Episode #115: Jillian DuBois
Jillian DuBois serves as an elementary educator in Clearwater, FL. She has been in the field of education for two decades. She is the recently published author and illustrator of “Liv’s Seashells” and “Road to Awesome: A Journey for Kids”, “Look at YOU, Piper Lou!”, and is the Optimistic Originator of Imparted Joy LLC.
Jillian’s journey continues to bring much fulfillment as she thrives on building authentic relationships with her students and guiding their curiosity and wonder. She uses her voice to foster hope for student equity and empathy. Her passion is to initiate and infuse joy to those in education by focusing efforts on listening, serving, and growing alongside colleagues and friends. Each day is a FRESH opportunity to listen, be slow to criticize, and quick to empathize. Keep dancing and dreaming with JOY.
Trenches story: It’s about her personal journey into and through education. Started 30 yrs ago. Everything weaves together, story behind story, she loved school, wanted kids, couldn’t have her own kids, went thru infertility. Felt like a failure. Asked self “why”. Led them to adopt a newborn. Stayed home till he was in K. She volunteered in his CR. She went from ophthalmology to teaching. Was in cafeteria, sped para, son has dyslexia. Learned a lot from that aspect. Started out 20 yrs. ago. Took 15 hours online and was granted her certification. Found job in the school she was working in as para. Didn’t have internship, real training, etc. Didn’t know growth mindset. Looked back several yrs later & saw was authoritarian. Worked until he was in 8th gr. Son was “treading water”. Kept plodding along. It was start of her growth mindset transformation. Son was a case study. He has ADHD, dyslexia. Decided to homeschool him. Did this for 5 yrs. Learned that learning isn’t traditional. He was relieved to homeschool. Became mountain experience, not just a trench. Son never sat longer than 15 m at a time. Learned that “learning is learning”. He learned equine anatomy. Had homeschool co-op. Was a changed teacher when went back into the classroom. Wanted to know her kids. Was empathetic. Listened more than she spoke. So much pressure to finish the curriculum. only ⅕ of standards are endurance standards. Her book writing is expression of the joy that she’s learned through all of this. Going beyond perfect. Perfectionism discourages others. We want to provide trench experiences for others, build them up. Now teaches 2nd grade- has been for the past 6 years. Key, foundational year. Neat to watch them read.
You published Liv’s Seashells in December 2020.Talk about your journey to writing your children’s book. What are your other children’s books about? The others are “Road to Awesome, journey for kids” & “Look at your Pepper LU” (about a dog). All are similar in that they convey the message of acceptance and hope. She maybe available for being a guest author for a virtual read-aloud or author study. As an ELA teacher, it’s ingrained in us to deliver good books to kids. When she does virtual read-alouds for classes, she asks if they’ve gotten stuck. You write about what’s important to you. It can be related to trips, family experiences. Process came during the pandemic. Road to Awesome, journey for kids is about finding your own path. She read Darrin’s book with the same title for adults and learned how you could tailor it to kids. They have diff experiences they’d have in their lives. You’ll take faith, trust, patience, grace, and flexibility on your journey.
Talk about how ImpartEDJoy was born (January 2021): started using the # on twitter chats. No one else used that for a website. Her LLC has evolved, she has published 2 books under it and will publish/illustrate with other authors. She can schedule a session with upcoming authors who want to be successful. Right now it’s for publishing children’s books. It’s her niche.
What kind of tidbits do you offer on your “Moments of ImpartEd joy” podcast? (less than 5 m tidbits). They are all little moments that she has to reflect and take & learn from. Most are recorded in the school parking lot thinking about what her day is going to look like. Shares something she wants to share then & there. Loves to tell stories. UTI/TMI and the meteor shower of thoughts that come into our heads. Having the awareness that thoughts come into her head. She will present & share, will also think “how did I learn from that”? She wants to be light. You hear from others they’re having those same thoughts. She wants to add that the connections we’re making are so important. She is a huge introvert. Hates getting out & going places but she isn’t shy doing chats on zoom. You don’t have to force it. Therefore she started with her “teeny, tiny” podcast. IT’s her responsibility, not her responsibility. Episodes are about finding the joy when you step back and what you can change. On anchor/Spotify.
Key quotes: “the more we give ourselves daily affirmations, permission to be that joy, give grace, our emotional health will be better”. She struggles with anxiety, depression, but you need to remember you’re worthy.
Find Jillian online on Twitter: @JillDuBois22 Insta: jilliande FB: jilliandee
View this episode on Youtube: https://youtu.be/JvDj31ikF1c
Episode #116: Dr. Frank Buck
Frank Buck helps busy professionals achieve their goals through organization and time management. He is a veteran school administrator, speaker, author of three books, blogger, and life-long learner. Most of all, he has shown countless professionals an easier way to work. Through his workshops, books, and coaching, Dr. Buck shares these secrets with leaders all across the United States and internationally. Attendees love the blend of content and humor. They especially love how practical and easy it can be to get organized. Dr. Buck’s latest book, the 2nd edition of Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders presents a total system which is applicable to leaders from all walks of life. “Global Gurus Top 30” named Dr. Buck #1 in the time management for 2019, 2020, and 2021. To learn more, visit FrankBuck.org.
Out of the trenches story: First few weeks as a teacher. He was hired in the middle of the year. Junior HS of 1200 students. Was handed keys Sunday evening. Was jumping on a moving train as a band director taking them to contest in February when he started in January. Hadn’t even picked out the music. 1 week into the career there was a snow storm. School was closed for a week. He made it to school and worked and planned. He could talk about the to-do’s reserving a facility. Keeping up with all those little things. He wasn’t prepared for all the little steps. Once you hammer out the steps once, the next time, it’s using the same steps. School is probably the most cyclic business in the world. All at the same time every year. Principal didn’t say to Frank how he was there every day. Segways into organization, time management. You’re alone as a band director doing all those things. Every good thing we do happens thru the dimension of time. When he was principal, he asked teachers to record themselves teaching. He did so as band director. You’ll find verbal ticks, teaching to one side of the room rather than the other.
