What would put on a billboard? #TT4T


I’m starting a book study, and I’d like you to join me.  Waitwaitwait!!!! Don’t go anywhere.  I’m not asking for much.  Because this is a book study where you don’t actually have to read the book.  You can just read the blurbs in this blog and join the conversation in the comments.  It’s a book study for procrastinating and distractible readers like me!

 The book is Tim Ferriss’s Tools of Titans, and I’m calling the book study Tools of Titans for Teachers, or #TT4T for short.  You can read the intro blog post about the book study here if you’d like.  You can read Tim’s Summary of his own book here.  It’s great.

The purpose of this book study is to share the tools we use as educators that make us effective and successful.  We’d love to hear your thoughtful replies to any of these posts.  You don’t even need to be reading the book to participate!  But if you’d like, you can buy it here.  I make no profit, and I believe Tim is donating any profits to donorschoose.org.  Thank you, and welcome to the #TT4T community!

Today’s Post

Billboards have been around for centuries.  They’re effective at creating a message for political, social, or economic purposes.  Many of us have some sort of small billboard in front of our classrooms.  Sometimes they’re inspirational messages or quotes.  Sometimes they express a value or a classroom norm about how people should be treated.  Sometimes they are content specific, sometimes not.

During interviews, Tim Ferriss loves to ask “What would you put on a billboard?”  (As one example, see page 445 in Tools of Titans.)

I think it’s a useful question.  But I’m more curious about the message behind the billboard.

So I’d like to hear from the #TT4T community:

What message are you creating with your billboard?

And why is it so essential that it warrants billboarding?

In other words, I’m curious about the “why” behind the message.  Why is it such an important part of your professional identity?  Why is it a keystone in your work with students?

Looking forward to continuing the dialogue in the comment section.

4 thoughts on “What would put on a billboard? #TT4T”

  1. “Life is hard. Math makes it easier.”

    Guess I want to draw people into mathematics more. It’s sad that so many people shun math when math is so beautiful and explains our world. The next person to say “I’m not good at math,” or “Math is not my thing,” gets punched in the face! 🙂 Everyone can do mathematics because it’s much easier than trying to understand that crazy neighbor or relative.

  2. “What questions do you have about why that works?”

    I remember being blown away when I “completed the square” to find the quadratic formula in college. I was definitely told just to memorize it in high school and almost feel that had I seen it wasn’t anything ‘new’ that I would have been able to understand the concept better. I also didn’t really understand polynomials were just a ‘base form’ of expressing numbers that it wouldn’t have made them so scary! My point is knowing the WHY before I knew the WHAT I feel is better conceptually as well as pedagogically. Loved Henri’s recent blog post about this concept as well – http://blog.mathedpage.org/2017/02/comparing-two-approaches.html

  3. “In the end, you must be proud of what you do and what you do must be worthy of pride.”

    I don’t need or want my students to be perfect behaviorally or academically but this is the filter I ask them to use as they make choices and assess themselves. What I want is for them to give me the best of what they have for 45 minutes, develop a growth mindset and then end their time with me feeling confident and proud of their accomplishments.


Leave a Comment