#DBC50Summer 49/50: The Pepper Effect

Once upon a time in the far away land of #edcamprss on March 7, 2015 there was a second year media coordinator who was a huge fan of this book called Teach Like A Pirate. She had delved into the world of Twitter and was super excited to meet some epic twitter friends & #EduHeroes, like Mandy Casto and Derek McCoy. While enjoying a session on the book, I get a tweet from Dave Burgess (you may have heard of him before <insert sarcasm font here>)!

Um… no, it’s never too late, Captain! After some technical difficulties, we were able to chat with Dave live during our #tlap session!

(Yep, that’s me in the white shirt standing up)

One of the people in our packed out room was a principal. My friend and mentor, Lucas Gillispie, tweeted his question while I typed it into the chat box in Skype (Dave couldn’t hear us, but thankfully we could hear him.)

Wait a minute… that twitter handle looks awfully familiar! And the name… where have I heard that name?

This was the first time I got to chat with Dave and hear his enthusiasm! I declared then and there that I was #foreverApirate!

Who else was in the room, again?

Who is this guy?

Are you putting it all together? The day that Sean Gaillard, author of book 49 in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line “met” Dave Burgess and first committed to reading Teach Like A Pirate, I was fortunate enough to be in the room typing the questions to Dave so he could answer them. I actually typed the question to Dave from Sean about how to best support teachers who are teaching like pirates as the admin.

Isn’t that insane? Now, here we are, over 3 1/2 years later, and I’m writing a #DBC50Summer blog post on Sean’s book, published by Dave and released on June 4, 2018! I’ve got to tell you… I love that story! THAT is the power of being a connected educator!

So which book is Sean’s? Sean is a self-proclaimed walking encyclopedia of facts about The Beatles and their music. As a nod to Sgt Pepper in Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Sean wrote The Pepper Effect.

This book isn’t just for fans of The Beatles! I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan. Not my style of music. I can appreciate their rise to fame, their willingness to go against the grain of pop music of the era. However, to me, music of the 60s and 70s isn’t that appealing. (Yep, and there goes the followers list back to zero… hahaha)

For the record, I’m a fan of late 90s boy bands and the teen pop and dance-pop music, as well as contemporary R&B and hip hop of the 2000s. I will sing every word to every Usher, Nelly, Destiny’s Child, and any of the teen pop songs at the top of my lungs on any given day.

Even with our vast differences in musical selection, I was still able to gain so much from Sean in the 85 pages of The Pepper Effect! I love how he weaves musical jargon throughout the book and makes these spot-on connections between the Beatles story and educational applications.  His style of writing is both detail-oriented and insanely creative, a cool mash-up of right- and left-brained traits! I especially love his use of Side 1 and Side 2 to tell the Beatles’ story and then shares how we apply it in our schoolhouses in Side 2. He has interludes between chapters and uses the concept of mixed tapes to encourage reflection and action at the end of each chapter. It’s a genius set list, for sure!

There are four main steps that bring together The Pepper Effect (both the book and the ideal). These are:

  • Believe in your vision.
  • Believe in your masterpiece.
  • Believe in your collaborators.
  • Ignore the naysayers.

These are instrumental (See what I did there?) in creating a positive culture of creativity, collaboration, and innovation in our schools. Through stories of The Beatles, Sean encourages us to do things like finding time to balance our personal and professional lives using “White Space” and to shed the status quo. He empowers us to create whimsical (I love that word) moments for our students and teachers. He reminds us that our students have masterpieces within them and it is our moral imperative to help them discover those. He share his heart in that he desires for the schoolhouse to be a place of love where “one teacher’s words can set a life-changing course for a student to take bold, giant steps toward building a dynamic future” and where teachers “encourage each other to pick up [their] instruments and play [their] songs in unrelenting passion…rooted in service and support”! Isn’t that powerful stuff?

