James Sturtevant Hacking Engagement
Summary: It is my great pleasure to publish this weekly podcast that supplements my book "Hacking Engagement". Listen and get creative ideas on how to engage students tomorrow! Please visit my website: http://jamesalansturtevant.com/ And...for a cornucopia of teacher empowerment resources, visit: http://hacklearning.org/
In the midst of your last class discussion, you may have felt some pangs of disappointment. Perhaps, there was not enough engagement. Or maybe, the participation level was not satisfactory. Some students may have monopolized the airwaves. Well...I'm here to help.In this episode, you'll be treated to a step-by-step approach to epic class discussions. This template can be used repeatedly. Welcome, dear friends, to Philosophical Chairs Sturtevant-Style!
I get frustrated when I'm asked to do something irrelevant. Don't you? And yet, many teachers dread when students ask, "When am I ever going to need to know this stuff?" It's a rather obnoxious way of asking, "Is this lesson relevant?" Now, picture this. You craft a lesson that is so relevant that you hope some kid inquires! This episode is designed to help you create such a lesson. To help in this mission is an awesome primary source.Mitchell Charles is an articulate young man destined for academic brilliance. In World Civilization, we were meandering through a unit on the Industrial Revolution. This topic typically leaves some students cold. My challenge was to make it relevant. I did this with the help of Elon Musk and Peergrade.
I get inspiration for my episodes from odd sources. One of my New Year's resolutions is to read more. The past few years, I've been busy writing my book, so I had zero time to consume words because I was too busy creating narratives. That's changed and it's delightful. Currently, I'm reading Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance. This book is about Musk's incredible vision, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his dogged determination. The book is also about how crucial it is to embracing change. I've been inspired by reading it! Consequently, I needed to bring a change agent on my podcast. Penny Sturtevant is the College and Career Readiness Coordinator for the Big Walnut Local Schools. Penny is an expert on prevailing trends in education in regard to career ed and college readiness. We discuss the brave new frontier of K12 and Higher Ed's evolving relationship. In the title, I utilized the word seamless. Listen to this powerful episode to learn why.This program does not feature a tactic, a tool, or a lesson to specifically engage kids. Instead, this episode could inspire you to seek out an enrichment path for your students. If you're successful, I predict you'll be greatly inspired as well.
I'll bet you've heard your students complain about where they live...the community where you teach them by the way. I did my share of whining when I was a teen. I felt like little New Concord, Ohio was nowhere. And yet, there's virtually no nowhere anymore! We all live and function in a global economy. If your students don't believe it, have them conduct a simple inventory of what they're wearing and carrying. Ask them to record where all of their possessions are manufactured. I'll bet they're not lugging around to much Made in the USA.Unfortunately, some in our nation would like be isolated. This is a fool's errand. Students, on the other hand, who embrace the international nature of modern existence will prosper. Teachers, therefore, have an obligation to help students pursue and master this paradigm. To help in this quest, today's episode will feature the urbane Brad Gosche. Brad is the Vice-President of Education and Communication at the Columbus Council on World Affairs. Here's the council's two-fold mission:To be the leading nonpartisan, globally-focused organization in the Columbus Region. The Council fosters a community that is well-informed about critical international issues as they affect the world, nation and the local region, and whose citizens utilize this insight to make effective decisions in our global society.This episode will not only inspire you to include a global perspective in your curriculum, it will also provide two outstanding activities you can employ tomorrow. The first is Geert Hofstede's country comparison model. The second is taking your kids on a wonderful Trip to Mintana. Please listen to this powerful episode for descriptions of and solid ideas about how to use each.
If you've taught a humanities class, you've probably recognized how frequently Adolf Hitler comes up. Unfortunately, many kid's understanding of Hitler and Fascism doesn't expand much past the Holocaust.Scott Elliott teaches 9th Grade World History with me. Right before Christmas Break, we were yakking about how we could teach Fascism, our first unit in January, in a more engaging and impactful way. Scott found a wonderful resource which formed the backbone of the assignment. The article is by Laurence W. Britt and is entitled Fascism Anyone. The assignment we created challenged kids to rate WWII leaders on the 14 Characteristics Britt articulates and also to apply them to current leaders with authoritarian traits. Please give a listen and if you like what you hear, migrate to my show notes for outstanding links.
Louis Soper is a middle school social studies teacher in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Louis has done a remarkable job of empowering his kids to demonstrate their learning. He refers to this process as CYOA, or Choose Your Own Assessment. To help in this endeavor, Louis deputized two of his outstanding students Will Koppmann and Mae Reasner. Student-led learning is a powerful tide in American education. Wax up your board and hop along for the ride!
