56 Tips for teachers

A great teacher once made a book called 55 tips.   The last tip I have is "get the 55 tips book"


1.  Create opportunities for random learning.  At St. Thomas Aquinas school in Fort Lauderdale, quotations scroll or appear on monitors in every classroom and in the halls and dining area.  Inspiring videos with captions (subtitles) can be shown without sound.   

There are inspiring videos that can be played in the first 2 minutes and last two minutes of each class session to imbue the students (and teachers) with a stronger sense of purpose.  I have a DVD with 120 minutes of videos that show inspiring words -- no volume is needed.

2.  Digital Library

every student walks out the first day with a set of the best lessons by teachers on DVD

an introduction 

a DVD newsletter goes out every 3 months showing

DVD yearbook (a collection of highlights)

students are charged with what goes onto the Digital Library (students learn procedures and how to back up what was captured)

3.  Storing projects, digital portfolios, e-portfolios

how can students use "the cloud"?

4.  BrainSmart.org techniques

Brain Smart is a series of techniques, described in this video  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5X7GqRzH3oE  and in the youtube channel  youtube.com/BrainSmartmovie

These techniques can be shown to teachers and students and lectures should become more entertaining and effective.

KEY TIP:  No part of a lecture should be for more than 8 minutes.   There should be "downtime" in any presentation, when you stop to talk with a partner or do something to break the focus of the brains on the speaker.

5.  Seven global skills (Tony Wagner)




Critical Thinking

Initiative and Entrepreneurship

Adaptability and agility

accessing and analyzing information

Post these words on walls.

6.  Blazek's Project List (ebook)

a guide to project-based learning for principal, teachers, parents and students

7.  Mentors on Video

It's hard to bring adults to school, so ask students to watch videos of mentors.


MENTORS checklist

8.  Critical thinking with John deGroot

"I'm going to ask you to think about things that you have not yet thought about."

Pulitzer prizewinning journalist and playwright

His lessons from December 2010 to April 2011 are collected on three DVDs.

9.  Schools need volunteers.  Volunteers need a place to give back to the community.  --  Invite volutneers into the school.

10.  Create a DVD and distribute it to every visitor and every student.  Create a new DVD every 3 months.   Send it to stakeholders (parents, neighbors, businesses).  Use DVDs to communicate the vision of the school and the needs of the school.

Create an audio CD for people to listen to in their cars.

It becomes the "take home newsletter"  Cheaper than a photocopy.

11.  Bring newspapers from the previous week.   Most communities recycle newspapers, so go "diving" for newspapers and magazines.  Build a media center in teh school.   Create bins so that students know that they can  cut articles from the newspapers and build scrap books.

12.  Create a journal in each Classroom

what happened yesterday?  What happened today?   Enter the news of the world, the nation, state, city and classroom.  Record what happened.  What mad etoday a special day?  What was different today from other days?

13.  Distribute cameras and ask teachers to record what happens.   Record victories.  Performances of Understanding...  Pages from those daily journals can be rad to the camera and will become part of the weekly or every-three-days video journal that can appear on a youtube channel.

13 B. Let students use the cameras, too.  Train students to use tripods.   Right-tight and left is loose.  loosen the screw BEFORE moving the handle.  Train students in the art of photocography and videography.   Encourage excellence (no wobbly cameras, please).

13 C.  Install Dragon voice recognition programs. Let the videos capture the spoken words of students,then convert the speeches into text using speech to text software.Then the real writing can begin for students who dislike writing -- let students discover how easy it is to generate words.

14.  Keep a photo and video journal of creative work by students.  Some female students create fabulous hairdos and earwear.  Take photos.  Create a website for students who want to start their own companies.

Feature those companies on a central site.   Encourage links to each other's sites.  Encourage hits to their youtube vidoes. 

15.   Find lots of books (Broward County book depository).  Send the books home.  Encourage students to cut photos out of books and create their own books with scraps of information.   "Build your own book"

16.  Digital Library -- encourage students to build a digital library for themselves.  They can carry away materials that teachers have recommended (ebooks for their own use).  Not just the cloud, their OWN DVDs. 

17.  Let students download their favorite educational movies from youtube and make a collections for teachders to study.  "These are important videos"  -- they speak to us.

Let teachers do the same for students.

Give away these collections to other schools.  Encourage swaps of lists.  Make yotube lists.

  download videos in case the video gets removed.  Create zamzar parties and invite otehr schools to explain why they selected those videos for their DVD.    Teach students about compressing videos and pulling audio tracks off youtube videos (the video might be only 10 percent of the information).  

