I'm going to sort of ignore the rules, and I'm only going to nominate one person (Cheryl), because maybe if she gets nominated enough times, she'll actually play along. :-)
For the 11 random facts that you may or may not know about me:
1. Last summer, when I went to FlipCon in Stillwater, it was the first time I'd been on a plane in 15 years and it doubled as the furthest I've been from my home in NC.
2. I have a black Great Dane. Her name is Bijou. She stands face-high to me when i'm sitting in this armchair, and we have to make sure all our food is put up after meals because she doesn't have to stretch to reach the table, either.
3. I don't like crowds and I'm not a huge fan of speaking in public. Which means I became a teacher, of course.
4. I try to garden (which is what all gardeners say-- even "master" gardeners are always learning). I love the life cycle of tomato plants particularly- I start around 200 in my kitchen every February, and often sell/give plants away in the spring. Last year, I grew 5 different varieties-- but have grown up to 14 different types in one year. Last summer, for a few weeks, I was picking something like 20 pounds of tomatoes every 2-3 days. They are now happily ensconced in my freezer as salsa and pasta sauce.
5. I have no arches in my feet. This makes outdoor exploits like hiking much more difficult.
6. I used to have hair past my shoulders, which is often surprising to the people who have met me in the past few years.
7. I own something like 20 R.E.M. live show bootlegs, which is not as common as, say, Dave Matthews shows or Phish shows, but have only been to a concert of theirs once.
8. I have followed the musical career of Jennifer Nettles since I was in high school and since she was in a band called Soul Miner's Daughter. I saw them play at a showcase at Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte in 1998 or 1999, and I remember being amazed that THAT voice came out of THAT person. Met her in person while bouncers were clearing a bar fight at one of her shows in Black Mountain. She is both as awesome and as short as she looks on TV.
9. I thought Twitter was stupid the first time I tried it.
10. I play guitar (badly) and sing (a little less badly) and write songs for two sort-of-bands: i am going to utter a tree (name taken from an e.e. cummings poem) and Ships At A Distance (from the opening sentence of Their Eyes Were Watching God). Yes, that makes me a geek. Yes, I will send you music if you want to hear it. I wish I could sing like Sam Cooke or Otis Redding.
11. I hope to one day open/co-open a school that has gardening/growing plants as a major plot point in the curriculum.
Karl's Questions- What is your go to beverage on Friday evening? Why?
My go-to beverage is always water, Friday evening and otherwise.
- If you could make one change to the educational system in the US, what would it be?
Just one? Make classes interdisciplinary and about making things.
- Describe your perfect day.
To have a good day in class where students are engaged, then come home and get hugs from my wife and daughter. Then spending the evening with the garden and with family and friend(s).
- What is the most important characteristic you look for in your friends?
The ability to see my flaws and want to be around me anyway. And a sense of humo(u)r.
- What is your proudest moment as an educator?
Honestly, two things. One, overcoming my anxiety enough to actually be a teacher; and Two, the work we've done as part of the #coflip group in the past year and a half has been amazing.
- What teachers had the biggest impact on your life? How did they impact you? Does this teacher know the impact they had on you?
Dr. Riley Bratton and John Cox, an AP Government and Precal/Calculus teacher, respectively. Doc Bratton modeled the kind of Socratic questioning and opinionated intellectualism that are hallmarks of my classes. Cox told me I should be a math major in college. I ignored him, but I loved his bravado, his love for math, and his passion for his students.
- What needs to happen in 2014 for you to be reflecting on a successful year 52 weeks from now?
Academically? Refine the beginning-of-class bootcamp to get kids prepared for the kind of education in my room and work on eliminating a lot of The Suck (trademark J. Corippo).
- Who is one must-follow educator on Twitter? Why are they so great? Tell me someone I haven't heard of!
Karl, this is the most difficult one, because I don't know that I know anyone you don't know. I'd say Bill Ferriter @plugusin is amazing, as is Bianca Yavelak @Mrs_Yav. They are great because they're from NC and because they are in the trenches with me, pushing #flipclass and #pbl forward.
- What is the biggest risk you've ever taken in your life? How did it work out?
I don't feel like it's happened yet, honestly.
- I'll let you off the hook with an easy one: when are you coming to the Bay Area next so we can hang out and I can steal all your best ideas? (With attribution of course!) You already steal/attribute all my best ideas. And I wish I had a good answer for that question. I think it's probably more likely that you'll meet me on the East Coast. West Coast Party will happen someday, though, I'm sure.
I appreciate Jayme for lots of reasons, among them being her subversion of rules. But she asked questions without answering any, which is totally not fair. At all.
