On today’s show Howie and Ryan welcome Faith Plunkett. Faith is an Entertainment Technology Academy instructor at Monte Sano Elementary in Huntsville Alabama. Say what! This sounds like a dream job for the My Disney Class boys. Faith not only has an incredible job title but she innovates inside her classroom to create an educational environment that allows students to explore their passions and reach new heights.
Howie and Ryan could not wait to learn more about this unique program offered in the Huntsville school district and how Faith has helped shape it from very early on in its conception.
The Entertainment Technology Academy (ETA) is a K-12 program that students may elect to continue on with after elementary in middle school and then high school. All elementary students take part in this program which means Faith sees every student in her classroom throughout the year.
This unique opportunity also has its challenges as a kindergartener working in her room will definitely have a different educational technology path than a 5th grader, but Faith has some great formulas for working with technology and all of her students.
We hope you enjoy learning about Faith’s story as much as we did and are equally inspired by the way she teaches computer programming, video game design, robotics, creativity, and much much more.
Season 3 and D23
Welcome to Season 3 of My Disney Class Podcast! Ryan and Howie are thrilled to be starting their third season co-hosting the show and are incredibly grateful to all the listeners for tuning in. In this episode, we look at the big announcements that were made at the bi-annual D23 conference. This may have been the biggest year yet with announcements about a new Mickey Mouse themed attraction, completion of Toy Story and Star Wars Land, a Star Wars themed hotel experience, and much much more!
Thinking about how Disney makes these big announcements and changes got us thinking about how educators do similar things as the new school year approaches. We discuss some of these common practices that educators do over the summer and how we can make magic when we return to the new school year. Changes are never easy but they are necessary for advancement. Remember what Walt said, “Disneyland is something that will never be finished. It’s something that I can keep developing. It will be a live, breathing thing that will need change.”
Reflecting back on 2 years, My Disney Class!
On today’s show, Howie and Ryan are celebrating our two year anniversary! In honor of this momentous occasion, we are looking back and reflecting on what we have learned and our thoughts about several of the guests that have been on the show. We couldn’t be more thankful for everyone that has come on our show and shared their story with us. Listening and learning from all these passionate people has been a growth opportunity that has changed both of us for the better. Throw in a little Disney magic and we have ourselves two incredible years of My Disney Class! We hope to continue to provide our listeners with high-quality podcasts that feature more inspiring educators and continue to help create "Classroom Magic".
Join Howie and Ryan as they travel the world today. Well, maybe not the world, but the world showcase pavilions at E.P.C.O.T. Starting at Mexico and working all the way through to Canada, Ryan and Howie share what their thoughts are on the current offerings at each location and then share what Disney could do to improve each pavilion's child appeal. Though both agree that there is a lot to learn and do for both adults and children at each pavilion, there are some things that could be done to increase the appeal and desire to go back to each pavilion and discover more. For example, could Japan benefit with putting in a thrill ride like a Mount Fuji roller coaster? Well, today Howie and Ryan will dream big and play armchair Imagineer as they redesign and plus each pavilion with what they think will bring in the crowds. We hope you enjoy today’s World Showcase dreaming and like always, if you have a comment or suggestion about today’s topic, let us know by commenting on iTunes, Facebook, or send us an email at MyDisneyClass@gmail.com.
On today’s show, Howie and Ryan welcome Kristen Echols from Oklahoma City, OK. Kristen is a home school mother of three that adds a little Disney magic to her lessons. We first learn a little bit about Kristen, which includes how she went to school to become an elementary teacher, but realized that she didn’t love everything that was involved with teaching at a school. She then shares with us how she came to the decision to homeschool her kids and what home schooling actually means.
Kristen then takes us through what she does before a trip to WDW with her kids that integrates the pre-trip planning, like budgeting, into the daily lessons her kids need to learn. She then shares with us the ways she keeps the time down at WDW educational while still having fun and not ruining that Disney magic. This includes how she actually calculates and plans several learning opportunities that can count as classroom days for her kids. We finish off by learning how this family keeps the dreaded not at Disney feelings away until the next trip arrives and how that includes keeping the high engaged learning going.
We had a ton of fun talking with Kristen on this episode and we learned all about home schooling. After listening, we are sure you will agree that this home schooling mother of three is an educational rockstar with a knack and a magic flare for teaching.
Like Olaf, Howie and Ryan are really big fans of summer. So in today’s episode, we are going to talk about what to do with the kids, or yourself, during summer. We all know that Disney is an incredibly fun place to go and play for a few days in the summer, but what if you can’t go or what if you’re going and want to plus the trip with some learning opportunities. Well, we have got you covered for both scenarios.