I was exposed to Kahoot a few years back. I loved it immediately. It's been a huge hit at our school. Unfortunately, there can be too much of a good thing. Many of our kids are tired of Kahoot. Kahoot also has foundational flaws. Invariably, there are students who emerge as virtually unbeatable in Kahoot. Guessing quickly in Kahoot also can pay huge dividends, so many kids mindlessly respond without investing much thought. I still like Kahoot...but I was thrilled to find an alternative.And here, dear reader, is where Quizlet Live makes a dramatic entrance. I became exposed to this wonderful platform a few months ago. I knew instantly that it was a massive upgrade from Kahoot. Quizlet Live creates a beautiful competition between randomly selected teams of students. On your SmartBoard, students monitor a fascinating horse race unfold. Your students will be enthralled!I have a wonderful guest to help tell the story of Quizlet Live. Jennifer Ladd is an elementary teacher at Scotch Elementary in suburban Detroit. Jennifer and I got to know one another through interacting during a Twitter chat. From the moment we started interacting, I knew she had the potential to be a marvelous guest. I was not disappointed!
I remember trudging to Math class in high school...AND I MEAN TRUDGING. I had zero confidence, zero interest, and I could not fathom any relevance in what I was being asked to do. If you're a Math teacher, these adolescent frustrations may sound familiar. Guess what...I get the "Why do we have to learn this stuff?" question in history class too. Think about it. It's a fair question. Maybe, educators need to get better at answering it. Today's episode will help you. Denis Sheeran is the Director of Student Achievement at Weehawken Township School District, which is in New Jersey. He's going to help all of us answer that important student question!
Yes...I know it's January 8th, but it's not too late to lay the New Year's Resolution Ice-Breaker Game on your students. This goal-setting opportunity affords teachers a wonderful chance to:deputize students in their resolution questenlighten kids about their lives outside the classroommake themselves more approachablegives teachers a needed boost in obtaining their goalshelps kids get to know one anotherencourages students to set goalschallenges kids to make their goals public, which gives goals more umphThis is an exceedingly easy activity to set-up. All you need is a class roster copy for each student and a Padlet Labeled New Year's Resolutions. Pass out a roster to each student and provide each with the Padlet link. I gave my students the following directions:For the next minute, create some resolutions for this year. Please keep the resolutions to yourself and any resolution you publish in this activity must be school-appropriate. Next, choose one resolution you're willing to share. Post it on the Padlet, but DO NOT attach your name!Read each post on the Padlet. Try to match some of the resolutions with your classmates on the roster I provided.
Heard enough? Unfortunately, many adults think that this crop of teenagers are the harbingers of the apocalypse. They are not. The world will go on. Hopefully the previous quotes demonstrate that adults from different times and climbs have felt similar anxiety about their youth. Harry Truman was right; there is truly nothing new in the World.Episode TemplateThe Problem:Teachers can get fed-up with contemporary youth.The Solution:Learn to accept that many student-teacher annoyances are out of your control.What you can do Tomorrow:Make a list of all the things about contemporary youth that you find distasteful.Eliminate everything on the list that is out of your control.Your New Year's resolution is to focus your energy to help students improve in areas where you have influence and to accept aspects of their nature's that you can't control.Learning to focus in this way will help your students and take a huge burden off your shoulders. HAVE A MARVELOUS 2018 AND THANKS FOR LISTENING!
A 30-year teaching gig is no walk in the park. It's hard to imagine anyone doing the same thing for 30 years, but that's exactly what many teachers do. Please don't interpret this statement as negative towards this noble profession. It certainly was not intended that way...it's just human nature to get restless regardless of how much you love a job. I love teaching. I love my students. However, I've gone through seasons in my career when I felt stymied. Such feelings were my primary motivation to write my books and create this podcast. For some teachers, migrating to administration fulfills their goal-oriented natures, but admin is certainly not for everyone. The rest of us mere teachers must generate our own tactics for battling complacency. This episode offers an idea...become Google certified. To talk about this fascinating option is the effervescent Stell Pollard. Stella is a 4th grade Science teacher from Frankfurt, Kentucky. After her rookie year in the classroom, Stella felt like she needed to up her instructional game. She pursued Google certification as a result of this professional restlessness. In the process, she's transformed her classroom and opened professional doors for herself. Stella is going places! She is not only on a mission to create the best possible learning environment for her kids, but she's also on hero's quest to help colleagues do the same.
