Episode 53 – Curtis Wiebe

53 - Curtis Wiebe
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CURTIS WIEBE is an elementary school teacher in Surrey, BC, Canada. He’s interested in the ways that technology augments learning, boosts facilitates creativity, and creates new opportunities for learners. Follow Curtis on Twitter @DivisionW and see his work at https://mrwiebesclass.weebly.com/.

In our conversation, Curtis identifies the key to bringing about positive changes in schools and structures in education. He describes why he’s passionate about preparing students to find creative solutions that address real-world problems, and he explains what his learners are doing with makerspaces and robotics. He tells us where he gets his best ideas, and offers us top picks on Twitter, in books, and much more.

Follow Curtis online here: 

Find the highlights from our conversation at the timestamps below:

  • 0:53 – Curtis describes his current context in education at Crescent Park Elementary School in South Surrey, BC, Canada. Aside from his 7th grade teaching duties, Curtis is a part of the school’s tech team and the district Microsoft Inquiry team. He’s also currently pursuing his MEdL degree.
  • 1:47 – Curtis speaks to the challenges related to bringing about change in schools and structures in education. When we present a different way of doing things, it tends to create friction points and difficult conversations. One key to bringing about change in a positive way is to do so diplomatically, with research and evidence that these changes will positively influence learning – what school is really all about.
  • 4:40 – When asked what he’s most passionate about in education today, Curtis points to the ever-changing landscape of challenges that education can address around the globe. He loves preparing learners to find solutions to complex, real-world problems. He’s also enjoying an exploration of robotics (Check out https://www.vexrobotics.com/ and http://www.flowol.com/Flowol4.aspx) with his students, where he says “the excitement has gone through the stratosphere.”
  • 7:01 – Outside of the classroom, he’s energized by reading about technology, current events, and politics. He’s always interested in exploring current situations but is also intrigued by political philosophers from the past. In the same way, he enjoys looking at where technology has come and where it may be going in the future.
  • 9:43 – A personal habit that consistently energizes Curtis and supports his reflective process is engaging in professional conversations with educator – his wife! He also enjoys the analytical aspects of golf: looking back, thinking about how to improve, seeking to repeat good strokes, etc.
  • 11:05 – His recommendations on Twitter are Jeff Unruh (@Unruh_J) and Michelle Horn (@MsHornDiv10).
  • 14:55 – Curtis is all about robotics right now, so his top picks in the area of edtech are VEX IQ Robotics (@VEXRobotics on Twitter) and Microsoft Office 365 and (@MicrosoftEDU on Twitter). In particular, Microsoft Teams is working well as a point of connection and workflow for his learners.
  • 17:10 – In books, Curtis recommends Trevor MacKenzie’s Dive Into Inquiry: Amplify Learning and Empower Student Voice. Get to know Trevor on Twitter @Trev_MacKenzie. For a magazine pick, Curtis points to The Atlantic and their education section in particular. For a sampling of their top education articles, start following @TheAtlEducation on Twitter.
  • 18:09 – His top choice for education podcasts right now is MindShift: A Podcast About the Future of Learning. Follow MindShift on Twitter @MindShiftKQED.
  • 18:49 – As a self-confessed fan of all things politics, Curtis’s go-to show on Netflix right now is Homeland.
  • 19:12 – We sign off on the interview, and Curtis gives us the best ways to find and follow him online. See above for details!

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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 43 – David McFarland

43 - David McFarland

DAVID McFARLAND is a high school IB humanities teacher at Pacific Academy in Surrey, BC, Canada. Follow him on Twitter @MrMcFTeaches.

In our conversation, David talks about how “We don’t even know you!” challenged him to rethink the importance of building relationships with his students. He describes some of his passions in education today: helping students navigate knowledge critically instead of merely absorbing content, using digital tools to customize learning experiences, and continuing to advocate for some reading on paper. David also shares some of his lifelong learning outside of the classroom, a daily ritual that builds relationships, and his top picks in books, Twitter, Youtube, and more.

