Hi, there.  I’m Melissa Minkin and I have been teaching 7th and 8th grade English in South Central Los Angeles since 2002.  I enjoy teaching, talking about teaching, and connecting with teachers.  So, I started this blog.

Teacher Hacks? What’s That Supposed to Mean?

Garden Hack

Using materials in unintended ways (http://flic.kr/p/6TTgwF)

Good question.  “Hack” is a word with many meanings.  The meaning that resonates most with me is this one:  To hack is to fiddle or tinker with something to improve it.  A great example of this is LifeHacker.com, one of my favorite sites.

Hacking also means to use something in a way other than its intended purpose, to get something done.  In this context, “to hack” means to solve a problem through the creative use of materials, tools and techniques that you have on hand.  A work-around.

Sounds like teaching, doesn’t it?

Shifra, my partner in all other things, recently said the hack I am talking about “isn’t a shortcut, it’s a smartcut.”

Are You Hacking?

If you’re teaching, you are probably hacking, too.  Think about it.  Every time you suspend posters from the ceiling with paperclips and thread, tie your door-stopper to your doorknob so you don’t have to chase it down the hall, or turn on a light with a paperclip because you don’t have the “light switch key,” you are hacking.

But Don’t Get Me Wrong


My First Hack:  Pushing my musical rocking chair’s pin – instead of rocking in it – to hear the melody

This blog is not about how to use common household items in creative ways at school.  If you want that, look here, here, and here, (but please come back).

It’s All In Your Mind

To me, Teacher Hacks is a mindset.  It’s an attitude. It’s an approach.  It’s about not letting the red tape, bureaucracy, lack of resources, and people with power who say “no,” stop us from getting what we need, in order to make sure our students get what they need – an education.  Isn’t that why we teach, anyway?

Welcome to Teacher Hacks. Read more about my blog here.

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