This is an exceptional book that I highly recommend to Beatles fan, and non-Beatles fans alike! Sean certainly outdid himself! I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t bring to light one of things Sean is most well-known for creating! His own gift to the world is the #CelebrateMonday movement. (Ahhh, yes; now you’re getting a clear picture of what Sean is about and why I adore him so doggone much.)

The idea behind #CelebrateMonday is that many people dread that first day back at work. But why? His idea is to be excited Mondays because it becomes the positive catalyst for the week! Using the #CelebrateMonday hashtag, share awesome stuff happening in your school. Use that opportunity to celebrate your bandmates. What is going on that makes the day excellent? It’s about finding the positive with intentionality on a day that is normally an excuse to be negative. Find out why educators across the globe #CelebrateMonday by following the hashtag and venture into Sean’s new flipgrid space here! Share your own responses here as well!

I was so excited to attend Sean’s book release party this summer! While there, he signed my book and I got a selfie! (As a bonus, I also got to meet the amazing @mospillman!)

Sean is truly that amazing and that kind. He exudes positivity and is genuinely the nicest guy. I just can’t say enough great things about him, and his book is incredible, too! Connect with Sean on twitter at @smgaillard! Be sure to #CelebrateMonday each and every Monday; it’s not hard to find something positive if we’ll just look! That’s what I plan to do this year! I commit to finding something positive about staff members, students, or my school every Monday for the remainder of the year and tweeting it to the hashtag. As we have a growing population of parents, teachers, and students on Twitter, it is important to build culture in digital spaces as well as physical spaces. This can only help foster a trusting relationship between all stakeholders. As Sean points out, this leads to creativity, collaboration, and innovation!

You can follow Sean’s blog here. He recently appeared on DisruptED tv which you can see below.

There are several other podcasts on which he has appeared including #LeadUpTeach, Leader of Learning, and Reimagine Schools. He was interviewed at the Transformative Leadership Summit as well. He’s just started a new podcast called The Principal Liner Notes; follow it here. Keep watching for great things coming from Sean! With his kindness and servant heart for leadership, he is going to continue to do amazing things! He was currently chosen as Principal of the Year for his district and his school was selected as School of the Year! The biggest thing I can share about Sean is that every time I speak with him, I am inspired and uplifted. I appreciate Sean’s friendship and I adore his book! As per usual, the flipgrid is available for your reflections. Huge shoutout to Andrea Paulakovich who created this amazing space for global collaboration during the #DBC50Summer and beyond! She has a heart for connecting and educating, so be sure to follow her, and her own #DBC50Summer journey!

*One other random connection between Sean and I (these blow my mind) is that this girl, Jessie DeLapp, who had the first ever signed copy of The Pepper Effect (<– order your copy)… she babysat my oldest daughter before she ever started teaching. Crazy, right?!


Do you know time it is? Can you believe we’ve reached this moment? The next blog will be for Book 50 in the #DBC50Summer! I am so excited to reach this goal, but I can’t get ahead of myself – can’t “count my chickens before they hatch,” as they say. According to my initial goal of reading the first 50 books published (#DBC50) as written in #DBC50Summer Explained, the deadline was by the last day of summer. Do you know today is? The last day of summer! Officially… summer ends at 9:54 pm EST. I still get to enjoy one more book, connect and reflect, and create an implementation plan for book 50. What a celebration it was on Twitter when #DBC50 came out! I’m going to morph from a PIRATE into a ninja to read book 50 – The EduNinja Mindset by Jennifer Burdis! Join me later on today (after a bit of rest and some family time) for the blog post for book 50!

Jen’s book will not be the final blog for #DBC50Summer. In keeping with tradition, I will create a #DBC50Summer Recap for 41-50 and plan to also do one final fun post with a super important announcement – stay tuned!

