Friday, January 25, 2013

Teachers as Rock Stars

A while back I wrote a blog post about how authors are my rock stars. My husband loves concerts; he would travel far just to see his favorite bands. While I enjoy music, I am not that dedicated. However, a favorite author having a signing three hours away, I’m there.

I thought about this in my class this week. Are authors rock stars to my students? At the start of the year, I would say not for most, but the tide is turning. This week I introduced Edmodo to my classes. To say it has caught on like wildfire would be a colossal understatement. I finally had to turn my notifications on my phone off; the alerts I got from students posting and joining were making my dog crazy. Every so often I’d log on, ensure they were still on topic. What I read thrilled me. I saw students making book recommendations, discussing what they were reading, predicting the Newbery, and commenting on favorite authors. Five days in and I think we’re on to something good here.

It was through some Edmodo discussions that I came to an important realization as well. I saw this post from my student, Danielle:

Some background for you all, although I don’t know if anyone needs it. I teach in central Illinois. Over the past years I have become friends with many wonderful teachers across the country. Two in particular are well known in my classes – Mr. Colby Sharp and Mr. John Schumacher, otherwise know as Mr. Schu. I should explain – my students have not met Mr. Sharp or Mr. Schu. We’ve Skyped with Mr. Schu’s students once, and even then they didn’t “see” him, just heard his voice. But we’ve talked about these two often. I’ve shown their Newbery videos. We’ve participated in their Sharp-Schu Twitter book clubs. I’ve told the kids about book recommendations from the two amazing guys.

So when I saw Danielle’s post I realized something. While I know my students want to meet many of their favorite authors, what I really think would make them crazy would be if Colby or John walked into our classroom. We’d have a full-fledged riot on our hands. And while that is not likely to happen, it makes me smile. Because I cannot think of two teachers, two readers, two role models, that I’d rather have these kids look up to than John and Colby. Thanks guys. I’m glad that my students see you guys as rock stars. I know many of us do as well.

I’ll leave you with Colby’s Nerdbery video from June. I showed this to my students today. Three classes of 24 fifth graders singing along. All three classes stood up and cheered when he held up Ivan and Wonder. Pretty amazing way to end my week.

John and Colby – you are welcome to come visit anytime. J