Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Welcome Edu-fans!!! My name is Bazz and I am the proud principal of Pershing Elementary School. I just gotta start by telling you to stop reading this blog for a hot-second and open up your Amazon account and order this book if you don't already own it! You seriously must do it immediately! Hacking Engagement should be a part of every educators toolbox! It is one of these easiest reads ever and each hack on engagement gets better and better! James Alan Sturtevant is a genius for compiling all of these exceptional tools in one place! Alright, without further ado, let me take you through Hacks 41-45! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! 

HACK #41 Gather Students Around the Campfire

Who doesn't love a great story, right? Yes! We all love to hear stories because we connect to them! We latch on to the characters in the story and can often relate to them. The little old lady that reminds us of our great-grandma or the spunky little girl that in our minds could be our little sister. We could all use a few more stories in our lives....Students on the other hand, don't always get the storytelling aspect of presenting information. Hack 41 is all about creating better storytellers in students so that their presentations aren't so very mundane and robotic. I can recall being in my 5th grade class and being so excited to see my students gathering information on their chosen topics, watching them learn new information about a person or topic they were studying. I would think to myself how proud I was of their effort, and then the dread would set in... "At some point I am going to have to read all these papers, or listen to all these presentations!' In Hack 41, Sturtevant says we need to "challenge our students to harness the power of a great story.' "Build a campfire" in your room and let students get creative with the stories they tell! Talk to students about why some stories make them want to listen! Engage your kiddos in being the storytellers in the calssroom! THE HACK: COMMISSION STUDENTS TO ENGAGE CLASSMATES WITH STORIES

Check-out the pics of Mrs. Bacol's 3rd grade classroom. She had a slightly different way of incorporating her classroom campfire! The kiddos pretended they were at a campfire and read with flashlights. On each flame students wrote different facts about an animal and then threw them into the fire! Each student was asked to pick three flames and create a story based on the facts on their flames! What an engaging way to get kids sharing, creating, and storytelling, not just presenting!


HACK #42 Corral the Word "Like"

This hack will take a little courage on your part! You will have to search for your inner Brene' Brown and be a bit vulnerable with your kids but it will be worth it in the end! Make sure your students know you are human! Sounds simple, right? It really is! Your students need to know that you can make mistakes, be wrong, and get embarrassed! In fact Sturtevant says we should be asking for our students to help us with a bad habit, all in the name of creating relationships and bonding! THE HACK: DEPUTIZE YOUR STUDENTS TO HELP YOU BREALK AN ANNOYING HABIT

Things you can do tomorrow...
  • Identify an innocent personal habit or tendency.
  • Announce your goal to students.
  • Challenge students to confess an annoying habit they'd like to eliminate.

HACK #43 Surround Yourself with Ancient Greeks

Creating a safe and trusting culture in a classroom is no easy task. As a teacher you have to be pretty deliberate about it. It's especially important when complex topics arise and we need to hear from our students. This is unfortunately when most students decide to take a back seat and be more passive in the learning process. Sturtevant's 43rd hack requires students challenging one another for the good of the group. Making sure that students understand that questioning or challenging one another's ideas and how we think is a great way to learn. THE HACK: CONDUCT A SOCRATIC CIRCLE

Things you can do tomorrow...
  • Identify upcoming meaty, complex topic for Socratic Circle.
  • Create a number of thought-provoking prompts & provide them to the students prior to discussion.
  • Intervene ONLY when absolutely necessary.
Check-out pg. 174 for a killer resource from Matt Copeland's book Socratic Circles
QR code 43.1

HACK #44 Show-&-Tell 2.0: The Open Mic

Had this hack been around when I was in school, my life would have felt complete! I love me a microphone in my hand, just ask my friends! Creating opportunities for your students to showcase their talents can really create a "family-like atmosphere" that every classroom really needs. Performing in front of your peers and being not only accepted, but celebrated for it can completely change the dynamic of the classroom. Feeling like you belong will up the engagement level in any room. This absolutely takes some behind the scenes work on the teachers part to make sure the students understand the importance of acceptance and trust. THE HACK: CREATE THE OPEN MIC DAY IN YOUR CLASS  Make sure to scan QR code 44.1 to hear Jennifer Gonzalez and James Alan Sturtevant discuss the idea of THE OPEN MIC on the Hacking Engagement podcast. Oh and in case you are thinking of investing in the perfect mic for your classroom, this is the one I have! Enjoy! 

Things you can do tomorrow....
  • Approach an outgoing kid about the idea.
  • Prompt students with an anonymous survey.
  • Turn it into a guessing game.
  • Promote The Open Mic.

HACK #45 Mandate Meritocracy Mondays

Extrinsically rewarding students has gotten a bad rap but I don't think it always should. Hack 45 made me see the positive spin it could have on a classroom of learners. Yes, we want students to be intrinsically motivated but adding an incentive day to your week will most likely up engagement and also be just what your students needed. Students can be rewarded for any number of things from effort, to kindness, to how helpful the feedback given may have been. Clearly you would know what would work for your class.  THE HACK: INSTITUTE MERITOCRACY MONDAYS This can obviously work on any day of the week. What I liked about this hack were the ideas they gave for incentives...A chance to eliminate one question from the next assignment, A heart-felt compliment, a special seat in the room, maybe even a badge of honor to be worn all day? The rewards don't need to be costly and shouldn't interfere with learning. Everyone appreciates being recognized for a job well done. Why not create a day in your classroom when you are very deliberate about letting your students know how proud you are of their accomplishments?  

Things you can do tomorrow....
  • Create cool titles for Monday through Friday.
  • Compose a list of reward options.
  • Complete a Bonus Day Bonanza Survey. 
  • Share the results.
  • Plan games.

Well this is where we part ways! I hope you enjoyed reading my spin on Sturtevant's hacks and I especially hope I have enticed you to pick up the book and read through all his engagement hacks. They really are THINGS YOU CAN DO TOMORROW, so quick and easy! Thanks for checking out my blog and please feel free to leave a comment! I am always in the mood for some feedback! Have a great day everyone and remember to check out Krisitin Richey's Blog on Nov. 9th as she creatively brings this session of our #D100BloggerPD to a close! 



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