Howie shares some of his favorite learning opportunities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Ryan will cover the less fortunate ones that are staying home. So from homemade lightsabers to encounters with wild creatures, will help you get your Disney fix this summer and possibly learn something along the way. We hope you enjoy today’s episode and if you do, please stop by iTunes and leave us a rating and review.
On today’s show, Ryan and Howie are honored to have former Imagineer Brian Collins here to discuss his story. Brian has been a Disney cast member since the early 1990’s and helped create magic daily as he worked both on the front line of customer service at the Contemporary front desk and as a Disney Imagineer. Listen to his story as he shares how he started at the ground level and worked his way up to the magical dream job at WDI.
During his time at WDI, Brian was a show writer and worked on classic attractions like Jungle Cruise and The Great Movie Ride to name a few. Brian shares with us some wonderful behind the scenes stories of the teamwork done to pull off the magic and how he loved what he was doing every day, so much so he says he never really worked a day in his time at Disney.
After Brian left WDI, he didn’t stop creating and spreading magic! He founded his own company WDWithMe, whose mission is to share the knowledge he has amassed working for the mouse and helping others be more creative and innovative. Brian also describes himself as a passionate educator and has served on several different college and university faculties. Brian has taught courses on entrepreneurship, marketing, innovation, and product development for theme parks.
Listening to today’s show, we know that you will hear the passion and humor that Brian brings to any task he tackles. There are few places that equal that of Disney when it comes to creativity, innovation, storytelling, and magic, but we all know that it’s the people that really make the magic. Brian Collins is one of those people and what’s even more magical is that he hasn’t stopped spreading the magic beyond the mouse. We hope you enjoy today’s episode as Brian shares with us how to think like an Imagineer!
Summer break is fast approaching and if you are like us here at My Disney Class Podcast, you may already be daydreaming of those warm carefree days ahead. Some of you may even be preparing for that most magical summer destination of all, Walt Disney World!
On today’s show, Howie and Ryan discuss how you can take the weeks or months leading up to your next fairytale vacation and make them have some educational value. I know what you might be thinking, how can there be any educational value in planning a vacation? Well, listen as we go through the whole process from travel to checking into your hotel and we share all the questions, decisions, and real-world educational scenarios, you can work through with your kids.
Who knew planning a Walt Disney World vacation could be such a powerful educational tool? Ok, ok, Ryan and Howie knew and we hope you enjoy the show as we take you through our thought process on how to create these opportunities.
The Disney Driven Life
With Author Jeff Dixon
What a show do we have for you today! Howie and Ryan are incredibly lucky to welcome Jeff Dixon on the show today. Jeff is the author of the "Key to the Kingdom" series, which is a fictional series of four books that follows the adventures of Grayson Hawkes as he attempts to solve a complicated series of puzzles laid out by none other than the man himself, Walt Disney. Jeff recently broke from this series and wrote a book called "The Disney Driven Life". This book is a guidebook that not only guides you through the Magic Kingdom but also guides you through the lessons you can learn from each attraction that ultimately helps you be your best version of you. In Jeff’s own words “ A Disney-driven life is a life where you move beyond being a person loaded with potential and become a person who lives up to that potential.” Jeff has unique and rich experiences that he draws from to write his books. He grew up in Florida and remembers a time before Walt Disney World existed. He has seen it grow and change and he has even worked for the Mouse. In his day job, Jeff serves as the Transformational Architect at The Church @ 434 in Central Florida.
In today’s episode, we visit with Jeff and talk about some of his favorite examples from the book and how they can impact us as educators. We discuss what lessons we can learn from the attractions and how studying a little bit of the history of Walt, we can have a great impact on the learning and engagement of our students. We hope you enjoy today’s episode as Jeff shares how his background at Walt Disney World and his current role as a pastor helped him develop into the wonderful storyteller he is today and how we can become the author of our own and our students own, greatest story.
On today’s show, it seems like Ryan has bumped his head pretty hard as he actually suggests changing the show name to My Universal Class. Listen in as Howie tries to talk some sense into Ryan and get him back on the magical path. As the debate continues, you will hear several points and counterpoints to which is better Universal Studios or Walt Disney World. Hopefully, you will enjoy this light-hearted comparison of both parks and learn a few things about that other park called Universal Studios. To end this April Fools episode, we will share information we have found on the educational programs that Universal offers. This is no joke and the educational opportunities seem to be really engaging and very rigorous. Some of the topics include Your Classroom in motion, Storytelling, and Our Weather. We hope you enjoy today’s episode, as we discuss something out of the Disney universe, but we think it has wonderful educational connections.
