Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What are You Risking for Your Network?

I'm still thinking about something  Bud Hunt ask last week at NCTE: "What are you modeling for your network?" If I think of my son and my students as my network, what do I want to model for them? Learning, curiosity, a can-do attitude, I also want to model taking a risk.

I am taking a risk for Project for Awesome this year. I discovered John Green and Hank Green 's, Project for Awesome in 2008. I wrote about my discovery on  Pink Stone Days, here.  At that time I 'd been volunteering with students at Give Kids the World Village once a month (for about 5 school years we did that), so when I discovered P4A I told the kids we needed to gather our photos and make a video. We did. I made the video. Last year was similar 2008 in terms of the video making. Students noted their ideas, I filmed and edited. We posted 1 video. However, on P4A day in class I tuned in to the live feed and tweeted the event the entire day while students watched and while we wrote and did other other work. If only I had saved the tweet @realjohngreen sent us in appreciation for bringing P4A into the school. Awesome is an understatement.

This year things will be different. I want students to be the Do-ers. I want students to create their own videos, upload them and join the commenting, favoriting, and twittering swarm of nerdfighters. You see Project for Awesome gets the word out about hundreds of charities by bubbling  up the charity videos to the most discussed list on YouTube and the top trending topic on twitter. That takes people power--that takes Nerdfighteria.

So where does the risk come in? Unblocking YouTube at school. Convincing our director of technology that the local unblock will be worth it. That it will teach kids something valuable, that it will be more valuable than my demonstration alone. I plan for my students to participate live and in the school library. How awesome will that be?

I'm taking another risk this year too. I'm trying something new. Instead of making a video promoting my own favorite charity, I've decided to auction off books I purchased or received at this year's NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) and ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents) workshops. I took a risk asking published authors (many who still blind me with their star shine) to sign books "For Nerdfighters everywhere."

You know what? They did.

You know what else? They smiled. They laughed. They made my year. They asked what I was going to do with the books. And I told. Upon hearing others donated books. Wendy Lamb (who has her OWN IMPRINT) even told me to email her for more ARCs for the project! Can you believe it?

I'm going to auction off the signed Nerdfighter collection (nearly 50 books) to the highest bidder during Project for Awesome week. I want to ship the books by the 21st of December--before Christmas. I don't know how to run an online auction, but several folks to whom I've spoken seem to think E-bay (and keeping good records) is the best bet. After my students participate in P4A, I will let them vote which P4A charitites we should give the money to. Last year I donated money to 2 charities (yes, John's and Hank's). Remember Oprah's Pay It Forward Challenge? That's what I want to model for my network. I want to model taking a risk to make a difference.

What's the worst that can happen?  I fail. No one buys the books.  Is that really so bad? After all, I'm a nerdfighter too. Who doesn't like a book gift for Christmas?

1 comment:

  1. I still know a lot of first year teachers. Worst case scenario--I start reaching out on Facebook and letting them know that there are author signed copies for their new classroom libraries.

    I did a similar thing with a YA Booksale of gently used withdrawn library books from my branch (I work with Orange County Library System) and we sold almost $200 dollars in books in less than two days at prices of $1-$3 dollars just by reaching out to colleagues.

    I have other ideas too. Dr. Kaplan at the University of Central Florida teaches courses to pre-service teachers on YA Lit--I'm sure we can do something with those teachers. :)