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Building a writing habit and sending out a weekly newsletter has become a valuable form of personal and professional development for me. I have been teaching for over 25 years and I am committed to finishing my career with energy, positivity, and a lifelong learner mindset.
These are some of my favorite resources, ideas, tools, services, and miscellaneous gadgets and goodies that keep me STRONG 💪 in both my personal and professional life. I hope you'll find some of them useful too! Please feel free to share with your teacher friends.
Finally, at the bottom, you will find a few downloads that are available for free to all members. Membership is free, and you can join by clicking here.
Classroom Culture and Teaching Resources
- The Big List of Classroom Resources to Build Culture and Promote Belonging 🤗 - Explore resources that will help create the foundation for a positive classroom culture and improved classroom management.
- 6 Ways to Build a Positive Classroom Culture 😜 - Examine the importance of building relationships, setting clear expectations, and promoting student engagement.
- Resources - These are some of my go-to education resources. You'll find classroom culture resources and much more.
- Newsletter Archive - You can access every newsletter here.
Personal Knowledge Management
A personal knowledge management system is a set of tools, strategies, and methods used to organize, store, and retrieve personal knowledge and information. It is designed to help you capture, organize, and make sense of the knowledge you acquire over time. This can include note-taking apps, digital or physical notebooks, bookmarking tools, and other resources that facilitate the management and retrieval of personal knowledge. Here are some of the central parts of my Personal Knowledge Management System.
- Notion* - Notion has become my central hub for organization, planning, and drafting. I use it to draft my weekly newsletter, brainstorm ideas, capture weblinks, plan units, and lessons, record to-do list items, and keep my parent communication log. They recently added an artificial intelligence feature that I’m just learning how to use. Here is some information to get you started.
- Readwise - 📝 Readwise is a service that helps you remember and review the highlights and notes you make while reading. It integrates with various reading apps and platforms, such as Kindle, Pocket, and Instapaper, and syncs your highlights and notes into one central location. You can then access and review your highlights through the Readwise app or website. Readwise also offers features like daily email digests, flashcards, and the ability to export your highlights and notes. It's a useful tool for organizing and revisiting the key insights and information from your reading materials. Here is my review after using Readwise for thirty days. Readwise also has a great sharing feature so you can send out your highlights through text messages and social media posts.
- Refind - 📰 Refind is a tool that helps you discover and save interesting articles, websites, and resources. It allows you to create your own personalized reading list by collecting links and organizing them into categories. Refind also provides recommendations based on your interests and the articles you save. You can save articles directly from your browser using the Refind extension or by sharing links with the Refind app. It's a convenient way to curate and revisit valuable information and resources that you come across online. Each day Refind emails me a curated list of articles tailored to my interests. My favorite Refind sessions are on Sundays when I can slow down and read with my cup of coffee.
- Journal (Day One and commonplace notebook) - I’ve been using a combination of a digital and paper journal lately. Day One has been one of the coolest apps I’ve used. It’s my digital journal. My favorite feature is that it reminds me of what I recorded in years past making it easy to relive my favorite memories. Recently I’ve started using a commonplace notebook to record quotes and ideas I want to revisit.
- iPad and Apple Pencil - I have been using an Apple pencil* for several years, and it has been a valuable tool for me. I use it with apps such as Notability and Explain Everything to enhance my organization both at school and at home. It also provides a unique way for me to create and share content with my students.
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- Book Summary and Golden Lines - 📖 Since I started writing on this site I’ve written a summary for the books that I’ve been reading along with my favorite lines from the book. I highly recommend each of these books. Here are the summaries.
- The Four Agreements* 4️⃣ - The Four Agreements are “Be impeccable with your word, Don’t take anything personally, Don’t make assumptions, and Always do your best.” I re-read this book once a year and have a poster of the Four Agreements on my door. I often have my kids recite one or more of them when needed, especially the first and fourth agreement - Don't Take Anything Personally. I think teachers can benefit most from the section about not taking things personally.
- The First Days of School* - This book is great for new teachers 🍎, but I also revisit it a few times each year. It really helped me structure my procedures in a way that I was able to improve my classroom management.
- Atomic Habits* ⚛ - I subscribe to James Clear's email newsletter, and we have started reading his book as a whole staff book study at my school. So far, it's very good. I'll include my book summary when I'm finished. My favorite quote so far is, “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. In the same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous. It is only when looking back two, five, or perhaps ten years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.”
The items below have either saved me time, solved a problem, brought me joy, or had an unexpected benefit.
- Paper Planner* - 🗓️ This planner is my “hold everything” hub at school and an important part of my organization system.
- Planbook - All of my plans live in Planbook. I’ve used it for at least five years now. It’s an online lesson planner that can also be shared with students and parents. Each year I’m able to look back to past lessons to reuse and modify them as needed.
- Staple Remover* - This is something I didn’t know I needed until I borrowed one. If you maintain bulletin boards, you need one of these staple removers.
- Cordless Glue Gun* - Having the ability to pass these from group to group during science projects is a time-saver. They get the most use when we attach fins to model rockets.
- Hoop* - 🏀 There’s just something about having a hoop* in the classroom that engages a certain group of kids. It’s helped me build relationships that otherwise would have been tough to build. It also comes in handy when we play review games.
- Mavalus Tape* - I first ordered this because I couldn’t get anything to stick to the cinder blocks in the hallways and in my classroom. This tape will help you hang things in all sorts of places.
- My Favorite Pens - ✒️ Pilot Precise V5 RT*
- Notebook*- 📔 Leuchtturm1917 Notebook - This is what I use for my Commonplace notebook.
- Teacher Strong T-Shirt 👕
- Highly Caffeinated Teacher Mug ☕️
- Backpack - The North Face Commuter* - When my old pack 🎒 of 13 years died I picked up this one and am very pleased. There are more compartments than I know what to do with.
- Glasses - This is for those with older eyes 👓 like me. A colleague of mine gave me these magnetic glasses holders and they’re a game changer.
Teacher Fuel and Nutrition
- Kachava - 🥛 A co-worker of mine recommended these shakes. I have them for lunch and breakfast regularly. They make a great meal when you don’t have time for anything else. It also contains adaptogens which help counter the effects of a stressful teaching day. There is a lot of nutrition in a small calorie footprint. Get $15 off of your first order.
- Rx Bars* - This is my school snack 🍫 of choice. Clean and simple.
- Shaker - I mix up my lunch shake in these Blender Bottles*. You can learn from my mistake, make sure you wash them right away after each use 😷.
Free Downloads 👇
Below you will find a few downloads that are free to all members. If you’re not a member you can sign up here (it’s free). Once you are signed in you will be able to access the downloads. Thank you for being a part of our growing community.
- Thirty-Day Challenges for the Mind, Body, Spirit, and School
- 5 Common Teaching Challenges and Strategies to Overcome Them
- Bonus - 50 Affirmations for Teachers That Improve Self-Confidence, Reduce Stress and Help Build Relationships