Lesson: Impossible - An Exploration of Educational Innovation

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Agent Drew Thompson (Neurodiversity: sometimes you just need a wiggle and a snack)

Your lesson, should you choose to accept it, is to use various planning and instructional strategies to support your neurodiverse students. The special agent assigned to help you with this task is Drew Thompson, of Organized Minds.

 

In our conversation we discuss:

1️⃣  Drew’s personal experiences as a neurodiverse learner and the supports he wished he had received

2️⃣  Scope creep, the dark side of graphic organizers, inductive versus deductive thinking, the value of chunking assignments, and making social interpretations clear

3️⃣  Why sometimes giving students a “wiggle and a snack”, no matter what age, can make a huge difference!

 

Click here for links mentioned in the episode or more information about the podcast. Click here for Lesson: Impossible’s new language-learning blog.

Agent Mike Kaechele (SEL through PBL)

Your lesson, should you choose to accept it, is to incorporate Project Based Learning into your teaching to support, among many amazing things, the Social-Emotional Development of your students. The special agent assigned to help you with this task is Mike Kaechele.

 

In our conversation we discuss:

1️⃣ Responding to school and community needs, such as reacting to an ICE raid, or helping farmers choose their next potato crops

2️⃣ Giving students agency and hope for the future, such as a Chemistry, English, US History project looking at poverty in America or returning the rapids to Grand Rapids

3️⃣ Making it work by providing structure, connecting to standards, learning from mistakes, adapting year-to-year, and having the students ask rather than the adults

 

Click here for more details about our conversation, links mentioned in the episode, and more information about the podcast.

Agent Orly Klapholz (SLIFE: Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education)

Your lesson, should you choose to accept it, is to welcome students with limited or interrupted formal education (aka. SLIFE) into your classroom. The special agent assigned to help you with this task is Orly Klapholz, co-founder of “Inlier Learning” from Hollywood, Florida.

 

According to the UN, by the end of 2021 as many as half a million people will likely flee Afghanistan. After time spent in refugee camps, many families will resettle in North America and Europe, and I think it’s worth asking ourselves an important question:  would our schools, and would we, as teachers or administrators, be ready to provide Afghan students, or any other population with limited or interrupted schooling, with the best education possible?

In our conversation Orly and I discuss:

1️⃣ Defining SLIFE (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education) and the need for more data

2️⃣ SLIFE social, emotional, cultural, linguistic, and academic needs as well as the systematic issues that lead to a high drop-out rate

3️⃣ Providing age-appropriate appropriate and trauma informed resources

 

Click here for more details about our conversation, links mentioned in the episode, and more information about the podcast.

Agents Mealey & Tudisco (Educational Podcasting)

🎙Your lesson, should you choose to accept it, is to consider becoming an educational podcaster🧑🏽‍🏫💬. The special agents🕵️‍♂️🕵️‍♂️  assigned to help you with this task are co-hosts Mealey and Tudisco of the Unprofessional Development Podcast.

 

In our conversation we discuss:

1️⃣ Their origin story and how podcasting has enriched their teaching

2️⃣ Their division of labor and co-hosting dynamic

3️⃣ Their only rule: don’t get fired

… as well as Tudisco and Mealey going on many hilarious tangents

 

Click here for more details about our conversation, links mentioned in the episode, and more information about the podcast.

Agent Pawan Dhingra (Hyper Education)

 

🎙Your lesson, should you choose to accept it, is to become more culturally competent🌏 by exploring research📙 on the varied educational📝 attitudes and experiences of Asian-American immigrants🔑. The special agent🕵🏽‍♂️assigned to help you with this task is Dr. Pawan Dhingra of Amherst College.

 

In our conversation we discuss:

1️⃣ What Pawan has learned through his research of how some Asian immigrant parents and their children view American school systems

2️⃣ How teachers can navigate relationships with parents when educational attitudes aren’t in sync (and how they may be more aligned than we realize)

3️⃣ Becoming a more culturally competent teacher and communicator

 

Click here for more details about our conversation, links mentioned in the episode, and more information about the podcast.

