powerful teaching strategies

You go to trainings. You read books. You went to college. You’ve been to a few fancy 2 or 3 day conferences. And you learned powerful teaching strategies in all of those places.

Then, admit it, you forget to use them.

The first time you hear it, you are gung-ho, thinking, ” This is gonna change everything.”


A few weeks later… “What was that?”

Here’s how you can change that.

I love 3 X 5 cards. I think they are a magical technology.

(Maybe I’m overstating the magic part little bit)

Start keeping 3 X 5 cards with you. There’s probably a pocket in your backpack where they fit perfectly.

I like to keep them in my shirt pocket.

Every time you hear or read about a great strategy, write it down, and go put it in a 3 X 5 card box. They’re cheap at Walmart.

On a regular basis, go through your box. And feel free to write more notes on your cards. You’ll get great ideas the longer you do this.

I know it sounds like work. But seriously, what’s more painful: taking a few minutes to write on a card or forgetting about it when you really need it?

Here’s step two to making sure you use powerful teaching strategies:

Write a note to yourself where you need it.

Here’s what I mean.

Let’s say that you have learned about using lesson hooks, maybe from reading Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. You think, I’m going to start using those.

Here’s what usually happens. You sleep for a few days and when you’re ready to write your plan, you don’t have what you need.

You’ve got to go one more step. Write a list of the hooks you want to use on a 3 X 5 card and put it where you can use it when you write lesson plans.

Or use a sticky note.

And hey, maybe you are savvy enough with Evernote or some other app that you can give yourself a digital reminder. That can work too.

Here’s another thing. If it is something you need to remember while you are teaching, write it on your board.

See, that’s the kind of thing that works for me.

I can’t tell you how many times  I’ve meant to use brain breaks in my class and forgotten.

So I started writing them on my board. I also ask my students to remind me.

And it works.

Here’s what I’m saying. You’ve already learned powerful teaching strategies. If you’re like me, you’ve forgotten more of them than some teachers will ever learn!

You just need to put them where you will use them.

Here’s a good way to get started. Download this free list of 40 brain breaks. Print it out and put it where you can see it. Write one or two of them on your board so that you remember to use them.

Brain breaks, all by themselves, can turn around many difficult teaching situations.



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