You have a new book coming out- how is the 2nd edition different than the first? Lesson he learned was about Blackberry synched to Outlook. Not so relevant now. Isn’t mentioning in this edition. It’s about how to get your desk clean. File folders representing the day of the month. 7 things to look for when choosing a digital task list. You earn the right to forget about it. How to work from a clean desk. Chapter 3 is about repeating tasks with examples. Ch. 4 is about getting your email empty & documentation so it’s easy enough you’ll actually do it. Organizing digital files, folders. Managing multiple projects.
Delegating tasks-you need to understand how things work together during diff times at the year. He found out you start having repeating tasks. You start to make better choices about what you could delegate. Students could do it! Give people a stake in the program. “My school is depending on me to do this task”.
He thinks his new book will be out in December. New book is called “Get organized digitally” as opposed to “Get organized, time management for school leaders”, which is his first book. Talks about specific tools you use every day. Users manual for principal, superintendent, to make tech easier to use. We’re all overwhelmed. His is the real nuts & bots starting with the desk. Here is a method to organize digitally. His current book 2nd edition he tries to stay general about tools, strategies and principals that are eternal. The new book. The publisher asked him to do a new book relevant to the pandemic, working from home. Digital task list. URLs he recommends. Talks about Evernote. People will come back to the step-by-step of how to use the tool for beginners. Doesn’t talk about repertoire but Evernote. Talks about using that as principal, this is aimed at school leader, instructional coach, applicable to aspiring school admin.
What was hardest to move to digitally when pandemic hit for many? LMS’s & efficient ways to communicate with each other. People started to use a digital calendar. People would get the calendar invite. Digital task list, getting your email empty. Getting google drive cleaned up. He saw this in a principal FB group. People said “bring in someone to do it for you”. Put everything in a folder. You may also see the things you forgot you had. Things work easily together. Doc- may need it next week. How will you remember you wanted to use it. Take the URL, go to your digital task list, paste the link into the digital task. Every gmail message has it’s own URL, copy link for it for task list. Place things you want to grab readily. What do you do about the “shared with me”? Could be a project that could start with just creating 1 folder. Little by little over the course of the next weeks, months, moving little by little. He teaches about delegation, getting it all in front of you and finding out what is too much for one person to handle. He can have xyz person do this. Input has always been Achilles heel of digital devises. Voice recognition is great now. Can do it by speaking into your phone.
Evernote: It’s like describing a spiral staircase. Grabs info as opposed to a doc. IT’s like having organized notecards. Easy to search, easy to add things to. Use camera differently. You can hit Evernote camera app, add audio recording. Type info about what you saw. He devotes 2 chapter to Evernote in his book. Examples of how to use it as a principal, teacher, in life in general.
He does workshops for principals. What kind of school are you working with in the fall? Retired from public ed in 2009. Has travelled all around speaking about this system. He does a weekly newspaper column in his area. Has blogged since 2005. Can search topic on blog on his website. One-on on coaching. Help people identify repeating to-do’s. Right now his schedule is sparse, but one-on-one coaching. Take time to identify what are the things. There’s things you can do to be visible in the building, instead of being bogged down in your office with paperwork. He can talk about arriving early to get heavy work done. He can talk about how to structure the day so you’re not staying late.
Key quotes…”life doesn’t have to be as hard as we sometimes make it”. It’s not “part of being a principal, superintendent”. There are systems that can make it easier. Apply right tool to the right job.
Find Frank online: Get on his email list. Go to frankbuck.org get on email list. Will get first copy of book out now, then ebook “Remember the mill”. It will show you how to fwd emails to right inbox. Send things into to-do list. His newsletter is about things he reads and wants to share out. Social media @drfrankbuck Twitter, IG, Pinterest. LinkedIn: drfrankbuck FB:drfrankbuck
People can also schedule training, coaching w/ him from this website.
View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/U6byw5-PODA
Episode #117: Steven Weber
Dr. Steven Weber serves as the Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in Fayetteville Public Schools. Prior to his arrival in Fayetteville, Dr. Weber had more than 20 years of experience in public education. He served as the Executive Director for Curriculum and Instruction with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (NC) and the Director of Secondary Instruction for Orange County Schools (NC). During his career in public education, he has served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, director of secondary instruction, and executive director of curriculum and instruction.
In 2019, Dr. Weber was named the AACIA (Arkansas Association of Curriculum & Instruction Administrators) Administrator of the Year. This award recognizes outstanding leadership in the field of education and curriculum and instruction. He was selected to serve on the ASCD Instructional Leadership and Coaching Design Team; as a board member for the Arkansas Association of Curriculum & Instruction Administrators; and on the North Carolina ASCD Board of Directors.
As a member of the PDK Emerging Leader Class, webinar host, podcast panelist and blogger, Dr. Weber has consistently showcased his leadership in the arena of thought-leader and contributor to public education.
Dr. Weber received a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a Master of Science in Education in Educational Administration from Arkansas State University, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from East Carolina University.
In addition to serving in these capacities as a professional and leader in public education across the country, Dr. Weber spends time connecting with educators through conference presentations and social media. He presents on topics ranging from academic achievement, instructional strategies, formative assessment, leadership development and professional learning to ideas around collaborating with families to support students. Join him in the conversation through Twitter at @curriculmblog.
Trenches story: Several times during career, but mostly during this past school year difficult. T’s are doing the hardest work, nothing to prepare you for it. When it occurred it was day by day, hour by hour. No one was given a play book or blueprint. People would say “you’re flip flopping”. He learned a lot about leadership. Last year, about 60% of students were in school buildings. They shared with principals what the plan was. Example, zones for recess per grade level.
Talk about your role in education: His role is primarily communication. He also worked with developing common formative assessments. His school district comprises 10,500 students. 16 schools. Fayetteville, AK where the university is. They have both high & low achieving students. Big difference in soc-economic status. The need for SEL is more clear than ever for admin & students. Human connections. Reading a story to students on zoom. Trusted adult. Choose love for K-6 & Second Step programs. Guide for Life is a great curriculum from AK Dept. of Education.
