#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!

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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?!)

#DBC50Summer Book 21-30 Recap

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Is this my life? Really? Is this my REAL life? The past two months of #DBC50Summer have turned into some surreal moments! From receiving the most thoughtful, motivational DMs, tweets, and personal written notes (even snail mail) from these incredible authors to the sheer amount of knowledge and inspiration I have gained – the whole thing makes me question if it’s really real!

I have to say again how much I appreciate the outpouring of support from you, my PLN, as my family and I begin the journey of managing Type 1 Diabetes with our youngest daughter, Sophie. A quick update: we’ve been home from the pediatric hospital for 2 nights and her blood sugar is still stable and she’s been so brave in her blood sugar checks, maintenance insulin, and basal insulin injections! We have to poke that sweet girl 9 times a day as part of her treatment plan. Our 5 year old now knows and can explain vocabulary like blood sugar, insulin, diabetes, pancreas, and energy. She’s had more weight on her little shoulders than many adults I know, and her story is already a powerful one. She’s not lost a bit of her spunk through this, and I’m simply blown away by her. I appreciate you giving me a second to share a bit about her & patience as I have been taking my time in reading the past couple of books. We’re back at full speed now though!

Continuing on, for those that are just joining the fun, #DBC50Summer started in June when the 50th book was released by Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. (Check out Books 1-10 and Books 11-20!) Through a bit of what Dave Burgess calls Creative Alchemy, I drew on multiple problems I wanted to solve and created a solution that took care of them all at once. I had over half of the DBC, Inc books sitting on a shelf and had only read about a dozen of them. After meeting Dave at a conference (he was keynote and I was a presenter) in my home state in April, I was re-energized and even wrote a quick blog about it here. I had not had the inspiration to blog in a long time, but I knew I wanted to jump back into social media (Twitter specifically) and wanted to reflect on my practice more through blogging. I was also feeling stagnant in my professional growth, and knew that the DBC books could be the answer. The ones I had already read were fabulous so I knew not to expect any less from the others. With each of those problems, the perfect solution was to read the DBC books, and blog about them. Dave has strong words about being inspired and not implementing…

So with this in mind, I decided to implement at least one thing from every single book in the 2018-2019 school year. That’s one way to handle stagnant teaching, right?!

It’s important to note that I am reading the books in order of their release date. This has been incredible for several reasons. I am able to see names of current DBC authors in past books. It’s so cool to see those names knowing what’s getting ready to happen for them, the doors that are opening by sharing a part of their story in someone else’s book. I love seeing the evolution of DBC, Inc through the years. It’s really neat to see the maturity of the line up as it continues. I was beyond inspired by the first book, Teach Like A Pirate, written by the president of DBC, Inc and continue to be amazed at each book I pick up all the way up to book 30! It is incredible that each book continues to push me and make me want to be a better educator. One would think that after 30 books I’d be tired of reading them, simply going through the motions by now, or even ready to throw in the towel. I’ve got to tell you, I’m more excited now than when I started this journey in June! These authors have become vital players in my PLN and I have found that they are so relatable and approachable. The community around the books are full of amazing people who support one another and challenge each other to be the best educator possible for the students. What I love is that no matter what the book is, no matter the content, author, or how many copies sold, every single DBC addition points back to the learner! Talk about having your priorities straight – this group has that going for them!

So let’s see what’s been happening in #DBC50Summer the past couple weeks:

21 – Escaping the School Leader’s Dunk Tank by Rebecca Coda & Dr. Rick Jetter: This book rips back the curtain on the ugly side of education. Politics, jealousy, and deceit are everywhere and education is no exception. Rebecca & Rick want us to not just survive as leaders, but thrive in education and share ways to do just that in this book!

22 – Start. Right. Now. by Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas: These guys take you on a trip that inspires you to get started as a leader and not wait another second! They share that leaders Know the Way, Show the Way, Go the Way, and Grow Each Day! This is a gut-punching book that will challenge you to consider if you’re doing all you can as a leader!

23 – Lead Like a Pirate by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf: I have never been so nervous to click publish on a blog. Why? This book was integral in my walk as an instructional coach and I wanted to make Shelley & Beth proud! I wanted to uphold the integrity of the book and I literally want every leader out there to purchase a copy of it! Power-packed. The only way to really describe how incredible it is!

24 – Table Talk Math by John Stevens: One of the authors of The Classroom Chef wrote a second book and I was enamored by the stories of John’s family and their discussions of math in its relevance to the real world! These authentic math problems bring a whole perspective, where math isn’t to be feared, but understood. Why not discuss math nonchalantly around the dining room table? John shows us how!

25 – Teaching Math with Google Apps by Alice Keeler and the late Diana Herrington: Another amazing addition to the DBC & Google family, Alice and Diana share 50 ways to use Google Apps to implement technology in any math class! What’s great about this book though is that the suggestions aren’t just related to math!!! Grab a copy, even if you aren’t a math teacher!

