“Started from bottom now we’re here…”

My path from basketball coach to teacher to professional development speaker to New York Times bestselling author to disruptor of the publishing industry has been a wild ride!!

Overnight success? Not even close! I could tell you stories all day long about the relentless hustling and grinding of the early days…to quote Drake, “Started from the bottom now we’re here!”

Did I do it alone? Nope! A big part of the fun has been the ability to take other amazing educators with us for the ride. Or in other words “…now the whole team here!”

Easy? Hell no…I worked my f***ing ass off! Still do!

I rarely get a chance to talk publicly about the entrepreneurial side of my life so it was a great pleasure to join Don Wettrick on his #StartEDup podcast to discuss more of the business side of what we do here at Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.. It isn’t the entire story…that may still be coming at some point…but it is a glimpse behind the scenes of how we took our dissatisfaction with the outdated model of the publishing industry and created a disruptive, innovative model that has driven the big publishers crazy and allowed us to run a multi-million dollar business right from a laptop at the kitchen table and the backyard patio table.

It is a story about the importance of cultivating relationships and strong connections. It is a story about focusing on spreading messages rather than selling books. There is a great spirit of reciprocity in the universe. If you build communities, become authentic members of those communities, support those communities, and share prolifically within those communities, the wonderful thing about this world is that those same communities will support you.

I have shared about Don’s podcast before RIGHT HERE. It is special because it is different. Don was the first author to sign with DBC Inc. and it has been a source of great pride to follow his journey since we released his book Pure Genius. Don wants to push you out of your comfort zone and what he has developed with his innovations class is truly incredible. He is a disruptor, a feather ruffler, a kerfuffle creator, and I consider him a friend. I hope you enjoy our conversation. You can listen RIGHT HERE on iTunes or RIGHT HERE on SoundCloud. Go leave a comment on ITunes after you listen and you will be entered to possibly win one of five signed Teach Like a Pirate book prizes.

Enjoy! I would LOVE it if you also tweeted your thoughts to #tlap and #StartEDup and tag or include @burgessdave and @DonWettrick so we are sure to see it.

Thank you!



This is perfect to listen to on a drive, while exercising, or doing household chores! The whole thing is less than an hour long. Go to iTunes or to SoundCloud and download the episode…I really want to know your thoughts! Know anybody else who would enjoy it whether in or out of education? Please share! #gratitude


Make Your Own Snow

We love to take our kids up to Big Bear Lake, CA to go snowboarding at the Snow Summit and Bear Mountain ski resorts. We load them up, bring along their friends, and head up to our getaway in the mountains as often as we can.  But this year there has been a major problem…no snow!!! It is the middle of December and the only snow was a short-lived surprise flurry on the morning of 12/16. In fact, it was such a surprise that I took this video and tweeted it!

The whole town depends on the ski resorts opening and the corresponding influx of tourists visiting the slopes to thrive…no snow is nothing to joke about in a ski resort community. They only have two real choices: Complain about the bad fortune of the weather or MAKE THEIR OWN SNOW.

Easy choice, right? They make it.

They have the snow blowers going full steam and make enough snow to open as many runs as they can. In fact, my kids have been snowboarding for the past two weekends and having a complete blast.

How true is this for us in our school systems?

Far too many people waste their time complaining about the negativity and poor attitude in their building, the lack of forward progress, irrelevant or non-existent professional development, and all of the myriad of things, people, and circumstances holding them back. Don’t wait for the weather to change…change the weather. Get out the damn snow blower and make your own snow.

I love how Jimmy Casas puts it in his INCREDIBLE new book, Culturize: Every Student. Every Day. Whatever It Takes. “No one person is responsible for determining your success or failure but you, and no one is responsible for your morale but you.” (GET THIS BOOK! WOW!)

So how can you make your own snow?

Take responsibility for the energy you bring into all of the interactions you have in your life.

Intentionally focus on that which empowers you.

Consciously connect and associate with people who inspire and uplift you and relentlessly avoid negative people who will sap your superpowers like Kryptonite.

Own your own professional development. (Rich Czyz has a wonderful book about going ROGUE with your professional development called The Four O’Clock Faculty!!)

