Events You Absolutely Must See in Vancouver This July

Known for its mild weather and spectacular vistas of the surrounding landscape, Vancouver remains one of the most popular travel destinations for international students, especially in summer. When you feel the warmth of the radiant sun and pleasant fresh breeze from the ocean, there’s no more pleasant place on earth.

July makes it even more special. There are so many events happening around the city that it will definitely make your summer here unforgettable.

In this blog, we have scouted out festivals and events that are an absolute must-see this July.

Free Outdoor Movies in Stanley Park: Every Tuesday *FREE

Outdoor movie night

Watching a movie might not seem like a summer activity. But what if the screening is outdoors, under the starry sky?

The Evo Summer Cinema Series offers free outdoor movie screenings at Second Beach in Stanley Park, with a flawless lineup for all kind of audiences. As there is no reservation required, you had better arrive a bit earlier to secure the best spot!

Below you’ll find the outdoor movie schedule for July:
July 7 – Pitch Perfect
July 14 – The Breakfast Club
July 21 – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
July 28 – Grease
Each movie starts at dusk. For more information visit

Carnaval del Sol: July 11 – 12, 2015 *FREE

Carnaval del Sol 2013
Each year the “Carnival of Sun” keeps attracting a humongous audience and is known as the biggest Latin festival in the Pacific Northwest. Its 7th anniversary this year will feature the key elements of Latin American culture: authentic food, music, dance and, of course, soccer.

This year, for the first time, you can enjoy ice cold beer at “Sol y Playa Lounge,” a beer garden that will be open to the public. You will not want to miss any of the amazing performers who represent the versatile charm of Latin American culture.

The highlight of the carnival is a soccer tournament. As the participants will need to sign up as a team of four, representing one country, it is being called the “Mini-World Cup”. Learn more about the festival on Carnaval del Sol’s official website.

Vancouver Folk Music Festival: July 17 – 19, 2015

Chosen as one of the ten best outdoor concerts in North America by USA Today, this three-day festival is an event where you can not only indulge in 70 hours of folk and roots music on eight outdoor stages, but also feel Vancouver’s hippie spirit surrounded by a great view of downtown Vancouver and the North Shore mountains.

Setting their stages at beautiful Jericho Beach Park, the festival offers peaceful and free atmosphere that turns itself into a kind of “Woodstock-on-the-sea”. If you feel a bit tired of the hustle-and-bustle of daily life and want to chill out on the sand in your tie dye T-shirt,listening to the music, this is your go-to event.

Visit the Vancouver Folk Music Festival’s website for the full lineup and ticket information.

Honda Celebration of Light: July 25, 29 and August 1, 2015

If you see thousands of heads thrown back to the sky and hear a chorus of “aahs” and “oohs,” Vancouver’s 25th Honda Celebration of Light has probably begun.

It’s a week-long international fireworks event, where teams comprised of the world’s pyrotechnic industry leaders compete with one another and are judged on the originality of effects, synchronization with music, and artistry.

Bursts of fireworks can be seen above Sunset Beach and English Bay, the usual location of the Honda Celebration of Light.

SHOREFEST is a big part of the celebration and definitely a place to be this summer. This music festival will showcase Canada’s top musical performances along the shores of English Bay.

Get your ticket on the official website of Honda Celebration of Light.

Pride Run & Walk and Picnic in the Park: July 25, 2015 *FREE

DC FrontRunners Pride Run 56791
The PRIDE Run & Walk is the official kick-off event of Vancouver PRIDE week, known for its great succession of fundraising events.

The Pride Run & Walk offers 5.5k walking or running routes and a 10k running route that follows the Stanley Park trail and Seawall routes. Its party-like atmosphere makes the event outstanding: runners wear fabulous costumes, the route is peppered with disco water-stations and DJs spin tracks that are perfect for running!

Online registration for individuals and groups of 5 or more will be available soon on

The final destination of the run is a picnic venue in the park, where you can rest your feet and get your energy back with BBQ fare and chilled drinks. For more information visit Vancouver PRIDE Week’s website.

Caribbean Days Festival: July 25 – 26, 2015 *FREE

2 Xiuhcoatl Danza Azteca  Carnaval SF 2012  010
Each July, Waterfront Park at North Vancouver hosts the biggest single-weekend Caribbean event in British Columbia. This year it’s celebrating its 27th anniversary, which will include two days of tropical culture, cuisine and music.

The Multicultural Street Parade on July 25th at 10 AM is definitely must-see event during the festival. Spectacular costumes, live entertainment and the sparkling energy of the Caribbean culture will take your breath away.

For more details check out Caribbean Days Festival’s website.

Alena Khabibullina and Ai Watanabe

from ILAC English Tips


Must-See July Events in Toronto

July is the warmest month in Toronto, and Torontonians like to make the most of it, being outdoors until sundown, and leaving behind their shiver-inducing memories of a long winter.