How did @curriculumblog come about? He started a weebly site, then ASCD edge, he posted on there for 6-7 years before they took their site down. He got on Twitter in 2008. A lot of people then had a different name than their name. Wasn’t in the classroom or a principal then. Spent 2 years developing a blog at the time. Aligned weebly website. He has been working on a new site to host all the blogs. He thinks it’s great people see his feed, it pops up about curriculum. Principals share his articles and let him know. As he reflected, he really thought deeply about (metacognition). Hopefully he can give back to the profession. IF an article helps them, it’s great. Blogging for teach better team 1 year. He didn’t blog for a long time after ASCD edge closed their site. He knew 10K people read his articles. His articles are across the gamut, teacher leaders, curriculum specialists. School in LA let him know they’d used some of his questions for Back To School planning.
When do you find time to blog? Friday nights,10-1 in morning. #leadupchat is on Sat mornings. May write about something learned from other educators. Sat & Sun afternoons he sits in his in recliner. Reflects on the past week. Often gets blogs out of a conference. Conversation with a principal, issue with a teacher, reflecting on what’s going on in K12 education. Resources to help people navigate different topics in K12 edu. Even analogies from pastor’s message at church. Sometimes he hears a line in a movie to find the “hook”. YouTube video or quote from a book. He has no timeline as to how often. He can do 2,3,4 drafts. He wants it polished before he sends it off. More reflective he is when he is ready to hit send. Blogged a lot when he was writing dissertation because it was a distractor for him. Check out Steven’s latest Teach Better Team blogpost here: The Power of Blank Space
Find you online? @sweber on Voxer & @curriculumblog on Twitter
View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/5zVa6DlgIiI
Episode #118: Lois Letchford
Lois Letchford’s dyslexia came to light at the age of 39, when she faced teaching her seven-year-old non-reading son, Nicholas. Examining her reading failure caused her to adapted and change lessons for her son. The results were dramatic. Lois qualified as a reading specialist to use her non-traditional background, multi-continental experience and passion to assist other failing students. Her teaching and learning have equipped her with a unique skill set and perspective. As a teacher, she considers herself a “literacy problem-solver.” Reversed: A Memoir is her first book. In this story, she details her dyslexia and the journey of her son’s dramatic failure in first grade. She tells of the twist and turns that promoted her passion and her son’s dramatic academic turn-a-round.
Trench story: They say that when a child fails first grade, you face 10 years of failure, sub-par performances, it’s horrendous to remember. SAHM at the time. Children born in UK, returned to Australia after husband finished Ph.D. at Oxford. In 1995, husband had study leave. Didn’t send Nicholas to school. Her trust in the educational instruction. In 1994, her son went into grade 1. Day 6 she asked t how he was doing. He wet pants, bit fingernails, stared into space every day. Prognosis is usually very slim getting out of it. Sent son to school every day. School said nothing. Teacher shouted at him. No one said it wasn’t acceptable. They said the child had a low IQ. Got tested- he could read 10 words, normally kids could read 1000 words at that level. MIL told her to put away what wasn’t working. Asked self “what can he do”. He could see patterns. She wrote little poems. Nicholas became more & more excited, less stressed. Every day there was a new poem. Someone at Oxford gave her a “learn to decode” series of books. She found out he has a logical brain. Experienced a lot of the world, visited museums. He made connections around the world. Poem became the shared language. Even in the context of maps. Returned to Australia, she was over the moon about what he’d learned. Spoke to the lady who did the test. Reading t sent him home with sight words, but not “saw” or “now”. She became a reading specialist. Read a paper where it said if a child fails to read, they give him a label. Failed to look at how we’re teaching the words. Set the scene to take on other children who had failed in reading.
When your son was 7 years old, did you ever imagine he could or would achieve his Ph.D.? He has “speech/language impaired” label. Had ear infections up to age 8. Brain didn’t develop within the normal range. Time in Oxford allowed her to explore things. He also has spatial awareness. His strength is mapping. Father modeled building for him as an engineer. Nicholas builds and applies his knowledge. Nicolas received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics in 2018.
What is your own dyslexia story? She was dyslexic as well, teaching/reading for her became so exciting. A book she read in Oxford had a list of 20 symptoms of dyslexia. Deer see the world through a filter. It’s like how she sees things. She can’t always find things. So exciting to meet the child’s needs. We don’t take the time to build the relationship. We don’t take time to think how the workload is, Especially if you have children at home. She can’t always read what she has written. She has to have computer read out loud.
Book published in 2018, year her son graduated in 2018. Reversed: A Memoir & Literacy Problem Solver. How does the research connect to your work? It shows how the research ties into the teaching. Just had her first academic paper published (on pronoun resolution). Was in The Reading Teacher, published in June. Connected with prof Tim Risensky, he helped her get it published. Was in Lubbock, TX as a district reading specialist. Had specialized knowledge on how to teach reading. When she went back to academic lit, she was shocked at amount of academic literature. She ended up w/ journal of memory & language across many fields. Depth of reading to come up with “this is why it goes wrong”.
Why is “mindset” so powerful? How she keeps a positive mindset. When Nicolas was in 1st grade, they only saw a “dumb kid”. In 1999, they moved to Lubbock, TX. He read at 3rd grade level in 5th grade. He went from bottom to top. Lost “learning disabled” label. They saw a child who could persevere. Listened to books on CD during car rides. School set up the system to make it possible for him to succeed.
Dr. Mary Helen Immordino Yang- does brain research. Power of emotions in learning. Children’s brain shuts down when they are stressed out. Emotions of happiness allow us to access our memory. That’s how they turned around son. They need emotionally safe spaces to learn. She uses the same process for working w/ her own students. What sort of environment are we creating in our classroom. A lot of literacy is about memory. Accessing memory. Why can’t they access it? Are we teaching in an abstract way or a connected, relevant way? We think we’re teaching w/in the connected way. Learning across the board doesn’t happen by a “fire hydrant”. It takes ups & downs, feedback. Teachers are still going back to how they were taught. It brings out how important culturally relevant teaching. We forget that teaching of reading is about the emotions tied to reading. Overriding memory is the feeling of the reading.
