Episode 36: Andi McNair

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36 - Andi McNair

Andi McNair is a keynote speaker and blogger specializing in edtech, genius hour, and innovation in education. She is also the co-founder of #makeithappenEDU and the author of Genius Hour: Passion Projects that Ignite Innovation and Student Inquiry. See more of her content at http://www.andimcnair.com.

In this conversation, Andi describes the low moment in her classroom that changed it all for her – when she realized her learners were completely disengaged and she knew she needed to reimagine her practice. Thanks to some inspiring education leaders, she began a journey of passion-based learning and has never looked back. Andi also tells us why it’s a great time to be an educator and shares some great recommendations for books to read, Twitter accounts to follow, and more.

Check out Genius Hour: Passion Projects that Ignite Innovation and Student Inquiry on Amazon!

Follow Andi on the web at http://www.andimcnair.com/ and on Twitter @McNairan3.

Find the highlights from our conversation at the timestamps below:

  • 1:00 – Andi describes her past and current roles in education.
  • 1:52 – Reality check: when Andi noticed her students had become completely disengaged, she knew she had to either leave the profession or completely reinvent herself and redefine her practice. She chose the latter.
  • 3:53 – We discuss the heart of Andi’s book, Genius Hour: Passion Projects that Ignite Innovation and Student Inquiry. She describes how Genius Hour advocates like Don Wettrick, Gallit Zvi, Denise Krebs, Joy Kirr, and introduced her to the idea of passion-based learning. In the book, Andi maps out the 6 Ps of Genius Hour, a process that has worked well in her context give teachers and learners a clear path to the finish line: passion, pitch, plan, project, product, and presentation.
  • 7:52 – Andi tells us why it’s such a great time to be in education: because of the power to connect our learners with each other, with other classes, with outside experts, etc. and help students understand the WHY behind their learning through authentic products.
  • 10:07 – One of Andi’s personal passions is one that she enjoys with her family: watching and learning more about the great game of baseball.
  • 11:33 – A personal habit that contributes to her success: journaling every single day – not just remembering (what I did and how) but reflecting (what I learned and why). Some of her reflections happen collaboratively on Voxer!
  • 13:55 – Her Twitter account suggestion is @DonWettrick, international speaker and presenter, host of the StartEdUp podcast, and author of Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation.
  • 14:26 – Andi gives us two edtech recommendations. The first is Nepris, which connects industry professionals with classrooms (@NeprisApp on Twitter). The second is Thrively, which helps learners discover their strengths, interests, and aspirations (@Thrively on Twitter).
  • 15:25 – Her book recommendations start with a classic for any teacher looking for more passion, motivation, or imagination: Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess (@BurgessDave on Twitter). She also recommends a book we’ve recommended here recently: Shift This by Joy Kirr (@JoyKirr on Twitter).
  • 16:42 – On Netflix, Andi’s enjoying When Calls the Heart, a show built around a woman who teaches in a small Canadian mining town in the early 1900s. Add it to your list!
  • 17:02 – Andi signs off and gives us the best ways to follow her content online: and at her website (http://www.andimcnair.com/) on Twitter @McNairan3, and on http://voxer.com/ @AndiMcNair.

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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 27: Tonya Gilchrist

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27 - Tonya Gilchrist

Tonya Gilchrist is a literacy coach and language teacher at Tokyo International School in Tokyo, Japan. An experienced speaker and presenter, Tonya advocates for learner agency, the inquiry mindset, and joyful leaders.

Tonya knew she wanted to become a teacher since she was in third grade, but the daunting pressure and prescriptive directions to teach to standardized tests threatened to make her quit the profession altogether. It was after Googling “What else can I do with a teaching degree?” that she discovered the incredible opportunities in overseas education, and the rest is history. Today, you can hear the passion in Tonya’s voice as she talks about the influences of growth mindset, inquiry-based learning, translanguaging, and the importance of self-care. You’ll also want to hear Tonya’s recommendations for books to read, Twitter accounts to follow, and more.

Follow Tonya Gilchrist on Twitter @Mrs_Gilchrist, check out life at the Tokyo International School @TISLearns, and read Tonya’s latest thoughts on literacy and education at TonyaGilchrist.com.

