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Do you remember the very first video I shared in this book club? It can be found in the Testing the Waters post, and you might want to go watch it if you haven't already - it will give you some context for what follows below.  


Of all the adventure and travel-related themes we could've gone with to metaphorically send you off on your next grand expedition, I drift back once again to pirates (maybe its because our next book club is coming soon...Calling all Pirates! Join the NAAE Summer Book Club). There's just something about this season of our lives that feels a lot like a bold, rebellious journey on the high seas - there's no tried and true map to follow (just some hopeful ideas to guide you), the winds aren't blowing favorably to your preferred path, and its in your best interest to be savvy, flexible and daring. I turn again to the example Jack Sparrow gives us in his new pursuit in the following clip:

 

The Fountain of Youth

 

In our last assignment EVER for Tim Elmore's Marching Off the Map, it's time to look ahead and decide two things: where am I, and where do I want to go? 


We have spent our time together exploring Generation Z, learning techniques to engage them on their own terms, and reflecting on our teaching styles to have real conversations about our classrooms. Now, we look ahead to how we plan to use what we have learned to better ourselves, our students, and subsequently our world. Consider the following question and activity as one last exercise of reflection:

 

WHERE AM I?

1. What is the biggest takeaway you have gained from this book club - about yourself, your career, your students, the world, etc?


WHERE AM I GOING?

2. Before you put this book on a shelf, take some time to draw a new map for a goal you want to set. I have included a template for you to use (admittedly my design skills only go so far), or to inspire you to create your own visual representation of where you want to go and how you want to get there. 

- Think of one thing you want to accomplish this next school year. Big or small....whatever your heart desires as "treasure!"

- Map out some smaller "adventures" or goals you will need to accomplish to get to your treasure
- In my map, I have included some obstacles. Do you foresee any treacherous ground you'll have to cross?

 

You can create a Word Doc like the one attached, draw it out on a piece of paper and take a picture, or use any other creative method, just as long as you actually draw out where you're going and how you plan to get there. I hope you will use this time to get creative and have fun! Once you're finished with your map, please upload it to the Chapter 12 & Epilogue folder (see Uploading and Categorizing Files.docx for help). 

 

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We may not know what is coming at us next, explorers. We may only have a vague understanding of the "how" we will get somewhere, and you may only be a one-man dinghy with a tiny fragment of a map to guide you, but I have confidence in each of you that you will get there because you know the "why" behind every twist and turn. What, or perhaps who, is your "why"? 

I observed a 6th grade English teacher a few years back for a class in college. I'll never forget the assignment she gave the students that day. It helped fuel my "why" for pursuing a degree in Ag Ed. She played John Mayer's song "Waiting on the World to Change" and then asked the students to brainstorm what they would like to change about the world around them. At the end of the class, she had the students share their creative and inspiring ideas. It was certainly impressive what they had come up with! Before the bell rang, she told them that this song was written for their generation, and told them to never stop going after the things they were passionate about because one day, they were going to be old enough to do something about it. That's who you're leading as you march off the map - the future of our world. 

 

Safe travels, explorers.

Welcome to the final week of our book club on Tim Elmore's Marching Off the Map! We will have our Map Maker on Wednesday and an Expedition Chat Friday before we will finally set this book aside...for now.  

 

Take some time today to truly reflect on where you were when you started this book club. We have all spent a lot of time reacting to our situations, and probably not a lot of time processing what we've experienced. Give yourself a high five on behalf of all of your fellow explorers - you traversed a territory that has never been mapped before, and you are standing here on the other side of it! Go you! 

 

It's been exactly two months today since we set out off the edges of our familiar maps on April 15th. Can you believe that? Two months ago, our country was slowly but surely shutting down, and the end of the 2019-2020 school year was still a daunting mystery. I remember very clearly calling my mom and telling her she should try to get two weeks worth of groceries in case it became risky for her to go out - surely we would be back to normal within two weeks, she would be fine if we could just make it that long! Two weeks seemed like an incredible amount of time to be away from our daily routines...now here we are. I'm sure you all have similar stories as well. Today, we are hesitantly creeping back to our "new normal," and you are probably taking a quick breath before jumping right back into planning for an undetermined fall. I hope you can see that no matter how daunting the future can be, one day your current future will be nothing but a memory in the past, and you will have realized all at once that you somehow made it through the unknown. 

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Elmore's "most important final word" instructs us to lead out of belief, not relief. What does this mean to you? 

Reflection:
1) In your experience, what are some of the differences between teachers who communicate out of relief rather than those who communicate out of belief? 
2) Where do you find yourself operating most often: relief, or belief? How does this impact your students?

3) Can you think of a time when someone communicated belief in you? How did this impact you?
4) Review "Taking the Path of Relief" on p. 223. Which of these actions would you like to work on in your classroom  this fall? 

Chapter 10 poses some heavy topics for us to chew on. Most of it probably came as no surprise, but Elmore packaged it very neatly in a call to action format for us as educators. One of the most profound statements he made in the chapter was this:

"...too many emerging adults have not been led well. We, the adult population, did not know how to guide them in a world filled with social media." - p. 193

 

Would you agree with this? As we are marching into unknown territory, lets not be blind to the role social media might play in the issues we see our students struggle with. We have been handed bits and pieces of information about this, probably from counselors and professional developments. But have you ever tried to make your own game plan to combat this issue specifically? Perhaps its time to draw yourself a map.

 

Map Maker:
First, reflect on the facts and examples presented in this chapter. Determine your own emotions, reactions and opinions on social media. Take some time to really understand what you have seen and experienced on this issue.

