#DBCBookBlogs: EDrenaline Rush

In the past month (actually less than a month), Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc has released FIVE books! With the release of this most recent book (TODAY), DBC, Inc has officially released 75 books (and another seven books have been released under the IMpress label)! This is certainly a landmark number! As a point of reference, it was just at this time last year that the 50th book was released!!! Congratulations to Dave & Shelley Burgess and the DBC, Inc team!

Now… for the 75th book blog!

EDrenaline Rush, written by John Meehan, is a book you’ll want to purchase IMMEDIATELY! One reason for this is the incredible bonus you get it you purchase by Saturday,  June 22, 2019! I preordered my book and got in on the bonus and I am blown away by the resources I got for FREE from John! All I’m saying is if you’re going to buy the book at some point this summer, get it this week! Even Dave says so here in his blog!

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Another reason you’ll want to purchase this book is because it’s just that good! From the minute I opened this book, I was pumped! I can’t wait to get back to school so I can implement some of the super creative games John outlines! The engagement strategies are plentiful and sure to hook students immediately!

The book is divided into three parts.

  1. Amusement Parks
  2. Mud Runs
  3. Escape Rooms

While a Saturday at a mud run doesn’t exactly sound like a fun day in my humble opinion, amusement parks and escape rooms are my favorites! I love the adrenaline rush I get from an amusement park – the fear of riding a new coaster, unsure of what’s going to happen on each ride, always wondering if I’m ever in any actual danger (typically not). Even the music as I walk into the amusement park puts an extra pep in my step upon arrival!

We had a new escape room open about an hour from our house and I fully intend to take my daughters with some of our friends one afternoon this summer to see if we can make it out! I love trying to solve puzzles and even have a few escape room apps on my phone. I may also be guilty of spending an excess amount of time in our htc Vive at school working my way through various themed escape rooms – obviously I’m only doing due diligence with research and development, right? (HA)

In part 1, John takes us to Disney and reminds us how many lessons we can learn from a Disney experience! (I wonder if I can convince my husband to take me to do research and development at Disney this summer… hmmm..) In November 2018 our family went on a 7-night Disney cruise and I made many connections to the service we received at Disney. Check out some of my reflections here!

In part 2, John talks about the experience of completing a Mud Run and the big obstacles that the runners face in these races. I immediately fell in love with the Personal Record rubric and cannot wait to share it with the teachers I serve! I think they will LOVE it as a goal setting and reflection tool for students. What a terrific way to help students own their learning! By the way, in part 2 – John gets REAL in some dialogue about equity, race, and access. He also begs the question, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

Finally, in part 3, I was blown away by the information about escape rooms! He helps the reader set up their own escape room – both physical rooms and digitally using Google forms. Yes – it has a similar feel to BreakoutEDU (which John also talks about). In Breakout, you’re trying to get INTO a box! In escape rooms, students are trying to get OUT of the room! Both have suspense, collaboration, critical thinking, and are a recipe for student enthusiasm! I can’t begin to tell how many times I’ve had students beg to stay in the media center to continue on their BreakoutEDU session rather than go to their next class!

Also… #QRBreakIn… yes, it’s a thing! (I told you that you need to get this book!) I’ll just leave that right there. Check out the sneak peek video below (or click here) & subscribe to the DBC, Inc Media YouTube channel!

Implementation

I seriously don’t know that I can choose just one thing to implement from EDrenaline Rush! I truly have about 10 things that I took a screenshot of (waiting for my physical book to be delivered later this week) that I can’t wait to share with teachers at my school! This is a unique book in that it blends inspiration and practicality. There are stories that touch your heart immediately followed by ways to engage your students in that same emotional experience! I’m not going to lie – I was on the edge of my seat during some of the book and noticed I was reading faster than usual (which is a feat in itself) to see what happened next.

In DON’T Ditch That Tech, Matt Miller and Nate & Angie Ridgway remind us to move poco a poco (little by little)! When my physical copy is delivered, I will do my best to narrow down to one or two games to implement in the 2019-2020 school year. This is exactly the kind of thing I geek out on in education, so I truly loved every minute of reading this book and it’s going to be a task to just pick one or two actions! (Maybe I can do one or two per teacher… hmmmm……)

Follow along with the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #EDrenaline – it’s getting ready to get lit over there, bro (hahahaha, sorry John, I had to! I know that is going in your word graveyard)! In all seriousness, you don’t want to miss out! Go preview and order the book here and check out John’s website here. I can’t wait to hear what you all think of this epic book! Remember to take advantage of the BONUS FREEBIES by ordering before Saturday, June 22, 2019 and then complete this form!

Take a minute to connect with John on Twitter and Instagram, too;  he’s a super-cool guy!

