Creating Creative Creations

colorful toothed wheels
Photo by Digital Buggu on Pexels.com

Greetings Starfighters,

I crossed an auspicious milestone this week. I’ve been using Readwise to collect highlights and notes from almost everything I read, whether a book, an ebook, a research article, or an online article. I get a recap daily of 10 different highlights to review.

Of course, I can review more, but that daily reminder is a nice way to remember things I’ve read and thought were important – heck, many blog posts and articles are inspired by those passages.

More in this week’s newsletter…

Magicians on a mountaintop

junk journal collage

Greetings starfighters,

With Spring Break this week, I’ve taken some time to practice being creative, even if that meant creativity in the form of some home improvement projects. I even put in a new lighting fixture and bathroom mirror and painted. Extremely productive.

However, as with all creative endeavors, something happens to screw things up. In my case, something’s going on with our dishwasher. Same old story, check some things off the list and add a few more. Our creative work follows the same pattern as we complete one task and then, invariably, find something else to work on or revise old work, whether in our personal or professional lives.

More in this week’s newsletter…


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Jukebox heroes and $20 fiddles

boy wearing black shirt on teal machine
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Greetings Starfighters,

Faster than the fleetest hoof ever struck the pavement or a wheel ever turned upon an axle, the magnificence of Spring Break lies upon us in the Bluegrass State. There is, perhaps, no better time for a break than right now, as many of our schools haven’t had a long break since January 2, baseball makes its annual return from the doldrums of winter, and the sun shines ever brighter each day.

I digress…

Yes, I’m in a good mood, partially because I’m off work for a few days and have a chance to catch up on my doctoral work (which never seems to end), but also to spend a few days with my kiddo (my apologies to all spouses who don’t get a break when their teacher partners do), do some reading (I’m so far behind on my yearly challenge), do some housework, and overall get ready to wrap up another school year with gusto.

Also, my virtual learning academy students just finished recording season one of their podcast, which I’ll be sharing very soon. They did a great job, even if they were freaking out the entire time they recorded.

So now, dear travelers, I present you with 10 things I thought were worth sharing with you this week…

10 Things Worth Sharing

  • I see more reasons to keep arts programs in our schools every day. When we involve students in the arts, we give them a chance to tap into the creative realm and expand their imagination. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll get a $20 violin that will take them everywhere…
  • I read Ron Berger’s excellent An Ethic of Excellence this week after staring at it on my bookshelf since last summer. I should have read it sooner. Hat tip to good friend Scott McCleod for the recommendation. Here’s a video of Ron from PBLWorks a few years ago. He starts with his philosophy that “we vastly underestimate the capacity of kids to do beautiful work.”
  • When you have ideas, put them down on paper. Share them. Get them out in the open and let them breathe. Get feedback from others and then, get to work on those ideas. If you let them, ideas rot.
  • Admittedly, I’m a huge Carl Sagan fan. I mean, why shouldn’t I be? His Cosmos TV series was an instrumental part of my childhood-yes, I was raised on public television-and his ideas still grip my brain today. However, I’m not sure I could handle his undergrad reading list from the 50s. It’s pretty stacked.
  • I love movies. Always have, always will. However, I will admit that I have not always taken the time to view artistic and important films. Yes, friends, I have been a populist movie watcher and enjoyed every minute of it. But, I’m doing my best to expand my horizons and, as such, have apparently become part of the cult of Criterion.
  • I’ve heard of some school districts adding student members to their school boards but I’d love to see more of it. Students need someone to speak directly about their experiences in schools and stop relying solely on the opinions of us old folk to make decisions.
  • Can art help people? I hope so…
  • Radiohead’s Creep serves as an anthem for anyone who has ever felt self-conscious or suffered from imposter syndrome. Or maybe that’s just how the song makes me feel. Regardless, I shed a tear or two every time I hear Creep, and if I’m alone in my car, I’ll likely scream much of the lyrics as I weep. Maybe you do, too. I’m not sure, but perhaps there are a few folks in this crowd of 1,600 doing the same as they sing Creep together.
  • Oklahoma is adding more virtual charter schools for the coming school year, even as some in the state believe that virtual schools have reached a ‘saturation point.’ Working with and researching virtual schools, I’m interested anytime news like this shows up as I hope that we are able to maintain virtual learning as an option for many students who haven’t found success in the traditional classroom.
  • Finally, did you know that KOOP radio in Austin, TX, has a Sunday afternoon Joystick Jukebox show? And that they have an archive online? Yes, you, too, can enjoy an hour of video game music spanning over 50 years of the genre every Sunday. It’s wicked cool and, you know, for kids!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

PS: Next week, I’ll talk about the importance of this book and my thoughts about the stories inside.

dangerous visions book

Everything I’m writing is s#*%

writing

Greetings Starfighters,

Happy first (partial) week of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere—our southern neighbors rejoice as they head into my favorite time of year…

I’ve walked around most of this week not knowing what day it was or just being off a day. I’m quite certain this is all due to still recovering from the nonsense of daylight savings time (because we’re not saving anything). Yet, we move along into the vast unknown of tomorrow.

