Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Powerful Statement from a Veteran Teacher

I wanted to share an email that I got from Chad Cryer, one of the T3 grant participants at BHS. Chad teaches both AP and IB World History. The email speaks for itself - this is powerful!
"Into the second six-weeks of school, my “daily routine” had become dry enough that I was losing the attention of the very students that I was supposed to be captivating and engaging. Luckily, I was introduced to Xtranormal at the same time. My greatest fear of using this tool was that students would become overly concerned with “creativity” and lose sight of the subject at hand. After employing the assignment, I realized that my greatest fear was actually a symptom of my lack of trust in my students rather than a fear of “misguided instruction”. We used Xtranormal as a means to review for an upcoming exam and the result was nothing short of phenomenal. Students were to write a poem regarding Canadian history and allow the Xtranormal character to deliver this to the class. Shy students produced work that they normally would have never developed, artistic students employed their talents of rhyme to the history of Canada, but most importantly, all students were engaged in a struggle to define the history of Canada and the factors that have developed the nation. In just one class period, students delved into deeper subjects regarding minority rights, anti-clericism, warfare and assimilation. While the students exhibited their knowledge in a captivating manner, the greatest lesson learned was geared towards myself; listening to students is sometimes a better means of educating than merely talking to subjects."
Thanks, Chad, for allowing this to be published.


  1. I am new to the grant and am having a similar anxiety. Now I'm finding it hard to go through what I teach and deciphering what needs to be online and what needs to be direct from me. I just need to start trying. Thanks Chad, it's good to know someone else in the grant has just as much trepidation.

  2. My favorite part of this is "the greatest lesson learned- listening to the students is sometimes a better means of educating them." I know listening is something I need to work on. Thanks Chad for sharing.

  3. I think this is the direction we have to go. We just have to step off our cliff of classic education and start allowing change to happen in the classroom. I am glad to hear they like xtranormal, I often wonder what the kids will find corny and what they find fun.

  4. O Canada, we'd love so see a sample!
    I plan to use a different version of an animated movie program from the national archives.
    My goal is to get students doing impromptu writing in Spanish. Labeling a poster or writing text for a movie is a great motivator.

    Here's the link incase you want to explore:

    allison robertson