21st Century, Creativity, Inspiration

Intoxicated by Possibility!



I just saw this on Pinterest and it totally sums up how I feel right now in relation to education, where it’s at, and where it’s going. That might make me naive, it might mean I am delusional, or it just might be the start of something awesome.

I pick door number three. You?

Time and again, the phrase:

Make. School. Different.

comes to mind.

If we would all unite in doing that, in pushing ourselves to the edge, in being willing to risk failure in order to create something awesome, I know we could do just that.

In speaking about helping and serving others, the pastor at our church says, “Do for one that which you wish you could do for all.”  He says that often people will be overwhelmed by the tremendous need in our community, our world and will stop before they start because it just seems helpless. If you are a teacher, a parent, a student or just someone who cares about education,  do for one that which you wish you could do for all.  You don’t have to change the entire education system overnight, but we have to start somewhere.

Right now, think about one thing you could do to MAKE SCHOOL DIFFERENT.  Now, do it. Make your mark.  Make a dent. Just do it! What will it be? Share your one thing below to inspire others.

Creativity, Innovation, Inspiration

What Are You Creating?

I love Hugh MacLeod’s timeliness.  This is a perfect picture for me.  What are you doing to disrupt the status quo and bring about creative change? What are you waiting for?

Some take delight in disrupting … and you know who you are. This one’s for you.

~Hugh MacLeod

If you are looking for inspiration for your ruckus-making, creative trouble, look no further than Phil Beadle’s Dancing About Architecture.  You can take my word for it or read from others much more widely known about the importance and brilliance of this work.

In the words of the author, the book is introduced via the following small paragraph:

Over the body of the this book I propose to look at ways that we might use the arts as forms of pedagogy and, more specifically, how one might use process-led collisions of art forms to produce new learning experiences for students. – Phil Beadle

I really like that phrase ‘process-led collisions’.  I am so much more about the process and think this shift of focus is much-needed and will do wonders for leading us towards more creativity and less ‘factory-raised’, standardized teaching.

Dancing About Architecture is witty, irreverent, timely and absolutely ‘spot-on’ when it talks of the need for rising above ‘average’.  In addition to telling educators WHY they need to change, it details some examples of HOW this could look.  I am not sure it should be viewed as a ‘how to’ book though.  Once it becomes that and we have every teacher regurgitating the same lessons, we are back to ‘average’.

Instead consider…

  • using this book as a spring board for your own ideas or as a way to spark creative thinking amongst your own faculty.
  • trying one idea and seeing how you could adapt it to suit your own kids
  • reading this book and then closing it and writing down what you want to do in your classroom – it might be similar to what you just read but it will have your own twist on it

If you are still not convinced that this book is for you, read the following excerpt from the introduction to the book.  If you are not moved to rip it up, be brilliant, and rise above average after reading it, then there is probably little hope for you…

It suggests you must break the rules.  And you must.  Not just because you are too lazy to follow them (though this sometimes creates an imperative). You must break the rules as a matter of policy – all day, every day, with a degree of rigor and dedication to the cause.  The reason you must break the rules is that not breaking them is professionally negligent.  Following the rules leads to being probably just about as good as everyone else and therefore perpetuates the cause of the average.  Copying a bunch of idiots eventually makes you an idiot: a moronic cut-out from a mediocre comic.  Confounding the expectations that are set for you is entirely the best means possible of maintaining your professional and personal integrity.  

The people you work for (and I mean the children you teach, not the bloke in the flash suit telling you that you’re not good enough at your job) deserve better than working alongside a sheep-like copy of every unqeustioned bad idea they’ve ever encountered.  They desire and deserve you to be brilliant.  You do not get to be brilliant by doing it the same way as everyone else does.  


Rip it up. 

And start again.

21st Century, Inspiration, Internet

Light Your Beacon!

I arrived home from what has arguably been one of the worst weeks at school (nothing to do with my gorgeous kids or my fabulous parents) to find a package on my doorstep.  I took the package and my dog and together we sat in the Boise sunshine and read our new book:  Freedom Is Blogging In Your Underwear by Hugh MacLeod.  It is brilliant.

First of all, superficially some might say, it is physically enticing (I am now imagining Hugh saying “Much like the author” – funny) but it is – an almost square hardcover, great dust jacket, not too many words on a page and a smattering of cartoons throughout.  It also is endorsed by Seth Godin.  What else could you want in a book?

Beyond aesthetics, the book is still brilliant.  It isn’t going to take you hours to read it (or even an hour, actually)  but it will be a book you come back to as you explore the idea of blogging and what it means to you.

I am new to Hugh’s work having followed his cartoons at Gaping Void for only a few months.  A quick search around the web has this book getting lukewarm reviews from some of his ‘biggest fans’ due to the brevity of his message and the punch that it doesn’t pack.

I however, love that some of the best points I picked up are in his cartoons.  He began as someone who doodled on the back of business cards and to have some of these business card-esque doodles interspersed throughout the book, really worked for me.  It also helped that they just seemed timely and almost like Hugh had planned for me to find them on that sunny Friday:


Here are the main things I got out of this book:

  • we all have the means to put ourselves “out there” without waiting for permission to do so
  • in doing just that, we should focus on what it is we want to say – knowing our BS can now be spotted with a few quick keystrokes
  • our ‘stuff’ should be good – whatever it is, make sure it is worth your own time making it
  • trying to separate your online and offline life is foolish – it is all “life” and the same rules apply: be productive, useful, kind and give back when you take what others share generously with you


The book concludes with a call to be a Beacon – a light to others, a navigational signal that guides you when you are lost.  One of MacLeod’s beacons is Austin Kleon (love!) and by the tone of voice and message and overall war-cry to action that resonates throughout the book, I would imagine Seth Godin is a beacon too (the endorsement from Seth on the back cover and the reference to him inside the book also helped with this conclusion).

It made me think about who my beacons were in my workplace or in my ‘circle’ of people – those people that make you want to be a better teacher, writer, story-teller, innovator and educator.  I also thought about my kids at school and the type of beacon I am to them.

As we head into our final full week of work before the Exhibition next Monday, I am reflecting on the last 7-8 weeks and the more I do, the more I realize how important it was to place beacons along the path for our kids in the form of people who helped us along the way.  Part of being a good teacher is knowing when to outsource and how to facilitate the involvement of other people. Without the enriching experiencing of having beacons along our journey, I know it would not have been as rewarding and meaningful of an experience as it was.  I know a lot of other people focus on the ‘freedom’ aspect of this book, but for me, the beacons really stood out (no pun intended) as being something worth taking note of.

Who are your beacons?


Who are you a beacon to?