There are so many festivals, events and outdoor activities happening every day around the city that it can be overwhelming,

In this article, we have listed “don’t miss” events taking place in July, from mega-sized sports events to massive parades, as well as events that will satisfy your gourmet cravings. We hope you will find your favourite event to visit and that your summer will be unforgettable!

Salsa on St. Clair Street Festival: July 4 – 5, 2015 *FREE

Salsa on St.Clair

How about kicking off July with music and passionate dancing? The 11th annual street festival on St. Clair street celebrates Latin culture, with live music, Latin food from local vendors, professional dancers and even dance lessons. Sexy salsa dance moves and July heat make the festival – stretched out along St. Clair Avenue West (from Winona Dr. to Christie St.) – Canada’s hottest salsa party of the year!

If two days of salsa are not enough for you, we’ve got good news: Toronto’s hottest street dance festival is bigger and better than ever. This year’s festival has been expanded and will last a whole week – from July 2nd till July 9th.

For more information visit the St. Clair Street Festival’s website.

Pan American Games 2015 Toronto: July 10 – 26, 2015

The Pan American Games (also known as the Pan Am Games) are the world’s third largest international multi-sport games. The participating athletes are from countries of the Americas*, and the competition is held every four years in the year before the Summer Olympic Games.

This year Toronto is the host city. This is the third time Canada has had the honour of hosting them (the Pan Am Games were previously held in Winnipeg, in 1967 and 1999).

The Toronto Pan Am Games run from July 7th till the 26th, and feature 36 sports. Athletes who have qualified for the Pan Ams enjoy an important opportunity to tune-up for the coming Olympics. You had better not to miss this chance to see A-class sports live!

Learn more at

* The general term that designates the combined continental landmasses including North, Central and South America

Beaches International Jazz Festival: July 10 – 26, 2015 *FREE

Beaches International Jazz Festival

“Where else in Canada can you find a festival of this magnitude, beachside, and for free?” says Lido Chilelli, Executive Producer, Beaches International Jazz Festival.

This Toronto born-and-raised jazz festival is celebrating its 27th year anniversary of dedication to entertaining jazz lovers. This 14-day event turns the Beaches neighbourhood into the coolest music venue, with tons of great musicians.

The main stage is located at the Woodbine Park. Other performances will take place in various locations along Queen Street East.

On July 21st and 22nd, the festival features a “Taste of Jazz” event. Live music will be accompanied by a fine lineup of gourmet food trucks with a full range of culinary delights, and a licensed beer and wine area will be offered to the public.

Check out the schedule on the Beaches Jazz Festival’s website.

Caribana: July 30 – August 9, 2015


Caribana, Toronto’s festival of Caribbean culture, has been beloved by many Torontonians since its start in 1967, and has grown to be North America’s largest cultural festival. Once you enter the festival, you immediately appreciate its charm: adrenaline-pumping music, cheerful crowds and infectious feel-good vibes.

There will be a number of events happening during Caribana, from its official launch on July 7th to the closing service on August 9th. The must-see event in July is definitely The King and Queen Competition & Show @ Lamport Stadium on Thursday the 30th. This incredible costumed extravaganza is when the male and female leaders of Caribana Mas bands are judged on the concept and details of their costumes.

Check all the event lineups and pictures from last year on the Caribana website.

Taste of Toronto: July 2 – 5, 2015

Taste of Toronto

Taste of Toronto is back for its second year!

Fort York, “the birthplace of urban Toronto“, will be transformed into a foodie wonderland offering excellent food, drinks and entertainment.

Participating vendors represent the city’s latest, greatest and hottest restaurants, offering the same high-quality service and food diners experience in Toronto’s finest restaurants. Each Taste of Toronto “session” lasts about 4-5 hours and is pretty much like a 3D miniature gourmet map of Toronto, offering you a first-hand sense of Toronto’s newest food trends.

You can get your ticket on the Taste of Toronto website.

Festival of India: July 18 – 19, 2015 *FREE

Festival of India

The Festival of India, which celebrates its 43rd anniversary this year, always kicks off with its iconic parade down Yonge street. Three 40-foot tall floats are hand-pulled by participants wearing colourful traditional clothes while singing, drumming, dancing and chanting.

After the parade, the exotic celebration moves to Centre Island where you can enjoy authentic (FREE!) vegetarian meals and a bunch of fun activities.

If you are a yoga lover, you won’t want to miss Yoga Meltdown, Toronto’s largest outdoor spiritual yoga event. Festival of India is the best place to free your body and mind!

