Top 10 Education Tweets of October

Trends and Topics on Twitter

October is a busy month for teachers. It is also a hard month. We’re all looking for inspiration. These resources are being shared by teachers on Twitter. But you don’t have to join Twitter to click the links and read the hot topics.

Teaching Growth Mindset with these 10 Statements

The top sketchnote of the month is from Sylvia Duckworth. (Sylvia is a repeat leader on this list.) If you want to analyze your tweets, see how I did it at the bottom of the post.

While I hope you’ll join Twitter, some of you won’t. That is OK. It is your decision. You’re not going to get any guilt from me. The biggest question I think all of us teachers must ask is, “Am I leveling up a little bit every day?” Learning should be the only thing that is not optional for teachers.

This list inspires me to be better, but then again, all of you who are on Twitter made this list. Every time you retweet or reshare or click, it is like a vote. And, as always, you voted well. Some great resources made this month’s list of top tweets.

Top Education Tweets – October 2015

1- The Story Behind Kid President

Brad Montague, Kid President’s brother in law and producer, talks about the viral hit and how teachers are using it in the classroom. This show and blog post took the #1 and #7 spot. Just listing it once.


2- How to Teach a Growth Mindset in the Classroom

The tweet about how I teach a growth mindset in my classroom had the #2 and #3 and #5 spot! Sylvia Duckworth’s sketchnote helps us understand what we should and should not say in the classroom.


3- Understanding Twitter Lingo

Don’t assume everyone knows the language of Twitter. We must all welcome beginners by sharing the abbreviations we use.


4 – Teachers Matter Every Day

Teachers matter. We’ve got an excruciatingly hard life. We must shout from the rooftops the importance of teachers. We must encourage teachers. Many of us are a breath away from saying “I quit.” Please take time to encourage teachers. This a great one to print for the teacher’s lounge.


5 – Blog Post from Todd Nesloney from Parents to Teachers

The first one on the list makes me sniff. “As a parent, I wish you knew how much it means to me when you WANT to know about my child; about what makes him tick, about what makes him excited, about what makes him sad.” This blog post is a must read, my precious teacher friends. Share this one!


6- Quote from Dean Shareski from Every Classroom Matters Episode #183 on Student Feedback

We’re seeing a cry for joy in classrooms. Great teachers are coming back to the core of who we are: we must have great relationships with our students in order to teach them. As teachers, we must do the right thing even if the right thing is not asked of us. And that is to put our students first. Dean Shareski is just plain inspiring in this piece.


7 – Diigo Social Bookmarking Tutorial

Diigo has a new outlining tool. My students are using outlining to plan out speeches and papers before they start writing. I’ve included objectives and to-do’s for each video. Some teachers are using them — feel free to take them.


8 – Dr. William Jaynes talks about his study of more than 300,000 students and how parents can have a positive impact on their kids.

The unbelievable story he tells about a boy getting hit by a bat stunned and upset me. I think this show has resonated with many. Administrators tell me they are sharing this one with parents. The research shows results you might not expect.


9 – We Don’t Let Students Learn from Mistakes – article on Edweek

Wow. You’ll really think about this one. This piece shares why so many teachers are failing to teach a growth mindset. I’ve been standing back, waiting for kids to answer, and letting kids struggle a little more because of this well-written piece by Peter DeWitt.


10 – Padlet How-To Guide

I penned this when Richard Byrne came and taught teachers at my school. Padlet is easy for teachers to use. This step-by-step guide will get you started.


Do you want to look at your Twitter stats?

Reflect and learn by reviewing your own Twitter statistics. Click on your profile name and go to “Analytics.” Here’s a screenshot to help you find it. I seem to recall that when I activated Twitter analytics that there were a few things I had to do. If you try to use them and have trouble, will you let us all know so we won’t have anyone frustrated? We have to help each other.

Twitter stats

Here is how I accessed my Twitter analytics for October.

One other note, I intentionally call this top education tweets. While all of my top tweets this month were education related, there are times something innocuous might hit the list. The Cool Cat Teacher blog is focused on education, so I am only including education-related tweets.

NOTE: As I’ve shared before, this is for tweets I’ve sent. I don’t have a way to analyze everyone’s tweets on the web. Analytics also includes how many people CLICK on the link. It is hard to analyze the best tweets just on reshares and retweets.

