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Day 2 - Introducing Brian, your Guest Teacher.

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

A Teacher walking into a school
My Old School

Answer - Educators, Students, and Parents.


A teacher should never ask students to do something that they weren't willing to do themselves. I realize that I am asking students to 'put themselves out there' in several ways - when they play the WAY Game, share Game Cards and participate in Student of the Day activities. This is my way of putting myself out there. I never wanted to be a show-off, but sometimes, you must leave your comfort zone and show what you have done.

Meet Brian - You Virtual Guest Teacher

Focus Questions

1. Who is Brian, your Virtual Teacher?

Outcome - Be able to evaluate some of Brian's character and goals.

2. To teach or not to teach; to play or not to play; these are the questions.

Outcome - Learn effective classroom management and lifelong learning practices.

3. How can AI Tools be used in class to improve instruction?

Outcome - Begin to learn how to use Prompts and AI to create learning content.


Building Relationships and Other Stuff

None of this was possible when I began to teach; there were no photocopiers, computers, or screens in class. No cell phone, internet, or SMART Boards. Teaching was simple - put the information found in textbooks into the minds of students; these were simpler times. But times change, and so do the tools we use to teach and learn.

The relationships you develop along the way are at the core of good teaching and learning. I believe a class should work as a team, in mentorship, in work with practical outcomes. I believe in the power of families who are committed to growth. I believe that schools should invest time in social-emotional learning and teaching students how to learn. I believe in trust and respect.

This video is a snapshot of how I taught and some of the things I enjoy doing. I'm asking students and teachers to 'put themselves out there,' I feel I need to do the same, even if it goes against my introverted nature.

When I was a classroom teacher, I would tell my students stories. One of my stories was about a character named Erine, my alter ego/imaginary friend. His name comes up in some of my videos. He gives advice.

I made this Game Card when I switched from Word to PowerPoint when making Game Cards; the formatting is better. This is the second card to start your Game Card collection. I would encourage everybody to make their first Game Card based on who you are and what you stand for. I make my designs the old-fashioned way, with clip art, screen captures, word art, icons, and pictures. Experiment and see what AI comes up with.

Here is the first Game Card I made using PowerPoint. Icons are a good way to document activities. Start your Game Card collection with cards from each lesson. Cards act as Memory Triggers for the things you do.

A Game Card for the WAY Game
Brian's Game Card

Brian Game Card 2023
Download PPTX • 1.86MB


Teacher Stories

Brian hiking with camera
Brian Your Guest Teacher

You may never know if, when and why you influence others through your words or actions. It's day two; I know one person at the school, and we were having a field day for the 'New Boys' as we were called, kind of old school when you think about it.

Anyways, one of the events was the Javalin toss. A Javalin isn't easy to throw; I had some experience at Mount Royal High throwing one, and when it came to the competition, the Head Boy, who was in Grade twelve, was leading the competition. The skinny New Boy beat him by three inches. Shortly after, I overheard a teacher saying that he should have recruited me for Colby House; I was in Davis House. I never forgot that comment. It gave me a much-needed confidence boost and an 'in' with my buddy's circle of friends.

On the opposite end of the spectrum. My French teacher in grade five had Sister Superior [that's the title a nun gets for being Principal]. Anyways, Mrs. Sullivan was going up and down the rows, asking students the meaning of French words. When she came to me with Sister Superior in tow, she cleared her throat and moved to the next student. Sister Superior said nothing. I never forgot that thoughtless act; it told me loud and clear - I was too stupid to even be given the chance to reply.

As teachers, we must be careful with what we do or say because sometimes we don't know who is watching or listening. A simple rule of thumb is always to be nice, except when you have to be mean. And that's another story.


For Classroom Teachers and Prospective Teachers - Experiments in AI

A few years ago, I was researching why so many teachers were quitting, and I was surprised to find so many teachers putting their quitting stories online. You could say I've been there and done that - but I didn't put my story online, maybe because the technology to do so didn't exist. My goal is to bring some of these great teachers back with a SMART WAY to Learn.

Student Activities

  1. Create three Questions and or Activities for the game Trivial Pursuit.

  2. Using the Transcript, create five Prompts that help teachers teach and students learn.

  3. Scroll to the bottom and evaluate Chat GPT's responses.

I asked Chat GPT the following:

What are the three most important ideas in the transcript?

- Make five multiple-choice questions based on the main ideas of the block of text.

- Summarize the text so a student in grade two could understand.

- From the text, suggest five activities for the Game Speak It, where teams of students speak for one minute on a given topic.


Don't Quit Transcript

To teach or not to teach, that is the question. There are teacher shortages, burnout, and resignations everywhere. It's been a really tough year, and summer will be a time of contemplation for many teachers. What will teachers have to look forward to in September? More importantly, what will students be looking forward to?

You see nothing bright on the horizon, no path forward. You're second-guessing your decisions. Welcome to teaching. It's not for sissies; you will be tested by students, parents, colleagues, administrators, and maybe even the media. And why not? We have under our influence the hearts and minds of society's most precious gifts: our children.

Teachers are leaving the classroom like never before. I get it; I've been there and done that. It took me to the end of my career to finally feel good about how I was teaching. I could never find what I was looking for in teacher professional development, so I created it. It took years of research and development to be able to simplify the tools and techniques of a smart way to learn and bring them to a mass audience.

It came down to understanding what was important to my students, their parents, and my sanity. Welcome to a learning experience like no other. Welcome to teaching.

All these teachers you are seeing in the background made videos about why they quit teaching. My video is about why I stayed. To be honest, I quit, too, back in 1999. I packed a small box and walked right out of the class in the middle of a lesson. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, so you could say I've been there and done that. Stress is real, and it builds as much as you try to ignore it.