She’s put up a YouTube podcast- When Learning is Trauma. Does it w/ mental health nurse. Talks about the impacts of when children struggle on their memory, on their life. She did it to get the message out about her experience w/ school. In Oct they’re talking to Mary Helen Immordino Yang. We overwhelm teachers, this is how I was taught.
What advice do you have for parents whose children might be struggling in school? SEL needs and memory are tied together. The brain isn’t separate. We need to relax and accept kids for who they are. Let learning go at their own rate for a time. Learning doesn’t always happen w/ just pen & paper. They need tactile things- like a globe to learn.
Do you have any suggestions for teachers who have children who might be “behind” in their reading? Depth of knowledge. Not superficial knowledge. Read & re-read books they and you love. Turn books into dramas. It allows child to think deeper. You’re also building vocab. Pronouns are critical. Get to the bottom of grammatical structure. When you’re learning pronouns, antecedents can be further & further apart. Reading is thinking, it’s not about decoding.
Key quotes- Can you sum up your teaching philosophy in a sentence? It’s on her email signature. (It comes from a social psychologist): “Learning and learning problems dwell in activities and cultural practices situated in the context of social relations rather than in the heads of individual students.” -Curt Dudley-Marling The whole process of learning and learning problems is about finding strengths & weakness. When children struggle, see them as a rocket scientist.
Find Lois online at www.loisletchford.com on Twitter, LinkedIn, FB @LetchfordLois Link to her YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrIHZ5MOOJUEA7IREDErfekekFqAcsFz0 . View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/GzHXvzWKyXc
Episode #119: Tim Stephenson
Tim has been a high school teacher for over 25 years and for most of that time, he’s been the only astronomy teacher in the Langley School District in BC, Canada. Space is his passion, his hobby and his pastime. And for years, he’s had parents of students and other adult friends say that they would love to come to a mini course on astronomy. Well finally he is going ahead with their suggestions and has developed Beyond the Sky. This is an interactive presentation where he will lead a discussion but always be open to questions about those things that you wonder about the most when you look at the stars..
Trenches story: He thinks about the first 5 years of teaching. There are people lasting in the profession less than 5 years. It was a difficult time to be a teacher. He thought to self “what can I do to make it easier on myself”. “Happy teacher, happy students”. Couldn’t stay in the trenches forever. He had to enjoy it himself too. If you’re in your early years teaching, think about the battles you choose to take on or not take on in class. Which hill will you choose to die on? He’s seen the comparisons with student teachers, when his own son was at Univ. he organized the day with calendar app. He was guest for the kids one day. Compare it to student teacher who knows he’s being evaluated. If you have no pressure you’re just a person in the class teaching other people. If you’re like that, everyone’s more happy & relaxed. Persevere.
He has an expression “I’ve taught long enough I don’t care anymore”. I does allow you to feel freer. If a kid walks late into class, it’s ok. Fact that they’re there, it’s a win. Doesn’t care about starting class right on time. Stop caring and do your own thing. Care about what the students are gonna get out of your class. Think about if I were a student in my own class, would I enjoy being here. He keeps that as a filter. Every teacher should be looking at their classes like that. Thinks about if his own kid was in his class. Bringing value as a parent.
Talk about your podcast, writing of book. Public speaking. Passion for space. Something people don’t often know about astronomy.
Blog post theme-reflect better. Thinks about what he’s gonna reflect on/ offer up things he’s learned along the way. A lot of the blogs are assuming t’s coming from absolute defeat. He doesn’t agree. He tries to write something that’s completely opposite. He wants to talk about what we can do better. If he were to take words from English teacher in 12th grade, she said his style is like him speaking. Recent post “I need the sea”. About trails, kayak, appreciating what he sees and the science behind it. He asks the ? “What is it that everyone’s doing”. Maybe do something different. Richard Fineman said “You take the beauty out of nature”. Science adds to the beauty. He understand the inner workings of the beauty.
Gives community lectures on astronomy. Has been a long time coming w/ parents asking for it. He sells tix, doesn’t charge students but does charge parents. First lecture he packed a room on a Tues. night. There is a natural inquisitiveness often it fades away in middle school. It’s a craft he’s worked on for a while. He was always told he should give public lecture. It’s an aspect of science a lot sci teachers don’t have a lot of knowledge about. Sci teachers tend to gloss over space. Parents are really interested in those lectures. Don’t discount your value as a teacher. People will pay.
Beyond the classroom his book came out in the spring, It’s his teaching manifesto. Started in mid 90’s when he was just starting as teacher. Turned out to be a valuable activity as a teacher. Said “I will teach this way, I will do this with my students” as manifesto. Pulled out bookends at the opposite end of his career. Philosophies he wrote down. He’s happy with it because he felt like education needs a shake-up. Education hasn’t changed much since the 1920’s- we need to put that mindset out there. He puts out good suggestions about how it can change. He was self-published. Researched how to do this process himself. Was in control of his own timeline. Is happy w/ the feedback. A lot promo is up to the authors. We have the privilege of shaping the classroom. He thinks education needs a long, hard look in the mirror. We’re 3 decades in the 21st century. Why do we still use antiquated ways of teaching? What am I doing to inspire the next generation?
Podcast- Science 360 covers scientific topics in general. Bear safety for example. Conservation work in the Amazon, Peru. The guy he interviewed recently left HS with the worst experience as a student. A couple of teachers who made a difference. They gave him the confidence. Has a conversation company. When he doesn’t have a guest he defaults to a space episode. He hopes sci t’s will listen and get knowledge to take to CR. Interconnectedness to spheres / biomes. Has podcasted since spring 2020. He had been listening to podcasts a while and wanted to launch his own. It’s the new way ppl get their info, like a radio. Gave link to podcast to his students. Received well. He thinks it’s important that people contribute more, in writing it crystallizes what you hold better.
Is there something people often get wrong with astronomy you’d like to set straight? He spends a lot of time dealing w/ the questions “How do they know that”. “Nobody was there”. Great question of science. These questions can’t be glossed over. There are reasons they believe this. Evidence. We receive the evidence in the form of light. Red shift discovery by Edward Hubbel. in 1960’s cosmic background radiation was discovered. 2 solidifying pieces of evidence. He wants to claim Occom’s razor “Do you have a better idea”? “Do you have supporting evidence”. These things don’t come up on a whim. Universe is expanding. Big issue. Such as based around doubt, lack of understanding, There’s a reason people think the universe is x #’s of years old.