#DBC50Summer 40/50: The EduProtocol Field Guide

When I taught in the classroom, we typically had three days before we jumped into the content. During those three days, we covered handbook, policies, had a whole-school assembly to discuss school expectations through Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS), labeled our folders, notebooks, wrote our names in textbooks, and we learned all of the daily procedures for the classroom. The only thing I did during those first few days that was student-led was allowing them to create their own rules for the classroom. Even then, the rules usually landed in one of four areas, so class rules ended up being the same every year. Be respectful, be responsible, be punctual, and be prepared. After 5 years, I can still rattle them off.

It wasn’t until several years had gone by like this in the classroom that we did any culture building at the beginning of the year. This is when we were introduced to Kagan Cooperative Learning and I instantly loved the Class Builders. From then on, I would do activities where students were stranded on a desert island and had to order their supplies from most important to least important, or students would have to decide which of five patients on a donor list would get the next available heart based on the information given. They would have to advocate for their patient to their peers.

In the elementary media center, I would go over care of books, expectations, and allow students to check out books for the first time and we would discuss how I wanted that done. In the middle school media center, I still do the expectations discussion and allow them to check out books, but we don’t really discuss care of books at length. Last year, I revamped the lesson to include rules & expectations shown through memes. I was super pumped about the lesson, but according to my students’ survey results at the end of the year, 25% of the students didn’t even remember the lesson while another 41% said it was just alright. I listened to the students. I knew I needed to do something new with the opening lesson in the media center so I was super excited to see that book 40 was The EduProtocol Field Guide by Marlena Hebern and Jon Corippo!

This book had exactly what I was looking for!!! I had read it back in April after purchasing it from Dave Burgess at an event in a nearby county. (I blogged about how inspired I was after that event here.) So I knew that this book held the answer, but I couldn’t remember specific directions to the protocols. I just remembered being excited to implement the protocols this year, as my media time with students was already coming to a close when I discovered the book last year.

One of my very favorite things about this book, (other than the actual protocols, which are on fire) is the banter between Marlena and Jon in the margins! Their personalities totally shine through the pages! I also love that there is plenty of space to write notes in the margins of the page! This is truly a manual to keep fingertips away when creating experiences for students!

In the 100th episode of Kids Deserve It with Adam Welcome and Todd Nesloney, Adam asks Dave who is “inspiring him right now”. His answer? See the video below.

It is that very idea of immediately implementing that has me still awake after 2:30 in the morning completing book 40 and writing this post. I’m so excited about the overhaul in my media lesson for this week that I had to blog it instantly. I can’t wait to get feedback from the students to learn their reaction to the changes!

Reviewing media expectations won’t be done with a lecture this year, not even a slide deck with memes! Instead I am creating a review game in Quizizz where students will guess my response to various scenarios. (This game will be linked in the implementation blogs to follow in the coming weeks.) Students will play the game independently, then we will review missed questions and they will immediately play the game again with the same questions (although likely in a different order). This Smart Start is called “Fast and Curious”.

A Smart Start provides a warm-up of sorts for the EduProtocols to follow. It shows students the up-tempo pace (I love this concept of shortening the amount of time given to complete assignments/activities/protocols in order to create a sense of urgency rather than procrastination!) It’s also just fun, and something outside the expected “first day” routines! Jon & Marlena have their acronym game on point in this book! Several examples of well-used acronyms are available in The EduProtocol Field Guide, with one of them being the Smart START guiding principles.

The guiding principles of Smart START are Smile (keep it fun), Teach (finish on time), Activities (developing the culture and practicing tech skills that will be needed), Routines (structured, but fluid), and Target Barriers (students are already learning one another’s names and finding similarities between themselves and their classmates)!