In my long teaching career, there have been both tragedies and triumphs. I've had a number of students die tragically. The captain of my girls' basketball team died at center court as teams shook hands. I saw the ravages of disease as one of my students had to have his limbs amputated. I attended to a little girl after she was run over by a car. These tragedies come out of the blue. How are you, as a teacher, going to help your students through these difficult times?

It's not always life-threatening. The moments of triumph far outweigh the tragedies. I have pockets full of memories and stories of lessons given, of teams coached, of plays performed. You can become close to students, and then you may never see them again, and sometimes that's a good thing.

So, why did I stay in teaching? I'm driven; it's my calling, which is ironic since I was such a poor student. I like teaching; I just didn't like the attitude of some students and parents. The long hours and paperwork didn't help, but don't dwell on the negative; you can't get away from it, but you can learn to manage it.

In theory, as a teacher, you'll have more time off to spend with your family, but I know many teachers have to take on a second job to make ends meet. It's time we show the public what teachers really do, but roadblocks must be removed. We need to trust our teachers more, with less micromanagement.

But it's the relationships teachers form with students, their parents, and colleagues that make a difference. It's the things you create, the hearts and minds you reach that make learning and teaching worthwhile. That's why I stayed.

And while I'm sharing with you my teaching experiences, we need great teachers now more than ever. If you're thinking of quitting, consider the ideas found here. If you are thinking of becoming a teacher, have a look inside a working classroom.

Are you teaching now and want some tools that will make a real difference in every class? Are you an administrator looking for a plan to move your staff forward? Parents could benefit from my stories as well; they'll learn that relationship-building, self-discovery, information-processing techniques, and fun and games are the keys to successful learning.

This site is a work in progress, evolving as new relationships are made. This is an invitation to grow with us, to once again feel the joy of teaching, the greatest profession in the world.

A smart way to learn has three pillars: the WAY Game, digital lesson planning, and project-based learning. All three are student-focused. This is what this project, this journey, is all about: encouraging the teaching of independent lifelong learning processes designed to take responsibility off of a teacher's plate and share them with students and parents.

There's a bit of martyrdom when it comes to teaching. Teachers tend to take on all the responsibility for everything and more. But no more. Moving forward, we are going to have to rely on each other to help bring many voices to the classroom. One of those voices will be a teacher's parent volunteer.

Our webinars are one of a kind because we recognize the need for teamwork. Your parent volunteer will have specific tasks for the production of the weigh game materials and to help monitor play throughout the year. Parent volunteers are asked to accompany the homeroom teacher for a day of learning via webinar.

So, I invite you to use this site not only to survive teaching but to thrive in teaching. Teaching is a marathon, not a sprint. Find ways to make every day count; your students are depending on you.

This is what AI came up with. I would review what was written and refine my prompt.

The three most important ideas in the transcript are:

  1. The challenges and difficulties of teaching include teacher shortages, burnout, and stress.

  2. Building relationships with students, parents, and colleagues in the teaching profession is important.

  3. A need for innovative approaches to teaching, such as the "WAY Game," digital lesson planning, and project-based learning, to make teaching more effective and enjoyable.

Multiple-choice questions based on the main ideas:

  1. What are some of the challenges mentioned in the transcript that teachers face?

  2. a) Teacher salaries

  3. b) Teacher shortages, burnout, and stress

  4. c) Lack of resources in schools

  5. d) Lack of summer vacations

The Multiple Choice Formatting didn't transfer with the correct formatting.

  1. According to the transcript, why did the author stay in teaching despite the challenges? a) Because they were a great student themselves b) Because they wanted to work shorter hours c) Because they had a calling for teaching and enjoyed it d) Because they earned a high income as a teacher

  2. What is one of the suggested solutions mentioned in the transcript to improve teaching? a) Increasing teacher salaries b) Providing more paperwork for teachers c) Trusting teachers more and reducing micromanagement d) Reducing the number of days teachers have off

  3. What are the three pillars of "a SMART WAY to Learn" mentioned in the transcript? a) Homework, quizzes, and exams b) The WAY Game, digital lesson planning, and project-based learning c) Teacher training, parent involvement, and student motivation d) Standardized testing, curriculum development, and classroom management

  4. How does the author describe teaching in the transcript? a) A sprint that requires quick actions b) A marathon that requires long-term dedication c) A game that teachers always win d) A race against other professions

Summary for a student in grade two:

Teaching is a job where grown-ups help children learn. Sometimes, it's hard because there aren't enough teachers, and teachers can feel tired. But it's important because teachers help kids grow and learn. Teachers make friends with kids, parents, and other teachers, which is nice. Some teachers use new ways to teach, like games and computer plans, to make learning fun. Teaching is like a long race, and teachers need help from others to make it good.

Five activities for the Game Speak It:

  1. Debate Challenge: Teams of students choose a topic and take turns debating it for one minute. They have to speak well and give reasons for their opinions.

  2. Storytelling Relay: Each team tells a story for one minute. The next team continues the story where the previous team left off. This helps improve storytelling skills.

  3. Science Showdown: Teams pick and explain a science topic for one minute. They can use props or drawings to make it interesting.

  4. Historical Figures: Teams pick a famous person from history and briefly discuss them. They should share facts and why that person was important.

  5. Book Reviews: Each team reads and reviews a book in one minute. They should tell the story briefly and say if they liked it and why.

[I would improve the prompt for Speak It.]


What's Next?

A look at four short videos where 5M demonstrates the WAY Game.

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