Key quotes….Tim encourages people thru his book, blog, podcast to stay with it in teaching. Privilege is to mold the future. When you start looking at it this way, there’s things I haven’t yet accomplished. Climate change can be solved thru education.
Episode #120: Rebecca Potts Aguirre
Rebecca Potts Aguirre is a teaching artist currently living in Los Angeles. Her work is inspired by the intersection between ecological concern and the female experience, especially that of motherhood and trauma, often using unconventional materials that connect to childhood and “women’s work.” She is represented by Stay Home Gallery for 2021. She is also a member of Spilt Milk Gallery and is listed in the curated directories All She Makes and Visionary Art Collective.
Rebecca earned her MFA in Visual Arts from Washington University in St. Louis and her BA in Studio Art & Geography from Middlebury College. Her work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and in Europe and Australia at spaces including The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Zhou B. Art Center, New York Studio Gallery, Art Share L.A., and SoLA Contemporary.
Her practice consists of 3 spheres: art-making, teaching, and community building. She has worked in art education for 15 years and founded and hosts Teaching Artist Podcast, highlighting artists who teach young people. She coordinates the Art Educator’s Lounge, a community support group for art educators, in collaboration with Victoria Fry. She also runs Play + Inspire Gallery in partnership with Maria Coit. In 2010, her essay on art and climate change, “Creating a Fourth Culture,” was published in 20UNDER40: Re-Inventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century. Rebecca’s MFA Thesis in 2009 also addressed the role of art and artists in addressing climate change.
She has also worked as an arts administrator, community organizer, and school co-founder. She participated in the Artist Residency in Motherhood from 2015-2019, which was the time it took to fully resume her art practice after becoming a mother.
Out of theTrenches story: Rebecca went the opposite way most teachers go. Was managing art programs for non-profit organizations early in her career. Took on teaching artist positions. Was admin 4 days/week, taught 1 day/ week. She felt much more inspired while she was teaching. Her education was in art education. Came out of there idealistic. Did Americorp internship, then helped during small schools movement in NY in the early 2000’s They had narrow themes. Helped start one of those around business & community development. Felt meaningful. Something was lacking. Then went to grad school for art. Options were to be an art professor. Worked for non-profit K-12. Was there for 5 years. A lot of commuting between different schools in NY, managing artist relationships. Felt less creative than when she’s been in the classroom. In between all this, her husband took a job in Prague, she moved out of the country, got a work visa eventually, and taught private lessons. Became a mom and then was there for three years. Maternity policies let her stay home with her daughter until she was 2. She now lives in LA, and was teaching in 2 Elementary Schools pre-COVID. They cut their art budget. She is a teaching artist, i.e. not credentialed. Origination for teaching artists she is part of kept her on during Covid remote learning to make video lessons to go out to schools. Saw them 1x/week for 10 wks. Didn’t get immediate feedback from her lessons. It was a strange way of teaching. wasn’t able to see what they were creating when remote. Curricular planning was cramming in things. She went back (early Sept) to the same 2 elementary schools she taught at before. Now she is full in-person. Had to pull along a drying rack into the classroom.
Tell me about your experience teaching art from the perspective of being a parent of an elementary-age student: Before becoming a parent, she preferred to teach HS and college level. She had academic knowledge of who she was supposed to be teaching. Having her own child helps her understand where the younger children are coming from. Her daughter has been a sorta a guinea pig. Now will have 50 m with 1-5th grade each. 30 m with PK/K.
Your training as a printmaker, what is that? It’s like a stamp, Lino-plate. She shows it for the video recording of the episode. It’s with a block of linoleum that you carve. It can be a metal plate you edge with acids. Can do both sides. Can be a 2 plate print. This could be drawn out over 5 lessons. She wouldn’t do this with students under 5th grade. Can do this with cardboard as well. That would take at least 2 sessions.
Talk about using materials of childhood and motherhood: play-doh and polymer clay, how to incorporate it into your teaching? Don’t use those for teaching, those materials are really expensive. Uses playdough as a painting material. Artists in contemporary art plan the materials first. She can talk about how playdough started as a a “housewives material”. Gravitates towards abstract sculpture projects. With her own work, she is making 2 dimensional paintings. Uses materials that she finds in the classroom.
Tell me how you manage your time, being a working artist & a teacher. She works for a non-profit that sends artists into schools. The big difference is that the classroom teacher has to be in the classroom with her when she teaches because she doesn’t have a teaching license. Teaching artists are often in schools in LA & NY. Is on T-F. She has 4 hours with no responsibilities to do focused art work on Mondays. Will do art in the evenings after daughter’s bedtime. She loves Google Keep. It lets her create checklists. Notes, drawings, will synch between phone & computer. Doesn’t do art shows yet, but does have work in art galleries. Stay Home Gallery- representation is like mentorship. They talk her through packaging, marketing. She works with other artists to learn how to do marketing.
She also runs a podcast: Teaching Artists Podcast, she talks to artists who teach. It’s about continuing to make and sell artwork while balancing PD. Started it to feel less alone. Some FT art teachers who are trying to carve out time to sell art. Will share advise for the community of artists who teach. Does a monthly “art educator’s lounge”. Victoria runs a collective for artists. Have workshops for artists. Share challenges, successes.
Tell me what “Teaching for Artistic Behavior” (TAB) is, which is student centered-choice based way of teaching art. Rebecca uses “Studio Thinking from the Start” book. Info from fellow art Her first 5 weeks she goes thru the range of materials she has for students. Learn about how to use materials. Add to artists tool kits. Where do ideas come from? What do you do if you have an idea? 3 sentences: student is the artist, the class is their studio, what do artists do. It’s not just left open. She isn’t dictating what they should do, but giving them a toolkit. There was more student engagement instead of teacher-directed projects. Room for choice. Talk about identity. Making the theme broader. Teachers do “skill builders”, little things to teach methods *that’s the step by step*. Then kid can choose what they want to do. They’re creating their own work, going thru the process. Research, experimentation, testing, revision, curating. Different than one & done. Different than guided drawing where everyone walks away with the same flower. This is powerful & engaging. Then she problem/solves with kids.