Start a book study in your system. I taught at my school for 17 years and was never once handed a book. To me, that is crazy talk. Did I read anyway? Heck yes! But if I could go back, I would have organized others to join with me. (If you want help with a book study on any of our books please contact me!! I Skype and Google Hangout with study groups ALL of the time! It’s free!)

Host an #edcamp. There is something magical about a grass roots effort to get positive educators in the same physical space together and then have them design their learning experiences in an organic way.

Hold a #CoffeeEdu or an Appy Hour type event. Find a venue and invite people to join you.

Go on an #EduHike or #EduWalk with educators in your area. Get up early, get out in the world, and get your exercise in while you talk education.

Put together or join a Voxer group of educators to build your mastermind professional learning network.

Start a podcast. I am an avid listener…love putting on my headphones and multi-tasking while learning and being exposed to new ideas. I’d love to add yours to my play list! Have you checked out the new gamification podcast of Explore Like a Pirate author, Michael Matera? It’s called #WellPlayedU

Write a book! Do you have a story and message that you think could change the world? You need to share it! Does writing a book intimidate you? Read my Eating an Elephant post from 2012!

BLOG! Finally get that blog going so you can not only powerfully reflect on your journey as an educator, but also share your journey with us so we can benefit, too!

How about #PedicurePD? I know people who do it!

Attend conferences. Once there, don’t just go to sessions and then hide. Connect with fellow attendees beyond the hours of the set schedule. Tweet and share your learning into the conference hashtag. Head out to dinner, grab lunch, meet up in the fitness center, gather for coffee and chat all things edu (Alice Keeler is a master of this one), and just find as many ways as possible to build connections.

Create your own conference! I love how Ditch That Textbook and Ditch That Homework author, Matt Miller, created his own virtual conference entitled…wait for it… #DitchSummit. (Read about it HERE…PD in your Pajamas!)

Start a movement!

Take a look at Sean Gaillard. He was tired of the negative energy surrounding Monday’s and wanted to shift that whole paradigm and reposition Monday as something to be celebrated in education…a chance to get back to changing kids’ lives and uplifting each other! He started the hashtag #CelebrateMonday  (Plus #TrendThePositive) and it took off!

Feel the passion for student voice that emanates from high school student, Isaiah Sterling.

See how Tamara Letter is changing the world with her kindness projects.

Spread JOY like Akilah Ellison…contagious enthusiasm!

Check out #JoyfulLeaders with Bethany Hill.

Join the #RunLAP community and crush your fitness commitments with Adam Welcome.

Find people with a common interest and build a chat community.

Look at the critical discussions about race happening with many powerful voices, including Jose Luis Vilson, in #EduColor

Are you into hip hop and how hip hop culture can impact us and inform us as educators? Check out Christopher  Emdin and #HipHopEd

Go see how Teresa Gross and Meredith Johnson connected over a love of books and created the #BookCampPD chat that meets on Saturday mornings.

There are so many more examples of people who have made their own snow this same way…what about the amazing #MomsAsPrincipals community (Learn all about them RIGHT HERE!) or the more recent #DadsAsPrincipals? So cool!

If you don’t think a small group of like-minded educators can impact an entire system (or the whole world!), then read my Rolling Snowballs Downhill post NOW! YOU are the start of the snowball. Find your crew…start moving.

Don’t wait for the weather in your school system to change.

Do you want something new?

Build it. Make it Design it. Create it. Organize it. Inspire it. Join it.

The new year is coming. Don’t let life happen to you.


I’ll snowboard on it with you!



If you want to truly be inspired and create meaningful cultural change…please check out Culturize by Jimmy
Casas. The reviews are in…it is AMAZING.




#DitchSummit is BACK!!

A free & virtual PD Conference from Matt Miller...that means PAJAMA PD!

Last year Ditch That Textbook and Ditch That Homework author, Matt Miller, ran an absolutely incredible virtual professional development summit over the holiday break. The feedback was unbelievably positive. This year, he is it bringing it back and it is a total no-brainer…you simply have to sign up. It is completely FREE, watch the videos whenever you want over the window of the summit, and since it is virtual…you can make it PAJAMA PD! Here to explain everything is a guest blog post by Matt Miller

(Oh!!! And see below how you can watch my Ditch Summit video from last year which is now available again!!!)



The holiday break is a perfect time to lock the classroom door, recharge and refocus.

Put on the pajama pants. Get a mug of hot cocoa, tea or coffee.