Episode 83 was a real treat for me. I yakked with Elontra Hall about something near and dear...storytelling. I'm so committed to enhancing this skill in the classroom, that I just couldn't quit with one episode. What makes this episode so special, is I bring back the original sources. Samantha Hart and Merrick Kasper are here to explore storytelling from their perspective. What's interesting, however, is that these two brilliant young folks don't address teachers using stories, but instead kids using stories to peer teach.My students used the hero's journey template to enlighten their peers. Of course my buddies the Hyperdocs Girls have an outstanding hero's journey template ready and waiting for you to copy and transform. In addition to a peer teaching storytelling activity, these young ladies will also introduce you to a neat tool called Storybird. Storybird empowers kids to take a story and transform it into a beautiful and enchanting picture book. It's remarkably easy to use and a highly recommend it. My kids were meandering through a unit on India. We needed to grasp the impact of two remarkable individuals...Siddhartha Gautama and Ashoka. Here's how we did it:Students paired up...one took Gautama and one took Ashoka.Each student then applied their subject to the hero's journey template. Here's my rendition which I created for this assignment. Students made each page of their Storybird a phase in the hero's journey.Kids then enlightened their partner by presenting their Storybird.
April Domine, my former superintendent, once made a power suggestion. She encouraged me to read a book by Daniel H. Pink called A Whole New Mind. It was an amazing recommendation. The crux of the book is that the right side of the brain is going to be the star of the future. The subtext of the title says it all: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. As I read this excellent book, I felt Daniel was verbalizing everything I’ve always felt about the learning process. And to top it off, he is a fellow Buckeye!Daniel devotes an entire chapter to the power of story. In the opening part of the chapter, he refers to earlier parts of the book. One reference is fact-based. He challenges the reader to recall some important specific data point from one of the opening chapters. No doubt, most of the readers struggled to recall a specific statistic...I certainly did. He then asks readers to recall a fascinating comparison between the legendary John Henry, The Steel Driving Man, and Gary Kasperov, the chess champion defeated by the IBM computer in 1997. Both John Henry and Gary Kasperov demonstrated the limitations of even the most skilled and determined human in the face of advancing technology. When Daniel referred to these rich narratives, the feelings I had when I first read them, the moral, and many of the details, immediately surfaced on my hard-drive.Here is what Daniel Pink has to say:Our difficulty retrieving that isolated factoid, and our relative ease summoning the sad saga of Gary Kasperov, aren’t signs of flaccid intelligence or impending Alzheimer’s. They merely demonstrate how our minds work. Stories are easier to remember because, in many ways, stories are how we remember.And here is where my guest Elontra Hall makes a grand entrance. Elontra is from Detroit, but he lives and teaches in the UK. The story about his migration is fascinating and will be explored in this episode. He and I became friends on Twitter and I instantly loved his vibe. I prompted him to be a guest. He agreed as long as he could talk about storytelling. I was totally down with that condition!
Many teachers cringe when they hear “humor in the classroom” because it brings to mind the class clown--the scourge of serious learning. First of all, I want to note that not all class clowns are problematic. Some kids are just delightfully funny and have skills to use their humor without harm or disruption. However, there are class clowns that seem to be “the scourge” because teachers just do not know how to deal with them. In the past, many class clowns faced frightening consequences. (Back in the day, they probably took the brunt of the corporal punishment meted out at the principal’s office.) But regardless of the consequences, every school still had class clowns. It is not acceptable to violate the Geneva Convention; so let’s explore a better way to live with class clowns.Teaching is a tough existence if you are at odds with your students. You can learn to welcome them, appreciate their humor, and keep them from disrupting or dismantling classroom plans or relationships. I’ll share some tips that I have learned from working at this challenge.The most effective way to manage class clowns is to connect with them. Education would be a dull enterprise without their humor. Embrace that they exist, and try to get them on your side. And that dear listener...is what this episode will help you do!
Just the other day...I was cruising down the hallway at my school and I landed on the business end of 3 outstanding compliments in the span of about 5 minutes. These compliments were totally unsolicited and really hit the spot! I felt an adrenaline rush for the remainder of the day as a result. I'll bet you've experienced an unexpected compliment, or two. Didn't you feel like it was Christmas morning?Unfortunately, many are reluctant to praise their fellow man. What a pity. Don't just think, Wow...my buddy is looking really fit. Tell them! They probably need to hear it and it will inspire them to keep working out. When it comes to students, teachers frequently compliment kids on their academic efforts, but how about expanding our repertoire? That's what this episode is about. Two of my original sources...Freshmen Catherine Cook and Audrey Justice will explain the power of teachers paying kids compliments.I'm going to promote a systematic, premeditated, and public way to do just that. The verbal praise coupon is a way to bond with your kids, make them feel great, and perhaps elevate them in the eyes of their peers. If you're tired of awarding the same old extra credit, this episode is for you.