Key quotes…TAB is empowering the students, it’s completely a win-win. They love what they do. There are 0 behavior problems. They talk to parents more about what they’re doing. Give them more power & choice, center around them.
Find Rebecca online on IG, Twitter Pinterest: @pottsart YouTube: Rebecca Potts – YouTube FB: rpottsart LinkedIn: Rebecca Potts Aguirre | LinkedIn Teaching Artist Podcast on IG, Twitter, FB. https://www.teachingartistpodcast.com/
Link to monthly meetings for art teachers: http://arteducatorslounge.eventbrite.com
View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/5X_OeJ5cBmw
Episode #121: Jorge Valenzuela
Jorge Valenzuela is an education coach, author, and advocate. He has years of experience as a classroom and online teacher, a curriculum specialist, and a consultant. His work focuses on improving teacher preparation in project-based learning, computational thinking and computer science integration, STEM education, and equity and SEL integration. Jorge is an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University and the lead coach at Lifelong Learning Defined. His book Rev Up Robotics and jump start guides Ready, Set, Robotics and SEL in Action are available from ISTE, and his next book, which takes a deep dive into the Equity and SEL Integration Framework, is forthcoming from Solution Tree.
Trench story: He feels like he’s still in trenches. How to balance his passions & the needs of others. He’s learning a lot about how to receive info. HE considers himself a beginner. He’s not an underdog. Has alot to learn. First trench story was oversharing with colleagues. As a curriculum specialist, he is excited about PBL. It came from a good place. He had to learn how to hang back. Let learning speak for itself.
We talk about how he was persuaded to leave classroom to become a coach & have a greater impact. Resisted at first. Got admin license but didn’t want to do admin duties. Got into PBL as curriculum specialist because he was asking teachers to do things he didn’t truly understand. Joined Buck Institute and learned a lot. Wrote about his experiences. Wasn’t planned to get booked to speak. 7 years- internal speaker pre-COVID, then ISTE gave practitioners a shot. Learned how to present the info as a speaker. Important to take into account who is watching. Starts w/ research- enough to show it’s research-based then personal insight. People need to know you’re living what you’re saying. Actionable steps. You have to have a framework recipe. For example if he’s in his kitchen, if he doesn’t have recipe, he can’t make it. He needs actionable steps.
He doesn’t want to talk about robotics, but is focusing on SEL and equity integration /start there and talk about how educators are needing to weave in this today.
What is your stance on SEL & equity and how it’s being implemented in schools? We don’t fully understand how to raise equity. SEL research has been led over 20 years with CASEL. Help kids get back to the emotion of the day. Also in decision-making aspect. Equity should look very different in every cr. If I’m teaching people with trauma, my equity razor is to be trauma-informed. You need to raise your lens in that topic. Upgrade the SEL plan. Look back to emotions of the day. Look at what your students need.
We talk about things that he was busy with in the summer, he was booked with PBL, equity, SEL speaking engagements through August. Is like this every summer. Just started keynoting recently. The SEL data is what informs the workshops. Has kept him really busy. He‘s dedicated to being a researcher, he has a lot of research and how-to blogs. He is dedicated to writing and being a partner w/ schools during pandemic. Does some DEI=Diversity, Equity, Inclusion work. He still does PBL PD a lot. Increase in PBL in last year. Thinks about engagement for teachers using Nearpod & Peardeck during presentations. He shows schools the actionable steps to integrate it into their C & I. Asst. superintendent, principals see a value.
How is your progress going as a Ph.D. student? He had to learn how to lean into knowledge. He is already a published researcher and some of the research is on his website. His opportunities came and he had to do a cost analysis. Has 3 chapters of dissertation done. He is also working on his ISTE certs. E-book Environmental Science coming this month.
His SEL in action guide was released through ISTE in April. On social he’s extremely focused on PBL, SEL, equity. Educators need to do the inward work b4 working w/ other people. Educators don’t always know what it means to be culturally responsive. Part of being culturally responsive, feeling marginalized, if I don’t feel heard, seen, etc, they can induce trauma. This can be triggered through sight, smell, etc.
We talk about his podcast with BAM radio SEL in Action, which currently has 7 episodes, debuted in July with yours truly. He focuses on intentions. Wants to package what his skills and talents are. He appeared on Carl Hooker’s show for REV up Robotics. Met producer there. Interviewed Carl. https://www.bamradionetwork.com/track/wrapping-up-an-audacious-school-year-with-three-audacious-wishes-for-next-term/ His podcast is about informed pedagogy. His show is going on with other shows in education. Has been hand-selected by BAM radio to try out 1 season. He will bring in experts that show what they are experts in. He didn’t have the expertise of the vision for the show. Went thru brainstorming session with producer. Because it’s a research-based show. Only invites people on show who are diverse practitioners. How to do it with no fluff.
Key quotes… Really figure out what makes you happy, become an expert. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10K hours. If you do something you like, you’ll become happy, that in itself is selfish. Flip our passion and use it to help other people.
Find Jorge online: @jorgedoespbl on Twitter, IG, snapchat. Visit his website: www.lifelonglearningdefined.com
View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/XHQ05CBDOlg
Links to some of Jorge’s books/articles:
Publication date: March, 2021 and Ready, Set, Robotics! (Jump Start Guide)
How to Teach Coding to Kids and Rev Up Robotics (published Feb. 2020). All are available on his website.
ISTE Article recently written by him: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LZFTT74r39QKB7gEzj0GoHsd3q8D-S54/view article for activating equity in framework, can talk about research
Episode #122: Shellee Howard
Shellee Howard is the Founder and CEO of College Ready and CR Tutoring and Test Strategies. She is a college graduate and is a Certified Independent College Strategist. She is a best-selling author, a member of HECA (ethics organization), and a member of SOFA (Society of Financial Awareness). Shellee has traveled around the world helping students create their “Stand out Strategy”. She knows what it takes to compete in the Top tier schools as well as finding the best-fit college for all students. Shellee believes that no two students are the same and each student must have their own strategy and plan to be successful. Each student has a gift/talent and a passion that will set him or her apart from their competition.