18.  get more ideas from Dennis Littky's book The Big Picture:  Education is Everybody's Business (2004).

19.  Ask a volunteer to come to your office, Mr. Principal, and ask the volunteer to do something that you, the principal, want to see happen.  in exchange, you can consider the volunteer's request for some students in the school to do something that the volunteer wants to demonstrate.

20.  Allow the use of language learning software.  Highlight a phrase per day from youtube "piacere di fare la sua conoscenza" and ask students to give a reply...if they want to.

   Post the previous 10 weeks of phrases so that students can read through the past and figure out what they learned last week.   After 10 weeks the phrase is removed from the wall and placed in the journal   That mean students had the opportunity to read a phrase 50 times before the phrases was retired.   Students can look at the language journal and get their memories refreshed.

21.  Encourage calls to other countries by Skype.  Video events that happen in the school, post the events on youtube and facebook, then call people in other countries who have exprssed interest in learning more English through Skype.  (BIB Penpals is a source for such students).

22. Display books in classrooms about transformation of education and the economy.  Catch students looking at the books.  Give extra credit for book reports, posters, video "performances of understanding" of a book's contents.  Ask teachers to stand up and describe an important idea from one of the books.   The following titles prominently in classrooms (encouraging teachers and students to glance through these books).

Thomas Friedman
The World is Flat; Hot, Flat and Crowded

Malcolm Gladwell
The Tipping Point; Blink; Outliers

Daniel Pink
Free Agent Nation, A Whole New Mind, Drive:  Motivation
TheStudentIsTheClass.com  (blog) by Dr. Abraham Fischler
Howard Gardner Intelligence Reframed

Ken Robinson
The Element, How Did They Get That Way?  Interviews with people about their passions
Dennis Littky  (Click here for a profile)
The Big Picture:
Youtube:  PopTech

On the front cover of each book, a one-page summary of

each book can be glued to make sure the casual visitor to the book has a chance to see "aha, that's the main idea of this book" -- plus, for each book, include a suggested page to look at.

The QBE Academy's List of Quotations for Teachers, Students, Parents and Taxpayers

Howard Gitlow's book about Deming, including the 11 Deming Points for Labor.

Required reading for anyone who wants to transform a system or organization.

Example:  Howard Gardner's book, Intelligence Reframed, pages 161-167 describes the variety of ways that students can demonstrate their understanding and how "performances of understanding" can be captured.

23.  Add to the spoken poems and essays on youtube.com/sunrisepoems.  

24.  Create books with the students
"Very Cool Sites" and "I saw It On Youtube.com" are two of the projects that I'm assembling with the help of students.  The books will be printed on LULU.com, the covers will be designed by students and the content will be largely selected by students.  See the descriptions of the projects at  www.VeryCoolSites.com and

25.  Bring Deming into your school.
Since 1996, few publications have quoted Dmeing or described how to apply Dmeing's principles to schools.  "It's out of fashion."  Twenty years after his death, the most recent quote of Deming in an education-realted publication is found in two BrainSmart.org books:
Thinking for Results:  Strategies for increasing student achievement by as much as 30 percent
ISBN:  1-58933-173-7  (866) SMART61 

26. Teach brain-boosting internet techniques.  
Daniel Amen writes, "Develop razor sharp focus. Check email once a day, at the same time daily, and look at only email related to your to-do list for today. Scanning and answering email messages randomly (and most email arrives in random order of priority) lowers blood flow to the brain. 

Handle random requests with this phrase: "I need to think about it. If I am able to help you (do it), I will get back to you." or "I need to talk with my manager/parents to see if there are other priorities at this time." This phrase keeps you on point.

27.  Place "creativity boxes" (or call them "Supply box") in classrooms.  

Contents of the creativity box

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

Quotes from various pages of Pink's book

A Whack on the Head by Robert van Oech
glue, scissors, variety of pens (calligraphy, fine-line pens used by artists, colored pencils, colored markers), staplers, water colors
Paper: notebooks, watercolor paper, sketch book, tracing paper.
The idea is to let students touch what they might have used in prior years in other classes. What a surprise that they could make posters in this class! How can they perform their understanding?

28.  Mark drawers "Do not open" with a second sign underneath "Question authority."   Put a third sign, "Valuable supplies worth exploring."  See who follows these contradictory directions.