The post Top 10 Education Tweets of October appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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How to Add Google Drive to Microsoft Word

You can use Google AND Microsoft Together

how to link Google Drive and Microsoft Office

You can add Google Drive to Microsoft Office now. It can save you time, particularly if you’re saving files in Office formats inside Google Drive. I’ve tested the setup. Here’s a screencast to get started. Set up is quick, three steps in about two minutes. There are a few issues to know before you start using it, though.

How to Add Google Drive to Microsoft Word (and Microsoft Office)

The video above includes these steps.

STEP 1: Close Microsoft Office. (It cannot be running to do this.)

STEP 2:  Download the Google Drive Plugin For Office

Click here to download the Google Drive Plugin for Office. This plugin is only available for Microsoft Windows Computers. (Sorry Mac.)

STEP 3: Open Microsoft Office

It will have you enter your credentials for Google.

How to Open, Save, and Use Files Between Microsoft Word and Google Drive

Here’s where it gets a bit tricky, so I’m splitting this up for you into four ways you can use the files together.

TIP: Here, we’re pretty much using Google Drive and Google Docs interchangeably, but there is a difference. Google Docs is the word processor for Google. So, Microsoft Word works with Google Docs. Microsoft Excel works with Google Sheets. Microsoft PowerPoint works with Google Slides. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are all part of Google Drive just like Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint are part of Microsoft Office.

A. Opening Files from Google Drive

  • In Microsoft Word, you click “open files.”
  • Then, when you click “Open from Google Drive,” you’ll see your Google Drive.
  • Google Drive files will look like a small blue square. Microsoft Word files will have the blue W.
  • If you open a Google Doc file, it will open on the Web in Google Drive.

B. Opening a Google Doc file into Google Drive

  • When it opens the file, just go to File –> Download As –> Microsoft Word (.docx).
  • Then, you’ll just open into Microsoft Word (If you’re using Google Chrome, just click the file at the bottom.)
  • When you open the file, you’ll want to click “enable editing” so you can work with the file.

C. The Google Drive Ribbon in Microsoft Word

After installing the plugin, in the 2013/2016 versions of Microsoft Office, Google Drive now has a ribbon.

Add Google Drive to Microsoft Office

The new Google Drive ribbon in Office after the plugin is installed.

In the video, I go over each of the buttons.

  • Save to Drive lets you save into Google Drive. It will be saved as a Word file. The sharing settings for the folder you save it into will apply to any new documents you save, so pay attention to where you’re saving your files!
  • You can Open from the ribbon.
  • Share. You can change sharing settings from the ribbon. (If you’re a school, it will pull up all the emails of others using Google Apps for education.)
  • Save As. You can save it as another name.
  • Rename. Just rename the file.
  • Move. Move the file to somewhere else in your Google Drive.
  • Settings. This powerful tool will help some of you. You can tell the ribbon only to show Microsoft Word files or to show Word and Google Doc files. This way, if you just want to use Microsoft Word files, you can set it up this way. (It may prevent confusion for some beginners at your school.)
TIP. Remember that if you’re saving in Google Drive, the file is NOT on your computer. It is in Google Drive. So, if you don’t have Internet access, you can’t open the file.

D. Google Drive and Microsoft Word Files

When you open the Microsoft Word files in Google Drive, remember that you just have two options: View Only and Edit as Google Docs.

  • View Only. You can only view the file, you cannot edit it.
  • Edit as Google Docs. This button makes a COPY of your file. You’re now editing this as a Google Doc file.


  • Add something on the end of your files until you get the hang of the two programs working together.
  • Practice moving files around.
  • You might want to add a folder for your Word files to separate them from your Google Drive files.
  • Be careful about sharing. When you share to a folder, it shares it with everyone who has access to that folder. Make sure beginners understand this.
What are your tips? Please share your tips and tutorials with the rest of us since this is very new. Leave a comment or ask your question below. How are you using Google Drive and Microsoft Word together? 

The post How to Add Google Drive to Microsoft Word appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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Improving Your Teaching Through Student Feedback

Every Classroom Matters episode 183

student feedback dean shareski (1)

How can we improve our lessons? When do we know what works and what doesn’t? In today’s show, Dean Shareski talks candidly about student feedback and the role of self-reflection in teaching. Improve the craft of teaching by incorporating his suggestions in your classroom routines. Become intentional and level up a little every day.

