Episode 5 – Toys R Us and Teaching Rewards

• Reminisce about the past
• Compare rewards versus punishments as motivators

1. My childhood trips to Toys R Us
2. Identifying and teaching self-care in the form of personal rewards
3. Including rewards in the planning process at the beginning of the school year when mapping out assignments
4. Modeling rewards

• “Where does he get those wonderful toys?”

Episode 4 – Star Wars and Final Lessons: Star Wars in the Classroom Part 1

• Discuss developing the final lesson of the year
• Discuss the value of year-end reflections/evaluations

1. A long time ago… Final Lessons in Star Wars movies
• Obi-Wan  – Actions can have far reaching consequences
• Yoda – Time runs out for us all, remember what you have learned
• Vader – Even the mighty fall, follow your heart
• Luke – Never think you know it all

2. How did my final lesson first happen?
• My mother’s typewriter
• “Instantes” – “Instants” or “Moments” – misattributed to Borges

3. Qualities that can be part of a final lesson
• Forward thinking
• Universality
• Reflection

4. What year-end reflections can bring about
• Growth/reinvention
• Reinforcement
• Focus
• Harsh truths

• How does a person grow up yet somehow stay a Toys R Us kid?

Episode 3 – Secret Origins and College Personal Statement Essays

• Discuss the concept of the secret origin
• Discuss some common elements in personal statements

1. It was my fault!
2. What is the basis for a secret origin?
3. Creating successful college personal statements/writing samples

• Contextualize “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine…” within the realm of education

Episode 2 – Comic Con in the Classroom: Fan Conventions at School

• Discuss the purpose and benefits of event based learning
• Discuss ideas for creating conventions at school

1. My first convention experience and the impact of congregated fandom
2. Creating opportunities to publicly showcase student work
3. Creating imaginative convention displays, badges, and swag that promote learning and teach basic marketing
• Using school events to promote the work being done on campus in this era of competitiveness among school options

• What would Bruce Wayne’s college application look like?

Episode 1 – A Nerd in the Classroom

• Introduce the show – using elements of nerd culture to enhance education in and out of the classroom
• Introduce the purpose – contribute to growing a culture of learning
• Discuss the evolving social definition of “nerd”

1. Welcome

2. Who am I? What is the secret origin of this show?
• “You Won’t Live to See the Final Star Wars Movie” by Adam Rogers
• Paracosms, Avengers: Infinity War, and College
• The “ah-ha” moment that birthed the show out of nerd-ery

3. The evolution of the term nerd and how it might be used to enhance education

Homework (HW)
• Finalize the design for this year’s 13th annual class convention badge

Welcome to the Nerd in the Classroom podcast!

Welcome to the website for our humble podcast! Thank you for giving us a try and we hope to create content that will consistently earn your attention. In the first episode, we will delve into the show’s secret origin story and perilous mission. That mission is simple: To contribute to growing a culture of education.

The show notes format for each episode will resemble a day’s lesson plan written on the whiteboard in my classroom. Each episode will have OBJECTIVES going over the goals for the day, a numbered AGENDA to guide the proceedings, and a HOMEWORK (HW) section that will preview the next episode and sometimes indicate what I’m reading or working on. Sort of unconventional as far as podcast show notes go, but hopefully relevant to the show’s theme.

Also, here is a brief disclaimer: As a teacher, I strive to be constantly learning and a large part of that learning comes from experimenting, exploring, failing, repeating – so I will not claim to have any all-curing solutions to the types of educational challenges that face us in this profession. As such, what I will endeavor to present throughout these episodes are constantly evolving ideas about how to use various elements in teaching and learning. Not all of them have worked for my students, but they have not all failed either. Some of the show’s content may seem irrelevant to many classroom settings (I teach high school, so that’s where my focus will usually be) or may seem so basic that you’ll wonder why anyone even bothered to mention it. There is no one way to teach, but oh so many ways to critique it as I’m sure many of us have experienced. Please presume positive intent.