an instinct we all have that makes us want to protect and help our child in their times of need.   

There's not much I can do right now as a Dad.  

I try to offer words of encouragement.  

I lend a hand when getting out of bed or walking down the hallway.  That's about all I can do. 

Since my son's diagnosis four years ago, he has never complained about having Crohn's disease.  It's a battle he will fight the rest of his life. 

He has never complained.  Not once.   

Since being in the hospital (Dec 21-24 and Jan 3-later this week) my son has not complained once.  

I would have.  A lot. 

I've learned a lot from my seventeen-year-old son throughout this whole process.  

Most importantly, he's taught me a lot about perspective.  From time to time I may gripe and complain about mundane things.  Why?  Because it's easy.  I needed better perspective in my life.  I have it now. 

My son has taught me to look at things a bit differently than I have the last 45 years. 

I am looking forward to jumping head first into in 2018 with a new perspective. 


Monday, December 11, 2017

Who didn't like watching MacGyver?  It was an action-adventure TV series full of drama. If you are unfamiliar with MacGyver let me give you a brief synopsis.  MacGyver, the main character, always got himself into a bind.  He always managed to get himself out of these problems by using ordinary objects to manipulate a way out. He was a jack of all trades.  

I wasn't a die-hard fan but would watch an episode if I ran across it while channel surfing.  

I got to thinking the other day about some of the apps that our students are still using to create with on the iPad.  Even after five years of being one to one, they love creating with a handful of certain apps. 

They are the "go to" apps students gravitate towards when wanting to create something for class.  You know what I'm talking about.  These apps never get stale with students.  

Now, for some teachers they do.  I've seen signs banning these apps in classrooms because teachers want their students to use something different. 

I get that. 

BUT, it says something about these apps that have stood the test of time.   I call these apps "MacGyver" apps because you can do about anything with them, just like the TV character could do with ordinary objects. 

MacGyver apps have some identifiable characteristics...

Easy to use

Free (not always)


Never grows old

Only limited by user imagination

I'm sure you are thinking of some of those apps right now that you currently integrate into your classroom.  

Below is a list of my must have "MacGyver" apps.  If you aren't already using them, click on the app below to download them and explore.  There are so many ways to use these apps in your classroom! 


Spark Video

Book Creator

Pic Collage




Thursday, December 7, 2017

I've noticed something at our elementary school lately.  I hadn't seen it until about six weeks ago.  When I tell you what it is, you're  going to say to yourself, "that's not that big of a deal," I think it is. 

What is it that I have noticed?  

Students using the voice dictation tool on the iPad.  

I have noticed our primary students using the tool on their iPads without their teacher or me prompting them to use it.  I was teaching a Book Creator lesson a couple of weeks ago in fourth grade and a student found the newly added voice to text feature all on their own.   I sat and watched the student dictate a paragraph (with no errors) to add to the Halloween book they were authoring. 


Let's go back to 1988.  I'm sitting in Mrs. Soderman's typing class at Centura Public School.  The hum of 25 electric typewriters fills the room.  I'm sitting in the second row trying not to look down at my fingers to make sure they are on the home row keys.  I'm trying to type as fast as I can.  I LOVED that class. In fact, it was my favorite.  It was all about winning for me.  I didn't care that Mrs. Soderman told us that we would need this essential skill someday.  All I cared about was typing faster than the classmate seated next to me and getting to my goal of 82 words per minute.  Yes, I achieved that goal, and I am so glad that I learned the skill of keyboarding.  It has served me well.  It's a skill that I use every day in my job.   Heck, I even got paid to type up a couple of papers in college!  

Back to 2017.  

We are having conversations about what keyboarding programs we should be spending money on in our schools.  We hear from business leaders in our communities that keyboarding is an essential skill that will be needed. 

Yet I have a first grader hammering out an assignment using the voice dictation tool.  Do I tell them to stop and show them how to place their hands on home row? Or do I let them use a tool that allows them to easily express themselves? 

I'm trying to imagine what their world will look like 10-15 years from now knowing how efficient voice dictation has become just in the last three years.

And most importantly...

I wonder if our pre-established norms as adults sometimes get in the way in the world of education.  


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

My Dad called me the morning of August 9, 2010. He asked if I wanted to get a round of golf in before I had to head back to school, I hate to admit it now, but at the time I wasn't interested. We all know how "busy" August can be when getting ready to head back to school.  
Reluctantly, I took my Dad up on his offer. As we walked off the second green it started to rain. My Dad always preferred to ride when he golfed, so we quickly jumped into our cart and pulled under the Linden tree that you see over to the left. We parked exactly where my bag is standing. I don't remember the specifics of our conversation that day, but I do remember a vivid feeling of happiness. Happy that I chose to take my Dad up on his offer of a round of golf. It was a round full of great conversations. I played playing exceptionally well for that late in the season. I remember I shot one under that 9 and was relishing the compliments about my game from my father. Little did I know it would be our last round of golf together before he passed unexpectedly ten weeks later from a stroke.

I find myself smiling each time I walk by that tree, thankful that I said "yes" to my Dad that Monday in August of 2010.


authorHusband, Dad, Son, Brother, Teacher, Coach, Learner, Catalyst, Collaborator, Creator, Contributor, EdTecher, DIYer, Tinkerer, Golfer, Exerciser, Gardener.