Important Takeaways

  • How student reflections can help teachers improve.
  • A scary thing Dean found his college students weren’t comfortable doing.
  • The two-word question that made Dean a better teacher.
  • The problem with rubrics.
  • Vicki’s “a-ha” moment about student feedback from Dean’s inspiration.

Dean Shareski’s honest talk about grades, assessment, and student feedback apply to every level of teaching. Self-reflection is an important part of teaching. Dean helps us understand how we can reflect and how our students can help.

Today’s Sponsor Lesley University has an impressive line-up of online programs specifically designed for busy teachers. If you’re interested in strengthening your professional training, your resume or your career options, you’ll want to take a look at what Lesley has to offer. Lesley’s programs include: creative learning environments, experienced faculty, small classes, and the kind of supportive online community that we all value and want. 

Educator Resources and Links from the Show

Take a moment to check out Lesley’s programs for teachers by going to

Check Out Lesley University’s Online Programs

Great quotes from the show you can share…

student feedback - we need relationships with students

Dean Shareski joy - student feedback

Education is an isolated profession. Dean Shareski

Do we see joy as we look on student faces in our classroom?

We can always use student feedback. If we think we've arrived, we really have a long way to go. Those teachers who don't think they need student feedback often need it the most.

We can always use student feedback. If we think we’ve arrived, we have a long way to go. Those teachers who don’t think they need student feedback often need it the most.

Improve your teaching with student feedback.

Improve your teaching with student feedback.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

Join the Every Classroom Matters Awesome Educators Network on Facebook

The post Improving Your Teaching Through Student Feedback appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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What to do this Halloween Weekend in Toronto

In Canada, Halloween is celebrated throughout the entire weekend at the end of October. There are so many events happening around the city, and we have picked some of the most popular ones for you! Check out our list of Must-See Halloween events in Toronto, and find the details of the SPECIAL CONTEST full of SURPRISES!

1.   Ghosts and Spirits of the Distillery:

The Distillery District’s streets have never been scarier! Explore Old Town and hear the spookiest stories about Toronto! Participate in different activities and contests for prizes and more. Visit the event’s website for more information.

Distillery District//    Halloween Haunt at Canada’s Wonderland:

//, zombies and terrifying attractions is what Canada’s Wonderland is about on Halloween! It is one of the best places to celebrate, riding the Zombie Dark Ride, walking through the Haunted Trails and seeing almost 700 creepy creatures all around the park!

3.    Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND:

Let’s Brick-or-Treat in LEGOLAND! There will be special activities this Halloween Weekend for all the LEGO lovers, such as LEGO buildings and costume contests! Entertainment for all ages. For more information check out LEGOLAND’s Website.Pumpkin carving//

4.     Fort York After Dark: Lantern Tour:

If you like to hear scary stories, then the Lantern Tour will be perfect for you. From “The Haunted Lighthouse” to “The Bloody Battle of York”, the tales you’ll hear while walking through the grounds of Fort York and the military cemeteries will keep you up at night! Make a reservation at the event’s website.

5.    ILAC Halloween Party and Contest (19+):

Have your costume ready, because ILAC’s Halloween Party at UNIUN Nightclub will be a party you won’t want to miss! Enter the Best Costume Contest for a chance to win a trip to Niagara Falls in a LIMO full of surprises! Visit the ILAC Activities desk for more information and be prepared to party all night!

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 10.38.27 AM

Gabriela Jandova and Gabriela Garcia

from ILAC English Tips

What to do this Halloween Weekend in Vancouver

Only a few more days until HALLOWEEN! Don’t know what to do yet? Here are 6 options to help you make up your mind!

1. Evil Dead, The Musical:

A Halloween classic, this year improved with a SPLATTER ZONE! Get your clothes bloody while watching this incredible musical filled with horror, screams, songs and lots of blood. Visit the event’s website for more information, and get ready to sing along at The Norman Rothstein Theatre!
Evil Dead: The Musical// ILAC Halloween Party (19+):

Get your costume on and be ready for a night to remember with your ILAC friends and Club ESL at Stadium District! Some of the greatest DJs in the city will be there, so you don’t want to miss it! Visit the ILAC Activities desk for tickets and more information!

