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Something to think about to get us started today...

Why All World Maps Are Wrong

 

So far, Marching Off the Map has shown us in detail how the students of today will face problems tomorrow that we cannot even fathom yet. Our best hope is to prepare them to problem solve and equip them with the skills they will need. How are you equipping them to navigate the inevitable changes in our world? If you're still using the antiquated maps we discussed last week, you may not be reaching them and efficiently equipping them with your message. Let's explore!

 

In Cartographer's Notebook #2: Meet the Natives, we examined our ability to connect with this generation and gave ourselves a score on one of the seven main ways to engage them:

1. Keep it Short

2. Make it Visual
3. Feed Curiosity
4. Give them Ownership
5. Make it Interactive

6. Gamify your content

7. Offer a Cause

 

For our second Map Maker activity, let's revisit some of our "old maps," old ways and old lesson plans. 

 

1. Pick a lesson plan you currently teach or maybe haven't taught in a while that you think needs to be "remapped." This can be for any of your subject areas or any form of delivery (virtual or in-person, formal classroom or otherwise)!
(If you are still developing your curriculum as a new or soon-to-be teacher, or if you'd just like to start from scratch, skip to step 2!)

 

2. Read through your lesson plan and examine it with your new understanding of Gen Z. What are some things you like about this lesson? What would you like to change about it? 

 

3. Pick one of the seven ways to engage Gen Z from the list above. Add, remove, and "remap" your lesson with the focus of at least one of these areas! 

Here are some questions to get you started:
- How can you condense the message?
- What visual aides can you add that will enhance the message or content?
- Could I add a layer of mystery or inquiry to this lesson to pique curiosity?
- How can I turn the responsibility around and make this a student-driven lesson?

- Can I reinvent my delivery and approach here to make it less of a lecture?
- What aspects of pop culture can I incorporate to gamify this lesson?

- How can I give this content real-world application and meaning through creating a purpose or problem to solve?

 

4. Post your lesson in the "Marching Off the Map - Chapter 3" category folder, and then check back often to see your fellow explorers' ideas! I hope you will comment some encouragement on any ideas you like, and even offer your own ideas to further develop your peers' lessons! See instructions on how to post your lesson in the folder here: Uploading and Categorizing Files.docx

 

Bonus: Add a comment below linking to your lesson! Once you have uploaded your lesson, come back to this post. Click the "Add Comment" button as usual. In the text box, type the "@" symbol. A variety of people, places and content will show up. Start typing the name of your document and it should show up. Simply click on it to add it as a link in the comment. 

We've spent the last week and a half reflecting on who we are as a leader in this expedition, orienting ourselves to embrace change, and diagnosing some of the challenges we will face in the future. Chapter 3 focused on getting acquainted with Generation Z, the natives of this new territory. In calling our students natives, we are admitting that we are transplants in this new land. We aren't simply visiting or passing through, we exist in this land with them now - there's no turning back, no matter how much we want to return to the old and familiar. We also can't truly immerse ourselves either - we will never be natives, no matter how much slang we learn or how many TikToks we create. But there is beauty in being a transplant in this new world - we bring our own experiences of past generations of life which can be leveraged to strengthen Generation Z, and we have the opportunity to grow ourselves as we listen, observe, and connect with the natives. Though you haven't been able to see your students in person for several weeks (and it may be several more yet before you see them again), I hope you feel closer and more acquainted with them and all their struggles and triumphs. They certainly need you to understand them now more than ever.

 

This week's discussion is below, but first....

 

A Note About the "Travel Guide:"

Often throughout Marching Off the Map, Elmore mentions the "Travel Guide" and points you there regarding a concept. On our Expedition Chat this past Friday, someone asked what Elmore is referring to when he mentions this. It came to my attention that some of you received this guide along with your book or you ordered it for your own use, while others did not. For those of you who may be wondering, the "Travel Guide" is a small companion journal designed to accompany this book. It contains questions and activities, as well as a few extended pieces of information. Many of the questions and activities you will see in this book club are inspired by prompts from the guide! So, if you have a copy of it and are completing the Travel Guide, a few questions may look familiar - I hope you will still share your honest insights for the benefit of the group.  However, if you do not have this guide, have no fear! You certainly do not need it and will receive much of the content from it in this book club. As we progress, if there is something particularly noteworthy in the Travel Guide I will be sure to post it in our group here. For example, here is an excerpt from the Travel Guide in Chapter 3, referenced on p. 46:

 

"Three Paradoxes For Generation Z:

...
1. Their world will continue to feel bigger as they are growing up in a global economy, but their peer group at home will actually be smaller. They will compete with jobs against the world's best and brightest, yet they'll live in the shadows of a much larger Millennial generation at home. As a smaller population, they may not receive the attention the Millennials got, much like Generation X grew up in the shadows of the Baby Boomers.

2. Thanks to social media, they'll continue to be savvy to information and culture yet may be naive since the information requires no experience. They'll know so much yet so little, as they can now choose their news feeds and miss a bigger picture. This can produce what I call "artificial maturity," where they're overexposed to information, yet under-exposed to real-life application. 

