Meet Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest

Have you met Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest?

There are many authors who need a boost.  Here is one with a darling book I know you and your children would enjoy reading, Jaden Toussaint the Greatest. One of Marti’s stories includes Jaden being in a play.

A play, you say?  Hmmmm.


Jaden Touissant 2

Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest
Making smart cool again.
Series Title: Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest
Author: Marti Dumas
Genre: Illustrated Chapter Book/Middle Grade Fiction (Ages 5-10)
New Orleans children’s book author Marti Dumas’ has released a new book in the
popular Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest series.

Each book has debuted at #1 on
Amazon’s Hot New Releases list for children’s chapter books.

Jaden Touissant

Jaden Toussaint, 5-year-old scientist and all around cool dude, wants to become super famous. The problem is that his parents won’t let him upload his amazing animal facts videos to the internet. He’s working on a plan, when a perfect opportunity presents itself:
his class play. Jaden and his friends soon learn that being upon stage is not easy for everyone. Jaden Toussaint’s positive problem-solving techniques are entertaining for children and the adults who read with them, and give children a fun, positive role
model for their own big decisions.

Marti Dumas is a mother, teacher, and author from New Orleans. She is a contributing writer on education and parenting for and other publications. An expert in childhood literacy, Marti has worked with children and teachers across the country for the last 15 years to promote an early love of reading both in and out of the classroom. Her most recent book, Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest was a #1 New Release on

Author Website:
New Orleans, Louisiana Author Email:

I highly recommend you look for Marti’s books!  I think you’ll enjoy them.

Contact me at or

I’d love to hear from you.

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If you are interested in my middle grade award winning book, Bumbling Bea, here are some recent reviews.  Check it out here:  New Book reviews on Bumbling Bea

You can purchase Bumbling Bea here:  Bumbling Bea at Amazon

National Haiku Day Bumbling Bea Style

April 15 is National Haiku Day. I’m going to honor national haiku day Bumbling Bea style.

You gotta wonder who thinks up these national days….


When I think of Haiku, I think of gorgeous flowering trees in Japan.

I’m sure there are poets who write them without thinking like I do.

I did a little researching and found Creative.Writing.Now. com.  It’s a website founded by writing teachers about writing.  One of their pages is about haiku poetry.  

The following are typical of haiku:

  • A focus on nature.

  • A “season word” such as “snow” which tells the reader what time of year it is.

  • A division somewhere in the poem, which focuses first on one thing, than on another. The relationship between these two parts is sometimes surprising.

  • Instead of saying how a scene makes him or her feel, the poet shows the details that caused that emotion. If the sight of an empty winter sky made the poet feel lonely, describing that sky can give the same feeling to the reader.

In honor of National Haiku Day, April 15 I created a few haiku about the characters of my award winning book, Bumbling Bea. There are several acknowledgements to the Japanese culture in the story so it only seemed fitting.

 My haiku aren’t about trees, flowers and clouds, but they are about the nature of human beings.  (Get it, get it?)

Bumbling Bea

Beatrice about Michiko:

Laughing and bowing

Her voice strong and dramatic

I wish I was her.

Bumbling Bea

Michiko thoughts about her mother:

You loudly scold me

Stretching, growing up I cry

This life’s mine not yours.

Bumbling Bea

Peter’s reflection about the  Michiko sabotage:

Devil leaves of three

Softly touch innocent skin

Oozing mounds erupt.

Bumbling Bea

Bumbling Bea would say:

I take over you

blurting outrageous things

Always regretting them.

Mr. Brace quips:

As father I’m bound

To family duties

Begrudging all.

Mrs. Brace to Mr. Brace:

Can’t you see I’m sad?

It’s hard to forget

Happy days, sweet nights.

BB chapter 16

The Cast’s thoughts:

Performance is super

Michiko adds spice and flare

But what’s with the freeze?

Lost?  You won’t be once you read my book.  Check it out here:


Contact me at or check out my website at


Student Survival: The Importance of Pleasure Reading for a Kid

So, let’s talk about pleasure reading for a kid.