3. Fright Nights at the PNE:

This mix of fear and adrenaline is the key to the perfect Halloween night! Ride over 15 rides and haunted houses, and try to survive the zombie attack! Visit the ILAC Activities desk and the Fright Nights website for more information about admission.atmosfear sunset silhouette//

4. Halloween at FlyOver Canada:

Graduate from the Haunted Witches Academy at FlyOver Canada and experience Halloween like never before! Fly on your broom and witness some of the most breathtaking views across Canada. Visit the ILAC Activities desk for more information!

5. Canadian Horror Show – Movie Nights:

If you’re thinking of a more laid-back* but still frightening night, then nothing sounds better than a marathon of 9 of the scariest Canadian horror films with a giant bag of popcorn! Visit the Vancity Theatre for more information and tickets. jackass II audience//
6. Haunted House, A Dundas Nightmare:

The realest and scariest haunted house in Vancouver opens its doors for you this Halloween! The long and dark hallways, filled with terrifying characters will make you want to run away shrieking! Read more about it and get ready to scream!

*laid-back: relaxed

Gabriela Garcia

from ILAC English Tips

How to Get Kids Excited About Science: Carmelo the Science Fellow

Every Classroom Matters episode 182

Carmelo the Science Fellow

How do you fill your students with wonder? How do you help kids love animals? How do you engage students in science? Carmelo the Science Fellow (who is also a principal) shares his fun-tastic ideas for science and getting kids excited in this episode.

Important Takeaways

  • The unbelievable thing he puts IN his walls.
  • How he got students excited about science his first day of teaching.
  • Now that he’s a principal, what happened when he put his desk in the welcome area.

Carmelo the Science Fellow has cool science ideas but also exciting ideas for teaching. I found myself inspired with his can-do attitude and any means necessary methods of teaching. But his work is also grounded in the science research that we quoted in the show (referenced below). We can no longer PowerPoint kids into boredom in the science classroom. We can do better. Here’s how.

Educator Resources from this Show


Get kids excited about science with Carmelo the Science fellow

Join the Every Classroom Matters Awesome Educators Network on Facebook

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above. 

The post How to Get Kids Excited About Science: Carmelo the Science Fellow appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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Brainstorming: The 7 Dwarves’ Secret

Design Thinking and Productivity that Matters

Walt Disney had 50 names for the seven dwarves. Why do so many of us think we need just one or two tries to have great ideas?Walt Disney understood that to become great, you ideate. Brainstorming was one key of his genius.

Brainstorming: The 7 Dwarves' Secret

Among such odd names as “Graveful” and “Awful” and “Biggo-Eggo” – we find  “Grumpy,” “Happy,” and “Bashful.” Walt Disney didn’t stop with the first seven names he came up with. Disney had seven times seven plus 1.

Ideation is the “formation of ideas.” Geniuses have always ideated. Learn how to brainstorm if you want to be more creative.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Brainstorm

In 1489, the same year he drew the Vitruvian Man, Leonardo Da Vinci made a list of all of the things he wanted to investigate about the human body. His list included such things as:

  • What nerve is the cause of the movement of the eye?
  • “What is sneezing?” and
  • Why an infant of eight months does not live?

He made lists of questions and pursued the answers. Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat; it makes the imagination alive!

Romeo the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

When Robert May was tasked to write a “cheery book to give store customers” for Montgomery Ward, he brainstormed a list of ten names for his reindeer. Could you imagine “Rollo the Red-Nosed Reindeer?” How about Reginald? Romeo? No, it became Rudolph.

But first Robert May came up with ideas. He ideated as he created.

Why Are We So Afraid of Idea Creation?

There are three reasons I think we don’t brainstorm more:

  1. We don’t ideate because we don’t understand the benefits.
  2. We don’t take the time to brainstorm.
  3. We don’t want to look dumb.

Let’s tackle these problems one by one.

1. Ideation is Important.

Before creation comes ideation. Most people aren’t ideating, they’re just regurgitating.

Sure, lots of schools are using design thinking. But they are other people’s designs! Other people’s thinking.

Before creation comes ideation. When leading students in genius hour for the first time, it is a struggle to help them find their genius. They don’t know what to create because they’ve never been asked. They don’t know what to think about because they’ve never been given time to think.

Decisions made without ideation aren’t decisions, they are just cookie cutter ideas with a slightly different dough and a slightly different cutter but aren’t truly an original recipe. They are sloppy knock-offs of another idea that DIDN’T WORK.

