Thursday, March 3, 2022

First and Final Frames


🤔 Thought Bubble 1

First and Final Frames

I stumbled across this side-by-side comparison video of the First and Final Frames of some movies.

Some are almost identical to each others.

Some are way different.

Seeing just the beginning and the end made my mind want to fill in the story myself.

How did they get to the end? What happened in the middle? What was the story? How might have they gotten there? How did they end up in the same spot? Was there growth over time? Were the characters stagnant? What happens next? Was love lost? Was love gained? What trials did the character overcome? What did they not overcome? Whom did they meet along the way? What influence did those they meet have on the character? And on and on.

As I watched the clips, the above questions really drained me because of the mysterious unknown of the middle. How did the story evolve?

Every teacher starts with the same “first frame.” More than likely the standards for whatever area you teach. That’s the beginning.

The “Final Frame” gets determined by the success, or lack of success in the middle. We’d all like to see that “Final Frame” be of a student being successful. It’s easy to focus on the “Final Frame,” but you can’t get to the final frame without a successful middle.

First Frame to Final Frame. Focus on what's between.

So, how do you plan what happens during the middle?

With any movie/story/book there is always a plot. The story structure usually follows this framework: A character has a problem, then meets a guide who gives them a plan that calls them to action, that hopefully results in success avoiding failure. (Sorry for ruining all the books/movies.)

You’re the guide.

How are you setting up your students for success like habit stacking?

How are you designing or creating experiences that are leading to success?

How are you helping students overcome their struggles like this man who went from drug dealer to master falconer?

How are you teaching with the tools and strategies that will see students successful at the final frame in the “real world?” Or better yet, will this activity/lesson/assessment/content keep kids loving learning?

Could you use the What? So What? Now What? reflection?

How are you getting rid of hidden clutter to focus on the middle?

Are you explaining content in ways that students understand? This is a clip from a WKRP in Cincinnati. Hat tip to Mr. DuBois for showing me this. 1. I now understand atoms (not because I’m in a gang, either). 2. I learned about an old sitcom.

What are you noticing? Are you paying attention to these squares that are popping up everywhere? What are you noticing about your class?

🤔 Thought Bubble 2

I know we’re still operating during a pandemic, finding subs is incredibly hard, testing season is upon us, the Q3 Doldrums are sucking the life out of you, your plates are still full, and much, much, much more.

It’s better to light a candle, than curse the darkness. (Who knows who said this first?)

Make the best of every situation, including decorating.

Need a pep talk? Here’s one from a 5 year old that’ll motivate you.

And one from Austin Kleon about Groundhog Day from Keep Going, which is one of my favorite books.

Reach out if you need anything or want to collaborate.

May your day be great.

Stay Curious.

Give more than you take.

Try something new.


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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Tamed Wildfire Chili Recipe

The weather has been cold here in Indiana. Here's my second favorite chili recipe to warm you up. (My favorite white chicken chili recipe can't be shared.) It's a pretty non-traditional recipe and grew from grabbing random things from the pantry.  Yes, noodles go in chili and you don't need beans. Do you have a cold weather favorite recipe? 


  • 1 pound of ground beef browned and drained.
  • Some pasta noodles. How ever much you want. I usually use small elbow macaroni noodles. Cooked and drained. Chili needs noodles, but not a ton. Maybe a cup or a cup and a half? 2 cups? You pick.  
  • How ever much chicken or beef stock/broth that you want. More stock = more soupy. You like it soupy? Put more stock in. You like it thicker? Less stock. I use about 20 ounces. I have noticed that the noodles soak up some of the soupiness while simmering, so you might need to add more. 
  • 1 jar of traditional spaghetti pasta sauce. 24 oz. Prego. Ragu, Store brand.
  • 1 small can of Rotel Tomatoes : Original Diced with Green Chilies
  • Optional can of beans - I don't use beans, but you could add a can of chili beans or my favorite Bush's White Chili Beans
  • Chili Powder - however much you want to taste. I use a lot. 
  • Cumin - however much you want to taste. I use a lot.
  • Salt - however much you want to taste
  • Pepper - however much you want to taste
  • Garlic Salt - however much you want to taste
  • Minced Onions - however much you want to taste


  • Brown your ground beef and drain.
  • Cook your noodles and drain.
  • Put your noodles and your beef in a pot.
  • Add your chicken stock, pasta sauce, Rotel tomatoes, and optional beans to the pot
  • Add seasonings
  • Let is simmer for at least half an hour, stirring occasionally
  • Devour
Let me know what you think. 

