134 episodes

It is my great pleasure to publish this weekly podcast that supplements my book "Hacking Engagement". Listen and get creative ideas on how to engage students tomorrow! Please visit my website: http://jamesalansturtevant.com/ And...for a cornucopia of teacher empowerment resources, visit: http://hacklearning.org/

James Sturtevant Hacking Engagement James Sturtevant

    • Courses
    • 5.0, 44 Ratings

It is my great pleasure to publish this weekly podcast that supplements my book "Hacking Engagement". Listen and get creative ideas on how to engage students tomorrow! Please visit my website: http://jamesalansturtevant.com/ And...for a cornucopia of teacher empowerment resources, visit: http://hacklearning.org/

    133 Restorative Practices and Trauma Informed Teaching...Starring Dora Riggs

    133 Restorative Practices and Trauma Informed Teaching...Starring Dora Riggs

    I enjoy conducting professional development, particularly when I’m commissioned to present on teacher wellbeing. I take the audience on a journey of various challenges a teacher faces during different stages of a 30 year career. Because I logged 34 years in a public school classroom, I have plenty of material. I enjoy describing my struggles at various junctures. Generally, I recreate a challenge that was unique to a phase I was navigating. Rarely in these stories, am I the hero. I love to talk about learning valuable lessons–that I often learned the hard way.

    One such lesson happened 7 years into teaching. I call it my 7-year-itch lesson. I was 32, and I felt stymied. All the incentives in education were internal. Your compensation was based on experience and education level. There were darned few avenues of advancement. You could become an administrator, or a head coach, but neither of those options appealed to me. I felt trapped. So I left teaching and went into the private sector where I’d be compensated based on what I did, not who I was.

    I have a good skill set for being successful in sales. But just because one has potential, does not mean one should select a certain career path. I had no idea how much I’d miss my students. The interactions I had with sales clients could not compare. These interactions were highly transactional and sometimes confrontational. I desperately missed my students and went hightailing it back.

    This experience was immensely valuable, because I learned that my love for the relationships that blossomed between students and me far out shadowed frustrations I had with the job. My sabbatical, consequently, was hugely beneficial to my wellbeing.

    I bring this up, because today I’ll interview a teacher that took such a similar hyattus. This episode is also special because Dora Riggs used to be my student. She not only left a cushy teaching gig in an affluent suburban high school, but she returned to an urban district. Her students and the community where she now teaches, while only 10 miles from her previous school, could not be more different. Dora will talk about her teacher gap year–and more interestingly how it and her new surroundings have impacted her. She loves her new school. She’s become a trauma informed teacher and a disciple of restorative practices. She’s a different teacher–a more empathetic teacher. Dora is going to explain why and how.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    132-Coach Mike Burgener and the Quest for Mentors

    132-Coach Mike Burgener and the Quest for Mentors

    When I retired from teaching high school last year, I worried about losing all of the social interaction that I got from teaching 150 students daily. So, I secured an adjunct position teaching aspiring educators at Muskingum University. I also teach refugees how to speak English. These teaching gigs have been a joy, but it’s a different life because I’m only teaching 3 days a week–which is also a joy. My new-found freedom affords me the opportunity to explore, grow, and take risks. I also want to keep expanding my human capital. Relationships make life worth living and I love forging new ones.

    One area of growth that I’ve been exploring this year is fitness. I have so much more time to workout now and I love it. I researched ways that I could challenge myself physically and grow myself socially. At the end of my exploration, I concluded that I should join a Crossfit gym. Crossfit significantly challenges you physically and promotes community. Crossfit gyms are highly social places. That was exactly what I was looking for.

    I found an excellent local gym–Crossfit Polaris . Kristi Eramo is the owner and a prominent games athlete. I love her teaching style and was excited to learn from her and the other coaches at Polaris. Unfortunately, the Covid 19 Pandemic short-circuited my plans. After just 3 introductory classes, the gym was forced to close. I was left high and dry.

    So, I got busy coaching myself. I pulled the workout of the day (WOD) off the Crossfit site and started doing them. I watched training videos and listened to podcasts hoping to improve my olympic lifting form. Lifting is a key part to Crossfit. I decided that I was going to take one of the most challenging olympic lifts–the snatch, and learn how to do it. Here’s a description of a snatch:
    The snatch can be described as jumping a barbell through a range of motion and receiving it into an overhead squat.

    And here’s a brief video if you’d like to see a young woman perform one expertly. You have to be strong, mobile, explosive, coordinated, and courageous to perform this lift. I’m starting from ground zero, but I’m determined to learn this lift.

