Don't Miss the Main Thing

I may make more mistakes than most principals, but I try not to make them twice. I'm constantly reflecting. Earlier this year, I received an e-mail from a teacher looking for some feedback. She was finalizing her classroom management plan and preparing to share it with parents. This got me thinking..."What would my classroom management plan look like if I was still teaching 2nd grade?" I'm not sure how helpful I was, but I tried jotting down a few things that I would want to convey to families about classroom community. I eventually shared my formative thoughts with the teacher who had been interested in feedback, but I continued thinking about classroom management long after she and I chatt


This year we're launching a new student podcast called, "Bookcast," and I couldn't be prouder of our kiddos. We've been doing podcasting projects with students for several years now, but Bookcast is a little different. It is unpolished, passion-based, and features all things literacy. (Initially, I struggled with the authentic and somewhat "unscripted" nature of the various components, but now I'm in love with how they emanate student creativity.) As the name might imply, our plan is to focus on talking about the books we're reading and why we love them. (As you'll see from our inaugural video, we aren't afraid to deviate from that plan by throwing in some random karaoke--just because we can

Whose Eyes?

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with several other people at a local university for a round-table conversation on innovation. What made this meeting unique was the fact it included the perspectives of people from several different sectors including healthcare, business, higher education, etc. I’m still processing much of what we discussed, but wanted to share a quick story and a couple of preliminary thoughts. One thing I appreciated about our time together was that it was focused on questions that impacted the entire group in different ways. The university facilitators provided several questions in advance of our meeting, and this allowed us to have a more free-flowing dialog when t

Build Better Booktalks (Video)

I recently had the chance to work with 100+ third-grade students on a literacy-themed project. Their teachers are immersed in some important conversations about passion-based reading, and trying some truly innovative things. Our focus with students was on how to start a booktalk. And by “start” I mean we talked about how to absolutely CRUSH the opening of a booktalk. I’m not an expert on this, but I was definitely able to share what *not* to do! During our time together, we also talked about how I would be sending a follow-up video that could be used to help students take their booktalks to the next level. keeping with that promise I’m sharing this 3-minute video. Feel free to share

Dr. Brad Gustafson is an elementary principal, author, and speaker. He believes schools can be spaces where creativity and innovation thrive, but only when we prioritize relationships and a relevant, connected pedagogy. 


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