All the details are available at

Gabriela Jandova and Ai Watanabe

from ILAC English Tips

How to Actually Use Your 3D Printer: 17 Tips I learned my first year [Link]

Link Post How to Actually Use Your 3D Printer: 17 Tips I learned my first year
Vicki Davis’ Edutopia Blog
June 29, 2015

I named my 3D printer Bob Marley. He just jammed and smoked at first. But after persistence, we jammed in a good way.

In this blog post, I share 17 tips for using a 3D printer. I learned these tips the hard way. If you read this post, you can save time.

Read: Year One with a 3D Printer: 17 Tips

3d Printer

3d Printer

The post How to Actually Use Your 3D Printer: 17 Tips I learned my first year [Link] appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

from Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Many Education Games Are Worksheets with Points. 6 ways to find better learning games.

ECM 155: EdGaming expert Kae Novak tells us how to find good learning games for kids.

Stop telling kids that every game is fun. They’re not. Some stink. Some rock. The word “game” doesn’t make learning great. Games shouldn’t be worksheets with points. There’s research behind good games. Learn to tell the difference. Your students will thank you.

Pedagogy first, then technology. Kae Novak

Listen to Kae Novak talk gaming on iTunes

Listen to Kae Novak online

Where are we going wrong with games in the classroom? As Kae Novak @kzenovka shares in the show, too many games have a “chocolate on broccoli” approach. She should know, she’s the chair of the ISTE Games and Simulations network. She teaches us all how to use games in the classroom. Kae says,

What is chocolate on broccoli? I asked teachers on the ECM Awesome Educator Network. They say:

  • “Where the students are “told”  – eat this [game name omitted] game. It’s good for you.” Ann Oro @njtechteacher
  • “Pretty much all of the drill and practice ‘games’ are like that. They seemed to work 20 years ago when computers were new and novel. Kids are far beyond that today.” Alfred Thompson @alfredtwo
  • Dr. Lee Graham@ak_leeg says the teachers she instructs, “call those games ‘computerized worksheets.’”

When I taught my children math facts, flashcards got boring. They preferred Math Baseball. It helped. Memorizing happens. But if it is the only thing happening, you’re not educating.

What can good games do for us?  Ernie Easter, 35-year retired teacher from Maine, says,

I have seen the results [of Minecraft] with my three granddaughters, ages 6, 8 & 10, at home. Our 8-year old’s reading blossomed when she started playing Minecraft and watching the videos. Her language expression also just exploded.

In a good game, learning is part of the fun. Let’s find good games. Let’s teach with them.

6 Ways to Find Good Games for Learning

  1. Understand what makes a good game. Jim Gee has researched what makes a good game: identity, interaction, production, risk taking, customization, and agency. The first step in understanding a “good game” is reading Gee’s paper “Good Video Games and Good Learning.” It explains good games simply.
  2. Become a game master. Kae says to readThe Multiplayer Classroom by Lee Sheldon. It will help you create exciting good game learning experiences.
  3. Find Good Games. Kae likes the Games for Change website. They focus on the “good games model.” She says you should still check every game before using them with kids. (After learning what a good game is, you can find them yourself on sites like  Graphite, Appolicious, and Gamifi-ed.)
  4. Learn Best Practices. Join the ISTE Games and Simulations Network.
  5. Connect with other teachers using games. Kae has two ways: 1) MetaGame Book Club and the 2) Inevitable Betrayal Educator Guild.
  6. Consider how games can teach more. In addition to learning things, some games can impact attitudes, motivation, and successful habits. (Note for educators: Kae says games can also impact the affective domain, not just the cognitive domain.)
Before I write a show’s blog post, teachers are talking about the show. We do this on the Every Classroom Matters Awesome Educator Network. It is a closed group on Facebook. You’re invited if you’re an educator.

8 Every Classroom Matters Shows with Gaming/Gamification Experts

Listen and learn more about gaming.

Some games are computerized worksheets. That is what Game Designers Mean by 'Chocolate on Broccoli." Dr. Lee Graham

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Why I hired a brand manager

A Peek Into the Business Model of an Education Influencer with 100,000 Twitter Followers

Teaching all day is exhausting. Could you imagine coming home and having hundreds of emails to handle? Well, that is what happened to me. My friends always ask me how I do it all! Teachers around the world have been kind to me. I want to be generous and helpful to them. But with such demands on my time, I have to get smart.

Why I hired a brand manager

So, I hired a brand manager. Here’s the press release,

Vicki Davis and Angela Maiers Sign Brand Management Contracts with SyndicatEd.

What is a brand manager? Why would I hire one? How can you build up your influence so you’re ready for this step?

If you just want education tips, skip this post. If you want to understand teacher-influencers (or become one) — read on.

1 – Epic Takes Effort

We cannot help the times in which we live, only the way in which we live the times. (With a hat tip to the wizard Gandalf.) 

Speaking of wizards, I needed one. Should I speak here? Should I say “yes” to this opportunity? Do I do this deal?