After completing “Fast & Curious”, I will have students put the Book Fair dates in their phone calendars (or planners) as the next media class is Book Fair! Then we will have a discussion about my reading goals this summer. I am so excited to tell the students about #DBC50Summer and highlight some of the posts from authors of books and share the hashtag with them so they can see the insane amount of learning I completed this summer in order to make school better for them! From that conversation, we will transition into their own reading goals. They will complete a Google Form sharing their goal with me and their teachers along with rationale for their goal. Then they will move through three fast-paced stations! Stations will be as follows:

  1. Flipgrid & Five Words Form: Students will share their reading goal (only visible to the student, me, and their ELA teacher) and give themselves a little pep talk (think Kid President style). This video will be revisited in October when I see them to motivate them to continue pushing toward their goal. In November, they will create a video response sharing whether they met their first quarter goal or not. They will then identify a new goal for 2nd quarter and record it. This will happen throughout the year. Also in this station, students will complete a Google Form survey about what five words describes their core classes (math, ELA, social studies, science) and their encore classes (art, band/chorus, pe, computer science discoveries, project lead the way 1 and 2). These results will be compared to the responses from teachers about what they hoped students would say about their experience in their classes.
  2. Book Checkout: Students will be encouraged to check three books out of the media center and reminded that they will return to the media center in two weeks to exchange books. Soap box moment: Students can select ANY book they’d like from our shelves. I don’t care if it’s graphic novels, Diary of A Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries, or Shakespeare. I just want them to get something they are interested in and READ!
  3. Club Information & Sign-Ups: I sponsor multiple clubs at my school, both in the afternoons and in the mornings. I always look forward to having students engage in these clubs and getting to know them in a much more informal manner. I will unveil the 8th grade puzzle and allow 8th graders to sign up to work on it, as well as share information in our Google Classroom about Makerspace Managers, Innovation Engineers, Between the Lines Book Club, Battle of the Books, and Virtual Reality. Students will signify interest in any of the clubs they’d like by signing up on one of the whiteboard around the media center (also giving them time to move and check out any new furniture, books, etc they haven’t yet seen in their space). Those students will have permission forms sent home the following day.

After stations, we would have moved into the “Things That Rock” Smart Start, but the power of Twitter is tremendous! Check this out!

I posted the lesson outline on Twitter.

To which Marlena replied:

I pointed out that I only see them once a month, to which she replied:

Yes… yes I did just collaborate with the author of the book while planning my lessons for the week (my implementation plan). <insert squeal here> I’ve just got to reiterate how incredible the authors of Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc are! They are tremendous educators, amazing authors, and most importantly, exceptional humans. So following Marlena’s advice, I am going to move Things That Rock to the end as an additional activity if needed. I will move the What People Think meme creation up as a school-wide collaborative document. Each student will be given a slide and they will reflect on the changes in the library and what they feel they can expect from their time in our media center.

Upon completion, we will complete the Smart Start of “Worst Preso Ever” in which we watch a short video about poorly designed presentations and they intentionally create a slide in a poorly designed presentation of their opinion of their first impressions of the school year.

I am so excited to implement this plan (created with input from Marlena – WOO HOO) for The EduProtocol Field Guide! Truly, I am hoping to eventually use all of the Smart Starts and EduProtocols this year, but for the purpose of #DBC50Summer, my implementation will be these first lessons with every student in the school this week! Follow the incredible conversations surrounding this book on Twitter using the hashtag #EDUProtocols! Marlena and Jon are both very active on Twitter and I highly suggest following them at @mhebern and @jcorippo, respectively. There are many podcasts featuring the authors and/or the book, so I would suggest just using “the power of the Google” to listen to them (or watch them on YouTube). You will definitely want to check out the EduProtocols website! As always, check out the flipgrid and share your favorite of the #EDUProtocols or Smart Starts! Big thank you to Andrea Paulakovich for allowing me to co-pilot this awesome global collaborative space for all DBC, Inc books!