Also, has anyone else adjusted their reading goal for the year? I’m really behind and am not sure I can catch up with all that life brings my way. But, recognizing your limits is key and knowing that the only person I’m competing against is myself is also helpful when I feel defeated.

Anyway, here are 10 cool things I wanted to share this week:

10 Things Worth Sharing

  1. Creativity is Humanity
  2. As usual, I’ve gone down another musical rabbit hole that began with finding the amazing Hermanos Gutiérrez and has taken me into some very chill musical vibes. If you need a nice smooth start to your day, I have some great finds for you.
  3. English learners stopped coming to class during the pandemic. One group is tackling the problem by helping their parents.
  4. I’m always on the hunt for new creatives and curious to see their creative processes. This week, I found Jacob Collier by way of Matt Mullenweg of WordPress fame. Collier joins Paul Davids in this video to discuss learning to play the guitar, tweaking the rules, and changing everything to suit your style.
  5. In Star Wars news this week (you knew there was going to be a geeky moment soon), the trailer for the new “The Acolyte” series dropped this week, giving us a first glimpse at the time 100 years prior to anything Star Wars-related we’ve seen on any screen. There’s even a Wookiee Jedi.
  6. How do US teachers teach? We don’t know, and it’s difficult to figure out.
  7. While I’m a huge fan of exploration and creative work that sometimes takes us on grand adventures that aren’t so productive, sometimes there is no other option than to do the work of learning.
  8. Ten books from MIT faculty to expand your knowledge of teaching, learning, and technology
  9. Speaking of doing the work of learning and creativity, what if you made your classroom or workspace a living display of your creativity like Lynda Barry?
  10. Lastly, when you feel like the work you do is complete and utter garbage—don’t we all get that way at times?—remember that you’re not alone. The novelist Percival Everett says, “I’m pretty sure everything I’m writing is shit…I’m just trying to make the best shit I can.

That’s it for this week. The Spring Break edition will arrive in your inbox next week.

P.S. – I’m going through all my old comics lately and am amazed at some of the ads. Here’s this one with a cameo from Vincent Price to make your own shrunken head…

shrunken head ad from a comic

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Does A Machine Like Yourself Ever Experience Fear?

super saiyan

It’s rainy here in the Bluegrass State as another Friday rolls around. Spring Break is right around the corner for many of us, but not before we complete the last barrage of testing leading up to our end-of-year assessments—and my, aren’t those fun?

Still, there are so many things happening and more cool stuff than ever to share, so here are 10 Things worth sharing with you this week.

10 Things Worth Sharing


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Snow Days and AI Plays

kentucky schools in winter
Live look at Kentucky schools

It’s a Friday in mid-January, which means there’s snow on the ground here in Kentucky, and many of our schools are either working remotely or out of session. I’m checking in with my teachers while enjoying cup of coffee number 3, swaddled up in my old man sweater.

Next week, I’m attending FETC and will be presenting on Thursday afternoon. If you’re there and want to chat, hit me up!

For now, here’s this week’s 10 Things. Stay warm!

10 Things Worth Sharing


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

Reading, Writing, but maybe not ‘Rithmetic

Summer Starfighter, a sleek interstellar vessel with a polished silver hull reflecting the setting sun, intricate markings adorning its wings like tribal tattoos, Coastal cityscape during twilight, skyscrapers casting long shadows onto the shimmering sea, the atmosphere tinged with both anticipation and tranquility as the starfighter hovers, ready for takeoff, Photography, captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, 24-105mm lens

Greetings starfighters. It’s time for another edition of “10 Things” worth sharing with you. It’s almost the end of the school year here in the Bluegrass, and my thoughts turn to summer and to my daughter’s impending move to middle school. I’m old.

Anyway, I hope your life is just as interesting. Perhaps some of these shares will make it even more so.

10 Things Worth Sharing

-I read around 100ish books per year, but as a doctoral student, I’m having to read more. Here are some tips from two experts on how you can read more than you thought possible.

-If you’re in grad school, these books will help you get through and maintain your sanity.

-Some thoughts on how we can avoid raising machines (hint: let’s stop standardized testing) and raise humans.

-I put together some quick resources on Juneteenth that you may find helpful. I know most schools aren’t in session by the time Juneteenth rolls around, but we can’t overlook teaching this important date.

-One of my elementary teachers (and Future Shift Fellowship cohort member) created a podcast with her students. Actually, the students did all the work. It’s pretty awesome.

-Friend and professor John Nash, Ph.D., has done some amazing work with AI in his classes. In a recent episode of his podcast, he talks about testing AI and what does and doesn’t work.

-Fun stuff: if you’re of a certain age, you may remember The Midnight Special. What you may not know is that the show is back, thanks to the official YouTube channel.

-Have you ever seen a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio? Here’s your chance.

How Makerspaces in Schools Can Support Student Mental Health

-Final thoughts: Daft Punk released a tenth-anniversary edition of Random Access Memories, including what may be the “last Daft Punk song ever” and I’m totally not over it yet.

