#DBCBookBlogs: Teachingland

Almost twelve years ago, I was one of many who discovered and fell in love with a world of vampires and werewolves as Twilight by Stephenie Meyer pulled me in with an epic love story. That led to watching shows like The Vampire Diaries and The Originals on the CW. It wasn’t long after that I started hearing about a show called iZombie on the same channel and after watching an episode or two, I realized I could easily be hooked on zombie stories, too. Other than that limited exposure, I had never watched a zombie film or series. (Yes, I’m one of few that never watched The Walking Dead.)

Of course I visualize the same stereotypical zombie walk, groans, and the inability of zombies to critically problem solve. I imagine a herd mentality where many come out at night to slowly feast on brains. Now, I may not have all the details down, but I feel as though I’m on the right track based on the 71st book published under the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc label. Yes… there’s a zombie book! Teachingland by Amanda Fox and Mary Ellen Weeks uses a zombie theme to create “A Teacher’s Survival Guide to the Classroom Apocalypse” and it’s a winner!

Before sharing anything else, I’ve got to tell you about my favorite feature of this book! It’s unique to anything else ever published by DBC, Inc (or any other publishing company that I’m aware of). The cover of the book is a trigger image for augmented reality! In fact, this entire book is a living, breathing augmented reality scavenger hunt with content that will be switched out periodically! For real, y’all! Isn’t that incredible?! See the authors’ blog about this here! When you download Thyng app and use the app to scan the cover as the target, Amanda Fox comes up as an animated character and talks to you! Whaaat?! I’ve had students create augmented reality with the covers of books in the library, but I had never imagined something of this magnitude – an author pulling the reader into their book! Just check this out; it’s so cool!!! (And there’s more within the pages of the book, and even more to come!)

If that’s not enough reason to purchase your own copy of the book, let me give you a few others!

The parallels between a zombie apocalypse and a classroom apocalypse are pretty astounding! Don’t worry if you aren’t a zombie fan; there’s a glossary along with enough detail and front-loading to make sure the parallels aren’t lost on you. I’ve never seen any of the zombie series or movies they discuss (other than a couple episodes of iZombie) and I got their message loud and clear! It’s definitely a creative, outside-the-box book with excellent implications for our profession!

It appears that the main audience for this book is beginning teachers. That’s certainly not the only audience though! As a veteran teacher, I was able to pull many truths from the pages of Teachingland and I look forward to completing the Metaverse experiences and getting digital badges to show off what I’ve learned!

There are three parts to the book and my favorite is easily the middle section (like a good Oreo, the chocolate cookies are good, but the best part is the creamy center). In the Fighting the Plague center, readers are given oodles of resources! We get Zombie Zips (zombie themed challenges that fit in a ziplock back), complete with a student design process journal template, rubrics, and exit tickets! We are treated to an extensive list of edtech tools for various age groups and examples for use! There’s also an entire chapter on assessment and how to do it right! All of that in just ONE section! For real, friends – this is good stuff!

If you know anyone who has recently graduated from a teaching program, or anyone who wants to enter a teaching program… this book is the PERFECT gift for them! It’s also a perfect gift for yourself (just sayin’).

There are terrific “Tales from the Trenches” at the end of each chapter. I love when books bring in voices and stories from educators! In these stories, there is a common theme of educators reflecting on their early years in the classroom and what they’ve changed since then. I highlighted just as much from those stories as I did from the actual chapters!

Implementation

As always, I choose (at least) one thing to implement from each DBC book. There are several edtech tools shared that I’d like to try out. I’ve got to say that in itself is impressive! I’ve been on the front-end of edtech for quite a while; I presented Kahoot! at a conference in 2014 and our school has facilitated learning in virtual reality with the HTC Vive for 3 years! So to find tech tools that I’m interested in learning more about is to say that this book is forward thinking! While this is exciting, it’s not what I will implement because that feels too easy. (I will, however, be creating a HyperDoc of some kind that brings these tools, and others, together for the students and teachers I serve as a method of curation.)

My implementation is to be a betta! Yep… I’m going to be a fish. But hear me out… rather, hear Amanda & Mary Ellen out!

“Instead of being a goldfish, we encourage you to be a BETTA fish! BETTA fish fight to be the best they can be for their students and for themselves. They are colorful and one of a kind. They try new things, have a global PLN and are constantly learning and reinventing themselves as teachers. They live life in beta, realizing that they are the best version of themselves in that moment but that tomorrow will bring another day to learn as well as a newer, better version of themselves.”

Amanda Fox & Mary Ellen Weeks on the “Live Life in Permanent Beta” talk by Reid Hoffman on Stanford’s Podcast.

So yes… I plan to be a betta fish – continuing to better myself, doing all I can until I know better. And as Maya Angelou shares – once I know better, I will do better.

I greatly enjoyed reading Teachingland by Amanda Fox and Mary Ellen Weeks! I am super pumped to see all the augmented reality content continue to emerge and I will be checking back time and time again to see what’s new. (I’m hoping for an augmented reality cameo from Dave Burgess himself!)

Go quickly and order your copy of the book from the DBC, Inc website! While you wait, check out the free preview by scrolling to the bottom of the page, and then check out the Teachingland website here! There’s just so much to love about this book that you don’t want to miss out! Just be sure to read it in the daylight… I’m not sure if reading about zombies works the same way as saying Beetlejuice’s name…

Thankfully, Amanda & Mary Ellen have given us the R.E.M.E.D.Y. in their book! (Yes, another successful and well-thought acronym – BOOM! Love me some DBC, Inc books!) Go get your copy of Teachingland to learn more!

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