The Teacher Manifesto Project


It is time for the anti-resume.
Teaching is more than a LinkedIn profile or a two-page list of what we’ve taught, where we taught it, and when we taught it. It is more than a series of Googled action verbs like instructed, designed, supported, and implemented.
Let’s aspire to something better. Let’s reveal the emotional labor of what it means to be a teacher.

In the classroom we strive each day to make things better for our students. We invent ways to be more dynamic. We persist. We create an atmosphere that is generous and wonderful.
Often, it goes unnoticed. The emotional labor is taken for granted. It is ignored. Sometimes the kid that we try to reach is not ready for the message, yet.
But we continue day after day. We do the work of a teacher, not because we expect some bonus at the end of the year or recognition from an association. We do it because we can. We do it because we know that hope is an eternal flame that can never be extinguished. And we hope for the best for our students.
I’m calling on you to help me create a movement — The Teacher Manifesto Project. It is time for the anti-resume. I want you to share with me in 175 word or less your manifesto, your view, your declaration of intention. I don’t need the what, when and where. I want the why and how. Share the emotional labor of the profession. Have fun with it. Be reflective.
You can even make it fancy on a site like Canva. If you do, email it to me. We will post it to our Pintrest page so that others can be inspired. If. Not, just write it in the comments section below. Regardless of how you do it,take the time to get back in touch with your teaching soul and what it is that you love about the classroom.

Digital Writing Workshop


I am lucky enough to teach a senior elective titled Digital Writing Workshop. The intent of this class is to give students the opportunity to extend the writing process past traditional composing by using technology to tell stories in multiple modes.

The Nature of the Digital World

For the most part our units are based around essential questions. We began this school year by doing an extended inquiry into the changing nature of our digital world and used a variety of texts to investigate these dynamics. We read about the evolution of literacy in an extended excerpt of Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows and asked ourselves how we saw the definition of literacy changing in our own culture. We studied the documentaries PressPausePlay and Connected while reflecting on the varying ways that digital technology is changing consumption and production.Read more…

Poetry for Non Believers

Community IN THE (5)

“Honest, Jan.  I’m serious.  I mean, why would I want to write a poem?  I grew up on hockey and none of my friends ever read or wrote anything.  All through high school and elementary.  I’m serious.  Never.  Well, maybe we read the odd hockey stat in the paper, but that was it.  So this object poem I wrote was a complete shock to me.”  Such was the oral reflection Mark offered after writing his very first poem at the age of twenty-one.

About a month ago, I waltzed into the literacy/drama education class I teach with a favourite bin of odd and varied materials.  My intention? To hook everyone on doing poetry:  reading it aloud, crafting one or two poems, exploring some creative forms (poetry for two voices, poetry for four voices, poetry with tableaux, poetry in response to photos) and my very favourite genre—poetry that emerges in response to a chosen object or artifact. The poetry workshop day is something I always look forward to sharing with student teachers, as I’m always amazed at what happens to students who have grown up groaning about poetry. … Read more…

Community in the Classroom

Community IN THE

Membership has its privileges. American Express recognizes the power of community and has used this pitch to sell their credit card to 102 million people over the last three decades. People want to be a member, not just a credit card holder.

The same is true with teaching. Teachers have the choice to either conduct a class or create a learning community. I choose the latter because I believe that the more my students experience community, the more willing they are to give of themselves to the group and to my instruction. … Read more…

The No-Fail Pre-Writing Strategy

Community IN THE (1)

There is a strategy that has gotten me four jobs. In each case, I was asked to demonstrate my teaching skills in front of interviewing committees, and was completely confident that this exercise would cast me in a positive light. Moreover, the strategy is as easy to administer as a think-pair-share.

If Anthony Robbins taught English, he’d use this strategy: the discussion web, a process and graphic organizer first developed by Donna Alvermann in 1991.