TIMESTAMPS. In this episode, Tonya discusses …

Song Track Credits

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

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Episode 22: Diana Williams

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22 - Diana Williams

Diana Williams is an elementary teacher at Bayridge Elementary School in Surrey, BC, Canada. She is also a speaker, a consultant for her school district, a student of PBL, award winner, and constant innovator.

In our conversation, Diana speaks candidly about the challenges teachers face during labor disruptions and shares some frank advice for up-and-coming teachers. She talks about some of the initiatives that really excite her about education today, describes some key habits that contribute to her success, and offers some awesome recommendations regarding books to read, Twitter personalities to follow, YouTube channels to subscribe to, and more.

Follow Diana on Twitter @TeacherDiana1 and on her blog at teacherdiana.com.

In this episode, Diana 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!

Episode 21: Brooke Moore

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21 - Brooke Moore

In this episode of the Teachers on Fire podcast we speak with Brooke Moore. Brooke is the District Principal of Inquiry and Innovation in Delta, BC, Canada. She is also an instructor at Vancouver Island University and the editor-in-chief of UBC’s Transformative Educational Leadership Journal, located at teljournal.educ.ubc.ca/.

In our conversation, Brooke describes the experience of working through stiff parent resistance while introducing progressive strategies around assessment in a West Vancouver high school. She shares about some exciting cross-curricular learning initiatives she’s involved with and lists some of her biggest passions outside of education: parenting, writing, and storytelling. Brooke also gives us some great recommendations regarding books to read, a Twitter account to follow, and much more.

Follow Brooke on Twitter @BMooreintheloop and her blog at teljournal.educ.ubc.ca/.

In this episode, Brooke discusses …

  • 0:58 – her current education situation
  • 1:24 – the experience of disrupting the status quo around assessment
  • 5:21 – what excites her about education today: IBL and PBL initiatives like Delta Farm Roots
  • 7:30 – areas of personal learning outside of education: parenting, writing, story-telling
  • 9:22 – a personal habit that contributes to her success: consistent enthusiasm
  • 10:19 – a Twitter account to follow: @ClaireDaoust
  • 11:48 – her edtech tool recommendations: Canva.com and Google Read & Write
  • 12:56 – two book recommendations: Leadership for Teacher Learning (by Dylan Wiliam) and Embers (by Richard Wagamese)
  • 13:33 – a podcast recommendation: Office Hours (by Daniel Pink)
  • 13:57 – a Netflix recommendation: Jane the Virgin
  • 14:26 – the best ways to follow her online

Song Track Credits

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

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Episode 19: Gallit Zvi

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19 - Gallit Zvi2In this episode of the Teachers on Fire podcast we speak with Gallit Zvi. Gallit is currently a principal intern in Surrey, BC, Canada, and a co-author of The Genius Hour Guidebook.

In this conversation Gallit describes how she overcame the challenges of transitioning into a new grade level earlier in her teaching career. She talks about the things that really ignite her passion in education today, including the magic of Genius Hour and how it supports the shift toward inquiry-based learning. Gallit also shares about an area of interest outside of education and gives us some great recommendations for Twitter personalities to follow, a book to read, a funny YouTube channel to subscribe to, and more.

Follow Gallit on Twitter @Gallit_Z and check out her blog at GallitZvi.com.

In this episode, Gallit discusses …

  • 0:49 – her current education situation
  • 1:38 – how she navigated the challenge of transitioning to a new grade level
  • 4:07 – her passions in education: new curriculum, inquiry, the 4 Cs, genius hour
  • 6:08 – an area of interest and learning outside of education: travelling the world
  • 7:13 – a habit that contributes to her success: learning, reading, researching
  • 8:28 – amazing educators to follow on Twitter: Denise KrebsJoy Kirr, and Hugh MacDonald
  • 9:25 – her edtech tool recommendations: iMovie, Explain Everything, Puppet Pals
  • 10:12 – a book recommendation: Drive by Daniel Pink
  • 10:50 – a fun YouTube channel to subscribe to: Simon’s Cat
  • 11:32 – what she’s watching on Netflix right now: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
  • 12:09 – the best way to follow her: @Gallit_Z

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!