Find the highlights from our conversation at the timestamps below:

  • 0:49 – David describes his current teaching situation as a high school humanities teacher at Pacific Academy in Surrey, BC, Canada.
  • 1:18 – Three or four classes into the school year at a new school, he recalls a student bursting out with “We don’t even know you!” That experience challenged him in a positive way and helped him think more deeply about the relational component of teaching. Today, he takes more time and makes more intentional investments in building relationships with his learners.
  • 6:05 – There’s a lot that gets David excited about education today: a new curriculum in BC, better options for course customization, helping students think critically and navigate knowledge instead of dumping content on them, interpreting content in a world that is becoming entirely digital, and still advocating for some reading on paper.
  • 11:25 – One area of learning for David outside of his teaching is the art of cooking. He’s had fun this summer playing around with different cuisines while working his way through the New York Times cooking app. It’s a hobby his family appreciates, because there is always a product everyone can enjoy at the end of every experiment!
  • 13:02 – A personal habit that contributes to his success is based on a fine taste for coffee. He explains how this can be a “ritual that is relational” – an activity that invites others into the creation and enjoyment of the teacher’s go-to beverage. Another habit that feeds him is regularly reading books while at school.
  • 15:53 – David recommends following high school social studies teacher Glen Thielman (@GThielmann).
  • 17:06 – The edtech tool that has made the biggest impression recently is Google Classroom.
  • 21:04 – David’s pick for books is You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith (@James_KA_Smith).
  • 24:01 – A podcast to add to your podcast line-up is The Way of Improvement Leads Home by (@JohnFea1).
  • 25:40 – If you’re a Social Studies teacher, you need to subscribe to John Green’s Crash Course on YouTube. Follow @TheCrashCourse on Twitter as well.
  • 27:35 – When he’s got time in the summer to enjoy the pleasures of Netflix, David’s watching the The Office and Better Call Saul.
  • 28:42 – David reminds us of where to find him on Twitter @MrMcFTeaches.

Subscribe to the Teachers on Fire podcast on your mobile device: iTunes | Google Podcasts | YouTube

Follow the podcast on Twitter @TeachersOnFire and on Instagram @TeachersOnFire.

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 23: Danielle Peters

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23 - Danielle Peters

Danielle Peters is an elementary teacher at Westerman Elementary School in Surrey, BC, Canada. Recently completing her Master’s in Ed. Tech., Danielle is passionate about helping kids learn, create, and innovate using technology.

In our conversation, Danielle talks about how team teaching allows her to better meet the social-emotional needs of her learners and grow from her colleague’s perspectives each day. She describes how her third graders are using green screens and stop motion to make stories come alive, and explains how she combines her loves of book reading and photography to produce beautiful book reviews. Finally, Danielle gives us some great recommendations for books to read, Twitter accounts to follow, a YouTube channel to subscribe to, and more.

You’ll find more of Danielle’s content on these great platforms:

In this episode, Danielle discusses …

  • 0:56 – how she team teaches 42 3rd graders
  • 2:58 – how team teaching helps her meet the social-emotional needs of her learners
  • 5:07 – what lights her passion for education: the amazing possibilities for learning enabled by new technologies in the classroom
  • 7:12 – a personal passion outside of the classroom: book reviews and photography
  • 9:25 – the importance of building a strong network of educators, and the role of critical friends
  • 11:52 – educators to follow on Twitter: Karen Fadum (@MrsFadum) and Curtis Wiebe (@DivisionW)
  • 12:36 – what her students are currently creating: stop motion videos
  • 13:47 – a book recommendation: Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student (by John Spencer and A J Juliani)
  • 14:19 – podcasts to check out: Serial (a crime series) and TED Talks
  • 14:51 – a great YouTube resource for the English classroom: Flocabulary
  • 15:44 – what she’s watching on Netflix: Evil Genius and Black Mirror
  • 16:23 – the best ways to follow her (see links above this section)

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 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!