Episode 39 – CJ Reynolds

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CJ REYNOLDS is better known by his YouTube channel, Real Rap with Reynolds, where he talks teaching, relationships, and life. As a passionate educator and creator, his two truths in teaching are: #1 relationships are king, and #2 it’s only ever about the students.

In our conversation, CJ recalls the tremendous fatigue he faced as a rookie teacher, and discusses the importance of learning to say no to some things. He talks about how a project with his son turned into a YouTube presence with over 13,000 subscribers, and the tremendous opportunities that the internet allows teachers and students today in terms of global connections and collaboration. He shares about personal passions outside of the classroom, his morning routine, and his recommendations for books, Twitter, edtech tools, and more.

Check out Real Rap with Reynolds on YouTube HERE: https://bit.ly/2vm711T.

Follow CJ!

Find the highlights from our conversation at the timestamps below:

  • 1:11 – CJ describes his teaching context: teaching 9th grade literature and a course called The History of Hip Hop in Philadelphia.
  • 2:07 – He recalls the tremendous fatigue he felt as a rookie teacher, some days unable to do nothing in the evening but sleep. Part of working his way through and out of that fatigue was perfecting ‘The Art of Saying No.’
  • 4:21 – We hear the story the Real Rap with Reynolds YouTube channel, from his son’s interest to his personal passion.
  • 8:04 – CJ explains what really excites him about education today: the new opportunities for connection, engagement, and authentic learning around the globe that the internet gives us.
  • 10:43 – His personal passions outside of the classroom include gardening and training for a triathlon.
  • 13:21 – “I’m a routine monster.” – CJ likes to wake up at 5, exercise, swim, or run, and spend some time in meditation at the beginning of each day.
  • 15:16 – Accounts worth following on Twitter: @RandyRibay, author of After the Shot Drops.
  • 17:07 – CJ suggests we try https://storybird.com/ in our English classes, another tool that allows students to create multifaceted representations and stories.
  • 20:34 – His book recommendations include After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay and Tattoos on the Heart by @FrGregBoyle.
  • 24:45 – Two of the podcasts CJ has been listening to lately include The Tim Ferriss Show by Tim Ferriss and the Rich Roll Podcast by Rich Roll.
  • 26:02 – An accomplished YouTuber himself, CJ looks for inspiration to channels like Casey Neistat, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Mac Premo.
  • 28:06 – When he has no energy left for anything else productive, CJ’s watching Shooter and Better Call Saul on Netflix.

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Song Track Credits

  • Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
  • Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

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Episode 33: Bryon Carpenter

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33 - Bryon Carpenter

Bryon Carpenter is a high school teacher at the Abbotsford Virtual School in Abbotsford, BC, Canada. As a trained scientist, passionate creator, and lifelong learner, Bryon serves in the spaces of library, math, science, and ADST (Applied Design and Skills Technologies).

Bryon’s passion? Seeing teachers utilize new technologies to advance student learning and help them represent their learning in new and creative ways. Outside of education, Bryon is passionate about fishing and woodworking, and he credits daily journaling as a key to his personal and professional success. Bryon also points us toward a Twitter account to follow, a podcast to check out, a title to add to our book lists, and much more.

Follow Bryon on Twitter @BryonCar, on Instagram @Bryon.Carpenter, and visit his blog at http://bryoncarpenter.com/.

Find the highlights from our conversation at the timestamps below.

  • 0:48 – Bryon describes his current context in education at the Abbotsford Virtual School.
  • 2:04 – He shares about the practical challenges he faced around contract uncertainty early in his career.
  • 10:20 – What really excites him about education today: seeing teachers help students learn and represent their learning in new ways using technology.
  • 16:16 – His personal passions and learning outside of the classroom: fishing and woodworking.
  • 20:02 – A regular habit that contributes to his success: daily journaling about his learning and teaching. He posted vlog entries for all 195 days of teaching last school year!
  • 24:45 – An account to follow on Twitter: @EricCurts of CtrlAltAchieve.com
  • 26:27 – Bryon’s edtech tool recommendations: Google Keep & Adobe Spark (@AdobeSpark)
  • 29:04 – A book every educator must read: The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros (@GCouros)
  • 30:34 – A podcast to subscribe to: This Week in Google (by @TWiT)
  • 33:07 – Bryon’s YouTube channel recommendations: This Week in Google & Sport Fishing on the Fly (@OntheFlyTVShows)
  • 33:56 – What Bryon’s been enjoying on Netflix: Downton Abbey, The Last King, Frontiers, Riverdale, Tales by Light
  • 35:46 – The best ways to follow Bryon’s content: on Twitter @BryonCar, on Instagram @Bryon.Carpenter, and on the web at http://bryoncarpenter.com/.

