Tuesday, April 29, 2014

#WeirdEd Week 3- Rockstar

#WeirdEd this week tackles a topic close to my heart and a topic that is discussed immediately in He's the Weird Teacher- the idea of Teacher As Rock Star. I'm also interested in deconstructing the idea a little, especially since it's mine.

When you think of a rock star, or when I do, I immediately think of someone above everyone else, quite literally. Even the lowest rent of punk venues had a raised stage. Stage might have only been raised an inch, but it was still raised. Rare is the venue where the stage is just the floor. So a rock star is above his or her audience. A rock star is the loudest, with the microphone and the amps and epic amounts of db pulsing behind him (or her). A rock star is in front, with the audience pointed at the band.

What does that sound like to you?

Sound like everyone's favorite anti-teaching method- The Sage on the Stage, re purposed to make it sound more badass.

So why would I call myself a rock star? Because I don't define it quite like that.

From He's the Weird Teacher chapter 1: Rockstar-

As a bombastic rock star frontman of a never-ending education funk machine I embody intensity in ten cities. I have to bring it every day because my audience expects nothing less than my best. I should be on my game even when I feel off because rock stars don’t miss a gig. The class isn’t just the audience, though. Not in my room, not with how I view learning. The class is my band and I am their band leader. I set the tone, I tell them when to bring it up and I tell them when to break it down. I wave the stick and they bang the drum. Together we make music.

As you can see, I don't think the kids are the audience. We're in this together. I might be the guy with the mic (some of the time) but I can't make music without them.

**Things to Think About**

Who are your musical heroes and how can/do you apply that to your teaching? Would you go on tour for years at a time, playing the same songs over and over? What's the best concert you've ever been to? Why? At a concert what's more important- hearing the album or hearing something fresh?

Please also read THIS. Michelle Baldwin (@michellek107) confronts exactly what we're talking about.

***HERE is the link to the Qs***

I'm going to make reference and link to this Blue Man Group video. I think you should take the hour forty and watch the whole thing, because they are like nothing you've ever heard. But if you don't at least watch the Rock Star Movements section starting at 7:26.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fake He's the Weird Teacher Reviews

So twitter got really really silly tonight. I decided to fool around and post a few #FakeHtWTReviews making fun of the book and having a good time. The people who follow me are hilarious and took up the challenge with an energy that couldn't be stopped or contained.
Favorites include

 I know his mom and she asked for a favor, what else could I do... 3 stars

Catherine D @Catherine_D2013
I found a free copy at the drs office when I was there dealing with that awkward itch problem, thought why not 3 stars

Mr. Wolski @WolskiMr 
I was staring at his hypnotizing eyes on the cover every time I picked it up but I never read it. 5 stars

  Brian @btcostello05 
The 1st page was gr8. So gr8 I was affraid the rest would be a let down. So I stopped reading 4⭐️

Angela @robritzon 
I replaced hotel bibles with this book. 5 stars

Justin @JustinAion 
"My dyslexia lead me to believe it was about a cyborg educator. Disappointed. 1star."

  Mr. Wolski @WolskiMr 
Women who are pregnant or might be pregnant should not handle this book. 5 stars.

Aaron White @sholvah2010 
"The Book Club will now be ending because there is nothing left to be written." - Oprah Winfrey...5 stars

If you like the funny follow the link and read the rest. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

#WeirdEd Week 2 Storify

View image on Twitter

#WeirdEd week two was a huge success and I couldn't be happier with how these chats are going.
 Everyone participating gets the tone and the energy, while still giving amazing answers and showing just how great we can be as a whole.
Thanks thanks thanks to Samantha Bates (@sjsbates) for Storifying #WeirdEd Week 2: Positive Discipline. Here's the link.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

