Dealing with the fear of being a boring teacher.


The Bacon-Wrapped Lessons Workshop

My new job is awesome. In the afternoons, I work for a local media company as a community builder.

I had no idea what that was, until I started doing it. Basically, my job is to take teachers, parents, legislators, and students who have cool ideas about education, and a mash them all together at parties, meet-ups, workshops, and whatever elses.

We’re sending adults back to school in what we’re dubbing “The Billy Madison Project.” The results are telling, and the story is forthcoming.

We’re building a searchable database of every educator in Iowa so that people can find each other and collaborate easier.

But I’m most excited about the Cadillac-of-workshops we have planned for February:

As the website indicates, this won’t be your sit-and-nod kind of workshop.

The first thing we’re going to do is compile all the attendees’ best lessons into one database and index them by content standards.

Then we’re going to attack the worst standards, design lessons, and learn new tricks–spend that time learning GIMP or Arduino or doing whatever it is you wish you had to time process for class.

Maybe it’s putting together that census data set you’ve always dreamed of. Maybe you just want to talk with the 60 other participants about how they get kids to really grock the amazingness of DNA.

Then we’ll attack a set of interesting prompts, we’ll explore where students want to take them, and how we can reconcile that with where teachers wish they would go. For instance, there’s a metric boat load of places this article about forced perspective in The Hobbit could take students; how do we make those lessons hum?

Oh! Did I mention that @ddmeyer will be coaching via Skype? @nashworld will be there in person! And @21stcenturychem too! And me! And @mctownsley, and Iowa all-stars, @tracepick and @B_Wagoner and Jerrid M.F. Kruse!

This is going to be awesome–translation–there will be bacon at every meal.

We’ll have a live panel of students and parents there to vet lessons as they’re designed; we’re lovingly calling it our “Shark Tank.”

We’ll put all our lessons together into one package and leave with almost 100 lesson ideas that participants will be able to roll out immediately.




Shawn Cornally • December 5, 2012

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