I don’t have hype; I need help. It is exciting to grow. It is exciting to have opportunities. But not when you’re drowning in them, and you can’t do what you love.

There’s an old southern saying that you should “dance with the boy that brung ‘ya.” I came to this dance because I am attracted to smart people. I follow them. I learn from them. I came to this dance by sharing great stuff.

I have to write more great stuff. I have to record inspiring shows. I have to keep giving wildly impactful speeches. I also need to read and cultivate friendships.

Epic takes effort.

Here’s what happens to too many influencers. They get so busy with the new stuff, that they forget the old stuff that got them there. They stop blogging. They stop sharing great stuff. They become irrelevant.

Mind clutter kills creativity.

Busy is the enemy of epic.

Hiring a brand manager helps me focus on writing, creating, and recording great stuff. I’m leveling up every day. The best is yet to be now that I’m free. 

2 – Podcasting is Growing

Last Sunday was huge. Because I was freed up to write, I wrote the most popular post in the history of this blog. “How a school threw out their reading program and finally got everyone excited about reading.” The social media stats?

This screenshot was taken on Friday, June 26 at 5:25 pm. The post was uploaded on

This screenshot was taken on Friday, June 26 at 5:25 pm. The post was uploaded on Sunday, June 21 just after 10pm. Almost 50,000 people have seen this post. This blog post took time. Lots of it. It also had a podcast included so people could learn more.

Educators who care, share. It is happening. Internet radio/ podcasting is growing because of it. Forbes says that the future of the car means podcasting is going to be big. Forbes says,

“In the future everyone is going to have a podcast. So start yours now.”

Maybe it is the Serial podcast. Maybe personalizing your own radio station is easier now. Hearing someone’s voice is motivating.

We’ve seen this incredible growth in the stats for the Every Classroom Matters show. Just two months ago, the show was at 50,000 downloads a month. It is now at 65,000 and skyrocketing. Clever companies want to advertise.

So, BAM Radio has created Edvoices. Edvoices will sell advertising across BAM Radio. It will simplify. I don’t think the individual podcaster model is sustainable. Busy educators like me will partner with communities like BAM.

We’re going to teach people to podcast too. (See #6 below.)

In the end, no one person can do everything. Sometimes you have to let go of the good to grab the great. By having someone help manage my brand, I’m able to podcast, blog, and still teach.

Hiring a brand manager lets me package blog posts, tweets, and show sponsorships together. Companies who advertise with me can have more impact.  It also simplifies things for me.

3 – Helping My Family

Fishing. Walking the dogs. Being home helps me be a better person. I have a son going into eighth grade. I am his teacher. I am needed here.

Most teachers have side jobs. My “side job” is this blog. I couldn’t afford to teach without it. With two children in college, I speak to pay the bills. I also speak because I LOVE IT! I love teachers and have a heart to help them reach every child.

There are two kinds of active income: Stay and Away. Here’s what I mean by that.

  • There is money I can earn while staying at home. (STAY)
  • There’s money I make by traveling and speaking away from my family. (AWAY)

If you are going to be a full-time educator, you must make the most STAY income possible. I love traveling and meeting people, so AWAY is  great. But the demand for AWAY is more than I can do if I’m going to STAY in the classroom.

I get to speak at the very best conferences. I’m fortunate to speak at fifteen or so places a year. Every time I go, I come back changed. The organizers are awesome. The teachers I meet are incredible. Tons of friends from Twitter say hi. Speaking is incredible. But I’m always happy to fly home and be back with my students the next day.

Hiring a brand manager helps me be a better teacher, Mom and wife. I can also get the most STAY income possible.

4 – To Be More Generous to Students and Teachers

Through sharing my teaching, I found myself in a spotlight. So, I got out the biggest mirror I could find. With the Every Classroom Matters show and my blog, I shine a light on teachers. I want everyone to see your amazing work.

This world isn’t about me. But if I can help people, I’ve improved the world. My life means something. Because, I tell you what — these students sure do. They don’t have time to wait for us to get our act together.

I am called to help people be more awesome. Awesome teaching. Awesome learning. Awesome life. I want to share what works now! There are people who don’t make excuses but make progress. They are my heroes.

The influencers I call my friends are generous. They are fun. They are smart. They help people. I want to be generous too. Sadly, selfish people can take advantage of generous people.

Hiring a brand manager helps filter requests. I can focus on helping the right people.

5- Asserting the Value of All Influencers

My family has one big complaint. My friends do too.

Vicki, you’re too nice.

Recently, I had five hours of phone calls in one day. At the end of the day, I had done no blogging. I had written no books. What had I done with my time?

Five different companies wanted my “opinion” on their product. I gave each one an hour. Then, I realized something.

I wasn’t nice, I was dumb.

