Play Your Drum in 2017

z2eocqbm-jpg-largeHonestly, New Year’s Resolutions have rarely been effective for me. In similar fashion, although the “one word” concept has been effective for some…for me, not so much. I have always tried to tune into what is bringing me positive energy. What is it that when I’m doing it, it doesn’t feel like work. That activity or project that I can’t wait to clear away all of the must-do items on my list so I can finally get to THIS. That’s what I look for and try to follow. The wonderful intersection of something you love doing, you are amazing at, and that makes a powerful impact on the world. I call it your drum.

I rarely put excerpts from Teach Like a Pirate out publicly, but I’m making an exception for this. I last posted it in 2011 and it still rings true to me. No matter what you may be celebrating this holiday season, I wish you success and happiness. Go find your drum.

Play Your Drum

Little Drummer Boy has been my favorite Christmas Carol for as long as I can remember.  Of all of the holiday songs, I can honestly say it is the only one that truly moves me.  The idea of a young boy, too poor to afford a fitting gift for the “new born king,” attempting to honor him with what he does is a great lesson for all of us.  We spend too much time stressing out and concerning ourselves with what is absent in our lives, and not enough time focusing on what really matters.

The drummer boy may not be able to afford the expensive and fancy gifts, but he has something better; he can offer the gift of his unique strengths and talents. He has no material gift to offer but what he can do is play his drum like no one else is capable of playing it. And so he does.  The fact that his play is met by approval and acceptance from Mary and the animals is certainly of no surprise. After all, when one is engaged in pursuing one’s passion and offering the very personal gift of doing what he does best, the power is undeniable and clear to all.

Isn’t that what life is really all about?  We all have to find our own personal “drum” and then play it the best we can.  For me, I never feel more truly alive than when I’m standing in front of a class of students or a seminar room full of teachers.  That’s my drum I’m playing up there and I’m going to play the heck out of it.  The line, “I played my best for him,” is a call to arms and a challenge to meet.  Forget about all of things you can’t control and play your drum to the best of your abilities. Play with all of the passion, enthusiasm, and heart you can muster.  Nothing else really matters. You can offer no finer gift or higher honor to the world than to find out what your “drum” is and then play it for all it’s worth.

My best to you in 2017. May you find your drum and play the heck out of it!

I’m embedding 3 versions of the song for you. The first was made by Sean Quigley in 2011, a then 16 yr old  high school student from Winnipeg. I know my Canadian friends will especially enjoy the video (Thanks to Annick Rauch for sharing!). The second is a version by Jars of Clay (Thanks, John Berray). The last is an acapella version by the Pentatonix.

Let me know your favorite version in the comments or feel free to add a link to your favorite!



My #DitchSummit Presentation


Fantastic sketchnote of the program by Jen Giffen (@VirtualGiff)

The Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit has been a smashing success with fantastic presentations each day. Congratulations to Matt Miller and all of the presenters. If you didn’t sign up and/or missed my part of the program, I’m embedding it below. It disappears on 12/31! (Check out the sketchnote made by Jen Giffen! Thanks for sharing, Jen!)


The Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit

9 Amazing Presentations...and Totally FREE!

dtt-ds-500x600This opportunity is simply to good too pass up. Matt Miller , the DBC Inc. author of Ditch That Textbook, has
put together an unbelievable professional development virtual conference and has talked a world class line-up of speakers into contributing. And here’s the most amazing part…in an act of absolute lunacy, he has made it 100% free to register and participate!

It is appropriately called, The Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit.

There will be one presentation each day from December 16th through December 24th. No need to travel anywhere, no need to dress up, and no need to watch the videos live. One video will be released each day and you have until December 31st to watch. Watch them in your pajamas if you want to…we won’t tell a soul.

So who did Matt convince to be a part of this?

Presenters include:

  • Two Global Teacher Prize finalists
  • A New York Times best-selling author
  • State and national teachers of the year
  • Creators of some of your favorite teaching resources online

Presentations topics include:

  • Integrating technology in the classroom
  • Creating engaging, exciting lessons/classes
  • Infusing lessons with inquiry and student choice
  • Connecting students to people and experiences worldwide (for free!)
  • And much, much more!

You want more details?

So how do I sign up???

It’s easy! Just go RIGHT HERE and register for free. DTT_Front-Cover

Want to know more about Matt and his book? Read this blog post that I wrote when we released Ditch That
Textbook to the world. It has had a huge impact on educators who have read it and it has sparked a wonderful online community on Twitter in the #DitchBook hashtag.

Sign up!! I’ll “see” you at the summit!