26 – Shift This by Joy Kirr: Y’all… this book right here… just go get it. Trust me, and go get it! Joy is a total jewel and she shares small changes that we can all make in our classrooms to make big impact! With a growth mindset, we can all make changes in our practice and Joy shows that no matter how you may feel about your own teaching, we can always shift something and get huge results!

27 – Unmapped Potential by Julie Hasson and Missy Lennard: What does your mental map relay about education? Why do you believe what you believe? How can you break through barriers and change your mental map? This book inspired me to put a HUGE road map of the United States in my classroom – find out why in the blog, then go purchase your own copy!

28 – Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth by Aaron Hogan: Perfect teachers are unicorns, centaurs, leprechauns… they don’t exist! Aaron shatters the myths that surround a perfect classroom – he addresses it all in order to help you THRIVE in education: behavior, engagement, relationships, and so much more! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!

29 – Social LEADia by Jennifer Casa-Todd: I couldn’t wait to get to book 29 so I could finally read the book I won in the #DBCChallenge! Jennifer shares why we shouldn’t stop at teaching digital citizenship, but empower our students to be digital leaders through the use of social media. She shares stories of change and global impact led by STUDENTS! This book is a great way to start the conversation about opening up the internet and showing students how to navigate social media rather than hoping they make the right decisions outside of school.

30 – Spark Learning by Dr. Ramsey Musallam: An extension of Ramsey’s TED talk 3 Rules to Spark Learning, we are shown how to inspire and encourage curiosity in our classrooms. Go beyond being “the fun teacher” and actually engage the students through their own natural curiosity to learn content while the teacher fill in the gaps.

You can’t go wrong with any of these books! All 10 of these books were released within 6 months! DBC is clearly picking up steam and moving ahead at an exponential pace! In fact, we’re up to June of 2017, so in less than a year, DBC released another 20 books!!! Dave and Shelley still run the business from their house (so impressive)!

If you want to jump on board with #DBC50Summer, it’s not too late! You don’t have to read all 50 of the books that were released as of early June to hop in! Just share your reflections on ANY DBC book using blogs, sketchnotes, flipgrid, or any other method and use the hashtag #DBC50Summer. Reading and implementing ideas from ONE DBC book is better than reading nothing at all, so join me! This has been an incredible ride and I’ve still got 20 more books to go to fulfill the self-imposed challenge! I’m so pumped to continue this journey and looking forward to implementing and learning so much more! If you want a quick peek at the implementation plan from #DBC50Summer, as well as seeing the books in order, check out my spreadsheet (you can also access the flipgrid for each book from there as well).

As I stated a LONG time ago, #DBC50Summer is referring to the season of summer, not summer vacation. I’m excited to continue this journey through September! However, I do need some help (LOTS of help) coming up with something to call this after summer is over! I’m not planning to stop with book 50 – I will continue reflecting, blogging, implementing, and sharing every DBC book released as long as they release them. I mean, come on – have you seen the books that were released this summer?! There’s pure gold there, too! No way I can stop at 50!!! So…brainstorm! Share creative names with me! What should we call #DBC50Summer when all 50 books are read and it’s not summer anymore?

Here we go with the next set of 10! Book 31 was written by a POWERHOUSE duo! Matt Miller of Ditch That Textbook and Alice Keeler of 50 Things, 50 Things Further, and Teaching Math with Google Apps teamed up to bring us Ditch That Homework! I’m so excited about reading this one! It’s been on my shelf since September 2017 and I’ve been following the blogs of both of these authors for years! It’s going to be epic!

#DBC50Summer 25/50: Teaching Math with Google Apps

I love the fact that book 24 and book 25 in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line up came out back-to-back! These two books flow well together as they both discuss that the most important thing in math isn’t the answer itself, but is found in the process of finding the answer. When students ask, “when am I ever going to use this” the answer is now clear, no matter what concept being covered…the critical thinking skills developed in math will be used every. single. day.

Book 25 is the third book published by DBC for Alice Keeler. (The first two released were 50 Things and 50 Things Further, both co-authored with Dr. Libbi Miller.) Alice co-authored book 25 with the late Diana Herrington. Sadly, Diana passed away unexpectedly on May 17, 2017, just a few weeks after the release of their book. Diana’s love of teaching math and her passion for making math fun for students lives on in her words in the book. Teaching Math with Google Apps is book 25, and marks the halfway point in #DBC50Summer!

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Choosing from any of the Alice Keeler Google Apps books will result in a beautiful read. These pages are printed completely in color and organized in such a way that the content is easy to navigate and understand. Teaching Math with Google Apps can be used as a cover to cover professional development read, or as a quick reference guide (I’ll be using it as both)! In this book in particular, the sections of reading are color-coded in the top corners. I personally enjoy a good color-coding system, so this immediately spoke to my heart. I also love that Alice & Diana brought in some familiar faces to contribute! We get to hear from Shelley Burgess (co-author of P is for Pirate and co-author of Lead Like A Pirate), John Stevens (Table Talk Math and co-author of The Classroom Chef), and Denis Sheeran (Instant Relevance).