Shellee is a mother of 4 young adults. Her oldest son graduated from Harvard in 2016 debt free and graduated from UC San Diego Medical school in 2021. He will be completing his Orthopedic Surgeon Residency at UCLA. Her oldest daughter attended the University of Alabama and CBU and graduated debt free with her BSN in 2020 and received her RN in 2021. Her youngest son is a high school senior and will be attending SFSU in the fall of 2021 majoring in Film Production. Her youngest daughter is a HS Senior and will be looking to attend college as a business major internationally. Shellee has traveled around the world helping students create their “Stand out Strategy”. She knows what it takes to compete in the Top tier schools as well as finding the best-fit college for all students. Shellee believes that no two students are the same and each student must have their own strategy and plan to be successful. Each student has a gift/talent and a passion that will set him or her apart from their competition. Getting to know your student one on one is the key to success. This can be done in person or via Zoom. College Ready has clients all over the USA and each one is important. Her focus is to find the best academic, financial and social fit college for each student to thrive at and graduate debt free!
Trenches story: She has lots of trench stories being an entrepreneur. She would discuss how she did college wrong. She applied to 2 schools got into both. Stayed in state. She had to dig her way out of it. IT’s how she got into college planning. Didn’t want that for her. Students aren’t well-prepared still to get to college. It’s no different than our generation. It’s not easily at their disposal.
What do you wish you knew before you went to college? someone should have taken aside and had her learn who she is and why that matters. Gifts/talents. She changed her major 5 times, had to do a lot of work, pay more $.
Can talk about the gap year, advantages/disadvantages and her thoughts. It’s a big more complicated than deciding “I’m not going to go to college”. Are you gonna travel? Did you apply to school and request a deferral? It’s not easier if u take time off. Pros-if the student doesn’t have clue what they want to major in they may need to test a research project. If just sitting at home won’t help them navigate college world. Wasn’t a big idea w/ covid. More prominent in top-tier schools. Not in lower income/state schools. Definitely tied to socio-economics, even peace corps volunteering. More students from the Midwest do peace corps- it’s based on how they were raised. Majority of students are doing 2 or 4 yr. Gap year is about 4-6% of students. They talk to students 1 to 1 about what the gap year looks like.
What got you started with College Ready– it was her firstborn when he came home from 8th grade. She dove into the world of college admission, nobody was helping. She was the first to go to college on both sides of her family. It’s so different than when we went, She gives 9th graders the essay topic they’re write about in 12th grade. If they get to it in 12th, it’s stressful. If students join her org late, there are a lot of picking up the pieces. Will sometimes bring in seniors. She can’t turn them away. They have to prioritize. IT’s not as fun as taking them in 9th grade. She took him to counselor and counselor gave negative response to him wanting to be a brain surgeon. It was a nudge to help him. She went back to school and got her Master’s. Toured 25 colleges a semester. Son got full-ride offers to several colleges. Broke it down as if making a business transaction. She has figured out what it takes for univ to want a student.
Where should you look for the best scholarships? IT’s like negotiating for a car or house. Ppl assume the “sticker” price is the only price you pay. The best ones are the ones to find out when they finish 8th grade. Don’t wait until their senior year, FAFSA looks at 2nd semester in 10th grade, 1st semester in 11th grade. She started summer before 9th grade. Son graduated debt-free from Harvard. Univ have deep pockets. Generous alumni. Making sure college is a good fit for the student.
When should a student start to plan for college? They don’t count anything prior to leaving 8th grade. They can accumulate community service hours, internship, etc. The more prep they have the more $ they can get the student. Do it gentle & slow over 4 years.
What is a Passion with purpose project? College Ready community service on steroids. Some students are born leaders. Others less aggressive but have a heart to serve. CR takes them to next level about why they want to create change. They help students figure out what they’re passionate about. Uses CS to figure out their core values. Experiment serving others. Need more to stand out. Have been doing this for 5 years already. Kids can collaborate with others. It’s better than signing up & showing your time. Make student the best version of them they can be. Helping them figure out what their niche is. if students don’t explore they have to figure it out at some point. It’s better than changing majors.
Is taking the SAT or ACT optional? It gets really challenging. Publicity said “it’s test optional”. UC system took off the test option. St’s can still write their score in their essay. How much does the score really affect the college you get into? 2nd most important piece to the puzzle. Schools will know they have been doing prep. It’s not optional. Essay readers see it in their essay. You can’t not see it. You have to be mindful of what everyone else is doing. Test strategy teaches them to test well. Prepare & embrace. Scholarships are very much tied to test score. If it goes away, how can a college be objective w/ just a GPA? Comm. service is subjective.
What GPA do I need to get into my dream school? The more competitive the college, the more it will look at this. Since that’s the only tangible thing it’s most important. IT’s not the only factor, especially if you had a bad freshman year. You can explain it in your application. It can backfire if students started 9th grade strong and it goes down over time.
How many AP classes do I need to take? IB may not be as much bang for the buck with all the work that’s involved in diploma. It depends on what college you want to go to and what major. Some students are much better than writing than testing-IB. If you get 3,4,5 on AP you can be Natl. Merit Scholar. Which one is the students best?
What are the best extracurricular activities to participate in for college? Types of colleges may look at different activities. Most important is their leadership and extra curricular activities. If they find/lead the club it is looked at better. It depends on intensity of the club. Harder it is to become involved the easier it is. If they’re not doing extra curricular activies, are they gaming? They want to show they’re an academic person with interests. Chess-you could take it to natl. level. Peer court- if you want to go into law. Help them stand out in their own way. They want the best version of that students.
Key quotes: every student will do it at their own pace. Show them college isn’t just 4 more years of HS, It’s a different adulting experience. Sit them down and ask what college they can look at. Make college a good positive experience. Keep it positive.
