Stories from the Classroom

Stories from the Classroom

Stories of teachers that are creating meaningful and memorable experiences for their students and how you can do the same. Created and hosted by Thom Gibson; a two-time Teacher of the Year educator, podcaster, YouTuber, and lifelong learner.


September 7, 2020 9 min

I realized that it's pretty difficult to schedule podcast interviews when you have a new baby in the house with a somewhat unpredictable nap schedule, and I decided I wasn't going to cut into family time.


During the times the little one napped, I decided to create a new course called Create Successful Videos for Distance Learning.  

It's a 1-hour self-paced course to help teacher...

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I walk through six tips on how to ensure your summer is a time to recharge, including:

  • strategies to wean yourself off of social media a bit
  • what to think through when developing your evening routine to get more sleep
  • how to start small when it comes to exercising each week
  • where to start when it comes to preparing for the fall semester
  • practical advice on how to structure your own professional development this summer
  • ideas on creating c...
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    I got all these ideas from other educators on social media.  In this episode, I take time to reflect on these three projects.  I talk specifically about:

  • how I had students create a TikTok as their final math summative grade
  • my rubric for the TikTok project
  • reflections on what I would do differently with the TikTok project if I did it again
  • how I introduced the Rube Goldberg project for my robotics class
  • how I incorporated Minecraft in ...
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    May 15, 2020 53 min

    I wanted to chat with someone about everything I had been reading online and seeing from schools around the world, some of which are beginning to open up after 3 months of remote learning.  Carl Hooker was the first person to come to mind.

    Carl Hooker has been in education for 20+ years and is an Apple Distinguished educator, has served as a classroom teacher, instructional technologist, virtualization coordinator, director of i...

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    My guest today is a teacher-of-the-year recipient and educator of 20 years.  Carolina Carner has been utilizing augmented reality in her classroom for several years in her middle school classroom.  Additionally she's worked with Google for Edu as a product expert in Google Expeditions, AR, VR, and Tour Creator.  She's THE AR/VR person to talk to when it comes to implementation in the classroom.

    It was a fun conversation as s...

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    I reached out to a handful of people on Twitter who had done distance learning for at least a couple of weeks already.  Student engagement is one of the biggest challenges in distance learning. While I originally just asked for their best tip, I love that thoughts and guidance on how to increase student engagement was a part of each of their answers.

    In the episode, my guests are:

    Andrew Chiu | Hong Kong
    Middle-School Digital Design T...

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    April 3, 2020 56 min

    My guest today is a passionate math educator who has sought to teach learners in this exploratory manner and in a way that the students feel they are capable of understanding mathematical concepts deeply.

    In my conversation with Kevin Moore, we explore:

  • how one teacher helped him begin to view himself as a mathematician
  • his journey from traditional education to the micro-school model
  • how the physical space can foster the learning he ho...
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    Watch the video of this podcast -


  • 0:00 - Life with a newborn
  • 6:11 - Daily schedule during quarantine
  • 10:03 - Future podcasts
  • 12:28 - Distance learning in the country
  • 15:38 - New content for teachers (livestreams, courses)
  • 18:42 - My distance learning plan so far
  • 20:24 - Tips for making the most of self-quarantine time

  • Twitter | @gibsonedu
  • ...
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    In this Q&A show, we discuss:

  • How do you support students & help them master content after they've scored low on a test?
  • How do you find time to prep, grade, plan without using all of your free time outside of school if you don't have a prep period?
  • How do you correct students & stimulate competition in a robotics classroom?
  • Any suggestions for a successful long-term subbing experience in 6th grade math?

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    Today I chat with two educators who are all about Skype in the classroom. Jeni Long & Salleé Clark (who go by the dynamic duo name of Jenallee) are two Microsoft Innovation Educators with over 36 years in education collectively.

