World on Wheels: The Mobile Skype Cart

Last May, I attended an #EdCamp in Detroit (@edcampDetroit) and went to a session on Skype in the Classroom led by Andy Hopkins (@thebighop). Andy shared his idea of writing a grant to build a mobile Skype Cart for his school and I was instantly hooked.

He shared the thinking behind building such a device and made available a list of the items he had gathered in order to build the cart. Fast forward a few months and I was awarded the same grant through the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (@MACUL)! We at Costello (@Costello_tweets) were finally able to build that which we now affectionately refer to as the “World on Wheels”. This blog post will share how The Mobile Skype Cart has changed teaching and learning in our school. Continue reading “World on Wheels: The Mobile Skype Cart”


5 Podcasts Every Teacher Should Listen To

5 Podcasts Every Teacher Should Listen To

One of the greatest life hacks I’ve ever learned came from Darren Hardy in his book, The Compound Effect, where he encourages readers to “Enroll in Drive-Time University.” Now this isn’t just any school… This means transforming your car into your own personalized mobile classroom by listening to inspiring and educational audio while you drive.

Have you ever thought about how many hours you spend driving? I spend about 50 minutes in my car every day just driving to and from school. Multiply this by five days a week and there’s 250 minutes a week. Prior to enrolling in Drive-Time U, I was spending those minutes unconsciously zoning out, listening to mindless garbage on the radio! The AAA Foundation did a study and found the average person spends 17,600 minutes a year driving! Imagine if you spent those minutes learning instead of daydreaming… Continue reading “5 Podcasts Every Teacher Should Listen To”

5 Life Lessons Learned from the #CardboardChallenge

One of our most passionate beliefs when it comes to teaching is that school should be more than just a place for content delivery and instruction. School should be a place that inspires creativity and innovation and prepares kids to be successful in whatever they choose to do after their schooling. One way we set out to do this with our 4th graders throughout the year is through creating epic learning experiences with Project-Based Learning.

The first week of school Grayson brought up the idea of doing the Cardboard Challenge inspired by the viral video, Caine’s Arcade. If you don’t know Caine’s amazing story of how he turned his father’s car shop into a cardboard arcade over summer vacation, watch the video below to learn his story. This video went viral and has started an entire movement in schools to foster creativity and innovation by taking place in the Cardboard Challenge. Continue reading “5 Life Lessons Learned from the #CardboardChallenge”


New Year #TeacherGoals

Welcome back to the new school year! We hope your summer was as great as ours! I (Zach) took a 10-day trip through the Canadian Rocky Mountains with my brother while Grayson and his family went to Arizona to hike the Grand Canyon. As awesome as summer was, we’re both ready for a new year, new excitement, new challenges, and great new students! While we took a break from blogging over the summer, we definitely didn’t turn our minds off of school. We attended and presented and many conferences and read many new educational books to fire us up for the new year! Continue reading “#TeacherGoals”

Gift #6 – Making a Positive Impact on The World

For years in college classes and in various new teacher training’s, I was told over and over that the larger purpose of school and education is “to prepare students to participate in America’s democratic society.” While this is based off of the highly regarded work of John Dewey, I have to admit, I’ve always had a problem with this definition.

To me, this definition is like when teachers used to say that I would need to know whatever they were teaching “when I got to the real world.” Can you think of a less motivating reason than that to get a kid engaged in learning? I can’t. When I heard that as a kid, I thought, “Phew, I’m off the hook… I won’t need to know this for another 15 years!”

My beef with John Dewey’s definition is that based on his idea, we are preparing students to be a citizen in our society someday in the future. Shouldn’t we be preparing kids to be apart of our society and world right now? Shouldn’t we be encouraging them that they can and should be making a positive impact on the world now? No one said you have wait until you’re 18 before you make a world a better place.

Below I will explain how I encourage my students to be positive and productive citizens, right here and now.

Continue reading “Gift #6 – Making a Positive Impact on The World”

Positive Energy, Powerful Results

The Seven Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Students

“You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind

The scene was 2003 and the Berkley Bears hockey team was losing by three goals late in the second period of a semifinal playoff game. Players’ heads sagged on the bench, the team looked down and out. Unless of course, you looked behind the bench. There, you would undoubtedly find one particular coach pacing up and down, energy as high as ever, yelling to the players, “All we need is one, boys! All we need is one!” That coach was my dad and one of the earliest and most important lessons he taught me was the power of positivity. This is a lesson I try to teach my students every day and one of the greatest gifts we as teachers can give to our students.

Continue reading “Positive Energy, Powerful Results”

Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life

The Seven Greatest Gifts We Can Give Our Students –  Gift #2

Another essential gift we must give to our students is the power to believe in themselves. We need  students to believe that with hard work and effort, they can achieve anything they set their minds too. Too many people go through life doubting themselves and being afraid to follow their dreams. We must give students the gift of knowing that if they change their mindset, they can change their life!

Luckily, Dr. Carol Dweck has brought the idea of developing students mindsets to the forefront of education and I am very grateful for her work. In her amazing book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck defines two contrasting mindsets that people generally fall into; a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.

Continue reading “Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life”