1. How can we cultivate a risk-taking, innovative learning environment in a high-stakes testing culture?
I don't know of any other way besides insisting on doing what's right for the kids in the room with you, trying a bunch of different things, admit failures and trumpet successes, iterate and repeat. And then let the chips fall wherever they are going to fall.
2. How can we recruit promising prospective teachers and keep effective educators in the classroom?
I think the low salary hurts more with respect to the recruitment of teachers than it does keeping them in the classroom. And I'll steal from Dan Pink to answer the other-- you keep great teachers in the classroom by offering them chances for creativity, autonomy, and purpose. And you have to alter their responsibilities to do this-- you can't just give them more work on top of their current work and pray they won't burn out.
3. How can we increase the amount of connected educators who actually do what they blog and tweet about?
Wait. Are you suggesting that there are bloggers who write artful philosophy but don't actually execute those philosophies in class? Who knew? And I don't know the answer to that one-- we have to winnow out the ones who are just sound and fury, signifying nothing. I think the way to the winnowing is to follow and trumpet the bloggers who are writing both about success and struggle, which is a more realistic presentation of the classroom.
4. If we know that collaborative planning is powerful, why don't we create time and space for teachers to do that regularly?
Because time and money and lip service. Also, we don't always work great with the people in our school buildings. My favorite collaborative partners are an English teacher in California (plus the rest of the coflip community) and a Biology teacher at a different HS in my district.
5. How are schools empowering teacher leaders?
I don't have a good answer for this one. I just know that, to prevent/allay burnout, that teacher-leaders can't have additional responsibilities; we just need different ones. (This is much the same as the way honors/"gifted" classes should be structured-- with different work, not more.)
6. How should we really be measuring educator effectiveness?
Two ways: First, how much their students want to come to school to be in their classes; and second, how well the students can do the (developmentally appropriate!!!!!!) skills the teacher helped them to learn.
7. What kinds of support do K-12 schools need from teacher educators and educational researchers?
We need good teachers, and we need research that can be directly applied to classrooms. More particularly, we need conduits and great writers/speakers, people who can clearly explain the ramifications and results of studies to the general public. We need those people to be as loud as the people trying to standardize everything.
8. How can we empower educators to use classroom assessments to inform instruction rather than externally controlling the assessment environment in our classrooms?
I don't mean to be sarcastic about this, but you say something like, "Teachers, you have a much better idea about good pedagogy and what's right for your kids than we the politicians do. Please evaluate them."
9. Why do we insist on teaching kids to hate reading by pushing programs that use extrinsic rewards?
Money. The answer is always "money." And it's a terrible idea.
10. What do the best school administrators do? How can we spread that to less effective administrators?
The best school administrators have a vision that is communicated clearly and collaboratively created, and they care about their teachers/students on both a professional and personal level. I don't know how that gets spread, though.
11. How can we expand collaboration across schools so that we continually help each other better meet the needs of our students?
Read the blogs at this site and at Cheryl's for ideas. Also, this is really cool. Seriously, though, lots of people are doing this already, and they are sharing a ton of things. Collaboration in this way is like driving-- you don't learn how unless you decide it's worth it to persevere, and you do it.
1. What actor/actress would play you in your life story?
Morgan Freeman. Because that voice, and because why not? Also, most people who know me would probably say Hugh Laurie.
2. Who is your biggest inspiration?
My daughter, right now. She reminds me to keep things fun and to see everything with new eyes.
3. What are three adjectives which best describe you?
Helpful, bearded, and indecisive--note that your questions asking for single answers almost all have multiple.
4. You have only one CD to listen to for 2014. What is it?
Not fair. If forced, I'd probably pick either the most recent live Avett Brothers record from NYE in Charlotte, or Lauryn Hill's Miseducation.
5. What is the best book you read in 2013?
So Good They Can't Ignore You (Cal Newport)
6. Where is your dream destination for a vacation?
Florence. Or London.
7. What is your favorite movie of all-time?
Shawshank Redemption, MP & Holy Grail, Big Lebowski
8. What App can you not live without?
Twitter, I guess. Though "can't live without" is a huge concept and not one I'm likely to apply to technologies.
9. What was your initial college major?
Creative Writing. That's also what it was when I graduated. I did consider Mass Comm, though.
10. If you could have dinner with any living person, who would it be?
I am stealing from Cheryl here and saying Desmond Tutu, because she says he radiates peace and light, and all of us need more of that. Also, I am looking forward to the day that we can sit all of the #coflip people around one table and eat and talk and hang out.
11. Why do you do what you do?
Assuming you're asking about teaching, it's fun, mostly. And it's important. And I love building relationships around learning and creativity and creation.