#DBCBookBlogs: They Call Me “Mr. De”

Cassie Bernall, Steve Curnow, Corey DePooter, Kelly Fleming, Matt Kechter, Daniel Mauser, Daniel Rohrbough, Rachel Scott, Isaiah Shoels, John Tomlin, Lauren Townsend, Kyle Velasquez, Coach Dave Sanders

The names of those murdered by two students at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Frank DeAngelis was the principal at Columbine that day and he remained principal for the following 15 years. This may go on record as the shortest #DBCBookBlog to date as I feel that anything I would say would diminish the power of this book. This book left me speechless. I cried. I mourned the loss of those lives. I felt the Rebel Pride of Columbine as I read about the recovery, the hope, and love of the community through Frank’s eyes. This is a must-read book.

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There are certain events that have occurred in which I remember exactly where I was and how I felt. The mass tragedy at Columbine was one of those times. I was in middle school and as news didn’t spread quite as quickly as it does today, I found out about the shooting on the evening news. There wasn’t a lot of information available, but I remember feeling stunned that this could happen. The community of Columbine seemed so much like my own community – supportive, vibrant, and loving.

To say that anything “good” came from that day must feel like a slap in the face to those who experienced the horror. With that in mind, I will just say that I am thankful for the efforts of Frank and so many others to protect students across the country from these senseless tragedies. At my school, we now have locks on our doors that lock from the inside, a full-time School Resource Officer (SRO), video surveillance across our entire campus, a front-door buzzer, panic buttons, badges for volunteers and visitors, and more. We practice two lockdowns per year in conjunction with our Sheriff’s Department. However, with all of these safety protocols in place, these tragedies continue to occur.

While I feel as though I’m powerless to prevent this from happening to anyone else, I can be certain to be more involved in the lives of my own children. By my children, I mean both my biological daughters and the thousands of students whom I consider to be my children. I struggle to believe that children are born evil. I’m not sure what changed the two gunmen from silly little boys to murderous young men, but I can be sure to be proactive as a parent and an educator. No one knows what tomorrow holds. We can only spread kindness, hope, and love, just like Frank DeAngelis.

One of the things that stood out to me the most from reading this book is the effort Frank put in to include the names of every single person who was instrumental in the recovery and resiliency of the community. He honors the students who lost their lives by sharing their stories and being involved in countless charities and organizations. He speaks across the world and reaches out to those who have been affected by similar tragedies. Lean on others when you need support. Like Frank, it’s important to seek treatment by a professional and show your emotions. Grieve together. Share positive memories with one another. Check up on each other. If you are a spiritual person, dive into your faith like never before. These are some of the keys to Columbine’s hope, recovery, and resiliency.

Thank you, Frank DeAngelis, for sharing your story. Thank you for being raw, honest, and vulnerable. Thank you for allowing us to see you. I imagine writing this story was part of your own recovery and I appreciate your heart. Because of you, the lives of the Beloved Thirteen will continue to be remembered. Never Forgotten.

∞∞∞

No matter what your profession, no matter your political affiliation, your spiritual beliefs, every person should read this book. It’s important that the truth is shared and that these lives are remembered. Read a free preview, then order your hardcover copy here.

#DBCBookBlogs: The Revolution

“If you want to have students in your classroom, then keep teaching models from the twentieth century. If you want to have learners in your classroom, then keep reading…”

~Darren Ellwein & Derek McCoy

I spent ten years in the elementary setting. Even in my undergraduate courses, when I met middle school education majors, I would shake my head wondering what they were thinking. Why would they want to teach hormonally imbalanced children who were bigger than they were?! Those kids who were stuck between being a child and becoming an adult. I equated middle school to that incredibly awkward time in my life when I quit being “one of the guys” and became a cheerleader. This was a time before makeup and braces, a time of bangs, acne, thin, unkept hair… it was not. pretty. y’all. (And before you ask, no; there will absolutely NOT be a picture of this anywhere in this post)

So why in the world would I want to re-enter that world of awkwardness and getting picked on? When my Superintendent shared a job description with me that pretty much came straight from a dream world, he had me hooked. Then he informed me… “I’ll need you to move to a middle school”

…say what?!…

So for the past three years, I have been back in the world of middle school. Just like the authors of The Revolution (book 67 for Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc), I now believe middle school is THE place to be! I can’t imagine teaching at any other level but middle school! I love every second with these kids. They are truly going to change the world; heck, many of them are already changing the world… and they are somewhere between 11-15 years old. Darren Ellwein and Derek McCoy are both middle school principals who are revolutionizing education. But they don’t just talk the talk, they are walking the walk and they share their stories in their book!

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Throughout the entire book I was nodding my head, highlighting, and writing notes in the margin (by the way, I’d suggest a print copy so you can do the same). This is yet another book that I could write a few thousand words for a reflection; I’m going to try NOT to do that, though. No promises… I may get pumped up and not be able to help myself.

Darren & Derek talk about it all in The Revolution, calling those who are doing the hard work and changing education from the industrial age “Revolution@ries”! Some of the topics discussed are:

  • Classroom Management
  • Growth Mindset
  • Culture
  • Learning Spaces
  • Funding (Friendraising – oh em gee, I love this)
  • Empowerment
  • Collaboration
  • Global Learning
  • Empathy
  • Design Thinking
  • Makerspace & the Maker Culture
  • Learners as Revolution@ries
  • Revolution@ry Leaders
  • Personalized Learning (this example is on point, by the way)

When I say there’s something for everyone in this book, it’s easy to see why that’s not an exaggeration. Even though Derek & Darren are middle school principals and discuss their experiences as middle school educators, make no mistake – this is not a middle school ONLY book! This is for ALL levels of education!