Teacher feedback is necessary for a good education product. Listening to your users is great. But there are companies who trick influencers by appealing to their generosity. They are getting free consulting. I now see that as using people.

Another southern saying,

Why buy the cow if you get the milk for free?

There is a difference between companies and people. I will be generous to people. I will be generous to my friends. But, companies have budgets and should pay for consulting. No more free milk.

Companies aren’t the enemy. Profit isn’t the enemy. There are tens of thousands of fantastic, ethical companies out there. They wouldn’t dream of taking advantage of people’s generosity. But many do.

I will continue to work with the best companies and products in the business. Some may be start-ups. Some may icons. They will all be excellent.

But gone are the days where I’m going to help every single company who emails me. There’s not enough of me to do it. It isn’t smart. It isn’t possible either.

If you are an influencer and you are making this mistake, please stop. You are worth more than free. You don’t have time for the emails. Some of you are being used. It isn’t fair to you or your family. Being nice is dumb when it takes you away from your calling.

Hiring a brand manager helps me work with companies who value my expertise. Hiring a brand manager sends a message to other influencers. You are finite.  Some of you are being used. Decide who deserves your generosity. You are valuable and so is your time. Start acting like it.

6- Iron Sharpens Iron

Some of you want be an influencer too. Many of you already are. You’re reading about what I do. You’re saying – that’s me! That’s my dream!

I want to help more of you do this. Traveling the world is awesome. Writing books is cool. Writing blog posts that thousands of people read is incredible. Why not you?

Hiring a brand manager is part of my plan to help more of you do this. Here’s what I’m planning:

A – Helping Other Education Talk Radio Hosts Grow Their Audience

I listen to lots of podcasts. With some simple tweaks, I think many of them could gain thousands of listeners. They could help more people. They could get sponsors.

Even better, they could have more helpful shows.

So, Errol St. Clair Smith and I are launching the  Certified Edcasters program.

(The BAM Radio Certified Edcaster Program is application only. You must already have a show. We will accept 20 talk show hosts for the first class. Email if interested.)

B – Sharing Social Media Strategies and Best Practices with Key Influencers

When I travel, I meet educators who want to use social media for good. They are eager. They have great ideas. Some of them have ideas that will change the world. But they don’t know how to tell people.

I can help. I want to. It is time for me to share and help others who want to help education.

Sign up for my social media secrets email. I will email these tips twice a month to anyone interested. Sign up. 

C – Creating Closer Connections with Awesome People

Awesome Educator Facebook Group.

I’ve created a new closed Facebook group for educators. I brainstormed with Lisa Durff. We named it the “Every Classroom Matters Awesome Educator Network.”

The group is to talk about teaching. No politics. No vendors. Ask to join if you’re an educator. If you’ve read this far, you’re invited! 😉

Building a Team. I’m blessed. Amazing people have always been my friends. I don’t know why. In order for me to be my best, I have to trust amazing, ethical people.

Lisa Durff. Last year, I hired Lisa Durff (almost Dr. Durff – she’s close to earning her Ph.D.). She helps me filter, vet and handle my email. She is the first person who reads my posts. She points me to research. I call her Sherlock, but I should call her sure luck. When she advises me on my writing or anything, I’m a better person. She also believes in me and knows me. When you get ready to scale, a trusted person with organization skills helps. (Oh, and she never wants to be mentioned. Sorry, Lisa, you gotta stay in this post. 😉

Errol St. Clair Smith. Errol called me just over two years a go. He told me that he had an ear for talent. He said I would make a great Internet radio show host. I said I would do it on one condition – that he would take the time to mentor me. I knew nothing. He kept pushing me and helping me be more. He kept telling me I was undervaluing my work. He helped me see many of the things I’ve shared in this post. I work well with Errol. He’s a savvy entrepreneur. I trust him to manage my speaking, brand, sponsors, and show. (His email is if you want to talk with him. He’s working on my speaking schedule for next year right now.)

Cool Cat Teacher Teammate #3? I’ve considered looking for someone to help me on my geeky / WordPress/ technical side. Praying over this one. We’ll see.

The brand manager I hired, Errol St. Clair Smith, already has my trust and best interests in mind. His advice skyrocketed my show to the top of the iTunes charts. I know he’s in the process of doing the same for my career. 

7 – Financial Benefits

Money is not a dirty word. I don’t know any educator who makes enough of it. I just refuse to believe that I have to leave the classroom to support my family.

I believe that there’s a new way for teachers to make money. An ethical way that helps our profession and our families. I believe I can develop and model a way to consult/speak/write AND TEACH. I won’t be in the classroom forever. (Who is?) I do not want to leave the classroom until I have a model for all teachers to follow.

I dream of being able to have a career as a teacher and a successful entrepreneur. I dream of helping other teachers do it too.