3. Their world will challenge them to be healthy - physically and emotionally - yet the default is a sedentary lifestyle in front of a screen. Life is on-demand. They can binge on anything that feels good. As leaders, we'll need to help them negotiate between the desires (dreams) they have and the disciplines required to fulfill those desires. And in the midst of this, keep their hope alive for a better future." - Marching Off the Map: Interactive Travel Guide, Tim Elmore, p. 10-11

 

I hope you will reflect on these paradoxes as we move into our reflection time for the week.

 

Discussion

 

1. How well do you connect with Generation Z? Fill out this report card!
(refer to p. 50 in Marching Off the Map for details on each quality)

 

To connect with Generation Z, we should:  Grade
(A - F)

Keep it Short

Make it Visual
Feed Curiosity
Give them Ownership
Make it Interactive

Gamify your Content

Offer a Cause

 

Choose one quality and reflect on why you gave yourself that grade. How do you do it well? OR How do you feel you struggle in this area?

 

2. We spend a lot of time talking about the negative aspects of Generation Z. What is a positive characteristic of this generation that you have seen in your experience? (OR can you turn around a negative characteristic and see the positive ways it could be used?) How can we as educators encourage and develop that characteristic in a healthy, useful way?

 

3. What can we do to help our typically pessimistic students see the bright side of things and stay hopeful/positive, even in the face of adversity?

 

"This had to be both exhilarating and frightening. They mapped as they marched. They penned as they progressed. They were training as they were traveling. They had nothing else to leverage. It would have been useless to continue using old maps in this new territory." - Marching Off the Map, p. 20

 

Elmore does a great job painting the scene for us to imagine what Alexander the Great's men must have felt like as they drew maps of the foreign lands they marched into. Much like our explorers from Monday's Cartographer's Notebook #1: Beginning With the End in Mind, these soldiers were examining each new landmark they experienced and reflecting on the land as they passed through. No one had given them a guide to follow, so the rules were their own to make. I think I personally would prefer this - the alternative is being handed an antiquated map and told to follow it blindly. Someone may have passed through the territory a hundred years ago, but the trees are bigger now and the stream running through the mountain has dried up. If these explorers were to rely solely on the old map, they would probably become frustrated when it doesn't match what they are seeing in front of them. They would have to scribble notes on the edges, cross things out and try to redraw them on the fly. At some point they may just pull out a new piece of parchment, copy the trails that still exist from the old map while adding new twists, turns, hills and valleys of their own. Yes, I think I would prefer to walk into the unknown territory with nothing but a pen and paper. With no expectations or previous examples to guide you, the space is yours to interpret and create, just as you see it. How freeing does that feel? That's the very definition of adventure. The potential for creativity is endless. Are you ready to create your new map?

 

Maybe this whole "map making" journey has got you really freaked out. Understandably! That's why the maps of old would include dragons in the far corners, signifying what was yet to be explored. The unknown can be terrifying! However, Elmore is very direct in assuring us that fear of the unknown cannot stop us from moving forward. 

 

"There are no guarantees of success. But, I can certainly guarantee failure if you remain a settler." - Tim Elmore

 

Tasks:

 

1. As you begin to create your new map, identify a list of "pioneers" and "settlers" around you (see p. 22 for more information on how to determine who these people may be). These could be colleagues or leaders in your school/area, friends/family members, other ag teachers you know, etc. Instead of dwelling on any settlers who could be holding back progress, reach out to the pioneers on your list. Let them know that you are reading this book, and ask them to be on your expedition team! Everyone could use a little encouragement via text, email, or phone call right now, and I'm sure they would love to know that you admire their pioneering spirit. You do not need to share your full list, however please identify at least ONE pioneer and share how you reached out to them. 

(Example: I think my coworker is doing a really excellent job of finding creative new ways to connect their students to online learning resources, so I wrote my coworker a thank you note to acknowledge their hard work and mailed it to them)

 

2. On a piece of paper, list out some of the antiquated practices you see in your classroom, school, and/or organization. This will represent your "old map." We all need a starting point to reference as we progress! Be honest with yourself and the school/organization. Acknowledging that there are areas that need to change is the first step in developing a plan to change them. They don't necessarily have to be "wrong" practices, they are just areas that you believe need to be updated. Put this paper somewhere you will see it often throughout this book club. 
Pick one of these to share with the group. If you have any ideas or experience with something someone shares, be sure to give them any advice or resources to help them!

 

Finally, if you're interested and need some entertainment, here is the series of DirecTV commercials referenced on p. 23. Let's choose not to settle for antique maps! See you next week when we will dissect Chapter 3. 
The Settlers - DirecTV Commercials


The expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark is arguably one of America's most exciting stories. Also known as the "Corps of Discovery Expedition," you are probably familiar with Lewis, Clark, Sacagawea and the rest of this crew of explorers who blazed a trail across the freshly acquired western portion of the US. Thomas Jefferson commissioned them with a task like the one we have been given in this book club: explore the unknown territory. Find out what is out there, and just as importantly, who is out there, so we can proceed into this new land prepared and confident.