BONUS: As I was compiling this list, I got the notification that you can now provide input on the National Educational Technology Plan. Polls are open for K-12 Educators and Families. Please take some time to let your voice be heard. This is the first time since COVID-19 hit that this important policy document is getting an update. You can access the links to either poll right here.


Thanks for reading. The end of the school year means we’re officially in the “dads and grads” gifting season. I’ve put together a couple of book lists for quick and easy gifting. Here’s one for dads and one for grads. Enjoy!

Safe places and dark spaces

dark library

Hey gang, here are 10 things worth sharing with you this week:

10 Things Worth Sharing

  1. Wil Wheaton spoke in Kentucky in March, and I missed it. However, he kindly posted his remarks on why “The library is a safe space.”
  2. We need more trust and vulnerability in schools.
  3. The 2023 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced this week; one of the winning fiction books is a retelling of Dickens’ “David Copperfield.”
  4. Why sing a song when you can just sing a note and do some crazy stuff?
  5. Cool use of AI: Midjourney recreates ancient battles.
  6. Would AIs make better professionals (or teachers) than humans?
  7. Testing season is in full swing, and we need easier edtech integrations to service the nonsense.
  8. The Oppenheimer trailer dropped this week, and it looks amazing… and disturbing.
  9. First, Chegg took a hit from AI, and now the popular Stack Overflow loses traffic to ChatGPT. AI is here to stay, and it is disruptive.
  10. Lastly, there is no shame in getting help when you need it.


Thanks for taking the time to read this post. If you’ve enjoyed the insights and stories, consider showing your support by subscribing to my weekly newsletter. It’s a great way to stay updated and dive deeper into my content. Alternatively, if you love audiobooks or want to try them, click here to start your free trial with Audible. Your support in any form means the world to me and helps keep this blog thriving. Looking forward to connecting with you more!

All your base are belong to us

all your base are belong to us

Hey, y’all. We’re nearing the end of March, and for many public schools, that means Spring Break is near (or maybe already arrived). It’s a very busy time for educators as one school year ends, and plans for the next are already taking shape.

My hope for you as we approach the end of another school year is that you take the time to take care of yourself. You cannot pour from an empty cup, and it’s easy to get caught up in all the things at the end of the school year.

atomic habits by james clear

Take a beat, catch a deep breath, and center yourself. Rediscover what is really important to you and what you can control.

“We have so little control over our lives. The only thing we can really control is what we spend our days on.” – Austin Kleon

Anyways, here are ten things I thought were worth sharing with you this week:

10 Things Worth Sharing

  1. I worked with a senior English class this week, showing them some AI tools. They might write a book.
  2. Here’s a curated list of prompts, tools, and resources regarding the GPT-4 language model.
  3. Wanna learn financial literacy? This 300-page book was written completely with ChatGPT.
  4. The TikTok trial is a mess and is only proving that the US government is targeting this specific company over other social media platforms. Any issues with TikTok are the same with Facebook, Instagram, Snap, and many others.
  5. What is the right amount of agency to give to learners during their interactions with EdTech? Blog post and paper
  6. Are you a Wordle fan? I’m totally not, but I’ve also never liked Scrabble. Not that you care. Here’s Every Possible Wordle Solution Visualized
  7. An AI course creator – according to the page: “Start with a description and let AI-Assistant offer title and outline suggestions.”
  8. You might be violating copyright in your classroom. Maybe.
  9. Bill Gates explains why AI is as revolutionary as personal computers, mobile phones, and the Internet, and he gives three principles for how to think about it. Also, he recommends this book, this book, and this book as helpful in shaping his own thinking about AI.
  10. An Introvert’s Field Guide to Friendship: Thoreau on the Challenges and Rewards of the Art of Connection
rocking the boat
Rocking the Boat by Debra Meyerson

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Running on Empty

Hey, y’all. It’s time for another “10 Things” to clutter your inbox. I don’t know about you, but it’s been a week for me. I’m looking forward to a little break this weekend.

10 Things Worth Sharing

  1. Noam Chomsky thinks ChatGPT is “basically high-tech plagiarism”
  2. ICYMI, Google debuted their own AI-powered chatbot this week, Bard
  3. What if George Lucas had directed “2001: A Space Odyssey”? (It’s flipping brilliant)
  4. Polymath Tyler Cowen talks about ChatGPT and reading in clusters
  5. We’re digging deep into crafting a profile of a graduate in my home school district. I found this great article for steps to take in that long and very rewarding process right here.
  6. Busting the attention span myth
  7. Call me a nerd, but I’m super excited about this upcoming book on the history of the keyboard
  8. I see this pop up every now and then, and I always love this Gregory Hines tribute to Sammy Davis, Jr.
  9. While some are continuing to freak out about AI, others are getting right to work. My current favorite visual AI project exists at The Visual Dome.
  10. RIP Burt Bacharach. He made music that sounds like that of no one else on earth. He had a special and creative way of making music, blending jazz, pop, and classical sounds, which made him one of the most famous and beloved pop music composers ever.

Thanks for reading. This newsletter is a completely reader-supported publication. The best way to support it is to check out my recommendations or become a paid subscriber.