Recently, I was looking for a  pleasure reading book to purchase for my upcoming trip over seas. I was having a difficult time finding one. I saw a child who was nearly eating a book while he read it–in the time I looked over one aisle of books, he read three (all right, they were short, but still…)



Some people are selective about the genres they read.  I usually gravitate toward books with quirky characters in ordinary appearing plots. I say “ordinary appearing” because it is always intriguing to find the characters going somewhere else than you expected.

However, I am known to cheat and read the last chapter of a book if a. the story is moving too slowly for me or b. I’m dying to know what happens. When I was a child, my mother would scold me for doing so–still haven’t kicked the habit.  Sorry, Mom.

I worry about kids’ reading preferences. It seems many writers write for whatever trend is popular the time. A few years ago, it was zombies and time travelers. Not every child wants to read fantasy or graphic novels.  That’s why I penned Bumbling Bea.  If you haven’t picked up my book, you might want to try it.  I promise you, it isn’t your run of the mill plot! Check it out here:

I ran on to an article concerning this concern and I thought you’d be interested, too.

Indie Book

Promoting the Pleasures of Reading: Why It Matters to Kids and to Country

June 10, 2017

Advocacy, Inquiry, Literacy, Reading, Teachingpleasure reading

by Lu Ann McNabb

This post is written by member Jeffrey Wilhelm.

Reading Unbound: Why Kids Need to Read What They Want and Why We Should Let Them was this past year’s winner of the NCTE David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in English Education.

The research findings that we report in Reading Unbound have profound implications for us as teachers, for our students, and for democracy.

In our book, we argue that pleasure reading is a civil rights issue. Why? Because fine-grained longitudinal studies (e.g., the British Cohort study: Sullivan & Brown, 2013; and John Guthrie’s analysis of PISA data, 2004, among many others) demonstrate that pleasure reading in youth is the most explanatory factor in both cognitive progress and social mobility over time.

pleasure reading

Pleasure reading is more powerful than parents’ educational attainment or socioeconomic status.

This means that pleasure reading is THE way to address social inequalities in terms of actualizing our students’ full potential and overcoming barriers to satisfying and successful lives.

We think that our data explain why pleasure reading leads to cognitive growth and social mobility.

The major takeaway for teachers is to focus on pleasure in our teaching. Pleasure has many forms: play pleasure/immersive pleasure, when you get lost in a book—this is a prerequisite pleasure and we can foster it in various ways, such as teaching with an inquiry approach, using drama and visualization strategies, etc.; work pleasure, where you get a functional and immediately applicable tool for doing something in your life; inner work pleasure, where you imaginatively rehearse for your life and consider what kind of person you want to be; intellectual pleasure, where you figure out what things mean and how texts were constructed to convey meanings and effects; and social pleasure, in which you relate to authors, characters, other readers, and yourself by staking your own identity.

Kids (like all other human beings!) do what they find pleasurable. You get good at what you do and then outgrow yourself by developing new related interests and capacities.


Play pleasure develops the capacity to engage and immerse oneself, to visualize meanings and relate to characters. It is the desire to love and be loved. Work pleasure is the love of getting something functional done. Work pleasure is about the love of application and visible signs of accomplishment. Readers engaging in this pleasure cultivate transfer of strategies and insights to life.

Inner work pleasure involves imaginatively rehearsing what kind of person one wants to be. As our informant Helen asserted: “It’s not really learning about yourself, it’s learning about what you could be . . . .” and “Characters are ways of thinking really . . . They are ways of being you can try on.”

Inner work is the love of transformation—of connecting to something greater, of striving to become something more. When our informants engaged in this pleasure, they expressed and developed a growth mindset and a sense of personal and social possibility.

 pleasure reading

Intellectual pleasure is pursued for the joy of figuring things out; it develops the capacity to see connections and solve problems. Our informants developed resilience, grit, and proactivity through the exercise of this pleasure. Erik Erikson argued that staking one’s identity is the primary task of early to late adolescence and that this is achieved through evolving interests and competence.

Social pleasure involves this human developmental project because it involves relating to authors, characters, other readers, and the self in ways that stake identity. Social pleasure is the love of connection—to the self, others, community, and to doing significant work together.