This post wraps up another set of ten DBC, Inc books! Wow! Summer Recap 4 is coming soon, as well as book 41! I wonder if it will Be The One you’re expecting next…

#DBC50Summer 32/50: The Four O’Clock Faculty

As a requirement for licensure in my district, beginning teachers must complete multiple professional development workshops. These include sessions on Thinking Maps, CRISS strategies, Kagan Cooperative Learning, Technology, and Foundations of Reading. My first teaching job was in a 5th grade math classroom. When I found out I had to sit through 10 hours of Foundations of Reading training, I was not happy. This instruction was not pertinent to my job! (I wasn’t exactly of the same growth mindset that I now have, either.)

How many times have you endured trainings that you knew you’d never use the information? How many times have you been required to be in workshops, whether it related to your content or not? It’s frustrating, right? Book 32 in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line up addresses professional development and how to go ROGUE! Rich Czyz brings us The Four O’Clock Faculty!


Because of my experience with “Foundations of Reading” and several other poorly designed workshops, I could relate to Rich in the introduction of his book! I’d be willing to bet that most educators have been in a similar situation. Maybe you’ve lucked up and haven’t had to go to irrelevant professional development; maybe all of your PD has been a bed of roses. I’d also be willing to call your bluff if that’s what you’re telling people. Here are three things I despise about the “standard” professional development.

  • Required: Anytime I get an e-mail about a “required” workshop, I cringe. When a workshop is required, it tells me that it’s going to be full of blanket statements. It will be generic and likely not applicable to me. Typically in these workshops, my intelligence is insulted at least once, and I start back-channeling others in the room with hilarious gifs to see who will crack first. (True story…even to this day)
  • Irrelevant: PD being irrelevant and required typically go hand-in-hand. If someone else has deemed that I have to be there, chances are I’m not getting anything out of it. It’s likely about a topic/concept/strategy that I won’t use or one I already know about through other venues. When faced with these workshops, I make eye contact with someone across the room that I know, open the group text or Twitter, and let the back-channeling begin.
  • Boring: There is nothing worse than being excited about the topic of PD, choosing to attend that session, and then being bored to death by the presenter. This can happen for many reasons. In my experience, it’s usually because the presenter reads the slides, is monotone, or worse… both! I have personally sat in sessions at conferences, so thrilled to learn from someone I enjoying connecting with on Twitter and read their blogs, only to be bored to tears and highly disappointed. When I walk into a session space and see a speaker standing at a stationary microphone or a podium, I usually leave for this very reason. (Hey, at least there’s no need to back-channel if I choose to leave!) Side note: if you’re going to read it to me, just email it! I can read it myself.

When Rich asks in the book, “What is the most rewarding professional development experience you’ve ever had?” I immediately knew my answer! My most rewarding PD experience I’ve done by myself has easily been this #DBC50Summer journey! The relationships I’ve formed with so many people on Twitter, including the authors, and the huge amount of knowledge gained from the books are definitely game-changers for me! Knowing that I will be implementing at least one thing from each book has me so excited for the new year. My most rewarding PD I’ve done that was provided by someone else has been EPIC Academy, which is a self-paced, online, gamified approach to professional development created by my friend, mentor, and Director of Digital Learning and Media Lucas Gillispie. I’ve referenced EPIC in several blog posts, and you can find out more information about why it’s so awesome here. Short version: it’s optional, relevant, and interactive. The opposite of everything I dislike in professional development!

One of my favorite parts of Rich’s book is that it give completely practical ways to go ROGUE with your own professional development. He states that ROGUE, for the purposes of his book, is Relevant Organized Group of Underground Educators. One of my favorite quotes from The Four O’Clock Faculty is:

No one else is going to take responsibility to meet our needs. We must do what we can on our own to address our own demands and wishes.

There is so much truth to this statement! It’s one of the reasons I got hooked on Twitter years ago. All of the sudden, I had people who had similar interests and were passionate about teaching students, and they were learning with me, encouraging me, and supporting me in my efforts to take risks in the best interest of students. Those are my people. It was through Twitter that I discovered my first edcamp many years ago. I’ve attended many edcamps and blogged about several of them! (Search for edcamp on my blog and you’ll see them there.) Lucas (referenced above) and I organized the first edcamp in our region in 2016, EdCampRFD. It went much like Rich’s first edcamp, and we’re building momentum to have another one in the future. See the press release in our local newspaper here.