It’s also perfect for taking some time for yourself.

After a busy semester of school, break can be a time to do the things you just didn’t have time to do.

What if you spent part of it gathering ideas and getting inspired to start next semester off with a bang?

If you’re like me — the geeky kind of educator that gets excited about those kinds of things — then I have something for you.

You MUST check out the Ditch That Textbook Digital Summit. It’s a completely FREE, completely online conference for teachers. You can get your FREE ticket by going to DitchSummit.com.

Plus, if you love PIRATE authors, the summit is featuring several: Explore Like a PIRATE author Michael Matera, Pure Genius author Don Wettrick, Ditch That Textbook author Matt Miller, and soon-to-be-published author Jon Corippo!

Here’s the digital summit in a nutshell:

  • New video presentations are released every day from Dec. 15-23. They’re all pre-recorded, so watch any time you want.
  • For any video you watch, you’ll be able to generate a FREE certificate for professional development credit.
  • Download a PDF notes page to remember key ideas.
  • Reflect and share with others! The #DitchSummit Twitter hashtag will be buzzing. Share short video reflections via Flipgrid and hear what others have to say about presentations.
  • Video presentations will be available until Dec. 31. After that, the summit is over and videos will disappear.

I like to think of the Digital Summit as “PD in your PJs”. Watch when you want, where you want — by the fireplace, under a blanket on the couch, snuggled up in bed.

Some have said they watch the videos while cleaning out closets or doing the dishes — your choice!

If you don’t have your FREE ticket yet, go to DitchSummit.com.

Oh, and there are free prizes, too! Check out these two ways to win:

  1. We’ll give away two FREE Acer Chromebook 15’s! To win, just be sure to watch the “Chromebook Crash Course” video on Dec. 22. There will be a special entry form for the Chromebook drawing. Thanks to Acer for being the Digital Summit’s giveaway sponsor!
  2. You can enter to win prizes just for getting social about the summit! Tweet about the summit or post to Facebook about it to enter this giveaway. ***Be sure to include #DitchSummit and DitchSummit.com in your tweet/post for the entry to count. On Dec. 15, we’ll give away a Google Home Mini, a Chromecast and copies of my books (Ditch That Textbook and Ditch That Homework) to people who share about the Digital Summit on Twitter and Facebook!

So, the topics … what are the presentations about? Each year, I’ve brainstormed my favorite presenters in the education space and asked them to participate in the summit. And each year, they’ve all said yes!

Here is this year’s lineup:

  • Dec. 15 (Fri) — When Tech and Pedagogy Collide with Tanya Avrith and Holly Clark
  • Dec. 16 (Sat) — The Science of Happiness with Kim Strobel
  • Dec. 17 (Sun) — Brian-Friendly Learning that Works with Dr. Pooja Agarwal
  • Dec. 18 (Mon) — How in the Google Did You Do That? with Eric Curts
  • Dec. 19 (Tue) — How to Learn from a World of Educators with Sarah Thomas
  • Dec. 20 (Wed) — Plan Smarter, Not Harder with Edu-Protocols with Jon Corippo
  • Dec. 21 (Thur) — How to Make Learning a Game with Michael Matera
  • Dec. 22 (Fri) — Chromebook Crash Course: What You NEED with Matt Miller
  • Dec. 23 (Sat) — What Schools Can Learn from Start-Up Culture with Don Wettrick

And if that isn’t enough, we’ve even made all of last year’s Digital Summit sessions available, too! In fact, from the time this post is published until Dec. 31, 2017, they’ll all be available! Last year’s speakers include Teach Like a PIRATE’s Dave Burgess, Learn Like a PIRATE’s Paul Solarz, my Ditch T

hat Homework co-author Alice Keeler, and more!

Go to DitchSummit.com/lastyear to start watching those videos now (until Dec. 31, 2017)!

If you’ve made it this far in this post and haven’t claimed your free ticket to the Digital Summit, what are you waiting for?!? Head to DitchSummit.com right now and get signed up!


Hey!! This is Dave again. Thanks to Matt for providing this amazing opportunity and I would really love for you to not only sign up for this year but PLEASE go watch the videos from last year, too!! Let me know what you think of mine…it is kinda crazy as usual! CLICK HERE to find mine and the others!