This pleasure develops social imagination: the capacity to experience the world from other perspectives; to learn from and appreciate others distant from us in time, space, and experience; and the willingness to relate, reciprocate, attend to, and help others different from ourselves.

In other words, it promotes cognitive progress, wisdom, wholeness, and the democratic project. In fact, all of the pleasures were found to do this.

Our data clearly establish that students gravitate to the kinds of books they need to navigate their current life challenges, and that many ancillary benefits accrue in the realms of cognition, psychology, emotional development, and socialness. So much so that we developed the mantra: Kids read what they need!


This finding led us to be more trusting of kids’ choices and to ask them about why they chose to read what they did, and eventually to championing these choices. We likewise found that each of the marginalized genres we studied (romance, horror, vampire, fantasy, and dystopia) provided specific benefits and helped students navigate different individual developmental challenges.

Our data also establish that young people are doing sophisticated intellectual work in their pleasure reading, much of it just the kind of work that the Common Core and other next generation standards call for. So making pleasure more central to our practice is not in conflict with working to achieve standards.

girl reading

Standards and all the other significant goals described here can be achieved if teachers value interpretive complexity as much as they do textual complexity, if they create inquiry contexts that reward entering a story world and doing psychological and social work in addition to more traditional academic goals, and if they provide opportunities for choice and meaningful conversation.

Given the benefits of each pleasure, we are convinced that pleasure reading is not only a civil right, it is a social necessity of democracy.

That is why we urge you to promote pleasure reading in your classroom and school, and it is why our book is filled with practical ideas for how to do so while promoting each of the five pleasures. It is monumental work—and it is work we must undertake with the greatest urgency—particularly at this moment in history.


What are some of your favorite genres to read? Perhaps you have a child who might enjoy reading my book, Bumbling Bea simply for the fun of it.  I think they’ll enjoy it!

Check it out here:

I’d love to hear from you.

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The Reason to Value the Broadway Wig Maker

The Undervalued Wig MakEr

Let’s talk about the Broadway wig maker, shall we?

There are some people who work backstage and behind the scenes of a play who are never acknowledged. One is the wig maker. I ran onto this article in NPR’s Kansas website and thought you’d find it interesting, too!

While Broadway Sings Its Praise, The Wigmaker Remains Unsung

Every time you see a Broadway show, chances are a lot of the actors are wearing wigs.
Sunday night at the 68th Annual Tony Awards, Broadway’s highest honors will be presented in a ceremony at Radio City Music Hall. Awards will go to actors, actresses, set and lighting designers, but not the people who make the wigs the stars wear, even though the wigs are an essential part of theater craft.

Essential, and yet often invisible, says Jason P. Hayes, the wig designer for Harvey Fierstein’s Tony-nominated play, Casa Valentina.

Jason Hayes spent almost a week weaving thousands of strands of human hair into this 1960s hairdo for Reed Birney’s character, Charlotte, in Casa Valentina. The wig’s name is, appropriately, “Charlotta.”

“The problem with being a good wig designer is that if you do your job properly, no one knows that any of your work is on the stage,” Hayes says.

“I don’t think people realize that half of the people they’re looking at are wearing a wig,” Hayes says. “And that’s where a lot of that labor and that love and that work goes unnoticed, because if you do it properly, no one knows … that you were ever in the building!”

Wigs play a central role in Casa Valentina. The drama is based on a real Catskills resort in the 1960s that catered to heterosexual cross-dressers. So Hayes had to create wigs that weren’t for drag queens, but for transvestites.

“It’s knowing that difference that’s very important and integral to getting the looks and the characters right for Casa Valentina,” he says.

“It’s understanding they’re not drag queens. The whole point of their feminine persona is that you should never notice them.”

For the character of Charlotte, Hayes created a realistic 1960s hairdo, painstakingly crafted on a base created from a mold of the actor’s head.

“It’s a very fine mesh lace, so imagine a cross between what looks like window screening, but is as fine as panty hose,” he explains. “For lack of a better word, you take one strand of hair and you hand-knot that, on that mesh. So, it’s almost like you’re doing latch hook.”