#WeirdEd Week 2- Positive Discipline


 One of my major edu-soapboxes is Discipline. Anyone who has read my book (He's the Weird Teacher) knows it's one of my favorite things to jump up and down about. I've seen it done inspiringly well and I've seen it done in ways that make me hate fellow teachers and think things like, "I hope you drown in a fire."
I am a student of, disciple of, zealot of, loud annoying guy on the street corner with a megaphone of Positive Discipline. Being positive in my classroom, keeping things more smile than frown, more laugh than shout, and more up than down, is a goal of mine. Of course, kids are not always the little angels we want them to be and they must be corrected. How I do that without destroying the Happy Bubble of Happiness we have created together is a delicate, important process. I'd argue it is equally as important as how I actually teach the material. A classroom environment creates a learning environment (two different things? I think maybe. Sounds good though, doesn't it?). Some teachers are happy with a hardcore, tight-fisted discipline plan. That's not The Weird Teacher Way. We are about unicorns and rainbows and STILL having total control over the classroom and STILL taking full responsibility for the attitude of the kids inside the classroom.
It's nearing the end of the year. We're tired. I'm tired. I snap at behaviors I wouldn't have snapped at months ago. It feels like now is the perfect time for a Positive Discipline chat.

**Things to Think About**
What is your discipline plan? How do you communicate it? What are your triggers? How flexible are you? Where did your plan and philosophy come from? How has it changed over the years? How often do you smile? How often do the kids smile? Are there things that are irredeemable in your room? When have you overreacted?

***Here is the link to the Qs***

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Inaugural #WeirdEd - Being Yourself Storify

Tonight's #WeirdEd was amazing and awesome and hilarious. I am so happy the participants were engaged and open to being silly and having some fun.
Please read through the Storify. There are great ideas, fun people, and hilarious pictures.
Some links from tonight

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

#WeirdEd Chat Overview and Week 1: Being Yourself

This is the first week of #WeirdEd, an edchat for weird teachers.

#WeirdEd will take place every Wednesday from 7-8pm PST (sorry east coasters, but your time zone is really inconvenient). We will be focusing on positive issues, taking action, and the kids. #WeirdEd will probably not be a place where we mull over data and gnash teeth about terrible, awful things that happen in our classrooms, our schools, our states. That doesn't mean we won't talk about problems, I will not shy away from problems, but I'm interested in getting as close to solutions as we can in 140 character bursts using the brains of the best, weirdest teachers on the twitters.

There will be silliness. And there will be silliness for silliness' sake. I like that. I like lightness and strangeness and not taking ourselves too seriously. That's the only way to last. If you don't come with a sense of humor you might not enjoy the chat. And that will be too bad for all of us.

We'll do the Q1/A1 regular chat format most nights. That's not to say I won't get a wild hair and decide to change everything for a week or two. That's entirely possible. I adore the #slowchated format and maybe some weeks will be long form chats. I plan on holding on to the questions until the chat. I will write a short thing about the topic in this space every week, which should, ideally, go up Tuesday night. Or maybe Wednesday morning/afternoon. Or moments before the chat starts.

I want to make clear that this not NOT simply an extended, convoluted commercial to sell my book. If it were I would have linked to the book (He's the Weird Teacher) right there when I wrote "my book". But I didn't. Which proves my point. (Here is the link to my book instead). I love talking to, helping, and being helped by teachers. That's the main point. Spread the positive. Grow the love. Please bring teachers, especially new teachers and joyful teachers.

***Ok, now for this week's topic:  Being Yourself***

Being a Weird Teacher is all about being yourself. "This above all to thine own self be true," as some famous old dead writer once wrote. We are all unique, but I think many teachers are scared to flex those unique muscles, to step outside what is commonly accepted and show their students and their coworkers just how creative and interesting they are. Maybe we are scared of administrators. Maybe The TEST stresses us out too much. Maybe we've been beaten down by years of bad policy, bad decision making, and maybe bad teaching choices.
(Some of these might end up being actual chat questions. Right now they are kick-starters) How can you, how do you, emphasize who you are? Are you the teacher you want to be? Do the choices you make in class allow students to see the person who loves them and wants them to succeed? What kinds of things do you do that make you a weird teacher? Should teachers each be unique in our styles and approaches?

I look forward to the chat. Thanks for reading.

***Here is the link to the Qs****