    In our conversation, we discuss:

  • how teachers are using Skype to supplement the work they're doing in their classes by Skyping in experts to speak with their classes or having their classes Skype with...
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    During my semester as a sub before becoming a full-time teacher, I had many a days of little to no sub plans. I also had a good handful of days of detailed and thorough sub plans. Days with the full set of sub plans were far better both for me and for the students and I've sought to provide subs in my own classroom with the same direction.

    In today's episode I discuss:

  • exactly the level of detail I put into my plans (I read o...
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    My guest today is Roberto Germán, director of middle school and creator of the educational consulting group 'The Multicultural Classroom.'

    In today's episode we explore:

  • the differences between multiculturalism vs. a multicultural classroom vs. social justice
  • Roberto's journey from an extremely poor and under-performing school in Lawrence, MA to one of the wealthiest private boarding schools in the nation and how that ...
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    Class jobs in and of themselves have tremendous value in creating a positive classroom culture, building responsibility in students, and saving YOU time as the teacher.

    My classroom jobs are part of a larger classroom economy system. If you want to dive into how I do that, check out the course I created for teachers linked below:

    'How to Teach Kids About Money' course -

    20% off coupon code -...

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    January 17, 2020 33 min

    It's good to be doing the podcast again after some time off over the holidays!  When I got back to school, I led a PD session for my colleagues on how to save time grading and thought it'd make for a valuable podcast.


  • 0:00 - Intro
  • 3:47 - Update on the podcast
  • 6:17 - Why grading takes so long
  • 7:28 - Hack 1 | Grade fewer things
  • 10:23 - Hack 2 | Have shorter assessments
  • 11:52 - Hack 3 | Skip written feedback
  • 14:55 - Hack 4 ...
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    In this Q&A show, we discuss:

  • What are the top three books that guide you in building a self-sustaining classroom culture?
  • As a first year robotics teacher, do you compare one class with another as a way to motivate students?  In Brazil, if one class is falling behind another, it's common to say 'the other class is already on the next topic.'  Does this motivate students?
  • If you're in a noisy classroom, how do you ...
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    September 28, 2019 50 min

    A conversation on Facebook with my friend Jake led me to ponder the nature of teaching kids how to do creative work. Jake Ritter is a broadcast journalism teacher and John Mulvany is an artist and art teacher of 26 years.

    In this episode we chat about:

  • what the schools of thought when it comes to teaching creativity are
  • what the most challenging aspects of teaching creativity are
  • how to help kids who just don't know where to start
  • h...
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    Chris Nesi and Jeff Bradbury are two of the biggest names in educational podcasting. Chris is the creator of the House of Ed Tech podcast as well as the Education Podcast Network, which is a community of educational podcasters that includes the likes of The Cult of Pedagogy with Jennifer Gonzalez and The Google Teacher Tribe.

    Jeff Bradbury from TeacherCast is the creator and host of NINE different educational podcasts, including ...

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    Join me as I sit in on Chalimar Chieza's 9th grade World Geography class as they dive into a socratic seminar. Hear students form hypotheses around the question**"why do people around the world have different skin tones?"** as well as my discussion with Chalimar on how she structures the socratic seminar so all students have a voice.

    We discuss the following:

  • her role as facilitator
  • how the socratic method shapes the s...
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    Michael Hernandez & Don Wettrick are two educators that are actually assigning students social media homework; tweet at least three times a week, connect with an influencer on LinkedIn, discuss how the new Instagram updates will change your content strategy.

    They're not utilizing social media for it's own sake, but to leverage the greater work of students telling stories and directing their own learning.

    In this episode...

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    CJ Reynolds is a high-school teacher in West Philadelphia with an active YouTube and Instagram channel where he documents the meaningful learning experiences in his classroom with the goal to inspire, engage, and motivate new and veteran teachers to be the teacher they always wanted to be. Reynolds uses "real rap" to share teaching tips and strategies and to give an authentic look at what it means to be a teacher in inner c...

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