It took Hayes almost a week to weave the thousands of strands of human hair into just this one wig. Actor Reed Birney, who’s nominated for a Tony as Charlotte, says that kind of attention to detail helps him as an actor.

“It really is a crucial aspect of the performance, this wig, especially for me,” Birney says. “Your self-image suddenly changes. I can’t see myself, but I see myself in the mirror and I know I’ve got this honey-colored hair and a big swoop and it really does affect the way you move through space.”

Tony-nominated actress Sarah Greene says the wig she wears in The Cripple of Inishmaan completes her character, a volatile teenager on a remote Irish island in the 1930s. Yet initially the brunette actress resisted.

“When they came with the red wig, I was like ‘Oh no! I want my own hair,’ ” Greene says. “And yet, the minute I put it on, it was just like, ‘Oh no — the bold Helen is here.'”

If an actor is playing multiple characters, a wig can be crucial in helping to define them.

In the Tony-nominated musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, actor Jefferson Mays, who’s also a Tony-nominee, plays eight roles.

For the gender-bending musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, wigmaker Mike Potter made eight wigs and used magnets so actor Neil Patrick Harris can change quickly on stage. Click here:

The styling of the wigs is important, but so is the stuff they’re made of, says Charles LaPointe, who made the hairpieces for the musical. LaPointe, who’s got an impressive Broadway resume, has a studio with 23 employees.

“We build everything [with] human hair,” LaPointe says. And where does he get the hair?
“Well, we have distributors all over the place,” he says. “We get some from London, that’s like fine Caucasian hair; and then we get Indian hair from Bali; and we get Asian hair from the dime store around the corner.”

Perhaps the most outrageous wigs on Broadway right now sit atop Tony-nominee Neil Patrick Harris’ head in the gender-bending musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Mike Potter has designed all eight of Hedwig’s hairpieces — which evoke the likes of Farrah Fawcett and Tina Turner — in pink. For this show, Potter had to come up with a way for Neil Patrick Harris to change his wigs on the fly. So, he used magnets.

“They’re sown on these hat bases, called buckrams, and Neil has to do all of his own quick changes on stage,” Potter says. “And there are magnets built into his main wig, and so when he’s in the dark behind the car, he just pops it on and it’s like, instantly on his head.”

The actor will be showing off those expensively shaped locks on the Tony Awards broadcast Sunday evening. Harris wouldn’t be Hedwig without wigs, Potter says.

“They’re really a huge integral part of the character,” he says. “I mean, ‘wig’ is in her name!”

The Broadway wig maker- so important!

super hero post cards stories

What are Super Hero Postcard Stories

Are you looking an exercise to super charge your classroom?  Something fun but useful to teach with these weeks right before a holiday break? How about Super Hero Postcard Stories?

Simply put, this warm up exercise is loads of fun because YOU are the hero!  Students love creating the story around you.

Your materials list is easy:  a box of photographs of all kinds and a copy of a postcard story of your own or another student group from another time. In the lesson, I  have included a copy of one my students’ stories just to give you an idea of what to expect.

Sometimes my students dramatize their story (it’s always very short) or merely share the story with the class. When they dramatize their story, I ask them to use chanting (repeated words or phrases for an effect), a sound effect or two and some movement.  They even create a title for their story. My students LOVE this exercise!

Why super heroes?  First, they are wildly popular with all ages.  Look at the ticket sales for Wonder Woman and the Black Panther.  How wonderful to focus upon females and people of color!  Think what that can do for some student.

super hero post cards stories

Plus, some times our students think we are stuffy when in fact, we are busy curtailing over enthusiasm.  It’s not that we can’t have fun, but too much fun because bedlam in a drama classroom.

The Super Hero Postcard Stories are your answer to fun and learning!

I’d love to hear how this exercise works for you.