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Song Track Credits

  • Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
  • Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

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Episode 30: Nicholas Amaral

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30 - Nick Amaral

Nicholas Amaral is the district staff development coordinator at the Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District in Bergen County, NJ. Nick’s passion is education technology: helping teachers help students create and innovate in their classrooms.

In our conversation, Nick shares about a point early in his teaching career when he faced deep discouragement and a lack of motivation. Rather than turn in the towel, he doubled down, reinvented his practice, and engaged his learners like never before. Today, Nick gets excited about blended, personalized, and mastery learning, and he describes the personal habit that energizes him outside of education. Don’t miss his recommendations in books, Twitter, edtech tools, and more!

Follow Nick on Twitter @NAmaralEDU and check out his blog over at https://edtechforay.wordpress.com/.

TIMESTAMPS. In this episode, Nick discusses …

  • 0:51 – his current context in education as a staff development coordinator
  • 1:26 – the experience of hitting an emotional wall in his third or fourth year of teaching, and how he overcame it
  • 4:13 – what ignites his passion for education: seeing the effects of blended, personalized, and mastery learning; shifting the emphasis from content to skills
  • 6:02 – a passion and area of learning outside of education: music
  • 6:46 – a personal habit that contributes to his success: being vulnerable, embracing failure, remaining down to earth
  • 8:55 – his Twitter recommendations: Chris Aviles (@TechedUpTeacher) and Jeffrey Bradbury (@TeacherCast)
  • 9:57 – his choice for learning management systems: Schoology (@Schoology)
  • 11:18 – a book recommendation: How We Learn by Benedict Carey (@BenCareyNYT)
  • 12:03 – his relaxation viewing content right now: Lost in Space, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Fall
  • 12:31 – the best ways to follow his content online (see above)

Song Track Credits

Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

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Episode 25: Dan Ryder

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25 - Dan Ryder

Dan Ryder is the co-author of Intention: Critical Creativity in the Classroom. Describing himself as an improviser and design thinker, Dan became an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2017. After teaching high school English for about twenty years, he is currently the Education Director of the Success & Innovation Center at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, ME.

In our conversation, Dan shares about what ignites his passion for education today: seeing the philosophical focus shift from the acquisition of information to problem-solving, creativity, and design thinking. He challenges teachers to go beyond learning activities that build things just for the sake of building things (ie. “dumpster projects”), and reflects on a personal habit that creates learning and growth in every area of his life. Dan also describes the main message of his book and gives us some awesome recommendations for accounts to follow on Twitter, channels to subscribe to on YouTube, and more.

Follow Dan Ryder and catch more of his inspiration on these platforms:

In this episode, Dan discusses …

  • 1:00 – his current education situation: Education Director at the Success & Innovation Center
  • 2:22 – how he overcame the challenges of having creative ideas and initiatives quashed by bureaucracy above him
  • 5:40 – what ignites his passion for education today: seeing the shift from acquiring information to problem-solving, creativity, and design thinking
  • 14:16 – a personal habit that contributes to learning and growth: maintaining a constant curiosity about everything
  • 17:20 – an inspirational educator to follow on Twitter: Ellen Deutscher
  • 18:47 – an edtech tool recommendation: FlipGrid
  • 22:19 – a fictional book recommendation: Little Fires Everywhere (by Celeste Ng)
  • 23:46 – a podcast recommendation that music fans will love: Song Exploder
  • 26:57 – a Youtube channel to subscribe to: Soul Pancake (with a shoutout to their video series on empathy)
  • 28:06 – what he’s watching when he’s not creating: Legends of Tomorrow, Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu), The Strain
  • 30:42 – the best ways to contact Dan and follow his content (see above)

Song Track Credits

Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

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Episode 24: Christopher Nesi

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24 - Chris Nesi

Christopher J. Nesi teaches 9th grade history at New Brunswick High School and is a Professor of Communications at Rutgers University. He also hosts the House of EdTech and Podcast PD podcasts and operates the Education Podcast Network.

In our conversation, Chris shares his passion to see educators and learners of all ages take up the endeavor of creative work. “You don’t have to share it with the world … but just create – you never know what’s going to happen when you create something that didn’t exist before you tried it,” he says. Chris also shares a personal habit that contributes to his success and gives us some awesome recommendations for accounts to follow on Twitter, the best maker channels to subscribe to on YouTube, books to read, and more.

Find more of Chris’s content on these great platforms:

In this episode, Chris discusses …

Song Track Credits

Intro: Relax (by Simon More)
Outtro: Starley – Call on Me Remix (by DJ Zhorik)

LISTEN to this episode on YouTube and SUBSCRIBE for more episodes!