Join Barbara Bray in her conversations with inspirational educators, thought leaders, and change agents to define their WHY and reflect on how they learned from their experiences and challenges. Each conversation is complemented with a post on her site that includes images, videos, links, and more that illustrate the stories of their lives. Join Barbara and her special guests as they share their personal journeys that will inspire you, touch your heart, and might even touch your heart.
Episode #117: Sparking Back a Love of Learning through Play with Katherine Mengardon
Katherine Mengardon is an education innovator and writer with 20 years of experience in developing online innovative education programs and resources. She is the author of the three Little Inventors non-fiction children’s books published by HarperCollins.
I have been developing educational programs for the past 20 years, working on innovative online resources that bring a real-life element to the classroom. For the past 4 years, I was also Chief Educator at Little Inventors.
Video on Don’t Stop Until you Play Enough
Being an artist/illustrator
My work mainly centers on capturing the essence of people and translating that into drawings – I do a lot of bespoke portraits, such as family portraits and family trees, or celebrities. I work from ordinary photos and work a composite image of my subjects.
I also do cat illustration, and my cat album covers (catified versions of the Beatles, Nick Cave, Blondie, Blur, Gainsbourg, Miles David, and more) were featured as part of the Meow Exhibition IV in Leuven for the MidZommer festival 2013 at the M Museum (major contemporary museum in Belgium). I have lots of Instagrams for my photography, baking, illustration, and also a funny page of translating famous album covers in French – U2 is toi aussi, Patti Smith is Patricia Lefevre and the Rolling Stones les pierres qui roulent… Instagram KaruskiColors
What are some of the products you worked on and organizations you have worked with?
I have worked on groundbreaking innovative classroom resources for the BBC, Google, Cartoon Network, GSK, NatWest, Little Inventors, Pearson, and Nesta to name a few. My aim is to open children’s eyes and minds to a new fun way of learning and give them the tools to prepare for a bright future.
Chief Educator and Head of Operations of Little Inventors
Little Inventors is a creative education company – its aim is to inspire children to use their imagination to think up ingenious invention ideas, then work with artists, makers, and designers to bring the most ingenious children’s ideas to life – and develop essential creativity life skills in the process!
The family scooter by wendy age 9
We launch challenges across the world with incredible partners (museums, brands, cultural powerhouses, and celebrities) and beyond – the Canadian government and the Canadian Space Agency even sent our little inventors’ ideas into space!
As part of the Little Inventors team, I looked after all content, including very popular educational programs. I have written numerous STEAM school educational resources for our high-profile partners: the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Natural Science and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Space Agency, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Mr Men and Little Miss, Disney, Ocado, and several high profile Arts Council-funded projects.
Episode #116: Evolving to Relentlessly Rethink Learning with Lainie Rowell
Lainie Rowell is an educator, author, podcaster, and international speaker. As a consultant, Lainie’s client list ranges from Fortune 100 companies like Apple and Google to school districts and independent schools. She is a TEDx speaker and has been a consultant for the Orange County Department of Education since 2014. Lainie is also the co-host of the Lemonade Learning Podcast.
For more than 23 years in education, I have taught elementary, secondary, and higher education. I also served in a district-level leadership position supporting 22,000 students and 1,200 teachers at 33 schools. Since 2014, Lainie has been a consultant for the Orange County Department of Education’s Institute for Leadership Development facilitating professional learning for administrators. As a consultant, I specialize in working with other educators to find innovative and sustainable ways to transform teaching and learning.
Learn like a kid: Lainie Rowell
What it was like for you as a student
My K-12 experience was not one of a motivated student. I preferred to focus on sports and the social aspects of school. As a psychology major, I started volunteering at a non-public school for learners with special needs. That is where I fell in love with working with kids and immediately decided to become a teacher which, given my focus on academics in K-12, shocked my entire family.
Your book, Evolving Learner, is packed full of research, resources, and activities. Can you provide an overview and why you wrote it?
I co-authored Evolving Learner with Kristy Andre and Lauren Steinmann. We set out to write Evolving Learner because we wanted to curate the most innovative, effective, and sustainable approaches to professional learning. A huge part of that journey was clarity on three big ideas:
We must be willing to learn from kids, peers, and the world.
Continuous improvement through cycles of inquiry is the most effective form of professional learning.
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is essential for ALL learners, both kids, and adults.
I love your Lemonade Learning Podcast you do with Brianna Hodges. Tell us about your journey.
Lemonade Learning is a refreshing look at learning today. We serve up high-impact, practical strategies, alongside honest and energizing stories to help educators.
*Check out the trailer here!
My article on Edutopia
3 SEL Practices Teachers can Use Every Day
Lainie’s Contact Information
Episode #115: Listen Courageously to the WHY Behind the Story with Juliana Tafur
Juliana Tafur is an award-winning filmmaker and workshop creator devoted to using films to facilitate experiences that promote understanding and foster human connection. She has been on a listening journey for the past four years. First, as she produced/directed the documentary “List(e)n” and later as she created the Listen Courageously movement. Now, she facilitates workshops on the power of navigating our differences through listening, alongside her team. She runs Orkidea Films which is at the intersection of filmmaking, movement-building, and workshop training.