 

Perhaps the most fascinating components of this story, for me, are the intricate and extensive journals the explorers kept as they traversed the new territory. One historian has called Lewis and Clark "the writingest explorers of their time. They wrote constantly and abundantly, afloat and ashore, legibly and illegibly, and always with an urgent sense of purpose" (Donald Jackson). They knew what their goal was when they departed on their journey, and they planned to return home (or to their classrooms...) with a record of collective information they could use and share. 

 

For the duration of the book club, every Monday you'll have a new opportunity to record your reflections on the week's reading, in a post to be known here as the Cartographer's Notebook. In their journals, the explorers would muse on their experiences in addition to sketching the new map. We will really get our creativity going on Wednesday as we take action in the weekly MapMaker, but the Monday post is a time to give yourself permission to think and reflect. Tim Elmore has set the scene up for us in the first two chapters of Marching Off the Map. He has briefed us, essentially, on the challenges we face as we look to march into this new territory. At the end of chapter 2, Elmore encourages us to begin with the end goal in mind. You have already established what your end goal is for this book club last week in the Testing the Waters post. You are here now because you have made up your mind to be a pioneer, not a settler. I hope you will embrace the opportunity to log your experiences and knowledge here for the benefit of the rest of us who are here alongside you as we create this map. The discussion questions below are simply a guided starting point, but I hope you will not hesitate to share any insights, epiphanies, or "ah-ha!"moments as well.

 

Discussion:

1) Consider the three cultural changes Elmore explains in chapter 1: How Technology is Evolving (p.8), How Childhood is Evolving (p. 10) and How Adulthood is Evolving (p.12). In your experience, how have these evolutions affected the teacher-student relationship/how do you predict it will affect this relationship?

 

2) On page 10, Elmore describes the "extinction of childlikeness" vs. "the extension of childishness." How have you seen this concept to be true in the students you work with? Do you have any insights on addressing this in the classroom?

 

3) See what Elmore has to say about skills on page 24. What are some morals, principles or practices you consider to be timeless that you'd like to instill in your students? What are some skills you consider to be timely to prepare students for the challenges of tomorrow? 

 

 

And if you'd like to learn more about Lewis and Clark's expedition, check this out: 10 Cool Facts About The Lewis & Clark Expedition - YouTube 

 

Sarah Warren

Testing the Waters

Posted by Sarah Warren Apr 15, 2020

Welcome to the first day of the 2020 NAAE Virtual Book Club! 

 

I am a terrible swimmer. My inability to stay afloat makes me ridiculously cautious around all bodies of water, I do not jump into pools with vigor, and I am NOT leaving dry land without a lifejacket. Can anyone else relate?

 

Maybe you're a water enthusiast, one who never misses an opportunity to dive headfirst into the deep end with nothing to catch you except the strength of your own arms and legs. I certainly admire your courage! Was this a natural skill you have had your whole life? Or did you acquire it over many summers of trial and error, launching yourself off the deck and figuring it out as you hit the water?

 

Whether you're cautious or confident in trying new things (treading new waters, if you will), as we begin to read Marching Off the Map we will learn that we certainly can't stay here on the present shoreline forever, whether we like it or not. As wave after wave of new ideas, technology, and innovation floods our society, and specifically our students, we must learn to adapt or be overtaken by the force of it all - its time to sink or swim. We want to be effective teachers in a world that could quickly render us inefficient if we aren't honing our skills. Starting next Monday, we'll dive deeper into what we as educators are up against with this generation of students, but for now lets just test the waters we're working with. Let's get our toes wet as we start to position ourselves to take on the role of explorers. 

 

 

On pages 1-3 of Marching Off the Map, you'll find a quiz titled "Do You Tend to Be More Old School or New School?" Without peeking at the Scorecard on page 4, go ahead and take the quiz. If you haven't received your copy of the book yet, you can find the quiz attached to this post (Old vs. New Quiz).

 

Did you peek?! Okay, now you can look at the Scorecard on page 4, or you can find it attached to this post (Quiz Scorecard).

 

Post your answers to the following questions in the comment section below:

1) How did you score? Do you agree with this assessment of your teaching style? Why or why not?

2) What does "uncharted territory" in your classroom/career look like? 

3) What are you hoping to learn/gain from reading this book and participating in this book club? 

 

I appreciate the authenticity and depth of your answers! Being introspective and reflective is often the first step to amazing personal and professional growth. No matter where you sit on this spectrum, we all have something to learn from one another. I hope you take the time to read through some of your fellow explorers' answers to gauge all the perspectives on our expedition team. 

 

I'll leave you to ponder this clip from a movie that is all about uncharted territory and daring adventure. Captain Jack Sparrow could possibly be one of the most under-appreciated innovative minds of our time. He is relentless in pursuit of his goals, often taking unconventional approaches that others are reluctant to adopt at first. However, they soon learn that he just might be on to something, and the outcome could be worth the risk. As we shift to the mindset of an explorer and a pioneer, I hope you aren't afraid to reevaluate your current map, even if it means you have to rock the boat just a little...

 

Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End - Up Is Down Scene - YouTube