Ideate and ruminate and then MAKE A DECISION. 

2. Ideation Takes Time

Ideation is a process. We often call this brainstorming. Here are two easy ways to brainstorm.

Brainstorming Method A: Require 50 ideas. I wonder why so many people think they should be able to come up with the perfect idea in the second or third try? If Walt Disney brainstormed 50 dwarves, can’t we?

I require 50 scribbled ideas for every brainstorm. The first ten will be trite, boring, and safe. When students run out of safe ideas, they get creative. And when they run out creative ideas, they become geniuses. When creating ideas becomes the goal, we get rid of inhibitions and come up with ideas. When we try to come up with a “good idea”, we stay safe. Safe is boring. Safe is unoriginal. Safe is never genius because safe has already been done before.

Brainstorming Method B: Freewriting. Mark Levy’s book  Accidental Genius gives insight into what happens when you have people free write about a topic for an amount of time:

Anyway, while they’re writing, be it for five minutes, thirty minutes, or something in between, I walk throughout the audience to check on how they’re doing. I offer encouragement and crack jokes. I never read what they’re writing. Nonetheless, I can tell the exact moment when the writing for them starts to click.

As I walk by, I jab my finger down on the page and say, “Here’s where you started saying something important” and “Here’s where your thinking came alive.” Almost always, the participants agree. They wonder how I could know.

My trick has a simple explanation: When they begin, participants tend to write in a cramped script that fits on the line neatly. Once they loosen up, once they tire, once their internal editor starts to recede and they viscerally connect with the material, their handwriting relaxes. It happens all of a sudden, and it’s easy to spot, even if they’re facing me and all I can see is their pads upside down. Their letters grow large and loopy, and they take up several lines. Their words grow fainter, because they stopped pressing on the paper so hard. It’s an unclenching of hand and brain. It’s the point where they stopped worrying about being correct and polite and began using the part of their mind that’s original and raw.

It takes time as Mark Levy says so beautifully for your brain to “unclench.” It isn’t easy, but when you see it happen you do it again and again. (There’s a reason this post started out over 2,000 words. It is now 1200 and I deleted the first original 800 of them!)

Teach students and teams how to ideate. Teach them methods of brainstorming. Help them unclench their brain and create ideas.

3. To Get to Great, You Must Be Willing to Risk Dumb

Why was Walt Disney completely unafraid to have a name like “Biggo-Eggo” as a potential name for a dwarf? Walt Disney was perhaps a genius, because he was unafraid of ideas – even crazy ones. There’s one small step from crazy to genius.

Few people remember the mockery Steve Jobs endured the day he unveiled the “iPad.”  Most people thought it was a dumb name.

But we don’t want to be the one people call silly. We stay mediocre, so we don’t get criticized instead of being the genius who stands alone.

If you fear to be wrong, you’ll never be right.

If you’re afraid of looking dumb, you’ll never be a genius.

If you won’t come up with ideas, you’ll never find novel solutions.

Make your team or classroom a safe place to come up with any kind of idea. Teach groups not to pass judgment too quickly. Help your group understand that “dumb” often precedes genius. 

Ideate and Become Great

Let me ask you this:

  • What idea would you pursue if you had no risk of criticism?
  • If you weren’t worried about anyone thinking you were wrong — how would you improve student learning by 400%?
  • What would you do tomorrow if you had no restrictions to get kids truly excited about learning? reading? math?

Throw off the everyday clothing of the mild-mannered reporter and don your Superman cape, for goodness sakes. Tackle these questions with brainstorms. Freewrite. Ideate.

Create ideas — lots of them.

Share ideas — lots of them.

Talk about ideas — lots of them.

Yes, there’s a time to make a decision. But if you decide before you brainstorm, you’ve decided too soon. You’ve killed the conversation. You’ve buried genius.

So, don’t be Dopey! Refuse to let Grumpy or those who are Sneezy at new ideas keep you from coming up with them. It isn’t time to be Bashful or Sleepy. Listen to the Doc and come up with some great ideas! Lots of them! You’ll be Happy you did! 😉

How do you teach brainstorming? Got tricks or ideas? Share them in the comments below or on your own blog. Let’s ideate together! Will you share your ideas? 

The post Brainstorming: The 7 Dwarves’ Secret appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!

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