Then, organize your "game plan" for leading your students through the world of social media. Be sure to record:
a) your personal thoughts about society's use of social media
b) your personal observations of its effects on your students
c) how you plan to use and/or address it in your classroom

 

If this is truly having such a profound impact on the students you see daily, now is the time to stake your claim on how you want to use social media/the internet for good and coach your students to do the same. Sometimes we don't give ourselves time to really determine our stance - like Aaron Tippin sings, "you've got to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything." You can organize your thoughts into a document, draw them out in a "map," or post an outline in the comments below.

 

Some guiding questions to assist you as you dissect your own thoughts:
- What symptoms have you observed when students use social media?
- What could you do to convince them to use social media in moderation?
- What are you doing to leverage social media for constructive purposes?
- How can we balance our students' time on social media with face-to-face interactions?
- How can we ensure they become emotionally healthy adults?

- How can you communicate the difference between relative and timeless morals to your students?
- How can we capitalize on the positives of social media?

- What technologies are you using to enhance student engagement in the classroom?
NOTE: you do NOT have to answer all of these, they are just here to spark thoughts


Finally, on p. 192 Elmore mentions the "ABCs of Guiding Students in Social Media" in the Travel Guide. If you don't have a copy of the Travel Guide, I have attached a PDF of this information to this post!

"The process of design and preparation is just like a lesson plan. You can't move forward if you haven't decided how it will be done. To envision the future is to see where you need to be in one or even five years. But to plan for it, is to know what you have to accomplish tomorrow, and the next day, and the next." - Andrew McPeak, p. 163

 

If Chapter 9 could be summarized in one word, that word would be "legacy." McPeak tells us stories of "Map Makers" just like you all who have acknowledged a problem, analyzed the problem, and created a new map to solving the problem that has enhanced the lives of others in innovative ways. He tells us that there are 4 characteristics of a Map Maker: 
- Purpose and Aspiration
- Vision and Innovation
- Design and Preparation
- Courage and Dedication

 

Andrew McPeak also gives us 3 lessons to be learned from the stories of innovation he tells:
1. You won't tread new territory overnight
2. Innovation comes in small packages, yet leave a big impact

3. The greatest map makers are the ones who are focused on the needs of others

 

As we near the last week of this book club, perhaps it is time to hone in on where you will go from here with this new information. Hopefully you have not only been encouraged to march more confidently into the unknown next step of your career, but you will also take away some strategies and inspiration to guide you along that path. As you begin to chart out your new course, perhaps you can begin with the end in mind once more....

 

Reflection:
Imagine you are retiring tomorrow (I know, it's an exciting thought! I can hear the resounding "I wish" through this computer screen). What will they say about you tomorrow at your retirement party? What LEGACY are you working toward right now?

 

If you're struggling to find your answer, consider the following guiding questions from chapter 9:
- What moment in your life would you point to as the genesis of the purpose and aspiration of your work?
- What was your vision when you started your work as an educator?

- How will you turn your greatest visions of the future into practical day-in and day-out plans?

 


  

Once again, I think the information in chapter 8 came as no surprise to the Ag Ed world. As we continue to build our new maps, we have often practiced the art of looking at some of the old maps, our old teaching styles and curriculum, and determining if we should keep the old practice or create a new one in its place. As Elmore outlines, using imagery in our messages is a practice that has been effective for the duration of human history, and will continue to be effective for years to come - perhaps now more than ever with Gen Z. You must admire Elmore's ability to bring in all of the stories and facts for this chapter, but lets get down to the heart of the message: practical application in your classroom.

 

In these book club posts, I try to pull out the main ideas of the chapter so you have an easy outline to refer back to later. Elmore poses that the reason Dr. Seuss books remain so incredibly relevant is because the message is:

1.Simple (easy to understand)
2. Short (can be digested quickly)
3. Sticky (memorable for everyone)
4. Sharable (transferrable ideas for readers)
(p. 140)

 

Reflection:
1) Think about your communication style within your classroom. Do you struggle with any of these 4 elements of effective messages/lessons? Do you excel in any of these areas? 

 

Further, Elmore spends a lot of time discussing imagery as a teaching technique. As ag teachers, you have already proven in this book club alone that you are very focused on providing experiences through which you can educate youth. In your classroom, you may already be far more fluent with this generation's language than other teachers in your building. Elmore says that students in this generation respond best to these three elements: music, experiences, images (p. 151). You have already seen with your own eyes that this is true, students respond well when you can provide a visual to accompany the topic you are teaching. 

 

Reflection:

2) How do you capitalize on the use of music, experiences, and/or images in your curriculum? 

 

Finally, Elmore leaves us with a simple exercise to help us develop a strategic plan for implementing the ideas in this chapter into our curriculum. 
D - Begin with a Dilemma
I - Then show an Image
C - This sparks Conversations
E - This should lead to an experience

 

Map Maker:
3) Where could you try "rolling the DICE" in your teaching? Pick a class you teach, or one you would like to teach, and walk through the DICE strategy for a topic that could be taught within that class.  Make an outline of how you would accomplish each element: D - I - C - E. 

 

You can either post a comment or put a document in the Chapter 8 folder, if you want more space! Here are some questions that might spur some thought as you outline a DICE lesson. You DO NOT have to answer these questions specifically.
- What is an example of an issue or problem needing a solution that you could pose related to the topic?
- What images or imagery would you like to use to support or reinforce what you are trying to teach? Do you have life experience or stories of your own you could bring in? 
- How can you encourage students to open up and discuss the topic with you?
- How can you make this real and relevant to their lives?