#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 29/50: Social LEADia

Before I even start this blog, I feel the need to set the scene around me. I am sitting in a super uncomfortable chair that I slept in for about 45 minutes last night (so don’t be too harsh about a typo here, there, and everywhere; I’ll fix them after some sleep) wrapped up in a hospital blanket (because anything above freezing seems to be too warm), listening to the beeping of the machines (seriously though, why are they so loud?). The preschool/daycare my 5 year old daughter attends called me yesterday afternoon to tell me that Sophie was showing signs of an infection. My husband left work to take her for a quick check-up anticipating antibiotics and a relaxed evening. However, when Sophie’s blood sugar came back at over 330 when suggested range is 80-180, we were referred to the pediatric hospital in city about an hour away. By the time we reached the hospital and did blood work, her blood sugar had elevated to 775! We were admitted and Sophie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Today we learned all about her treatment plan and are quickly becoming versed in the vocabulary that surrounds juvenile diabetes.

I tell you that story to tell this one. The support of my PLN has been tremendous. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate every single text, Voxer message, DM, tweet, and facebook comment/message. I valued my PLN before as a professional group of amazing educators who push me and hold me accountable for implementing the insane ideas I have. After this experience, I hold my PLN close to my heart as part of my extended family. Taking just a few minutes of your time to share your well-wishes, your stories, or just to send a digital hug during this unexpectedly wild ride means more to me than any of you will ever know. Sophie is finally resting in her hospital bed (she is clearly the captain of this little ship) and I wanted to take the few minutes I have to share Jennifer Casa-Todd‘s incredible addition to Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc because it just has to be now! She authored book 29 titled Social LEADia.

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You can sense Jennifer’s passion for connecting students with the world through social media from the very first page. She shares countless stories of classrooms that integrate social media, not only incorporating positive digital interactions, but moving beyond that to developing leaders! The tremendous thing is that these leaders in the digital world are often not the leaders we would expect in the physical world. Frequently it seems that leaders in the digital world found their voice by impacting others through social media. Jennifer shares the thoughts and inspiring stories of individual students from kindergarten through high school. The power behind these voices would lead you to believe you were speaking with mature adults, but a deeper look would show that, in fact, these are children. At the end of each chapter is a Student Vignette in which Jennifer gives these students the opportunity to further amplify their voice. There are also summaries, discussion questions, notes, and a “meet the student” at the end of each chapter. Using these “meet the student” segments of the book allows educators to inspire their own learners to make an impact through the power of social media.

The power of twitter will forever be a topic I will yell from the mountaintop. After the encouragement, support, and genuine empathy I’ve felt from educators I’ve never met face-to-face while my youngest child has been in the hospital the last 20 hours is something I will never forget. Why shouldn’t we want our students to feel that same connection and empathy for others around the world? Why wouldn’t we want our students to feel that encouraged by people they’ve never met? Every child deserves a champion, and that champion just might be someone in their own network!

There is no way that I can possibly share all of the incredible points made by Jennifer in Social LEADia. In fact, I literally STOPPED highlighting in the book because I was highlighting every other sentence. Some of the a-ha moments I had are listed below:

Curriculum and IT should be working together in order to develop the foundation for teachers to create the best lessons possible. No longer should these two entities operate parallel; they should intersect at every possible opportunity. This better allows IT to know the WHY behind the need to open the floodgates and curriculum to better understand WHAT tool could meet their needs, as well as HOW to troubleshoot simple technology issues to create a more fluid environment with less interruptions.

The foreword by George Couros (author of The Innovator’s Mindset, book 9) is superb and Jennifer references multiple times the GC quote that has circulated Twitter multiple times (I add to that circulation because every time I see it, I feel a moral obligation retweet it.).

We need to make the positives so loud that the negatives are almost impossible to hear.

Another huge takeaway is that we, as educators, should treat discipline over digital matters in the same manner we would treat discipline in analog matters. It’s not a reason to take the devices and opportunities away from each and every student, or even the one or two students who made a poor decision. Rather, this is a time to have an authentic conversation in which we teach that student(s) how to make more appropriate choices. If a student is cyberbullying another student, it is a bullying issue. Just because the computer is involved doesn’t mean that it’s the computer’s fault. Artificial Intelligence has come a long, long way, but giving an automation feelings, empathy, love, hatred… not happening. It’s the person behind that device that should be removed from the situation at hand, pulled into a conversation, then placed back in the situation with the opportunity and freedom to make better choices… not the device.

I could go on and on! I also love the chapter “Building Bridges”! This chapter is a must-read for those who are fighting the good fight to include social media outlets in education. Jennifer gives many talking points to share with district leadership, school teams, and parents! These are really points that no one can argue as they are rooted in sound logic. I posted a few of my other takeaways while reading using #BookSnaps (Check out Tara Martin‘s BookSnaps website if you are new to this idea or want to know how to create them for yourself! Great stuff!)

So after all of this, what is my implementation? We know that reading all of these books means nothing if I just store the knowledge and don’t share it with learners, whether those be my students or the teachers I’m honored to work beside. I am really excited to get started on this implementation; in fact, I may start on this one before students arrive back on campus! I am going (after years of pondering, stalling, and second-guessing myself and my super country accent when I get passionate about something) to start a YouTube channel (I will link it here when complete) and share my voice there. I will share tech tips and tricks with staff and students using screen-casting, I will include the voice of my students, and I will share some of “those” stories that I spoke of in the #EDUPassions blog from earlier in the summer (with permission, of course). This implementation will be so much fun!

Be sure to check out the hashtag #SocialLEADia to follow along with the Social LEADia community! You can find more information on the Social LEADia website and on Jennifer’s website. Jennifer started a podcast this summer and has three fabulous episodes, which feature some of the students we heard from in her book! Check it out here! Speaking of podcasts, Jennifer has been featured on several including Brian Costello’s The Teacher’s Journey, TL Talk Radio by Randy Ziegenfuss and Lynn Fuini-Hetten, 10 Minute Teacher Podcast by Vicki “CoolCatTeacher” Davis, and many more. Simply Google and find several more! As always, the flipgrid is a place for global collaboration and reflection. My sweet friend, Andrea Paulakovich, suggested this amazing idea at the beginning of #DBC50Summer and I couldn’t help but to jump on board as quickly as possible! Andrea and I copilot this space and hope that you will join us here with your reflections, questions, and ideas!

Well… here we go again rounding off another set of ten books! Book 30 is another book that I was, unfortunately, not aware was a DBC, Inc book until I began forming this idea of #DBC50Summer in June. However, I did start following the author immediately and I have been seriously inspired just seeing the things he tweets and retweets on a constant basis! Ramsey Musallam, EdD (yep, THAT Ramsey… from THE TEDtalk with nearly 3 million views… yeah, I felt like I’d been under a rock, too) brings us book 30 SPARK Learning! If his tweets (and almost 3 million views) are any reflection of his book, I will be flying through this one itching to reflect and share! Blog coming soon!