    When I searched for Olympic lifting techniques on Google, YouTube, and podcasts, one name kept materializing–Mike Burgener. Now all of you who’re inclined to exit this podcast because you’re not interested in learning about performing an olympic snatch, stop yourself. This program is not about lifting, it’s about teaching. And Mike Burgener is one of this nation’s premier educators. Here’s a bit about Coach Burgener:

    He has a BA from Notre Dame and played on their 1966 National Championship Football Team.
    He has an MS from the University of Kentucky in Exercise Physiology, where he was also the strength coach.
    He was a captain in the Marine Corps.
    He’s a Senior International Weightlifting Coach for the United States.
    He’s considered the Godfather of Olympic Lifting for Crossfit.
    And for decades, Coach Burgener was a proud public educator–teaching high school physical education in California.

    I got to know Coach Burgener because I sent him an email asking a question. The next thing I knew, I was in his Level 1 weightlifting class. This is a special man and he’s going to talk about his mentors and challenge you to not only listen to the ones you already have but to be open to new ones.

    • 1 hr 4 min
    131-Remind, Voxer, and YouTube have become my CoronaVirus Allstars

    131-Remind, Voxer, and YouTube have become my CoronaVirus Allstars

    I just checked the human toll of Coronavirus before I wrote this sentence. The US is on the verge of 20,000 deaths and the world has surpassed 100,000. It’s been awful to watch these numbers climb. And I, like hopefully you, remain isolated in my home reading way too many news stories about what’s going on in largely isolated cities and towns and overcrowded hospitals. The whole thing is sad, weird, and unsettling.

    I will say, however that during this dark time, I’ve gotten myself into a routine with some positives. I’m getting more sleep because I don’t have to set an alarm. I’m eating healthy because my wife and I prepare every meal, with the exception of our once a week pizza night. I workout for 90 minutes most days. And my wife and I enjoy sitting down and watching a program together each night before bed.

    But those are the only positives I can muster. Man do I miss interacting with people. I get really sick of interacting on my computer or phone and also sitting at my desk. I’m seriously thinking about purchasing a standing desk just to keep moving. Now if you’re getting sick of social distancing–think how sick your students are of navigating online lessons. Sadly, they have a ways to go till school is out.

    This situation reminds me of a January in the late 1970s. I was in high school and the Midwest got clobbered by a catastrophic blizzard. We were out of school for a month. There was no interaction between the school and students at home. There was no internet and no social media. My friends were able to walk to one another’s houses. There was no social distancing, but the snowy environment did lead to a lot of cabin fever. My friends and I treated the entire time like summer vacation. We played in the snow for a month and forgot about school work. We desperately missed seeing our friends and going to basketball games and school dances, but otherwise we just rolled with it. Please remember that although your students are probably bored, given the option between watching Netflix or doing school work, for many, would be an easy choice. When crafting lessons, starting from that understanding will help.

    I recently participated in a Times 10 Roundtable Webinar offering ideas for teachers on how they could instruct their students remotely during this bizarre time. I was joined on the panel by Joe Sanfelippo a superintendent from Wisconsin and Chrissy Romano-Arrabito an elementary teacher from New Jersey. The panel was moderated by Mark Barnes who’s the founder of Times 10 Publications. The discussion was well balanced because we got a broad perspective from Joe, and a younger student and economically disadvantaged perspective from Chrissy. I focused on specific ways you could stay connected with students. I’ll expand on those ideas in this episode.

    I’ll focus on 3 tools that can maintain and perhaps facilitate deeper relationships with your kids during this challenge. These platforms will also help you teach your classes. I’ll offer these tools as suggestions, if you have something you’ve utilized that works better for you, go for it. I’m more interested in ends and not means.

    • 12 min
    130-If you’re Forced to Teach Online due to the Coronavirus–Here’s a Template that Embraces Bloom’s Taxonomy

    130-If you’re Forced to Teach Online due to the Coronavirus–Here’s a Template that Embraces Bloom’s Taxonomy

    Well, for at least the next 2 weeks, I’m forced to teach my class in a virtual fashion. All teachers in the great state of Ohio are in the same boat.

    A few years back, Columbus State Community College commissioned me to create an online version of one of their history classes. It was a tremendous learning experience. When I embarked on that journey, I kept reciting a mantra, Make lessons impactful and engaging. I was able to achieve this throughout the creation process and it’s guiding my efforts over the next few weeks.

    I learned last week that Muskingum, like all higher ed institutions in Ohio, would be closed until the end of March. My experience creating online content gave me a dose of confidence that I could weather this storm. In this episode, I’ll share my template. This template is grounded in Bloom’s Taxonomy and you can use it every week until the crisis eases and we get back to normal.