You could probably get an idea of how it works by studying the graphic organizer, but there are a couple twists that really give it power—namely step 5 and step 8, below: Read more…

The Flipped Grammar Experience

Community IN THE (2)

Last year my principal presented a very unique opportunity for me to flip instruction in my classroom. His motivation was to try and reach more students on all levels. As our conversation progressed, we discussed specifically students who struggle getting homework turned in and students who need to be challenged. Furthermore, we talked about how flipped lessons provide student an opportunity to go back and watch a lesson over as many times as needed if the student was not understanding it the first time as it often happens after a teacher is going through a lesson while in front of the classroom. Unfortunately, there is no rewind button for teachers. However, if a student is watching a flipped lesson, they can rewind as often as needed. 


Flipping is not a secret and is an innovative way to deliver instruction to students. A flipped classroom is where a traditional teaching methods are switched where instruction is delivered through online videos and other resources such as websites. In addition, the “homework” portion is then done in the classroom. Students watch lectures outside of classroom, working at their own pace and application of the learned processes take place in the classroom with the help of the teacher. Having some background knowledge of what a flipped classroom is and does, I was more than willing to implement this instructional strategy into my classroom. In the Spring of 2013, my principal sent myself and one other teacher to a professional development where we were able to have some hands on experience with how to flip our respective classrooms. In addition, he handed us Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams. 

Upon furthering my own knowledge of flipping, I took the time to develop a plan to flip just one part of my instruction when it came to my language arts classroom. I didn’t want to overwhelm my students and I didn’t want to overwhelm myself when it came to this innovative way for my instruction. So, I decided to flip only the grammar part of my instruction. There are educators who do flip their entire language arts classrooms, but with me being a novice I was not ready to take that plunge. I have chosen to flip grammar because most students find grammar boring and to be quite honest, so do I as their teacher. Flipping grammar allows me to put together an instructional video where I use Camtasia, Snagit, or Touchcast. Camtasia and Snagit are both products from Techsmith and are fairly inexpensive. Touchcast is free, which fits everyone’s budget. Below is a sample of a Touchcast flipped lesson I did using Touchcast.

Read more…

#70 Angela Watson: Advocating for Teachers and Students



Using backwards design, share your teaching story. Tell the Talks with Teachers audience where you are now and how you arrived at this place in your career.

— Her role is as an educational consultant and and instructional coach. Angela considers herself an advocate for students and teachers. She had 11 years of experience in Washington D.C. and Florida. She started writing books for teachers and curriculum for teachers.  … Read more…

#69 Rafranz Davis: The Five Words That Can Change a Student’s Life


Rafranz Davis

LEARNER! Math & Tech Geek! Tech Specialist, Google Certified Teacher, Disruptor of Ridiculousness, Social Media writer for Math

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In this episode you will learn:

  • What enabled her to transition from a middle school math teacher into tech specialist
  • How you can have an impact on a classroom in a country you’ve never visited
  • Why Rafranz does not get to have an off day as a teacher of color
  • How she learned to challenge her students in new ways when her lesson plans were upended
  • Why passion is something she will never tire pursuing and advocating for
  • Why reading should be important to teachers and why she read Jose Vilson’s This is Not a Test three times
  • Why five words can change your relationship with students
  • How reflective listening can improve your classroom




#68 Edutopia: Inspiration That Works


Elana Leoni and Samer Rabadi

Social Media Team at Edutopia

In this episode you will learn about:

  • Edutopia’s mission
  • How Edutopia evolved from a print magazine to a digital resource
  • Edutopia’s community-building strategies
  • What teachers can do to be solution oriented in their approach to the craft of teaching
  • How teachers are using Edutopia to give voice to what’s happening in the trenches right now
  • The ways in which teachers can apply Edutopia’s community-building strategies to their own classrooms
  • The common teacher needs on Edutopia
  • How to keep conversations about educationally-sound practices without getting political
  • Success stories of how Edutopia’s content inspired teachers