Topics for this week include the benefits of writing by hand, the internet connections homework gap, and teacher time savers.

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen / Unsplash

TGIF Teacher Newsletter


TGIF Teacher Gadgets and Gifts
Every day should be Teacher Appreciation Day. Here are some teacher-approved gifts and gadgets that will bring smiles in and out of the classroom.

Happy Friday!

Here are three things I've been pondering this past week.


Trying something new will rarely work wonderfully right out of the gate. If the plan is sound, it just might take some time to get it right. Don’t give up on new endeavors without giving them time to work.


Leave room for people to pleasantly surprise you. My students are working on a project where they have been researching a problem. After completing their research, they proposed a solution to the problem. This is all part of the eCybermission competition. The point is to use science to improve communities. Their topic choices reveal their compassion for the planet and less fortunate people. Middle school students often get a bad rap. I’ve learned to leave myself open to being pleasantly surprised.


Courage can be acquired and is inspiring to witness. This past week, we watched a high school presentation of the "Addams Family" musical. The set, singing, and dancing were impressive, but so was watching students do all of these things publicly.

In today’s newsletter…

  • The benefits of handwriting and cursive.
  • Internet connection and the "homework gap."
  • AI-created test questions, time savers, and unstoppable motivation.

The News

Here are some articles and resources that grabbed my attention.

  • Hand Writing - A groundbreaking study in Frontiers in Psychology explored the impact of cursive handwriting versus typewriting on learning. Using high-density EEG, researchers analyzed brain activity during writing tasks in 12-year-old children and young adults. The study found that cursive handwriting enhances learning and activates neural pathways linked to memory and cognitive processes, emphasizing the significance of handwriting skills in education. I think this is something that many teachers have suspected all along. Writing things down helps solidify learning.
  • Connected - A discounted broadband internet service program for low-income households is expected to run out of funding, widening the "homework gap" and hindering students' access to online learning. With nearly 23 million households enrolled, the program's expiration could leave families without affordable internet access, impacting students' education and their parents' ability to communicate and access essential services. Connecting parents and students is in each community’s best interest. I would hope politicians on both sides of the aisle could agree on that.
  • Perspectives and Experience - Retired teachers stay involved in education through organizations like the National Retired Teachers Association and local teachers' unions. At Shorewood Senior Campus in Rochester, Minnesota, a retired teachers club provides a sense of community and opportunities for continued learning. The club organizes meetings where members share their teaching experiences and invites current educators to speak. Teachers also remain connected to students in the classroom. This idea would work well for community members as well. Many people think of school based on their experiences without realizing it has evolved. However, when they become aware of public schools' services to children in their community, it can lead to stronger partnerships and a better understanding.
  • Resource - Learn to use Magic School AI to create three-dimensional test questions.
  • School Culture - It’s a relentless teacher.
  • Teacher Tip - Incorporate Micro-tidy sessions throughout the day.
STRONG Teacher Toolkit
Here 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.

Ideas, resources, tools, and free downloads to make your teaching life easier and more enjoyable.


Personal Development and Wellness Resources

  • Unstoppable - Discover the secret to unstoppable motivation through a groundbreaking psychological experiment involving hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. This study reveals the power of aligning your actions with your values to sustain progress and feel happier, even when facing tough challenges.
  • How to Disagree - Have you ever agreed with someone to avoid conflict? Learn how to express disagreement politely without compromising your viewpoint or creating unnecessary tension. The skill of respectfully disagreeing with someone needs to make a comeback.
  • Change History - History goes forward, not just backward. Dream big, work hard, and stay humble. This talk is geared toward young people, but I think it applies to everyone. You will influence history.


“Whatever good work you do, whatever powerful, profound work — do it because it’s right or because it’s necessary. Do it to make change for the better. Do it because you know you must. Don’t do it for credit.” -John Lewis

Teacher Commuter Playlist - Shout, Sister, Shout by Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Godmother of Rock and Roll)

Favorite Things

  • Notion - The more I use it, the more I like it. It's become a hub where I plan and draft each weekly newsletter, keep my school life organized, and collect ideas and resources I want to revisit often.
  • Good News - Bob Moore, Founder of Bob's Red Mill, is Leaving His Company to Its Employees.
  • Great Word - Foozle - To fumble, bungle, or make a mess of. Example - Just when I thought I had the perfect lesson plan, I foozled the whole situation by forgetting the projector cord at home!
  • Spheros - These tiny programmable robots are extremely engaging. I recently used them with science students to introduce Newton's laws. They can be applied across the curriculum. These resources are a good place to start.

Trust Me, I'm a Teacher Shirt

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