My Top 5 Lessons Learned in 2019

Over the last few days, I’ve shared some of my most popular content from 2019 (top posts, top Instagram posts, top tweets, top retweets & top podcast episodes).  However, it’s important to own the things that weren’t popular or successful.  It’s also important to learn from those things!

Here are my top 5 Lessons Learned in 2019!

  1. Practice like you Play – In October, I was a featured speaker at the Quincy Conference in Illinois.  I practiced my presentations on the flight there and a little more at the Airbnb that I stayed at.  I thought it would all go great.  And it did, except for one detail: my AmazonBasics wireless presentation remote was a hot mess.  There were at least a dozen times during the day that it didn’t click when it should have or clicked multiple times when it should have clicked once.  I looked so unprofessional.  I have since purchased a better clicker (I’m looking at you, Logitech Spotlight 😍) and now I always practice with my remote.  This lesson could also be, sometimes you’ve gotta pay more to get good quality.
  2. Prufreed – Er, Proofread.  My Google Translate in Google Sheets #EduGIF has traveled the world (literally).  It had more than 85,000 retweets in Indonesia and nearly 90,000 upvotes on Reddit.  But I didn’t proofread it before I published it and now it’s too late.  There is 1 error in there (the code for German is de, not ge), 1 silly choice (why translate taco from English to Spanish!?) and 1 not-so-great example (it translates bienvenido to you are welcome, rather than welcome).
  3. Back up your backups! I recorded a mini-episode of the Educational Duct Tape podcast with my friend Missy Paden at the Educational Duct Tape Workshop in December.  I edited it and had it almost ready to publish.  It was a great interview.  When I went back to publish it, the audio file had disappeared.  Poof.  I should’ve backed it up.  Instead, I ended up publishing an episode where I reflected on the disaster.  Multiple people reached out to tell me that they found my reflections to be valuable!
  4. Check – In May, I interviewed John Sowash for an episode of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast.  When I went back a few days later to edit the interview, I discovered that I hadn’t plugged in my microphone and, instead, my audio was recorded via my computer’s built-in mic.  Oops! It sounded horrible. I should’ve checked before recording!
  5. Double-Check! – In August, I interviewed Mike Mohammad for an episode of the Educational Duct Tape Podcast.  When I went back a weeks later to edit the interview, Mike’s audio wasn’t there.  We must have disconnected before it finished uploading the audio, or maybe there was an error message that I ignored.  Fortunately, Mike was willing to re-do the interview a few weeks later.  And it’s a good thing, too, because it became the 5th most listened-to episode of 2019.

Here’s to more successes and more lessons learned in 2020!  Happy New Year!

Feedback & Improvement Happen Incrementally

I couldn’t stop laughing.  My son was running all around the basketball court.  Behind the coach, behind the player with the ball, under the hoop, out of bounds, into the backcourt, all over.  And his defender was annoyed.  I would have been embarrassed, but it was too funny to consider that option.

Why was my 7-year-old running around the court like a hyper chihuahua? Continue reading Feedback & Improvement Happen Incrementally

My thoughts on #GrowthMindset

I am a believer in the power of Growth Mindset.  While there are other characteristics that lead to success, I think that it is one of the biggest predictors of success, if not the single biggest predictor.

Anyhow, when a colleague of mine at Brady Middle School invited teachers to record messages to her students about our experiences with and beliefs about Growth Mindset, I jumped at the opportunity to share.

My goal was 1-2 minutes, but sometimes, when something is important to you, you have more to say.  Here’s the video that I shared with them: