Beyond PLN

We live in connected times. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how powerful the devices we casually tuck in our pockets really are. I joined Twitter in 2012, and since that time I’ve had the chance to experience the power of a Professional Learning Network (PLN) firsthand. Lately, I’m also noticing the power of connecting with people outside my PLN. An example of this is a connected literacy project we’re trying. If you've heard of the hit television show "Shark Tank," you know that guests on the show present their ideas to a panel of sharks who pick which projects they want to invest in. For our connected literacy project, we flipped the shark-tank concept around. Instead of having an elite gro

4 Questions to Help You Change THIS

THIS will impact your classroom or school’s culture. How you approach THIS says a lot about who you are. As a matter of fact, THIS could change everything. THIS is not hyperbole…it’s what you do. It's the decisions you make. THIS could be reading logs THIS could be a habit or routine THIS could be grades, homework, or your approach to student discipline THIS could even represent the things you choose to remain silent about These four questions have helped our team change THIS and they’ve helped me serve the people I care about more effectively. The questions are informed by more of my mistakes than I could ever count. They are also based on four foundational elements from my book, Reclaiming

Burn the Ships

One of the challenges we face as educators is knowing what to hold onto and what to let go of. This tension applies as much to ideas as it does to curriculum, budget codes, and pedagogy. The challenge is only exacerbated by a backdrop marked by rapid changes in technology and the ever-present expectation to increase results. This past weekend, we went to a For King and Country concert in Minneapolis with some close friends. The concert was incredible and one of my favorite parts came from a live Q & A before the show. During that conversation the lead singers, Joel and Luke, shared where the name for their world tour, Burn the Ships, originated. From a historical perspective, the phrase has

The Problem with Principals who Used to Read

Sometimes I write to reflect and other times I write to share an idea. Today is different. Today I'm writing to dialogue about something I saw on social media recently. Last week, Donalyn Miller shared something that caught my attention. She prefaced her post by acknowledging it might be an "unpopular opinion of the day." She went on to explain, "...if somebody online asks for a book recommendation and all you can come up with is a book that was written 20-50 years ago, you should probably get off the internet and start reading." As I read through the comments written in response to Donalyn's post, I noticed some thoughtful pushback that said something to the effect of, "If I read and enjoye

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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