Juliana’s life experiences have naturally led her to the work she does today. She’s Colombian-American, and her family moved from Colombia to the United States seeking political asylum when she was 15. She was not able to go back to Colombia until twelve years later. During her college years at Northwestern, where she studied Journalism, she did an exchange in Egypt and later went back to do a story on the Sudanese refugees in Cairo.
This was the beginning of her career in documentary filmmaking. Juliana has traveled across the world finding the human side to every story for most of the major cable networks – but notably National Geographic and Discovery. She’s profiled some of the most resilient individuals in the Americas, like people who live off recyclables in the biggest trash dump in Guatemala City, and lived under extreme conditions for productions in Peru’s guano islands, the Amazon rainforest, and the Uyuni Salt Flats – to name a few. Juliana Tafur’s films use psychology as a means to understand the world, drawing on her own upbringing by two psychologists.
Orkidea Films specialize in the creative development and execution of documentaries and series with societal impact. Their mission is to use the power of a good story. With over 15+ years of expertise in TV and filmmaking, they bridge worlds, ignite action, and bring about change. Their films are known to spark movements with social impact virtual programs offered across universities, organizations, and corporations.
List(en) Courageously Film
List(e)n (80 minutes) invites people with opposing viewpoints on some of our most divisive issues – guns, abortion, and immigration — to listen to each other. The documentary features participants whose personal lives deeply intertwine with the topics, including one of the survivors of the Parkland, FL school shooting.
“List(e)n revealed how by ‘seeing’ our ‘enemies’ eye-to-eye, our judgment can dissolve, and we can heal our divides and mend our hearts. Listen Courageously, in turn, has shown that our perceptions don’t identify us and that as humans we can strive for meaningful connections, regardless of what may ‘separate us’. Recognizing that the ‘us vs them’ mentality hasn’t served us is the first step to long-lasting change.” ~Juliana Tafur
Pitch for “List(en)”
Podcast Episode #114: Human-Centered Learning with Katherine Prince
One of the United States’ foremost educational futurists, Katherine Prince leads KnowledgeWorks’ exploration of the future of learning. As Vice President of Strategic Foresight, she speaks and writes about the trends shaping education over the next decade and helps education stakeholders strategize about how to become active agents of change in pursuing their ideal visions for the future learning ecosystem.
Before joining KnowledgeWorks in 2006, Katherine supported large-scale changes in working practice at Britain’s Open University and helped federal agencies and other clients increase service quality by incorporating a customer perspective into their organizational planning.
Katherine holds a BA in English from Ohio Wesleyan University; an MA in English from the University of Iowa; and an MBA from The Open University with emphases on creativity, innovation, and change and on knowledge management. She also earned a certificate in Foresight from the University of Houston. Katherine serves on the board of trustees of the Union Institute and University and is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists.
Since 2007, Katherine has worked with education stakeholders around the country to explore how they might transform education to create better possibilities for all young people. For the last fourteen years, Katherine has worked at KnowledgeWorks, a non-profit social enterprise that seeks to foster meaningful personalized learning that enables every student to thrive in college, career, and civic life. As Senior Director, Strategic Foresight, she leads the work on the future of learning.
Katherine and her colleagues look ten years out to explore how trends shaping education today might impact learning. About every three years, they publish a full forecast on the future of learning (see Recombinant Education: Regenerating the Learning Ecosystem). They use those insights as to the basis for working with education stakeholders around the country to examine strategic possibilities and to explore how each of us might act as agents of change in creating positive futures for all young people. They also produce other publications and provocations to help people explore the implications of future trends.
In addition to helping others consider strategic possibilities, Katherine gest to dream herself. In November 2015, she had the chance to share her personal vision for the future of learning as part of TEDxColumbus. Her talk, “A Vision for Radically Personalized Learning,” explored the possibility of truly putting students at the center of the expanding learning ecosystem.
Katherine Prince has been leading KnowledgeWorks’ efforts to explore the future of learning for some time now, exploring different possibilities. The newest paper she helped author goes one step further by asserting hope for the future with a href="https://knowledgeworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Envisioning-Human-Centered-Lea...
Reflection #14 on Why I Can Learn When I’m Moving with Nicole Biscotti and her son, Jason
Nicole Biscotti wrote “I Can Learn When I’m Moving: Going to School With ADHD” http://bit.ly/icanlearnwhenimove with her 9-year-old son, Jason, from the unique perspectives of a child and a mother who is also a teacher. She has seen both personally and professionally how children struggle to be understood and how adults are often at a loss with how to handle the difficult behaviors associated with ADHD. She empowers parents and teachers to provide game-changing support for children with ADHD in school through sharing her and her son’s story, along with researched-based strategies. Jason was 10 when we did this podcast. I’m so impressed with Jason and his mom. Enjoy our conversation!