I also approached this book as a provider of professional development. I create and deliver PD to my staff, media coordinators, and educators across North Carolina. Knowing my professional development pet peeves helps me develop PD that is optional, relevant, and (hopefully) not boring. I am sharing a survey with my teachers which asks what digital tools they want to know more about. I will be offering 8 digital learning workshops this year and teachers are required to attend the first one and the last one (because we start together and end together). Of the remaining six workshops, they are encouraged to choose three that meets their needs and attend those. Workshops I facilitate are also interactive and include follow-up, if desired. As a digital learning/instructional coach, I am able to provide follow up to my teachers through support in their classrooms. This is so valuable because we have the opportunity to co-teach and learn from one another.

My implementation plan allows me to offer teachers more choice and PD on-demand. I plan to definitely use Rich’s “Tip Jars” idea! From the survey results, I will choose two desired topics two weeks before the PD date and place those topics on mason jars in the media center. Each teacher will be given a marble and can place their marble in the jar of the topic they’d prefer to learn about at the next digital learning PD session. One week before the PD session, I will send out an e-mail with the preferred topic and invite anyone who is interested in learning about that topic to attend! The topic that wasn’t chosen will remain on the Tip Jar and another topic will “compete” against it for the next PD date. In my Social LEADia blog post, I shared that my implementation plan was to create a YouTube channel. Thanks to The Four O’Clock Faculty, I will be putting 5-minute PD segments on that channel and sharing with teachers twice a month. Each video will either highlight a Google App or Extension or a troubleshooting on student chromebook video. These can be viewed by teachers on-demand and as many times as needed. I will also share a Google App or Extension with students (sometimes it will be the same video that I sent to teachers)! Bonus points if I can find students who are willing to come to faculty meetings and share about the apps/extensions, then create a follow up video about the app/ extensions FOR the teachers! (WINNING!)

The Four O’Clock Faculty is full of ways to own your own professional learning. Everything from edcamp to Twitter to blogging and more is included, so there’s really no excuse for not going out there and getting what you need to continue to grow professionally! If you aren’t learning, your kids are suffering because of it! Your first step to professional growth could even be to purchase this book! Now. Then get yourself on Twitter and check out the #4OCF (that’s an “oh” not a “zero”, ha!) to connect with other passionate educators and chat about ROGUE PD. If you’re REALLY wanting to go down a rabbit hole, check out the #4ocfPLN – those educators are on fire! Still can’t get enough? Check out the website here and get additional resources for the book here. You can hear more on podcasts with The Principal Center and Across the Hall! You can watch Rich chat with #LeadUpTeach and then view him talking with #K12ArtChat! There’s so much goodness here, so check it out!

As always, the flipgrid is a place for global collaboration on all DBC books! Andrea Paulakovich and I are copilots on this grid and would love to have you share your thoughts! This amazing space was the brainchild of Andrea and I’m just thrilled she asked me to jump onboard with her! You should 100% check out Andrea’s blog post on The Four O’Clock Faculty – this lady & her posts are incredible!

Book 33 is one that has really taken off this summer. I have seen multiple book studies surrounding this book (even had to bail from a Voxer book study on it myself because I was starting #DBC50Summer). I started this book at the beginning of the summer and chose to stop so I could focus on reading the DBC books in order, knowing I’d eventually get back to this one. I’m so excited to see this book through because it hurt to put it down the first time! So look for the post on Culturize by Jimmy Casas coming soon. It’s currently (as of 8-18-18) the #1 Best Seller in Experimental Education Methods on Amazon! Also – yes this is the same Jimmy Casas from Start.Right.Now so you know we’re talking quality, thought-provoking stuff coming up! (But then again, haven’t they all been?!)