I’ve been down the road of giving everything away for free. I’ve made huge financial mistakes in the last five years. But it was when I gave it all away for free and didn’t take care of myself. My family suffered when I did it because we couldn’t pay the bills.

I’ve hired a brand manager because I believe it will help me make more money. I believe it will help me create a model that others can duplicate.

I remain transparent. Not because I’m not smart or “too nice.”

It is because that transparency is what I brought to the dance. It is who I am and I will continue to be.

You — the readers of this blog — trust me. When I’ve been open with you, you’ve helped me far more than the transparency cost me.

You’ve recommended me to conferences. You’ve recommended my books. You’ve shared my work. It is you. For as generous as I hope to be, you’ve been far more kind to me. I owe you a lot. I owe you my career. I owe you my children’s college education.

I wouldn’t have a brand without YOU.

Thank YOU.

I will be back to sharing the best of practical classroom advice with the next post.

Are you an education influencer? Want more blog posts like this? Sign up for the email list. 

When the press release came out, I wanted to help you see my reasons.I’m working smarter so I can help more people.  I’m not changing, I’m just getting better.

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4 Tips to Develop Great Teacher Leaders

The books and best practices that change everything in your classroom

Teachers who are leaders change the world one student at a time. Leaders are readers. Leaders are learners.  But where do we start? What do we read? What do we learn?

4 tips to develop great teacher leaders

Be a multiplier.

According to the book, Multipliers, there are two kinds of leaders: multipliers and diminishers. Some leaders help a person operate at more than they are capable of doing. Then there are those sad souls who diminish others. Poor teacher leaders have students wallowing the squalor of low performance.

Teacher Leader Tip #1: Leadership is often neglected in teacher education courses. Educating yourself on what teacher  leadership looks like comes first. Read books like Multipliers and What Great Teachers Do Differently. Understand the characteristics of great leaders.

Listen to and Act Upon Feedback from Your Students.

In Todd Whitaker’s 1993 research on what makes excellent principals, he found they “routinely consult teacher leaders for input before making a decision.” (What Great Teachers Do Differently, p 92) We should do the same with students.

College professor Dean Shareski asks after every assignment, “How can this assignment be better?”  For example, in a flipped classroom assignment, one student asked, “why not have us create a flipped classroom lesson?” Dean said that suggestion was an obvious improvement.

Teacher Leader Tip #2: Ask after each assignment or unit: How can this assignment be better? Take the time to listen to your students via anonymous surveys or focus groups.

Help Students See Their Value and Worth.

Booker T. Washington said,

“Most leaders spend time trying to get others to think more highly of them when instead, they should try to get their people to think more highly of themselves.”

When a student is underperforming, I’ve found that it is often an internal struggle. Before students can succeed, they must try. Before students try, they must have hope. Hope comes from knowing that you either have the strength or someone will help you.

Teacher Leader Tip #3: Help students find their individual strengths. Teachers should be hope-inspiring coaches on the learning journey.

Unleash the Power of Yet.

In Carol Dweck’s TED Talk, she shares how  people with a growth mindset will say, “I’m not good at ____ yet.” In her research, she calls people who think they have fixed abilities: “fixed mindset.” These people rarely level up and are grossly incorrect when they self-assess their talents. Fixed mindset people resist learning.

Those who adopt a “growth mindset” believe that they can improve and level up. Growth mindset people see their abilities as separate from their worth as a person. Growth mindset people learn.

Incredibly, a growth mindset makes all the difference, AND IT CAN BE TAUGHT. A growing body of knowledge on metacognition helps us teach the growth mindset.

Teacher Leader Tip #4: Understand what a growth mindset is by reading Mindset and other research. Learn the metacognitive techniques that will help your students overcome problems and develop grit. Admit your own “not yet” items to your students as you journey to learn too.

When faced with mediocrity or injustice, leaders stand up and say “It is not going to be this way.”  Leaders are visionaries who see a brighter future just past the problem. Most importantly, leadership can be learned and taught. We need teachers to rise up and lead. We need open minds and a willingness to help students (and ourselves) achieve more.
For when a teacher leads, they are teaching far more than content knowledge, but spawn the leaders of tomorrow.

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Here’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what educators are clicking on like crazy

I analyzed thousands of tweets and this is what I found

Your clicks tell a story.  Your interests. Your problems. What you think is funny. I looked at your clickthroughs on my tweets for the last 12 months. With over 100,000 followers, your clicks tell a fascinating story with a few surprises.

Popular Trends in Education

Click the tweet buttons and share helpful things on your Twitter feed. (It will ask your permission before it tweets.) I will give you the spreadsheet at the end. I will also explain how to calculate these statistics on your Twitter feed. These reflections and social media tips will help bloggers covering ISTE.