    • 15 min
    129-How to Prevent Students from Reaching Their Quit Point...Starring Adam Chamberlin and Svetoslav Metijic

    129-How to Prevent Students from Reaching Their Quit Point...Starring Adam Chamberlin and Svetoslav Metijic

    I always referred to February as the Dog Days of Education. The weather, at least for those of us who reside in the northeastern quadrant of these here United States, is pretty bleak. Any newness of the second semester is long gone. As the weather warms, at least just a bit, your opportunities for snow days diminishes and even if it’s still frigid and snowy, perhaps you’ve already used your allotted quota. Spring break, that magical academic elixir, is still a ways off. Students, teachers, and even administrators are starting to get, as my mom used to say, a bit bucky. All of these factors make the topic of this episode a perfect antidote for the February blahs.

    About a month ago, my publisher Mark Barnes tasked me to evaluate some of x10 Publishing’s books. One of my assignments was to assess Quit Point. As part of the review process, I first checked out the Amazon author’s page. I was floored to learn that Adam Chamberlin and Svetoslav Metijic live only 20 miles from me. My old school competes against theirs in sports frequently. Because of our proximity, I was immediately intrigued by these guys. I was further intrigued as I reviewed their book.

    Quit Point is all about how teachers can spot when students are about to give up and then what teachers can do about it. I cannot imagine any educator who possesses an ounce of empathy not being fascinated with this topic. And isn’t mid February a perfect time to take action when the symptoms of apathy are often acute? If you feel that way...and hopefully you do, please give this episode a try and then check out these guy’s book. As you listen to them articulate their ideas, I’m certain you’ll find them engaging, funny, and totally on point.

    • 40 min
    128-Learn Progress Monitoring by Juggling Bean Bags...Starring Ryan McLane

    128-Learn Progress Monitoring by Juggling Bean Bags...Starring Ryan McLane

    The State of Ohio, where I’ve taught my entire career, is not unique. Students in certain classes that the state considers essential are subject to end of course exams. Student performance on these standardized assessments are a key ingredient in their instructor’s evaluation. If you teach one of those classes, you’re hopefully all about progress monitoring. The last thing you want is to get a terrible surprise when your student’s performances materialize. Throughout the semester, you want to make darned sure your kids are on track.

    I was one of those teachers, however, that did not have a state-mandated end of course exam. I taught electives. In Ohio, the alternative for teachers who teach electives is for them to complete an SLO–which stands for Student Learning Objective. You were asked to demonstrate with data that your students grew during your class. Sadly, and I feel badly confessing this, this requirement was a bit of a joke. All you had to do was to give a really hard preassessment. The students would struggle on this benchmark and then do much better on their finals. It was therefore easy to demonstrate with data student growth.

    As a consequence, and once again I’m not proud to admit this, I didn’t do much progress monitoring in my elective classes. I felt really guilty about my past efforts when I began teaching assessment to college students. I was upfront about my slacker efforts in the past and I then became passionate about encouraging my future educators to frequently monitor student progress regardless of their curriculum.

    To help in this endeavor, I brought in a guru. Ryan McLane was a high school social studies teacher, the principal at a middle school, the principal of an intermediate building, and now he’s an elementary principal and the district director of special education. He’s also the author of Your School Rocks. He’s observed, managed, and conducted progress monitoring at various levels and in diverse subjects. He also does a magnificent PD on progress monitoring. My students loved his presentation, but more importantly, they felt empowered. They’re now anxious to answer the following questions in their upcoming job interviews:
    How do you know if students are learning?
    What are you going to do for those who struggle?

    These are important questions for any teacher–particularly if you teach an elective. Ryan will talk in this episode about how elective teachers can become progress monitoring officinados. And before you start wondering, This is a podcast on engagement. What does progress monitoring have to do with that? Stay tuned. Ryan is all about engagement. He’s going to explain how you can take a concept that seems dry and clinical–progress monitoring, and make it engaging and empowering for students and teachers.

    • 37 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
44 Ratings

44 Ratings

Ramen Felumlee ,


My brother got on the podcast. We are famous.

PdubyaTech ,

Great advice

This podcast is perfect for getting quick tips and tricks to better engage your students. Being a tech coach I really appreciate how he also covers different tech tools that aren’t just bells and whistles but solid integration to reinforce standards and deeper learning.

MP - 4th Grade ,

A must listen!

Phenomenal- an absolute must listen for anyone looking for ways to highlight student engagement. Insightful and practical tips that can be used tomorrow!

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