If you enjoy this one, please check out my store at at

I’m always adding new products.  My radio theatre unit is very popular, so check it out:

It is a three week unit focused on radio theatre–how to perform it, various lessons on radio theatre itself, cooperative learning and even a homework assignment.  Oh yes, I almost forgot–I included a vintage radio theatre play which I adapted for classroom use–H.S. Welle’s The Invisible Man.

Or maybe something else will help you.

Please feel to share this post with others, too!

Contact me at or


Twelve Important Questions to Ask About Your City’s Community Theatre

I have been involved in theatre for nearly forty years. I have twelve important questions to ask about your city’s community theatre.

Forty years—wow, that’s a long time.

I’ve seen fabulous theatre and some really stinky stuff, too.  Even on Broadway!

I’ve melted enduring out door theatre in the dead of summer until intermission when I could get some relief in an air conditioned rest room.

I witnessed a famous, well respected professional actor break character and fall into fits of laughter and not able to compose himself right through curtain call.

Another time I caught a dancer kicking a cape off the stage that had fallen off another dancer as he exited.

I’ve watched:

  • in horror as a friend’s period wig (1700’s) falls right off her noggin’.

  • a skirt slowly make its way down a high school girl’s behind because it didn’t get zipped,

  • a friend swallows a fly while singing

I have:

  • been bitten by mosquitoes while I sang a romantic song trying to dodge the gnats swirling in to my face

  • heard the crackling sound of beetles squished with my heel while dancing a jig

  • gained five pounds in one week (!!) from eating fruit pies (meat pies) for Sweeney Todd performing a sight gag

You name it, I’ve seen it or experienced it myself.

Image result for award winning community theatre

Despite all of these experiences (and more), I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Theatre is a marvelous activity in which to participate, attend or support.

But how does one know the theatre is worth supporting?

Here are the twelve questions to ask of your community theatre:

1. Does the theatre company have a season?

Is the season varied, sprinkled with a comedy, drama and musical? Or do they merely produce the same sort of shows every year?  (You know, a Disney musical for the kids, a classic comedy or frightening thriller? Does the company ever produce a brand new play?)

2. Do they sponsor a special event, such as a new play contest?

3.  Does anyone else ever rent the theatre for some other activity? Do other theater companies use the venue?

4.  Do they welcome to new directors and actually hire them?

5.  Do you ever see new performers or designers working at the theatre from time to time?

Image result for award winning community theatre

6. Do the sets and costumes look recycled?  Can you name the show a particular costume was worn in another show when you see it paraded in front of you in the present show you are seeing?

8.  Does every show poster look like others?

9.  Does the company ever try anything new or experimental?

10.  Does the company have a youth theatre program?

11.  How about any programs for seniors?

Image result for award winning community theatre senior program

12.  Did you leave a performance feeling exhilarated by the show?

If the answer to any of these questions is a resounding “no!”, then I’d suggest you support some other company.

Theatre people are creative people.  If the theatre never changes, it means it’s on auto pilot and frankly, I wouldn’t support it if I were you.  When you do, you are condoning their lack of creativity, their laziness.

So, there you have it–twelve questions to ask about your city’s community theatre.

Trust me, support the new community theatre company who has just opened their doors to the public.  They have more chance of doing something new and exciting than the broken record one.  They need your support.

Image result for award winning community theatre

What have you seen or experienced in a performance or viewing it?  I’d love to hear from you! Contact me at or








Give Me Sixty Minutes and I’ll Give You a Guaranteed Successful Play


Yes, give me sixty minutes (for five days) and I’ll give you a guaranteed successful play. Are you looking for  something multicultural?  A short, one act play with room for a large cast?  Or a cast as small as ten?

I got you covered!

I taught middle school drama for twelve years.  In that time, I was expected to teach the students the components of theatre.

This would, of course, include a performance of some kind.

I taught six rotations per year.  Every twenty-five days, seventy kids would float through my classroom door.

Some loved performing, many didn’t.

Over time, I experimented with many plays and finally created my own adaptations.

Ojisan and the Grateful Statues is a week long unit. I’d suggest breaking the project into four one hour rehearsals.

