Author - Cate Tolnai

Erin Klein — The True Disruptor!!

Erin Klein

If you haven’t gotten to know the work of Erin Klein on social media or on her blog, Kleinspiration, consider this your personal invitation. Erin is a generous and creative educator who shares her ideas and innovation across the globe. In a recent post on DisruptorDaily.com, Erin receives a shout-out for her student-centered focus and spirit in educational technology. Her community recognizes her accomplishments with awards and accolades, and we are thrilled to bring her to the Spring CUE Conference this year as a Keynote Speaker!

KleinspirationCheck out how she (and other mega-influencers) disrupt and inspire on Twitter and beyond by reading this post. And reserve your seat for Spring CUE today!

Get to Know Don Wettrick – A Member Spotlight

Don Wettrick

There’s Something About Don…

Don Wettrick is the founder of StartEdUp, author of “Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level,” and Innovation Specialist at Noblesville High School, central IN. Don is known for his award-winning work as a middle school and high school teacher; educational and innovation consultant; and educational speaker. Check out his CUE-D Up Interview with Sarah Thomas! 

What’s exciting?

Student entrepreneurship

What is Don “CUE-d Up” to do this year?

Get more educators into the entrepreneurial mindset

What’s one tip Don has for viewers?

Allow your classroom to be filled and incentivized on risk.

Resources Mentioned

Twitch, a livestreaming platform

Your Thoughts?

Add your thoughts on our Flipgrid! (Note: They might be shared out via social media.)


KQED Has Some Serious Love for CUE Members who Blog!


If you haven’t already seen this KQED post featuring the 20 best teachers who blog in 2017, then allow us to show you the way! We are so proud of many California educators and CUE influencers who made the list. It’s not easy to find the time and the right topic to blog about, and these educators have gifted our CUE community with their thoughts, reflections, and expertise.

Congrats to Alice Chen, Catlin Tucker, Jen Roberts, Vicki Davis, Cori Orlando, and many others who got called out in the best of ways!

Here’s to lots more sharing and blogging in 2018!

Courage Over Comfort

“I don’t want to fail”…”I don’t want to make a fool of myself”…”I don’t want to be embarrassed”.

These are some of the phrases that seem to be blocking a lot of people from a lot of great. These statements and the like are what Susan David calls “dead people’s goals”. Why? She explains in Emotional Agility that “the only people who never feel discomfort for having made fools of themselves are-you guessed it- dead.” Wow! That is pretty in your face, but so true. As living beings, we are faced with uneasiness, but what matters is what we do with it. Do we limit ourselves from the fear of unknown or do we lean in?

I am a huge advocate for the latter. I have been lucky to bear witness to the magic that happens when individuals choose to risk. David continues; “We need to choose courage over comfort so that we keep growing, climbing and challenging ourselves…”.

“If we aren’t growing, we are dying and we are all too young for that. Our students are counting on us to be alive, really alive, for them.”- Cori Orlando

This idea brings to mind something that I speak and write about often: #failforward. What does this mean? It means that when we choose to take risks,  we are going to fail. But when we do so, let us find the learning and use that as we grow forward. I can think of many of my own moments and the numerous stories that others have shared with me, but I thought it would be more powerful to share someone’s journey from the viewpoint of an observer.

One of my first encounters with this first-grade teacher was when our district decided to offer supplemental material money in lieu of using the outdated workbooks for ELA, four years ago. For many, those workbooks were a staple in their classrooms. I was trying to support this teacher in making this transition and she was scared. What were her students going to use to practice writing and reading? What would the classroom management look like without these independent activities? There were a lot of unknowns for her, but by the end of that year, she had started experimenting with new strategies. Not all were successful, but the fact was she was taking risks and growing.

As she began the next year, she was “workbook free” and jumped into a station rotation model called Daily 5 to which she continues to this day. Throughout this process, she also began participating in our weekly Twitter chats, getting more and more out of her comfort zone. Within those chats, we often talk about risk-taking and failing forward. I remember one of her comments, clear as a bell-“I don’t want to mess up my students.”.

dare greatly

I created these plaques to give out to teachers in our district to encourage risk-taking.

She, like so many others, put in so much effort and so much heart to do right by her students. It’s not that she didn’t want to try different, she was afraid if she “messed up”, it would be detrimental to them. This led to many talks about the benefits of “daring greatly” and “taking risks”.

Fast forward to earlier this year. She went through our district training to receive a Chromebook cart for her class. These devices were new for her and her students-implementing them was a huge leap. But guess what? It didn’t stop her. In fact, she sent herself to CUE Rockstar Primary to learn more. I was lucky enough to join her on this journey. Here is the funny thing, after the camp, she shared something that I said in my sessions that resonated with her:

“Just try things…you won’t break the devices, you won’t break Google and you won’t break the children”.- Cori Orlando

That is what stuck with her. Boy, talk about a switch flip! I am happy to report, that she has taken off and become quite comfortable in the unknown and it is just amazing to watch. What is more incredible to watch are the students. They are taking risks in their own learning, they are creating and they are owning their own learning.

Why am I sharing this teacher’s journey? Because I believe there is power in sharing stories. I am lucky enough to be able to walk alongside so many amazing educators on their learning journey. I get to witness the huge shifts in their mindsets and practice. They are in it, they don’t see it…but I do and I want to celebrate it.

We are in this profession for children, so we must choose courage over comfort because they deserve the best. Will it always work out? No. Should it always work out? No. I believe that there is incredible learning for all during these risk/fail processes. It is important for us to model, discuss and encourage this in our classrooms, on our sites, and beyond.

Here is my call to action: Just leap! What is that “thing” that you want to try? What is holding you back? Remember that part of living IS the uncomfortable. Let us get comfy with the uncomfy and make magic happen!


Cori OrlandoCori is a mother of two amazing children and currently works as a TOSA in Simi Valley Unified School District. She is a co-moderator for both #SVTChat and #VCHSchat. Cori has presented various sessions for CUE Rock Star, CUE BOLD as well as within and outside of her district and county. She is also a frequent blogger on her site: http://leadinginlimbo.weebly.com/  Follow her on Twitter: @CoriOrlando1

Saying Thank You — Check This Out Episode 71!

Ryan and BrianDid you hear!?!?! CUE is powering up podcast-style! Thanks to the voices of Ryan O’Donnell and Brian Briggs, our community gets to listen to new ideas, fun tools, and wacky antics each and every week. Their latest episode talks about people that have inspired them that they want to thank, a special Check This Out gift for the month of December (check out their Facebook post), a new coding robot, and more!

And just in case you missed their BIG ANNOUNCEMENT episode, give it a listen here!

Show Notes: http://bit.ly/ep71cto

If you are enjoying the show, please head over to iTunes and give us a few stars. We appreciate the feedback and acknowledgment.

Please visit http://checkthisoutsite.weebly.com/ for show notes, past episodes and more.

#RyBri #CheckThisOut @CheckThisOutBR