29.  Keep in contact with ex-students, alumni, ex-employees.  Make it easy for students to contact old teachers.  Encourage visits by former employees and students.  (This idea is used at Bigpicture.org schools, where alumni become mentors for current students: "What's it like out there? How is college? How did you get in?").  

30.  Post quotations that inspire.  Post newspaper articles.  Post photos.  Put "comment sheets" next to the items and write something -- to indicate that it's okay to make a comment.  Create Facebook pages and youtube channels and post the quotation plus read the items (quotations, photo whatever) and the comments to the youtube viewer.

31.  Tell students about VeryCoolSites.com and ISawitOnYoutube.com.  Post clearly an

offer from Building International Bridges, a non-profit organization that aims to promote the use of Skype (intelligently).  This means educational projects that promote cross cultural understanding and through checking to certify BIB penpals (teenagers who have passed a test for teaching English to non-nativbe speakers and a geography-awareness quiz). A good preparation is the Traveler IQ Challenge.

32.  The teachers of the future (TOTFs) carry media (photocopies, posters, addresses, CDs, flash drivers, DVDs, a DVD/CD duplicator) and gives the items away under Creative Commons "copyleft" -- because the aim is to help students, even students these teachers will never meet.

The packet of CDs and DVDs is part of the portfolio that the TOTF present at their interviews and the list appears on their websties and Facebook pages.

34.  Teachers post a list of Internet skills and issue their own "certificate of mastery" of groups of these skills.

Internet Club       Skills List


35. Put posters, poems and lyrics from songs on walls, even in the restrooms (particularly above the urinal and in the stalls).  Get posters from around the world by writing to embassies.  Change the posters weekly (ideally by inspiring students to want to be the changers and selectors of the posters:  "I want to put THIS ONE up!"  It's all about motivation...).

36.  Every teacher is an ambassador and a potential recipient of materials for teh school.  Teachers are empowered to write THANK YOU notes when receiving gifts to the school.

37.  Teachers are encouraged to say, "Wow, you really had a good teacher in middle school.  Who was your teacher?"  Ms. Harvey.  "Well, let's take a moment and make a short video to thank Ms. Harvey at Park Middle School."   Then post that youtube and send a note. The teacher will probably remember the high school that generated the thanks and the student has engraved the middle school teacher's name deeper in his synapses.

38.  Teachers post Deming's 11 Points for Labor on walls and read them aloud to the students, showing how each point is followed that day.  See BuildtheFuture.net for the list.

39.  Keep the books in the school or use ebooks or websites so that students don't have heavy bookbags.  Get two copies of the books, one for home and one for the classroom.

Put interesting books in the room (and ask teachers to read at least two pages from each book).

40.  Eliminate bells or use gentle music to indicate the end of the lesson... 

41.  Don't make announcements though a microphone that goes through the entire school.  It is an interruption.
Interruptions are not respecting people.
it is like the voice of God
Go to each classroom and explain what you want to say.... or create a youtube video and sent it around the school.

42.  Encourage students to express their passions by opening businesses together.

I learned entrepreneurship in a number of ways.  My first businesses were started when I was at Punahou School and I learned a lot from them -- both the successes  and the failures.  That foundation proved invaluable as I set out to build AOL.  Studying entrepreneurship is important, but you really learn by doing, so getting out and starting new businesses is the best education.  Any successful business requires the three P's:  people, passion and perseverance."
-- Steve Case, AOL founder
Teachers can encourage students to identify needs, find a niche in the economy, start websites, offer services:  do what HighTechHigh.org and MetCenter.org try -- they let students follow their passions (the first P in Steve Case's formula) and then start their own businesses -- letting them run the businesses with other students at school, if the students want to do so.   

Introduce students to 52LTD.com
43.  Show quotes about education to students -- ask them to think about their thinking processes.  
"What goes on in your mind when you are reading or watching a video?  What is flashing in your brain while you are thinking?"  Discuss Daniel Amen (Magnificent Brain) 

44.   Here are some words for a poster:
What did I bring into the classroom today?

...for the visual    audio    tactile   moving musical  learners... 
what new experiences did I expose them to?

What did I invite my partners and collaborators in learning to bring into the class that willinspire us and expand our awareness of the world 
(*without frightening anyone)
CopyLeft by GuideOnTheSide.com     VisualandActive.com  

Procedure:  Should this poster appear inside the cover of every learner's notebook?
If teachers have this, should they not also have an accompanying space somewhere to keep a record of the events that followed as a result of the collaborator bringing something to class? That record could then become part of a resource for other teachers, as well as forming perhaps the most vital part of a lesson report/plan.
 (by Cary Elcome, Bradstow2@yahoo.co.uk)

45.  Learn about ACTIVE LEARNING

Erik Mazur has received some attention for his observation that lecturing is ineffective.