It includes:

  • a ROYALTY FREE script which can be copied as many times as you need

  • stage properties list

  • original song (a page dedicated to the melody and another with accompaniament)

  • costume suggestion list

  • and loads of fun! (Nah, that’s up to you.  I’m just seeing if you are actually reading.)

I produced Ojisan with my classes at least six times with both elementary and middle school grade students.

  I tweaked it, re-wrote and staged the play until it worked.


Because of my time “in the trenches” for nearly forty years, I can guarantee you this play will be a winner with your students.

It’s a great piece to use for a parent open house.

Ojisa and the Grateful Statues is a beloved Japanese tale.  It contains themes of winter, kindness and forigveness, a bit of comedy and drama.

You can’t beat that.

Your students have an opportunity to create paper snowflakes and paper rice hats.  I even provided links to snowflake and paper hat making directions.  You’re welcome.

For those students who are performance shy, they can accompany the play with percussion instruments. The music score provides suggestions for you.

Maybe your vocal music teacher would be willing to co-teach the play.  I have done that, too.

So there go–a successful play, Ojisan and the Grateful Statues.

If you are interested in other lessons, I have several Teacherpayteachers products.  Check them out at:

Ready to purchase Ojisan and the Grateful Statues, go here:

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hybrid college class

13 Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class, Day 7


Oops!  I bet you are wondering where the Thirteen Days to Creating a Hybrid College Class, Day 6’s blog post is.

During our winter break, I emailed, graded and created lessons for the students.

I never stopped “hybrid teaching” for more than a day.  We visited friends and it was surprisingly convenient to take a little time each day to keep up with the grading as it was posted by the students and still have time to enjoy with our friends.

But uhm…..while driving home from Ohio and seeing these wonderful friends, I totally forgot we were to have class on Day 6.  Totally. forgot!


Once I realized it, we were too far away from home for us to get there in time for me to teach class the next day.

I think it was Freudian…I planned for day 6 in the syllabus supplement, so at least at some point the day was on my mind.

Somewhere in there it slipped my mind.

No matter–the wonders of the internet saved the day and everyone was notified by email before the class.  I didn’t want anyone to show up at 8:10 a.m. and my smiling face wouldn’t be there.

Today is Day 7 of teaching a hybrid class.


Speaking of the wonders of internet, let’s talk about email…..or maybe it’s a headache.  I suppose it all depends upon who you are communicating with and its importance.

Since this hybrid class is studied both in class and at home, students have two ways for emailing me.  One is through the college’s email and one is through my personal email.

The professors are encouraged to only use our college email, but in a case like this hybrid I thought it was more important for the students to be able to have quick access to me than going through the school email.

Sometimes we have success, sometimes we don’t.

Primarily, the tricky part is turning in homework assignments in a timely manner.  Since I am checking both email accounts as well as the coursework upload files, it is difficult to keep everything organized.

Next time, I will A. show the students how to access their student accounts and how to use them and  B. we will only use the upload file and file assignment feature and C. I’ll keep a check list (or at least use my gradebook, duh…) to track completed assignments and those which are late.

At present, I find myself clicking back and forth from the coursework page to the email to see if the students have turned in their assignments by the due date and time.

Oh gosh, it’s crazy!

student computer

Plus, since the students are working from home there have been several times where they have sent to two assignments in one file upload and not told me.  It becomes a case of:

ME:  Student X, I don’t have your Youtube critique.

STUDENT X:  You don’t?  I sent it in with the chapter homework. The assignment due date window was going to close and I thought it would be better to send them together than not get it in one time.

ME:  Good thought!  Unfortunately, I didn’t know that.  I wonder where it is?

STUDENT X:  I’ll email it to you again.  Which account?

ME:  My college email address is fine.

STUDENT X:  I forgot.  I typed it on my dad’s computer and I don’t have it here.  I’ll send it once I get home.

And so forth and so on……

Another headache?  One student doesn’t receive my emails until five hours later.  His network is crazy slow.  What’s that about?

I’d say one big challenge of creating a hybrid class is the internet. If it’s unreliable, you are in for some real headaches.

student computer

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hybrid college class

Thirteen Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class, Day Four


Let’s talk about the value of Tedtalks to a flipped classroom.

