The Kevies: Part 2

Post date: Jun 12, 2018 3:42:54 PM

Welcome back to the Kevies! A fun way to do an end of the year reflection. If you missed Part 1 go back and check it out!

Today's awards include:

-Board Game of the Year

-Activity of the Year

-Book of the Year

-Event of the Year

-Class of the Year

Board Game of the Year

Go Nuts for Donuts! - An easy to play, hard to master auction/draft game themed around anthropomorphic donuts. If that sounds just about perfect that’s because it is. I already wrote about the game here if you want to know more.

Love Letter - An easy to play, easy to master Go Fish like game themed around trying to woo a princess. Not exactly the easy sell that Go Nuts is but the game is fantastic. It plays fast and is very easily learned but holds interest for a long, long time. No two games play out quite the same despite the simplicity. My students love this one and so do I.

Apples to Apples - The classic classroom game remained at the top of our play rotation this year. It is hard for this game to get old. I did get a bit tired of the Disney version as it has fewer cards and we played it A TON but the students like having the pictures on the cards. It is the perfect classroom game as it can handle a bunch of players and definitely leads to deeper relationships among the players.

And the winner is… Go Nuts for Donuts! - I may one day get bored of this game but it hasn’t happened yet. When a game inspires me to immediately go home and figure out to modify it to fit my content I know it is doing something very right.

Activity of the Year (As chosen by the audience)

Notes - I finished the process of updating all my presentations this year - all bullet points are gone! I added in the animated paintings that I did over the summer and, once again, cut a bunch of stuff. I will definitely be shifting some of the cuts back in and some material back out but, for the most part, the presentations are solid. Kids liked them, I liked them - not much more to ask for (okay, students, can you please stop copying from the screen?)

Choose Your Own Adventure - I did fewer CYOAs this year with my on-level kids as they independence just didn’t suit them well. My Elective kids did just as much and continued to create some cool projects. I didn’t make any changes and didn’t even add any new options. I’ve got some new ideas I’m working on but nothing in finished form yet.

Culture Shocks - Again, nothing new here. I made some minor adjustments to some of them throughout the year but for the most part they remained the same - a bunch of mini-activities, mostly fun ones, that help students to experience some of the more unique aspects of a civilization.

And the winner is… a tie! Seriously, my end of the year surveys showed a near even split between these three as the favorite activities of my students. This was a big jump for CYOA. I don’t know what accounts for it but I’m glad.

Book of the Year

The Imagineer’s Field Guide to Disneyland - You might sense a theme in my reading material this year. The Field Guides were recommended in another book I read this year - The Imagineering Pyramid - and turned out to be amazing. They are just little behind-the-scenes guides to the Disney parks, written by Imagineers. I learned a bunch of new little tidbits about design and attention to detail that will surely influence my creations from here on.

Creating Magic - This book is a must read. It is another book by a Disney employee. This one focuses on leadership and is as insightful and useful as any I’ve read. It rivals even classics like Carnegie’s How to Make Friends and Influence People. It surely helped me to identify holes in my leadership style. Further, it helped me clarify why I’ve often felt frustrated working in education. Judged by Lee Cockrell’s standards education is very poorly led. The lack of communication at all levels (which nearly made my most frustrating list) is highlighted here as a problem in many organizations. I hope I can avoid many of the mistakes described and instead stick to the recommendations!

One Little Spark: Mickey’s 10 Commandments - This is slightly unfair as this was a re-read for me. Spoiler alert: it is still amazing. As I look to write my own book I keep coming back to this one as my lens. Seeing the design process through the eyes of the best designers in the world gives a fresh perspective on how we can make our classrooms amazing. (And, in fact, the format for this very blog is borrowed from the book.)

And the winner is… Creating Magic. I did not expect this book to hit me the way it did. I read a ton about leadership and always have. This is the first book to be inspirational enough to make me actually consider going for my admin credential. Thankfully, that whim passed within a week. Still, it makes me want to be a better leader in the positions I already hold and makes me wish to be led, truly led, in the ways Lee describes.

Event of the Year

CCSS State Conference - An amazing conference throughout topped off by my hotel room being comped and upgraded to a suite for no charge. I got a bunch of great ideas that I’m excited to explore. My own session could not have gone better. It was well attended, all the tech worked and people left joyful and inspired. I got to meet some people I’ve only known through Twitter and make contacts that will last a lifetime. Thumbs up all around.

Elective Parent Showcase - My 7th grade showcase night went well despite having low attendance. Those who attended had a great time going through their projects with their students and enjoying our class videos. I wish more parents had a chance to see it. I look forward to continuing the tradition next year.

IECSS Awards - One of my colleagues (Scott Hill) was recognized this year as an IECSS Outstanding Educator and I attended the banquet. It was great to see all those recognized and see Scott get some long overdue recognition for his work. He was my master teacher 16 years ago and continues to do amazing work in the classroom.

And the winner is… CCSS State Conference. I feel like this conference was another step in my life journey. I presented as CCSS two years ago and my session was packed. It should have been, I was winning an award that year and that should have helped drive traffic. This time I was presenting in a rough timeslot (8 AM, Saturday) and didn’t have any additional advertising. Still, my session was packed again. I heard so many positive comments afterwards that I left thinking I was really onto something. Now if I could just turn Design Like Disney into a book...

Class of the Year (As chosen by the audience)

PE - A few votes out there for PE, mostly from the boys, but from a few girls who noted that they appreciated how their coaches challenged them to keep doing better. Good to hear!

Mine - Many of my students noted that they appreciated that my class was fun and I was funny (and a few mentioned my stunning blue eyes.) A few had recommendations for improvements like “give less tests” (No. I give one every 6 weeks, come on.) and “explain CYOA better” (Fair.) but most couldn’t offer anything to improve.

ELA - Mrs. Shaffer - Mrs. Shaffer is an awesome teacher and kids love her. She is challenging but helps kids reach those challenges. She, most importantly, is real with the kids. Many noted that the way she brought her life and theirs into their classroom was much appreciated.

And the winner is… Mine! Though I didn’t feel it much this year my students still overwhelmingly chose my class as their favorite. Maybe they thought they had to since it was my class survey but I don’t think so. I think my kids see my heart even when I’m not feeling it. This year many commented that they recognized and appreciated how much work I put into making the class presentations entertaining. Quite a few really liked the gamification layer (even though very few ever collected their rewards - again) and the general game-like feel of so much of it. It was my toughest year by far but they still found joy in it. I need to count that as some kind of success!

I hope you had fun reading through this with me. Reflecting back, especially using student feedback, is vitally important to what we do. I hope this inspires you to reflect and award yourself in a similar fashion.

Want another game to check out? I'll be writing about Timeline soon - it is surprisingly great!