Find Shellee online? can tag her on social as well Website: www.collegereadyplan.com
Complimentary Discovery session *you can ask ?’s about your own child*: https://go.oncehub.com/collegeready?utm_medium=social&utm_source=linktree&utm_campaign=discovery+session
Link to Shellee’s book How to send your Student to college w/o Loosing your mind or $: https://www.amazon.com/Student-College-Without-Losing-Money-ebook/dp/B06Y5CNSYD/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=how+to+send+your+student+to+college+without+losing+your+mind+or+your+money&qid=1628002699&sr=8-2
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CollegeReadyDebtFree
View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/W25Aol6DRaU
Episode #123: Marshal Hurst
Marshal has been working in education for 20 years. He started out as a teacher, coach, club sponsor, and bus driver at a small rural school. This school was the same one that Marshal attended growing up. After nine years, he decided that he needed a change and to grow as a teacher. He only had the experience of what it was like to learn and teach at the same school.
Marshal spent the next five years under a grant program funded by the Arkansas Department of Education. He started out at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith working in a program that served as a bridge between the college and local schools. He then went to work for the Arkansas Department of Education in their office of Professional Development where he coordinated the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) and the Mathematics Design Collaborative (MDC). Both programs were developed by the Gates Foundation and he had the opportunity to present and participate in state panels throughout the nation.
Marshal is currently in his 6th year of teaching math at Northside High School in Fort Smith, AR. Northside is the most diverse school in the state and completed its first year of being a Model Professional Learning Community (PLC) at Work that is recognized by Solution Tree. He is involved with Josten’s Renaissance to be sure every student is recognized within the school.
Trench story: Is about him being a student himself. Lived in Indian home, built by Choctaw Nation. Small 3 bedroom house. Grew up with a single mom, grandma, cousins. Lived day-to-day. He wanted to get out, had a teacher who was very influential. Mrs. Hogan- English teacher his junior year. There is a rock on his desk. Mom told him we’ll meet a lot of people that are like the rock. When you turn it over, it’s like a diamond. She said people will maybe see you as one in a million. Turn rock over and it’s actually a gem. Some things hurt but those type of things make you who you are. Has had it on his desk all 20 yrs of teaching. They’ll say “you don’t know what I’m going thru”. Can’t make excuses of what we’re going thru. Gave him opportunity to branch out blog “change because you want to, not because you have to”. Went deeper instead of wider. Takes that approach in getting to know students, then the content comes thru. He wants kids to remember him because of his sincerity. He continues to grow in himself. He wouldn’t be he is today w/o that teacher. He hopes kids will see that in him. Got to work w/ that teacher for several yrs until she passed.
When did you start writing and started growing in areas of change? He started blogging for Teach Better Team in July. Does 1x/month. 2-3 yrs ago he started reading nooks on school culture. Read “Culturize” by J Casas. Has created his own website w/ help of B.Beck & D. Peppard. Started blogging. Feels he has a story that needs to be shared. Everything came together all at once. Met TBT Ambassadors. When you’ve been in teaching 20 yrs and some of the things we’re learned it’s good to write for the up & coming t’s. We’re narrowing our focus to grow deeper. He continues to go full circle. A lot of what he does is to develop resources students use.
Tell me about your journey in teaching: it’s his 20th year. First taught at rural school and realized he was teaching the way he was taught. Went to university to work, then worked in PD/Gates Foundation program in State Ed Dept. Missed public schools. Lives in OK, works in AK, right over the state line. Current HS has 6-700 per grade. Most diverse school in Arkansas, very diverse w/ FRL. Is a Math teacher. He spent hours on greatest lesson plan. Did a lot of classroom observations working with the Dept. of Ed. Best t’s were those who could change on the fly. Formatively assessing students by making adjusting. Still continuing to make adjustments. Has to find something else when things don’t work. Productive struggle.
Has been working with Josten’s Renaissance. 3 years ago his principal went to summer conference and said “we need to do this”. 150-175 t’s at his school, 2500 kids, just added on 9th grade. 16 core teachers came in. School known for athletic. Many students were drafted to NBA, NFL, alumni have made video how the school met to them. Became part of the initial team. has been leading school in cultural changes in the last 3 yrs. They use the word “staff-ulty”. How do we find students who have fallen thru the cracks? Kids wrote thank you notes. Josten’s helped develop a PD about what it means to be a grizzly. “Earn your claws”. Took opportunity to reboot what it means to be a grizzly. “bear down”. Competition on attendance, attitude. Will have a huge celebration at end of yr. Culture, has rules & regulations, but doesn’t want to pin them in a corner. Some kids need more than others. Will have a “spirit of the grizzly” award at end of yr. Uses Jimmy Casas’ quotes from Culturize. There are a lot of teachers who send kids to office over a cell phone. Sometimes it’s not about the student, it’s about the decisions we make. Little suggestions to teachers. Talked with teachers about classroom management, decisions we make as teachers. It’s about setting the tone. Take 1 day at a time. Jostens is something you really have to buy into. He gets as many books on culture as he can.
His school has gone through Solution Tree screening process for becoming a model PLC school. Long, huge process for school. They want to expand in Arkansas with a model PLC. He wants to be leader when it comes to recognition of all students. He wants to make 2 positive calls for each negative call. Northside decided to do things with a purpose. They recognized what Solution Tree wanted to do through their materials. They have a math/geometry PLC with agenda. What are the standards that help students be successful at their level and past HS? What is essential to them? You ask yourself “is that really necessary to get across”. First school with such demographics to get recognized. Common formative assessments. RTI program-”What I need”. Kids have “win” sessions where they ask ?’s It’s small steps, changes are made in the attitude around school. Your content will follow thru after culture changes. He wants to present at a Josten’s conference. What successful means to him.
Key quotes…teaching is a lot about patience, letting go. We continue to think about thing like what’s going on in kids’ lives. Ask them to let you know, talk to you. You will have bad days. His class is loud, they have fun, do things. He tries to meet them halfway. We got to take a day at a time, a week at a time. What do I need to do to be successful this week? Keep it balanced. You have to find your place, people and be patient. Give your all in everything.
Find Marshal online on Twitter @marshalhurst email: email@example.com and visit his website: www.marshalhurst.com
View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/fZ7OklgZuP0
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