#DBCBookBlogs: Boredom Busters

Worksheet… we can all picture one, right?

A place for your name, date, and class period along the top. A topic written in bold letters followed by a line or two of directions. Space on the page to show work. I typically think of math. I taught math. I used worksheets. I hated it. The monotony of worksheets was sucking the fun right out of my class. In fact, we one-upped the standard worksheet by spending who-knows-how-much money on purchasing worksheets bound together in a consumable workbook for every student every year. Ugh.

I asked my daughters what they think about when I say the word worksheet. My 11 year old’s response was “It’s a sheet with a WHOLE lot of problems on it. Or in reading it has a passage with questions. Basically they’re not very fun.” My seven year old says, “Boring. It’s lots of work. They can help me learn, but it’s very boring (complete with an eye roll).”

For the record, no one saved any of the “awesome” worksheets I did in school.

Katie Powell wrote a book that addresses these very concerns of students and teachers alike! Her ideas in Boredom Busters will certainly turn the average worksheet into a memorable & meaningful experience for everyone involved!

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Katie has written such a unique book in that it has a great message that will get you excited to be a teacher, and it’s also practical. Readers can literally pick up this book today and implement the ideas tomorrow. The paper airplane on the cover showcases the first, and easiest, of her Worksheet Busters – simply allow students to fold their worksheet into a paper airplane, give them a good toss across the room, pick up the one closest to them, and complete a problem.

Fun is a tool we leverage. It’s effective. But it’s not the end goal.”
-Katie Powell, Boredom Busters

These Busters are not just fluff. She says to “consider what would happen if you surprised those [hard to manage] very students with novelty”. She continues with “we have to plan for what comes after the curiosity”. Katie talks about Depth of Knowledge (DOK) and higher order thinking skills embedded within Worksheet, Lecture, and Homework Busters.

I have already shared several of the Busters with the teachers I serve and have them wanting to implement as soon as possible. We’re especially excited to implement the Busters using painter’s plastic. The Bulls-Eye, Curling, and Monopoly Games have me so excited! As soon as students are back on campus, I plan to get those teachers on my calendar in the media center! In the meantime, I’ll be buying some plastic sheeting and getting the materials ready!

 

Like many schools, we will begin the school year with students learning remotely and then bringing back small groups of students using social distancing after a couple months. With that hanging in the back of my mind the entire time I was reading Boredom Busters, I found myself wishing again and again that I had found the time to read this book last year when things were “normal”. No worries though! After a quick peek at Katie’s website I was relieved to see that she has already created a list of socially distant and/or virtual Busters in a recent blog! Check that out here! Thank you, Katie!

Definitely be sure to check out this 84th book in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line! Katie Powell’s Boredom Busters is absolutely a book you’ll use again and again. And BONUS: Katie walks you through her process when she creates a Buster, so you can create your own! While you wait for your book to come in, check out these epic YouTube videos featuring the author and THIS video that makes me smile every time because our friend and fellow DBC author Adam Welcome shares his thoughts on Boredom Busters and the next book in the line-up… if you’ve been following #DBCBookBlogs, you may find that you know that author. HA!

#DBCBookBlogs: The EduProtocol Field Guide Book 2

After reading the first EduProtocols book (blog here) by Marlena Hebern and Jon Corippo which led to revamping entire lessons, I was secretly hoping they’d come out with a sequel. Last year, they did just that! The 83rd book in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line of awesomeness is The EduProtocol Field Guide Book 2!

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While reading through this guide book, I found myself needing Book 1 nearby because several of the protocols are remixes and smashes of the lesson frames from the first book. With that in mind, just go ahead and purchase both if you’re considering putting this one in your cart.

In chapter 1, I was intrigued by the history lesson of industrial revolutions and the Fifth Industrial Revolution which includes the use of robots and artificial intelligence. Marlena mentions a website called Will Robots Take My Job & I spent way too much time looking up different jobs. My husband is a financial loan representative at a local bank. There is a 98% risk of Artificial Intelligence replacing him, while there’s only a 17% chance of teachers being replaced. I think this is even more obvious after our experiences with COVID-19 and the need for face-to-face interactions in the classroom.

I love the 12 new lesson frames presented in Book 2! Among my absolute favorites are Thin Slides, Emoji Power Paragraph, and Number Mania. Several of the teachers I serve have students create infographics, and the Number Mania EduProtocol is a perfect way for students to put research in a collaborative document. This can easily lead to a conversation about best practices in research when they find conflicting information.

The protocol that immediately grabbed my attention and caused me to jump for joy (quite literally, y’all) was the Game of Quotes. Based on the game Bring Your Own Book – which I immediately purchased – this game gets students looking for evidence from text in a highly engaging way. I can’t wait to use this protocol during our Google Meet conferences as we return to school.

Many of the protocols are perfect for remote learning! Check out the eduprotocols website at eduprotocols.com for more information, free templates, and more! If you’re wondering how to incorporate these EduProtocols for the younger children, check out this interview with the Cool Cat Teacher, Vicki Davis.

