Mental broccoli & Miles Davis


Because, why not, right?

I started blogging as a different way to communicate with and for my students and about my experiences as a teacher.

Shortly thereafter, they started blogging [I had them start is more accurate] as well. It’s all this punk’s fault [If you’d like to learn a lot of things about thinking, art, music and education, check it out. And no, punk is not a slight; he’s only threatening in minor way.]

“Why do we have to do this?” came much earlier than I anticipated. After 18 years in the classroom, I tell my students that not much that happens in the classroom surprises me anymore. It surprised me, however, when a few students weren’t exactly jazzed about blogging. Part of that should be expected: it’s a different thing and change is often met with resistance [which is fine – I want my students challenging me, the status quo, etc].

But it’s blogging, it’s computers, it’s the Internet…. it’s the shiny red button? No? It wasn’t exactly a thud, dud or spud, and I wasn’t expecting a parade to be thrown, feting me like a Roman emperor, but some reacted as if I was a salesman from Blammo.

You know, Ren and Stimpy:

Just try forgetting the song

As I forge through my 18th year, I’ve taught long enough to know that I need to innovate, change, and adapt to teach not necessarily as I was taught, but teach as my students need me to teach. It’s no  longer the 20th Century, but much of school is still organized by, curriculum is still organized by and many teachers still teach as if it were the 20th Century. [But, I’m not advocating a “throw the baby out with the bathwater” approach: being wise about the past as a guiding principle – just not the only one – is a good idea]. For a peek into what needs to change in education, watch this documentary trailer for “Most Likely to Succeed” – h/t @clonghb.

“But, orderly to end where I begun…” (Thanks, Will)

Vegetables. They’re good for you. Really good for you.

So is thinking, and being creative, being challenged, being uncomfortable.

Hence, blogging with my students.

The keys to being a successful student, heck, a successful learner, is, generally to be like Miles Davis (Yep. It’s a steep learning curve here). Educated in a somewhat proper manner, Davis was accepted into Juilliard. He had the basics, the standard information and education; Juilliard gave Davis a foundation. But what allowed him to explode onto the music scene was his time in  jam sessions, playing in clubs, learning and experimenting.

Not everybody gets to create new forms of art; but everybody can DIY.

That’s what blogging is. It’s experimental; it’s jazz, punk, hip hop; it’s skafunkrastapunk; blogging is street. But the best blogs have the best writing.

There’s the vegetables.

Eat up.

HRH Gill


“People Are Strange…”

Nice tune by a great banddoors_electra_publicity_photo

I’m strange, or at least I like strange things. Like riding my bike up steep hills to the summit. (Well, maybe it’s not strange, but it is hard, but fun, too).

The Doors were at times strange, eccentric, and brilliant,  especially Jim Morrison (lead singer).

These guys were definitely strange. Thankfully so.


I loved this show. It was smart, subversive, silly and bizarre. Maybe that’s a bit of a standard definition of shows and things I like; maybe that’s a bit of the things I’m passionate about.


These cats were very strange and maybe the pinnacle of my adolescent journey into comedy. I mean, this stuff is gold! I’m still (finally) getting parts of their jokes and I’ve been watching their shows for going on 35 years.

I guess I’m passionate about things that are clever, or done for clever reasons. That’s why you must read anything written by Terry Southern or watch any movie he wrote.

Fun T. Southern movie line:

“Gentleman, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!” (trust me, it’s funnier in context). The same movie has a character named Col. Bat Guano. I mean, c’mon, how can you not love that?

Over and out,

Sr. Gill



I lost “Nose Goes”

Great Wave2(Not really, but I’ll gladly go first)

“To boldly go where no one has gone before” – maybe that’s a better title as how do you lose a game with no opponent?

Why blog? For many reasons:

  • More importantly, step zero: it’s not “blogging,” it’s online publishing. There’s a difference.
  • It’s writing. You want to improve as a writer? (Yes, you do.) Writing helps thinking and thinking helps writing. You want to get better at skateboarding? Ride a skateboard (No, it’s not me; yes, I rode a skateboard in the 70s when the wheels were made of clay)
    • Walking helps you think, too. OK, here it comes – a quote by a famous person to help reinforce my point: “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” (Thoreau). There’s research to support this idea 
  • Publish out, not just (or only) turn in [h/t  @davidtEDU ]
  • “Paper only” is so 20th Century [but, let’s not forget the past: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – J. Santanaya]
  • It’s interesting (see link below)
  • It’s fun – not only the “teacher” definition of fun (which can vary wildly from the student definition of fun). It can be fun in that it will take you to places you hadn’t considered: some are interesting (well, not a blog, but definitely interesting); others are pretty visual
  • You want to get good at things?


I could go on…and on, but,


– “Don” Gill