Celebrity

I know I’m not the first to notice, but the web has an amazing way of making celebrities out of everyday people.  Often they are not even aware of their status.  When I watch Dr. Wesch’ Anthropological Look at Youtube which he presented at the Library of Congress www.youtube.com/user/mwesch I can’t help but feel that he is flabberghasted by the fame of his “Text is Linear” video. His emotion is couched in a fascination with the anthropological implications of the new linkings available through the world wide web. His work is brilliant and insightful and deserves every bit of attention it gets.

bud-the-teacherThis weekend I met some other celebrities at a retreat for the National Writing Project. I was amazed when I realized the regular guy sitting at my table was actually ‘dogtrax’ a blogger I’ve been following for quite some time through Ben Davis’ collaborative blog, teacheng.us. I tried not to ogle like a pre-teen at a Jonas Brothers gig, but I suck at hiding my excitement. Luckily, moments later, “Bud the Teacher” was unmasked as the big guy with the piercings. Of course, I shouted “You’re Bud the Teacher?” eliciting a roomful of laughter, covering my already awestruck state of mind over dogtrax. Ain’t life grand?

As we finished for the weekend, I said goodbye to these lovely nerds and tried to express how much I enjoy reading their work. Bud the Teacher actually denied his guruishness self! He doesn’t seem to think he does anything special and perhaps Dogtrax thinks the same way! These guys are my kind of celebrities. They have NO CLUE what an impact they have made in the world. You’ve got your celebs who’ve been around a while like Kevin Rose whose career blossomed on TV. Now, the TV appearances are completely superfluous to building celebrity. Word of mouth has been replaced by word of web so these everyday people, doing what they do because they enjoy it, achieve a sort of notoriety which is perhaps better than the traditional celebrity. There is probably a greater degree of privacy afforded the new celebs. There is more choice. Keep your life quiet uncluttered and nerdy, or create a video for youtube and let your wild self get famous!

And here’s an addendum:  I spoke to a colleague about meeting these fellows and by lunchtime she reported that she had actually seen a reference to Bud the Teacher on Choice Literacy today.  She had never ever heard of him before.  Let’s talk.  Should we change the Kevin Bacon Effect to the Bud the Teacher connection?

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Published in: on May 5, 2009 at 1:38 am  Comments (2)  

Power Teaching as Classroom Inquiry

As part of the West Tennessee Writing Project, my Classroom Inquiry will involve Power Teaching, the classroom management and learning program promoted by Dr. Chris Biffle at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, California. His homepage is homepage.mac.com/chrisbiffle/Personal17.html

Power Teaching provides techniques for focusing student attention, building classroom community, focused skill and task instructions and differentiated instruction through gestures, student sharing, listening, laughter and fun.

I discovered power teaching at the end of the ’07-’08 school year and just had to try it out. We only had three weeks of school left, but those three weeks are typically difficult each year for a two reasons: The school year is finishing and testing requires changes in routines and the school year is finishing and the kids are ready for summer. Generally speaking, these two things work against each other. Discipline begins to be more of a problem, just when students need to focus for the finish.

Power Teaching proved to be the perfect tool to keep my class together to avoid the end of the year disintegration. Students enjoyed the techniques, caught on quickly and benefited academically from the thirty second micro lessons. I was surprised and delighted at how well they retained the information from the micro lessons. The only challenge for me was coming up with the gestures to go with those lessons.

I took the opportunity as a Focal Team member at the WTWP Summer Institute, to introduce the teachers participating to Power Teaching. Their classrooms ranged from kindergarten through college and they were all quite intrigued. As the month went on, we all adopted the class/yes technique to bring the class back to attention during different activities. Everyone was quite inspired when they viewed the Teacher Tube video with Chris Biffle teaching pre-service teachers about Power Teaching.

I hope that as I progress in my classroom inquiry, I will be able to convey how the process has unfolded during the new school year. My end of the year experience was somewhat different since there was plenty of groundwork that had already been established between my students and I. I anticipate that my new students will be somewhat shy about participating at first, just as the adults at WTWP were initially. I look forward to seeing how this all turns out.