There are so many amazing tips, tools, activities, examples, and templates included in this book! The complete list of links is available when you purchase the book. That list of links alone is worth every penny! There are examples and templates for elementary through high school math classes, so there’s something for everyone here!

Some of my favorite activities within the book are Pixel Art using Google Sheets (I know, right? Genius stuff! It’s like a digital color by number), utilizing all that Google Forms has to offer through the implementation of self-graded quizzes that offer students immediate feedback, and using the Explore feature in Google Apps to make math relevant to students through maps, shopping, and can even be used to complete a scavenger hunt to find math “in the wild”.

Alice and Diana suggest using Discovery activities to learn collaboratively. Another idea they have is to put the beginning of the lesson in the middle. So think about this… typically students come into math class (or any class) and we quickly review (those who got it yesterday are now tuned out while those who didn’t get it yesterday are already frustrated), probably go over homework (waste of time – both the giving it and the going over it), and then start your lesson for the day 10-15 minutes later having wasted valuable class time. Diana challenges us to switch that up? What if we put our beginning in the middle? What if we didn’t go over homework (or give it for that matter) and we start with an extension from the day before? And… wait for it… they do this collaboratively so those that excelled yesterday have the opportunity to refine their knowledge by peer tutoring those who struggled yesterday. Their peers, those that struggled, get to hear the information from a different perspective and will likely have more understanding. Meanwhile, the teacher is monitoring and asking questions. After completing the extension activity and discussing it as a class, you transition into the day’s mini-lesson and allow students to discover the math using activities in Google Apps rather than telling them (Alice & Diana give the example that we typically TELL students the Pythagorean Theorem… why not ask the students what it is? They have Google! Google will tell them!) This shift in teaching and learning even sounds as though it would flow better. Makes much more sense to me anyhow. Great thinking, Diana!

Some of my favorite quotes from this one are listed below. (Y’all, Alice Keeler has a way with quotes, by the way. After meeting her in June, I can hear her saying some of these in my head now. I can hear the conviction behind some of these quotes and even if you aren’t really sure if you agree, you’ll find yourself nodding along, because the passion in her voice makes it so that it’s the gospel truth.)

“No matter the medium, design for student engagement.”

“Teach like YouTube and Google exist.” (one of my favorite favorites) Going hand-in-hand with that one, Alice says, “I have a rule: Do not tell students things they can look up.” [see Pythagorean Theorem statement above]

“Glitter, scissors, and glue should not be abandoned. Sometimes technology is not the best tool. While work can be created on paper…the work can still be submitted digitally…insert an image”

“The conversation becomes a risk-free learning zone – and that’s where the magic happens!”

“It is important for students to approach a problem with strategies rather than procedural steps. Strategies help them make connections when confronted with new situations.”

My implementation for this book is two-fold.  There is an activity (and template, woo hoo, get the book and you have access to the template, too) in the book where students take a selfie and upload into a collaborative Google Slides presentation and share a couple of things about themselves. I want to do this during my first media class with my 6th grade students. It introduces students to Google Classroom, Google Slides, and allows me to get to know the students’ names and faces as well. Secondly, at some point in time this year (and knowing how much Alice loves her spreadsheets, she would recommend sooner rather than later), I want to complete the Google Sheets activity included in the book where students will discover how to input data and manipulate Google Sheets. Using Google Sheets more will only help my students in the long run, so giving them a strong foundation with this template on the basics is a great place to start. I’m excited to see where this takes my students, and the staff! This book is specifically geared toward math teachers, but there’s so many activities here that can be adapted across the curriculum that I would truly recommend this book to anyone! The back of the book even has some Google tutorials for those moments when you’re reading and think, I have no idea what they mean by revision history. Detailed information with a beautiful screenshot is included here as well!

As usual with books co-authored by Alice Keeler, there is a vast world of information on her website. Go to alicekeeler.com and knock yourself out! Check out the hashtag #GoogleMath on Twitter for more. You can also subscribe to the Google Math Newsletter here! Don’t forget that if you want that link with ALL the resources, templates, examples, and other amazingness included in the book, you need to purchase a copy for yourself! You can do that here! Finally, you can always contribute to the flipgrid using the password DBCSummer (if it asks for one). Andrea Paulakovich had the brilliant idea to create a space for global collaboration around each DBC book, and I love it! Please share your thoughts there! We always include a prompt, but that prompt isn’t required. If you have something better in mind, share that! We just want to learn together in that digital space!

***One of Diana’s visions was to create a scholarship fund to encourage students to go into STEM fields. There is a gofundme page here or you can donate directly Fresno State in memory of Diana Herrington. These donations go toward an endowment at California State University Fresno for students who want to teach math! Diana’s passion for math lives on! Any donation is appreciated!***

Well, we’ve reached the halfway point! Next up is a book by one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever “met” (well, met virtually…on Twitter, but I will meet her face-to-face one day, I hope)! If you want to know how to make small changes for a HUGE impact, check out book 26 in #DBC50Summer: Shift This by Joy Kirr!