1. The Top-Clicked Twitter Link of 2014-2015 (1988 clicks)


Richard Byrne, author of Free Technology for Teachers, wrote the top clicked post. A teacher asked him how to make a collaborative multimedia collage. He suggested Thinglink a tool adored by special needs teachers.

This tweet teaches:

This was the most clicked-through tweet of this past school year. Nothing on this tweet can show you just how many people clicked on it.

This was the most clicked-through tweet of this past school year. Nothing on this tweet can show you just how many people clicked on it. Focus on what HELPS. If you focus on retweets, you might accidentally be focusing on the echo chamber. No wonder teachers get frustrated! They want useful stuff, not just pretty pictures.

  • You can’t look at tweets and KNOW what interests teachers. That tweet has only 6 retweets and 8 favorites. It had almost 2,000 clicks!
  • Teachers are helping students collaborate online.
  • Bloggers who answer teacher questions are helpful.
  • Good questions asked to the right person can help thousands.

2. Sketchnoting (1745 clicks)

These were three different tweets. Don’t cry foul! They were all about sketchnoting. I added the word “Awesome!” and tweeted the first tweet again.


I found this resource by Smashing Magazine when learning how to sketchnote. It helped me. I tweeted it.


Popular sketchnoting app, Paper by 53, created a community for sketchnoters. I wrote a blog post  with resources.

These tweets teach:

3. We Want to Be Memorable(1734 clicks)


Lori Gard shared this letter to a new teacher on an Edutopia discussion forum. She wrote this post in January 2014 on her own blog. It went viral. She reposted it on Edutopia in December 2014.

This tweet teaches:

  • Teachers want to be remembered.
  • I tweeted this three times: Dec 2014, Jan 2015, May 2015. Some people think that when they tweet something once, that is enough. Only a small number of people see each tweet. If something is helpful, share it again.
  • Lori was savvy. She cross posted. She took this from her blog and shared it on Huffington Post. Then, she shared at Edutopia.
  • I found this post looking at the most shared box on the right-hand side of Edutopia. Take time to look at popular posts on your favorite websites. Read them for inspiration. Share them to be helpful.

4. Motivational Posters (1033 clicks)


This poster was shared as part of the original tweet. Twitter and Facebook users seem to gravitate towards posts with photos.

This poster was shared as part of the original tweet. Twitter and Facebook users seem to share posts with photos.

These quote posters were made by Be Happy and shared by My Modern Met.

This tweet teaches:

  • Educators like quotes.
  • I found this post through the suggested posts on Buffer.
  • My Modern Met shared popular quotes from another site. Look at other sites for helpful ideas. Typically, the link to Be Happy should be at the first mention of their name. Modern Met didn’t do that. I did bother me a bit, but if BeHappy is happy, who am I to say. 😉
  • Posts with graphics get shared more. If you want your tweets to be noticed, include graphics.

5. Contests for Schools (734 clicks)

AWESOME CONTESTS: Calling Teachers and Students: 10 Ways to Win for You and Your School via @discoveryed

This tweet is a collection of contests curated by Discovery Education. They posted this on February 4. I tweeted it the same day.

This tweet teaches:

  • Teachers are eager to do what they can to earn free things for their classrooms.
  • Discovery Ed is one of the organizations on my secret VIP list in Twitter. I do this for 2 reasons: I’m a Discovery STAR Educator and sharing is what we do. Secondly, I trust Discovery’s content. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have shared it so quickly.
  • Make sure tweets are up-to-date. You’ll notice that I didn’t put the list above in a tweet box. I don’t want you to tweet it. It isn’t current. Every contest date has passed. Never ask people who trust you to tweet old stuff.
  • Notice the all caps. I still gave credit to Discovery at the end. While retweeting is fine, if it is really awesome, tell people why.

6. Everything You Need to Know About Sugar (591 clicks)


Many of us are obese.We’re looking for answers. The problem is that scientists don’t even agree. This post on the Atlantic examines sugar.

This tweet teaches:

  • Educators care about good health.
  • This is another item I found via the Buffer App’s suggested topics.
  • Note that the title of the post “Being Happy with Sugar” is different from the text in the tweet. Try different versions of the title on Twitter.
  • Educators have diverse interests. We want to live better lives.

7. Productivity (525 clicks)


The Institute of the Future Think Tank says it well:

“We each have only one pair of eyes and ears, and more importantly, one mind to deal with the data.”

This blog post interviews Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek on the Barking Up the Wrong Tree blog. This blog uses science to help readers live a more awesome life.

This tweet teaches:

  • Many of us consider ourselves unproductive. The post cites research that “people work an average of 45 hours a week; they consider 17 of those hours to be unproductive.” Time is precious. We want to use time better.
  • Numbered lists get reshared.
  • Another bufferapp suggested post find. (See a pattern?)
  • The layout of the post is easy to read.