Nicole, I read your book. Teachers and parents really need this. It’s amazing that there is such a lack of information about ADHD. Is that why you decided to write this book with Jason?
I don’t think that my intentions were so clear to me when I began. We used to journal as a way for Jason to calm down when he was upset. As we continued journaling, I began to realize that Jason was telling a story. As I progressed in my own learning about ADHD, I began to realize how unheard children like Jason are in school and how much support is lacking. This really compelled me to complete the book and to try to address how we could fill that gap of support.
Jason, why did you want to write this book with your mom?
It helped me to release my anger and it helped me share my story.
What does it feel like to be a child in a classroom with ADHD in a society that barely recognizes it? Jason, can you share some experiences you had in school? Then let’s talk about one or more situations that happened. Jason, what did you learn from these experiences.
Some teachers get angry about my behavior and I know it’s difficult but I don’t really mean to be bad, I just have trouble controlling my anger and my energy sometimes. Anyways, sometimes those teachers don’t like me. It makes me madder when I know this because I can read people pretty well.
I learned so much about ADHD from your book. Maybe we better define what ADHD is.
ADHD is a neurological condition that can present itself in many ways. Simply stated, Jason’s brain works differently than a neurotypical brain does. The more I learned about ADHD, the less I like calling it a “disorder” or “condition” because ADHDers are brilliant, they just need support to shine academically.
Nicole, how did you react to these experiences? (we can take each of the experiences separately) Maybe mention the myths of ADHD and have Jason respond to any of them.
They are difficult because I try to get Jason to not take it personally but it’s also hard for me to not take it personally. At times, I’ve denied it to him but then had to apologize later because I really wasn’t being honest with him. Actually, there has been a couple of times when I didn’t believe Jason but then realized that his instincts were correct.
What is meaningful inclusion you mentioned in the book?
Meaningful Inclusion – Inclusion began formally and legally in the 1970s. It has taken a long time to really happen and eventually what it has largely become is everyone together without adequate training or support for kids with and without disabilities. Meaningful Inclusion, in which we include the voices of children with learning differences and give kids the opportunity to know how to relate to children with different challenges or ways of thinking is a very rich opportunity for all of society.
How do you see your book helping teachers? Students, that have ADHD? All students?
I think this book can help teachers and students with and without ADHD. We ultimately need more awareness for everyone to be able to successfully relate to one another in a...
Episode #113: Be the Change You Wish to Make! with Natalie Reeves Billing
Natalie Reeves Billing lives in Liverpool, UK, and is an inspirational teacher, creative author. lyricist, and social entrepreneur. She was the Gold & Silver UK Mums TV’s Mums Choice Awards Winner 2020 for her Monstrous Me’ Children’s Book Series & Ben and The Bug.
Natalie Reeves Billing is a Liverpool girl with a wicked sense of humor. She writes fantastical stories for young audiences. Natalie enjoys map making, pranking people, and munching on jelly beans. She lives in an old farmhouse in Merseyside with her husband, children, and fluffy dog, Scoobs.
Natalie is a fellow of the School of Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) and a member of The Golden Egg Academy. She mentors under the Lloyds Bank SSE program, and Liverpool Editing Company. She is published in several anthologies, including Writing on the Wall and 8N Publishing USA.
Natalie’s Vision and Mission
Natalie’s vision is of a world where education is free and accessible for all children, regardless of learning barriers or socio-economic factors. She believes social enterprise is the best chance of creating a fairer, kinder world. Her mission is to achieve that through enriched reading and learning systems, using creativity and storytelling as a tool for catharsis, learning, and personal growth. Natalie is currently delivering virtual workshops across Merseyside.
Tour of her stable house in Merseyside
Natalie took me on a tour of her stable house. Make sure you enlarge the video so you can really experience her tour. Enjoy!
Natalie released three children’s picture books and two anthologies during the pandemic, two winning gold and silver in national awards. Her books are on permanent display in the Museum of Liverpool, and she was recently listed as one of Explore Liverpool’s, ‘Faces of Liverpool’
Winning the UK Mums TV’s Mums Choice Award for 2020
Natalie’s new book
Natalie has a new book in her Monstrous Me series launching March 4th, 2021. Make sure you check out her Twitter handle that day where she will be sharing videos all day.
“My sister’s a monster that no one can see,
And nobody knows but my best friend and me.
I told Dad, but really, he hasn’t a clue,
For Dad only sees what Sis wants him to.”
Bird’s Eye View Project
The ambitious ‘Bird’s Eye View’ project is aimed at supporting 2020 visually impaired children and young people into employment by 2030 and is part of #LiverpoolWrites (a celebration of writing in all its forms).
Natalie will be working alongside a local comic book artist and teaching assistant at St. Vincent’s, Eevee Fox. Natalie will be asking children to research famous Liverpool statues and write about them,
✨Deep conversations with education thought-leaders✨
Barbara is an amazing host guiding thought-provoking conversations in a very natural, engaging way!
This podcast connects me to others
Thank you, Barbara, for these conversations and connections. Especially in these isolated and lonely times, I’m so grateful to come to know other educators.