46.  Give buttons or signs to students
Member, Active Learner Society.
Society of Active Learners SOAL
SOIL the Social of interactive Learners.

47. Share the Digital Culture ebook with teachers, students, parents and principals...
Hacking the Academy (a "hack" is a quick solution around a problem)

Tip 56:  Put "The Essential 55" in several

classrooms.  Who knows?  Perhaps some teachers will read parts of the book and inspire students to join in creating new discplines and procedures.

More ideas are available.

A suggestion that is specific to schools in the center of Fort Lauderdale:

courses at Museum of Art

Irvin M. Lippman

Executive Director


Nova Southeastern University

One East Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

t 954 262 0225 · c 954 770 5950  ·  f  954 524 6011



Mr. Lippman wants to discuss ways to offer art classes to charter high school students.  Perhaps teachers can travel to Mavericks schools?

Examples of Projects

The Essential 55 by Ron Clark

YouTube Video

"Dancing Words"
A method of training colleagues, employees and clients
I found some more videos with dancing words...

8 to be great

11 words for 2011    a fun way to introduce new vocabulary

alchemy of great work

Do more great work

tour of an office
interesting for listening practice for students of English, especially for someone with a speech difference

find our great work

Entrepreneurs can change the world
Distributed for Grasshopper

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

Use techniques that Dennis Yuzenas uses

Additional information for spoken poems:
We invite you to record a poem or read the lyrics of your favorite songs or speech. If you see a poem that you like, find the words on a website, or type them or write them on paper, then point the camera at the words and read with feeling.

Point your camera at the lyrics, read them with emotion, and upload the video to your youtube channel. Then send the link to us and we'll download your video and paste it on our channel. (We like to use ZAMZAR dot com). Send us your suggestions at TheGuideontheSide AT gmail dot com.

Let's begin a new day. Let's read and listen.   click for MORE

If you don't know what to do, do nothing until you figure out what to do.  If you feel like you are pressed against the wall (and you HAVE to make a decision), take some time and do nothing. 
I didn't want to say "no" because I didn't want people to think I'm not nice.  I now realize that I am solely responsible for my life and I need to do what my heart says, no trying to please other people.    -- Oprah Winfrey, quoted by Daniel G. Amen in Magnificent Mind at Any Age

See Will Sutherland's writings on Scribd.com

These books can be displayed ... left around on tables... encourage students to take them home and return them later... 



This text appears at 52LTD.com

What began as Portland’s only locally owned and operated full-service staffing firm for the creative industry, has grown over the years to now provide a range of creative resources from talent staffing, placement, and recruitment, to an eclectic suite of creative services.

Made up of a seasoned group of industry professionals who live and breathe the business, we chose Portland (or maybe Portland chose us) because, unlike a lot of cities, we’ve found there’s a true creative community here. Thanks to Portland’s ever-expanding talent pool, we’ve been able to create a network of talent that we feel is unmatched anywhere… except maybe New York City. We’ve opened an office there as well, so we can also say that 52 is located at the intersection of left coast and right coast.

Placing people in the right creative opportunities is what 52 Limited does, but it’s not all we do. We are just as focused on continuing to build Portland and New York’s creative culture, whether through thought leadership events and sponsorships or simply good old-fashioned social networking events.


Source:  Harvard Magazine

Key Deming Points

Drive out fear.
Embrace change.
Constant improvement.
Create constancy of purpose toward improvement of product and service.
Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Eliminate the need for massive inspection by building quality into the product in the first place.
End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag. Move towards a single supplier for any one item, on a long-term relationship of loyalty and trust.
Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service, to improve quality and productivity, and thus constantly decrease costs.
Institute training on the job.

Ask for training. 
Act as part of a team for the common good of all.
Ignore job boundaries which inhibit helping others.
Report conditions that rob you of your pride of workmanship to management.

Related to point #43
Here is a question that appeared on Youtube

@MsLsutton I have a second and third youtube account

GuideontheSide dot com   and  VISUALandACTIVE dot com...    contider visiting ndt-ed.org/ and searching  "Constructivist theory" and Jean Piaget.    Look at the scribd.com documents that I've posted

if you read a lot of quotes about learning with the student, you will gain their confidence that you know a lot about leading someone....  it's called "scaffolding"  .. Y
ou provide support

Follow ConnectedPrincipals.com about creativity