Maybe I'll remember to take a picture one time. 

*Disclaimer - I'm not a chef, I only pretend to be one occasionally. 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Keep the Mosquitos Away, Taking Action, and Reinventing Yourself


I am horrible at New Year’s resolutions. I have expectations of grandeur and inevitably succumb to the inevitable and I stop doing what I wanted to do.

I fail.

A lot.

So, this year, I’m trying to work more on developing habits instead of some lofty goal.

I’m going to continue my One Word ritual because it’s simple. Well, coming up with the word is simple. Following through is the hard part.

This year’s one word is Action.


Action, as in not stagnant. Keep the Mosquitoes Away. (More on that later.)

Action, as in pull those pistols. (Josey Wales reference)

Action, as in intentional action. Saying, “No.” sometimes is a good thing.

Action, as in see the need, fill the need.

Action, as in the pursuit of progress, not perfection.

Action, as in not waiting. Procrastination is something I struggle with.

Action, as in aligning to the big picture.

Action, as in do worthwhile stuff.

Action, as in waking up a little earlier for some reflection time.

Action, as in “You can’t defeat, what you can’t define.”

Action, as in tracking something to see how you’re doing.

Action, as in being efficient and effective.

Action, as in not doom scrolling. I struggle with this.

Action, as in investing time, not spending it.

Action, as in controlling time. Each of us has 24 hours in a day.

I know we’re still in the middle of COVID. I know life is tough right now. I know teachers are working their butts off: covering classes, managing blended learning, having half of the class gone one day, and the other half the next, etc. etc. etc. I’m not downplaying any of these tough times. I see your exhausted faces. I see your will to just get through the period, the subject, and the day. I also can’t dismiss the fact that great things always come out of struggle. Through the struggle is typically where the strength is found.

Keep going. ……..

….which brings us to...

Know you’re doing hard stuff.

Know you’re in the trenches.

Know that it’s difficult right now.

As if you didn’t already know all of those things.

But also know that we unlock our greatness during these times. The following are small changes/activities/habits you can make to continue pushing through. Start small.

Whenever I think of being stagnant, I think of standing water. Standing water brings mosquitoes. Mosquitoes suck the life out of you. Keep the mosquitoes away. Keep moving forward.

Maybe it’s something small that you will change in your delivery style?

Maybe you’ll change the way you plan lessons after listening to student feedback?

Maybe it’s how you’ll lean into relationships and share more about the things you love?

Maybe the doldrums got you down, and you are choose to be more happy?

Maybe you’ll let go of some control, so that you can control the things you want to: family time, hobby time, the weekends, etc.

Maybe you had some goals, but they didn’t work, so you’ll focus on what you don’t want and make Anti-Goals?

Maybe you are stuck in a rut, so you expand your mind? (Possibly not appropriate for students)

Maybe you’ll repurpose an assignment into something that benefits others and involves your community? (see PBL)

Maybe you’ll decide to change the way you talk to yourself?

Maybe you just say, “Lets do this!” and get into the biggest state of flow you or your students can get into?

Maybe you’ll embrace the chaos and are still moving forward?

Maybe you didn’t want to come to school today, but did anyway.

Maybe you’ll implement research-backed brain-based strategies that work so you know your teaching will be effective?

Maybe you’ll sign up for some EduProtocols PD that will change the way you teach?

Maybe you’ll add more visuals and will learn how to draw faces quickly?

Maybe you’ll start a deeper reflection period to help manage and understand yourself like talent-based branching, like they do in the Army?

Maybe you’ll ask more questions?

Whatever it is, keep trying new things. Keep leaping. Keep finding ways to reinvent yourself and your systems (I’m reading this currently). Cut the fat. Focus on the main things. Try to find times for yourself. Keep going. Keep being awesome, because you are.

Keep finding ways to reinvent yourself and your systems.

Maybe the struggle has benefits, even if we don’t want the struggle?

Put one foot in front of the other. When you’re tired, rest. When you’re rested, pick up where you left off. Ask for help when needed. Lean on others.

May your day be great.

Stay Curious.

Give more than you take.

Try something new.