8. iPad Creativity (515 clicks)


Leah Levy’s post on Edudemic is a nice summary. Certainly, it is an excellent example of best-practice for curators of content.

This tweet teaches:

  • iPads are popular(You didn’t need me to tell you that.)
  • Educators like lists(Again.)
  • RSS is useful. I found this in my Feedly reader. It has a handy icon that shows you how popular articles are. This makes it easy to find content if you’re in a rush.
  • Know “fan” hashtags to be helpful to them. (But don’t spam. That is not cool.)

9. Inside the Movement to Throw Out Grades (483 clicks)


This is a link to an Every Classroom Matters show. Or, at least it was. The site was upgraded and the link broke. I fixed the link with a new one above.  This show conversation with Starr Sackstein and Mark Barnes discusses how “throwing out grades” works in the classroom.

This tweet teaches:

  • Controversial topics spark curiosity. Vet carefully. I hosted this show, so I felt confident in what I was sharing.
  • Check your links every time, even if you have used it before. Web sites change. Check your links.
  • You’ll notice a link starting in ““. I bought that domain name. Why, you ask? I bought the shortest name I could ti use for link shortening. (Domainr helped.) I used’s Branded Short Domain service. For someone who likes statistics (like me) there are some geeky stats I can use now. (Remember, how I said in #1 that what educators click on is more important to me than retweets? I want to know what is HELPFUL. Retweets can increase clicks. But many times retweets are sound bytes, not something useful to make me a better teacher. No soundbyte ever made me a better teacher. Best practices do.)
  • Looking at the show statistics on the BAM Radio website, you can’t see how popular this show was. Look at stats but make up your own mind whether something is worth sharing.

10. How to Use Handwriting in Google Docs (474 clicks)


Richard Byrne is my go-to edtech geek. He shares how to use handwritten responses in Google forms.

This tweet teaches:

  • Google Docs is a popular tool.
  • Read the post to see what a generous blogger looks like. Richard Byrne gives credit. Notice how he cites John Stevens and the developer of the g(Math) add on for Google Docs, John McGowan. Great bloggers are generous. The people who steal stuff are scum. (There are some popular bloggers out there who are stealing other people’s content. I may not out them, but I sure won’t tweet them if I know they are doing it.)

Other Popular ClickThroughs from the Last 12 Months

Tweet Clicks This Tweet Teaches:


393 Curating lists of people is helpful to overwhelmed, busy educators. I trust Larry, so I followed everyone he recommended.


386 Another popular Every Classroom Matters show


384 Google is hot, but this post was from a designer, not an education source. I tweeted it to #gafe – Google apps for Education.


377 One of the most popular posts I’ve written in the past year.


374 My new book Reinventing Writing is popular. I’ve made videos and resources that I’m giving away for free on this topic.


359 Helpful graphics from independent sources are helpful. Another great one from Richard Byrne.


343 A cool tool. There are people who copy tweets from others without giving credit. If you have time for that, this tool helps.


342 Educators look for new ways to use older tools.


335 Educators want help finding apps. This was also promoted by the cool folks at AppoLearning. You can search by grade level. Very cool.


331 Another mega-list by Larry Ferlazzo.


327 Another cool comparison graphic shared by Richard Byrne


325 Educators struggle to communicate with parents.


321 Copyright and problems like hotlinking are often clicked. People want trusted sources of digital citizenship info and Richard Byrne wrote a mega-simple post.


310 The two pieces I wrote for Intel on Chromebooks remain wildly popular even 1 year later.


302 Rewordify is a popular tool. Now that Google is no longer supporting reading levels, we need these tools. Larry Ferlazzo wrote this helpful list.

How did I get these numbers?

I use the Bufferapp to schedule tweets. This way, I can write tweets for the next few days in one sitting. So, when I’m teaching, I’m focusing on my students. I DO NOT tweet during the day unless traveling or on break. Buffer tweets for me when I’m doing other things.

Buffer gives me fantastic analytics. If I put on my business hat, popularity is like a mini focus group.

There’s only one problem. Sometimes I’ll use Hootsuite or When I tweet other places, I can go to to get stats on overall clicks but they may not be from just tweets. So, I try to tweet from buffer as much as possible.

If you want to go back more than 90 days, you have to pay. (I’m on the $50 awesome plan. That is how much I depend on Buffer.) This is one of those few tools I pay for. If you’re not going to pay, you can still get analytics for the last 90 days. But if you’re just tweeting casually, the free plan and 90 days is enough.

Here’s the spreadsheet I downloaded to create this post: Buffer Stats for @coolcatteacher Click Through

I hope this transparency helps you understand educators. I hope it helps you as you share resources. I’m creating a mailing list for people who want social media sharing tips. I plan to send 1-2 updates a month for those of you interested in social media tips.

The post Here’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what educators are clicking on like crazy appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

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