Reflections & Connections

As I was reading, I made many connections. I immediately identified with the section about learning spaces. Upon arriving at the middle school, I wanted to change up the layout of the media center immediately. It screamed “old school” and I wanted to bring new life to it. I wrote a blog post about the Media Makeover a while back. It’s important to know that this space still isn’t complete! It never will be complete. As long as new students are coming into the space, things will change. Why? I get their input. Former students come in and see the changes, usually responding with “Mrs. Ray, why did you wait until I left to get the cool stuff?!” Ha! It’s ironic because every group says that, which must mean we’re doing something right! The space continues to improve and students still want to come back and visit. Even now, our space has changed drastically from the images in the Media Makeover blog. Here’s a tweet highlighting some of the changes.

Another BIG a-ha for me was the compliance –> engagement –> empowerment theme in the book! I was privileged to guest moderate a #champforkids chat (founded by Kelly Hoggard, a phenomenal educator and friend from Virginia) in September 2018. Our topic was “Engagement or Compliance” and we discussed this very idea. The idea that engagement surpasses compliance. Compliant students aren’t necessarily learning anything; they’re just playing the game well. They are answering the questions and doing what’s asked of them. There is no passion behind their eyes, no enthusiasm for learning. Engaged students are sitting on the edge of their seats practically begging for more. I don’t know about you, but when given the choice, I’ll take an engaged student any day! Then Darren & Derek throw in empowered students and I’m over here, like, “I want those kids now! As in right now!”

Part of my passion as a media coordinator is teaching students to be lifelong learners who are knowledgeable about finding relevant, reliable, safe, and accurate information in both digital and print formats. We have really dug into teaching research skills using the LAUNCH method (more on that in a later post) based on AJ Juliani and John Spencer’s book, Launch. Rather than requiring a certain topic to be researched, students have chosen their own topic and were required to find three sources that were relevant, reliable, safe, and accurate, summarize and paraphrase the information contained within those sources and have learned the basics of citing sources using APA or MLA format (and where to create those online). Yes, there are currently over 350 research projects going on at the same time right now and it’s an incredible feeling!

Implementation

This leads me to the implementation plan. In the chapter “A Final Call to Action” Darren & Derek share “It’s exciting to talk about revolution, but a revolt against the status quo doesn’t happen without action. The words on these pages have no meaning unless you put them into practice.” Sounds a lot like my favorite quote from Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess.

“Inspiration without implementation is a waste.”

This quote has guided all of #DBC50Summer and #DBCBookBlogs as I am trying to implement at least one thing from each book. I’m getting the point in the school year that I’m going to need to begin thinking about the 2019-2020 school year as the year for implementations. This year is rapidly coming to a close. I believe I can squeak this one in though, because it correlates with an idea I was already trying to work out in my head.

I wanted students to be able to share the information gathered from their research with their peers but wasn’t sure how to have them present it. That’s just the problem; I was trying to put them in a box and tell them how I wanted it presented. Ugh! I know better than that! Now I’m getting out of their way and allowing them to decide how they want to showcase what they learned in their research. The sky is the limit. We have an incredible makerspace, virtual reality, Merge cubes, and we’re 1:1 with Chromebooks and Bring Your Own Device. These students can literally do whatever they want to share their information with their peers. I’m excited to see what they come up with.

Two other implementations…

I’m going to finally make myself sit down and create a list of all the items we have available in our makerspace and devise a plan for teachers to get in the space and put their hands on the materials to connect it to their curriculum. (Fit the curriculum into the learning rather than fit the learning into the curriculum, as suggested in The Revolution)

I want to create a #RevoltLAP playlist that will get me amped before going to work! Songs like Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” Imagine Dragons’ “Whatever It Takes,” and others will certainly be in the mix. Share what revolution song gets you pumped to revolt against the status quo in the comments below! I’ll create a playlist of these songs and share via Twitter. I’ll also link it here!

#RevoltLAP

Be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #RevoltLAP! I’m expecting great things to come from this book and I know you’ll want to be part of it! I’ve known Derek for years and can personally attest to him being the real deal! I look forward to meeting Darren and loved reading all about his own revolution@ry journey! Soon, you will be able to find out more about Darren and Derek on the Where are the PIRATES section of the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc website. For now, check out Derek’s website here and Darren’s website here. I’d also suggest subscribing to both of their YouTube channels! Derek is here and Darren is here. Finally, go check out the Flipgrid space and leave words of inspiration for other Revolution@ries! We are all in this together, and we need support! A huge shoutout to Andrea Paulakovich for allowing me to copilot this space. It was her incredible idea to brought the Flipgrid to life!