Baby, they are awesome!

Please know I’m not expert about teaching at the college level, although I have taught college aged students for many years.

This is much more formal instruction.


tedtalk 2 (2)

I viewed my first one several years ago, but many of my students are not familiar with them.

They are a tremendous help to most any teacher on most any subject. I think they are catching on, because Tedtalks are just too good not to be mentioned by someone. Some are shared on Facebook many times.

They are very useful.

In my case, my students can view an expert who speaks eloquently.  Their speech is succinct because it’s been rehearsed.  It’s entertaining and usually educational.

Many are humorous.  Here is one my students and I enjoy:

“Inside the Mind of a Procrastinator” by Tim Urban

This particular talk is great for high school and college students.  Tim speaks about his procrastination tendencies and boy, does he have them. Procrastination is familiar to all us, universal.

Another one which is terrific  for  a speech class is Caroline Goyd’s

“The Surprising Secret to Speaking with Confidence”

These two Ted talks are completely different in style and tone.  Tim’s is laid back and funny.  Carol’s is professional and thoughtful.

I enjoy both.

In a flipped classroom, Ted Talks can take your place or they can compliment your teaching.

I’d suggest you peruse their topics and see if any will work for you.  Also, I  advise you to check on Youtube for them.  For some reason, not all talks are stored on the Tedtalk website.

Did you know there are students who give Tedtalks now?

Here is one by Jack Andraka, “A Promising Test for Pancreatic Cancer from a Teenager”

Just think how a teen Tedtalk can inspire your students. Visual learning is paramount to a student’s intellectual growth.

It’s worked with mine.  Try it.

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hybrid college class

Thirteen Days to Creating a Successful Hybrid College Class, Day Three

Day Three

Let’s talk about forum discussions in a college hybrid speech communications class.

Today, the Christmas cookies hit the fan so to speak…..


Picture this:

It is a cold, grey December day. There’s chill in the air, the kind that nearly freezes you to the bone.

Typical mid western weather in December.

Oh joy.

It’s early–only 8:10 a.m.  In comes my little flock who look half asleep. The students aren’t chatting with each other and certainly not with me.  I ask how everyone’s evening went and no one answers.

No feedback to me that’s for sure.

(Pause)  I have a theory about this–if I don’t speak to the teacher it is as if the class isn’t occurring.  I can stay “checked out.”

Mwwaahhaaaa….they don’t know me, though.


I go through the day’s list of activities and I must say, it is a long one.

The first thing I mention is forums.  One of the high school kids looks bewildered, but the girl beside him restates it for him.  (I have no idea why she thinks she must restate what I say when I am standing right there and can do it for him myself, but hey she is 17 and doesn’t everyone know EVERYTHING when they are 17?)

Sorry, I digress…

I’ve never had the opportunity to use a forum with a class.  I was hesitant at first, only because I didn’t understand how the students post and reply.

I now understanding why forums are crucial to a flipped class.

Checked forums off my list! Forums give you the feedback a teacher is seeking.


When I was a student, we spoke to our professors out of respect.  My parents made it clear to me to respect my elders and even as an adult, I am aware of any adults who are older than I who should be treated with the utmost respect for their wisdom and age.

I wasn’t raised with a cell phone in my hand.

Telephone calls were kept to a minimum and calling long distance was an extravagance.  My father was a doctor so we could afford those state-to-state telephone calls, but regardless I wrote letters.

We learned how to write a letter when we were in elementary school.

Is letter writing even taught any more?

No texting, either.

As we all know, the technological world has changed tremendously over the last fifty years.

In all defense of these students, the art of conversation isn’t something they are used to practicing.  (We’ll practice conversing the last day of the semester. )

I can all ready see how a forum is a fantastic method of communication.  For those of you unfamiliar with them, it is truly brilliant.  The teacher poses an article, video clip and/or questions he wants the students to ponder.  The student is required to make one post regarding the teacher’s post and replies to other students’ replies as well.

Ladies and gentlemen–we have conversation!!!

Forums are essential to a flipped class.



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