Agent Kari Pitstick (Reaching Reluctant Readers)

🎙 Your lesson, should you choose to accept it, is instill a love❤️ of books📚 in even the most reluctant😩reader. The special agent🕵🏻‍♀️ assigned to help you with this task is middle school teacher Kari Pitstick of Illinois.

 

In our conversation we discuss:

1️⃣ Strategies to help students develop a love of reading

2️⃣ Helping students find appropriate books (content and reading level)

3️⃣ Why she’ll never give up silent reading time

 

Click here for more details about our conversation, links mentioned in the episode, and more information about the podcast.

Agent Steve Capone (Interdisciplinary Teaching)

🎙Your lesson, should you choose to accept it, is to work with colleagues👩🏼‍🏫🧑🏽‍🏫  from different subject areas👩🏾‍🔬👨🏼‍🎨 to create interdisciplinary units 🔢📝🔬  for students. The special agent🕵️‍♂️  assigned to help you with this task is Steve Capone of Utah.

In our conversation we discuss:

1️⃣  How Steve and his team create, plan, implement, teach, and then assess cross-curricular units

2️⃣  The importance of maintaining relationships when collaborating in a multi-disciplinary team

3️⃣  The ways that freeing himself from traditional educational structures have improved his practice

 

Click here for more details about our conversation, links mentioned in the episode, and more information about the podcast.

Agent Shelby Strong (Stop Trashing Math)

🎙Your lesson, should you choose to accept it, is to celebrate🎉 math🔢 in front of your students as a joyful😃, relevant🗺, and inclusive❤️ subject. The special agent🕵🏻‍♀️ assigned to help you with this task is Shelby Strong of New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

In our conversation we discuss:

1️⃣ How “I’m not a math person” is rooted in historical inequities and self-protection

2️⃣ Why the narrative we’ve accepted about math being objective and based in rote memorization is completely false

3️⃣ The joy of disrupting how math is taught and perceived in schools

 

You can find the original Twitter thread here. Click here for more details about our conversation, links mentioned in the episode, and more information about the podcast.

 

Please consider rating or reviewing Lesson: Impossible on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox, or your preferred podcast platform.

 

Agent Michael Weingarth (Neurodiversity)

🎙Your lesson, should you choose to accept it, is to support neurodiverse learners👦🏽👩🏾‍🦱👱🏼‍♀️ by better understanding how their brains work 🧠. The special agent🕵️‍♂️ assigned to help you with this task is Michael Weingarth of Connecticut.

In our conversation we discuss:

1️⃣ Why we need to assume all learners have undiagnosed learning differences and how our brains work when processing new information

2️⃣ The systematic issues that create a fundamentally flawed educational infrastructure for neurodiverse learners

3️⃣ What we need to be doing to help students succeed on the micro and macro level

Click here for more details about our conversation, links mentioned in the episode, and more information about the podcast.

Please consider rating or reviewing Lesson: Impossible on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox, or your preferred podcast platform.

Agent Craig Frehlich (Virtual Reality)

 

🎙 Your lesson, should you choose to accept it, is to incorporate virtual reality👾 into your classroom👨🏻‍🏫🧑🏽‍🏫 to enhance student learning🎓. The special agent🕵️‍♂️ assigned to help you with this task is Craig Frehlich of the Canadian International School in Singapore.

In our conversation we discuss:

1️⃣ Why VR is a great choice for enriching the curriculum, and current programs that Craig recommends for classroom use

2️⃣ Staying CRISP: VR applications should connect to a concept and to real life, they should be integrative, linked to standards, and carefully planned

3️⃣ How to set up VR in the classroom for a safe, meaningful experience (and some future ethical concerns)

 

Click here for more details about our conversation, links to programs and books mentioned in the episode, and more information about the podcast.

 

Please consider rating or reviewing Lesson: Impossible on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Castbox, or your preferred podcast platform.

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