EduProtocols are a terrific way to give students security by allowing them to use the same structure across grade levels and curricular areas. Seriously check them out and determine which you think will serve your students best! As a quick tip, I’d recommend buying the physical copy rather than the digital copy. I made so many notes in the margins that Marlena & Jon give us in the physical copy! This is a definitely a book you’ll come back to again and again as you’re planning this year. EduProtocols are easy to use in virtual environments and during face-to-face instruction, so it’s a win-win for the unknown this school year.

I sure do hope they’re already working on Book 3! In the meantime, follow along with the conversation and be sure to share your own remixes using the hashtag #EduProtocols.

#DBCBookBlogs: Cannonball In

It has taken me over 6 months to pick back up with my #DBCBookBlogs. I have started this post, deleted it, and restarted more times than I am comfortable sharing. You see, the more I get to know these authors, the more invested I have become in the reading, reviewing, and sharing of their books. This one is particularly difficult because the author of the 82nd book in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line, Cannonball In, is THE Tara Martin.

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You see, Tara is really the person who inspired me to continue #DBCBookBlogs after #DBC50Summer ended. Her book, Be REAL, was the 51st book published and when she shared that her book would be the next in the line, I knew I couldn’t stop reading and sharing; her book was going to be epic! It didn’t let me down, and neither did her picture book, Cannonball In!

Tara and I met for dinner & ice cream when she came to a town near me to deliver her epic #BookSnaps session. The passion and enthusiasm in her eyes as she shared her journey through writing the book and seeing Genesis Kohler’s beautiful illustrations was enough to bring tears to my own eyes. She was waiting to see “the big cannonball” illustration and her eagerness was precious. When I saw the illustration in the printed book, I knew that Genesis had portrayed that moment in the most perfect way!

There are so many teachable moments throughout the book and the overarching theme of cannonballing into things that seem scary is something we can all benefit from learning. Tara has shared so many incredible resources, lesson plans, activities, and even an interactive bulletin board on her website.

As I mentioned, I had started writing this blog multiple times. Once when I finished book 81, TeamMakers; again when I introduced Cannonball In to a group of students in our Between the Lines Club (a group of middle schoolers that meets each week as I read aloud a book/poem/graphic novel/etc); again when I shared the theme of the book with a group of students in my school who were starting Mustang Pride, a LGBTQ+ Club, at our school; and again when my school served as a host school for Annick Rauch & Nycol Didcote‘s Growth Mindset Read Aloud in January. There were other nights that I’d open this draft just to close out of the tab within minutes.

 

 

Tonight, I’m determined to just share the blog… to Cannonball In to sharing my thoughts again through blogging. Right now, there are so many things that feel scary – not just to me, but to the entire world. COVID-19 has turned simply going to get groceries into a scary experience right now. One of the scariest things for me hasn’t been the physical elements of this virus, but the mental & emotional exhaustion of having no control. I’ll just say it – I’m a control freak. I need to feel as though I’m in control. Not being able to see the students and teachers I serve, not being able to make decisions that impact remote learning for those folks I love & miss so much, not being 100% sure that we can keep my 90-year-old grandfather from coming into contact with the virus, not knowing how the virus would impact my 7 year old with Type 1 Diabetes, not knowing when (if) we’ll go back to school this year, not knowing if the 6 remaining rolls of toilet paper we’ve got will suffice before we find TP again (Stop hoarding the dang TP!!!!!)… all of the “not knowing” equates to having no control… I do. not. do. well. in these situations.

What typically happens when I feel no control is either one of two extremes… I either stress clean (when all the cans of food come out of the pantry & the pantry gets wiped down, the closets get cleaned out, the playroom gets reorganized, and the bookshelves get rearranged) or I curl up into a ball in bed refusing to get up. I’ve seen both of these extremes in the past 3 weeks. Listening to the reading of Cannonball In by Allyson Apsey on Facebook Live yesterday was the kick in the tail I needed to get up and get moving again, to truly face the uncertainties that COVID-19 brings. It reminded me, as an adult, that being willing to stand up and be confident (so what if you are just faking it at first) in front of the dabblers – and even if those dabblers are the voices inside our own minds – is so important to those who are watching when we don’t know they’ve been watching. I have a quote in the media center that says “Keep going; you never know who you’re inspiring.” Right now, I’ve got to cannonball into this with as much positivity & confidence as I can because my biggest audience is my family. My daughters are watching, and they will respond based on how I respond.

 

So thank you, Tara, my sweet friend, for reminding me that picture books aren’t just for kids. Picture books like Cannonball In inspire positive change in hearts and minds of people of all ages. My mom has always told me that what happens to me doesn’t define me, but the way I react to it does. This is no different.

COVID-19 isn’t going to keep us down; let’s choose to push past the doubts, fears, and uncertainties that this strand of the Coronavirus brings and make the best of a rotten situation. Together, we can Cannonball In!