Ryan and Howie are excited to welcome, all the way from his home planet of Tatooine, Thomas Riddle to the podcast. Ok Thomas may not be from Tatoonie but with the level of force and good that he has been bringing to education, we wouldn’t be surprised. Thomas has been in education more than twenty years and has served as a teacher, coach, principal, adjunct college professor, educational consultant, textbook publisher, and served on the South Carolina Department of Education. If this wasn’t enough Thomas regularly conducts professional development and instructional methodology at all levels across the country.
On today’s show, Thomas shares with us how he and his long-time friend Wes Dodgens were able to partner up with Lucasfilm,Ltd. to create “Adventures in Learning with Indiana Jones” (indyintheclassroom.com). Indyintheclassroom.com provides teachers with interdisciplinary curriculum and lesson ideas based upon Dr. Jones aka Indiana Jones. In 2012, Thomas and Wes launched a sequel to Indiana Jones called “Star Wars in the Classroom” (starwarsintheclassroom.com). This site provides engaging lessons in all subject areas using the power of the force found in Star Wars movies.
We hope you enjoy today’s show as Thomas takes us through ways to incorporate the movies that we love into our classrooms.
Join Ryan and Howie as they jump into the Timekeeper’s time machine and dream about what it would be like to experience some of Walt Disney’s greatest moments. We can’t help but think that this could be something educators could build upon and make a lesson out of. Imagine what the students could discover by pretending to go back in history to meet or observe a historical figure or event.
Howie and Ryan share some points on Walt’s timeline that mean something to them. Howie talks about Walt’s failures in the beginning, Disney’s Folly- Snow White, and Walt’s trip to Orlando in 1965. Howie does a masterful job of taking us back to these particular times and sharing some little known facts about these events. Ryan shares some of his favorite Walt moments that include; young Walt and family moving to Marceline MO, Walt’s trip to South America, and the informational video shot about E.P.C.O.T.
Enjoy the 15th episode of season 2 as much as we enjoyed traveling back in time and sharing our thoughts about Walt’s life. Walt is, after all the inspiration for both Howie and I in creating My Disney Class and of course we hope he inspires you as well to create your own classroom magic.
Ryan, Jerry and Howie, discuss the NEW ONLINE Disney Class “PD Maigc: Edmagineering The Future of Professional Learning. It is offered through Buena Vista University and Educators can receive 3 Graduate Credit Hours for taking the class.
Discover the five core values in the class and how they integrate into your curriculum:
Blues Sky Thinkers
Join us and discover the layout of the class and how to bring Disney ideas and content into your classroom.
Link here for additional and registration information:
Join Howie and Ryan as they discuss Disney projects to use in your classroom. Explore with us new ways to integrate, critical thinking, innovation, web literacy, storytelling, conspiracy theories, patents, research, communication, curiosity and collaboration.
A sample project includes taking a trip to Walt Disney World. How much does it cost, how will you get there, where will you stay, how much do tickets cost, what are the alternatives.
Discover projects that are interdisciplinary and engaging. We hope that you enjoy these experiences as much as we do.
EPCOT International Festival of the Arts
Join Howie and Ryan as they discuss EPCOT’s newest festival, The International Festival of the Arts. This inaugural festival is a collaboration with Disney’s Theatrical Productions and will highlight guests favorite music and Broadway talent. There will also be galleries that feature two of Disney’s most prominent artist, Mary Blair and Herb Ryman, as well as current Disney artist. All the arts are covered in this festival, including the culinary arts! Not only can you see and experience all this great art but guests are able to take workshops and learn some of these trades right along side the experts.
To honor the arts in this episode, Ryan and Howie share some of their favorite places to find art and art techniques in Walt Disney World and the resorts. We hope that you find joy in these experiences as much as we do. We hope this episode does the A in STEAM, justice and helps shed some light on the Arts in Disney.
Join Ryan and Howie as they bring in the New Year by exploring educational opportunities at two of their favorite parks. In today’s episode Howie and Ryan will list their top 5 free, non-attraction, educational experiences at both the parks. Howie tackles his favorite park Animal Kingdom and Ryan tackles his, E.P.C.O.T. We cover everything from 60 different species of aquatic life, watching veterinary procedures, to the educational opportunities of talking with cast members. There is always something to learn at Walt Disney World if you just take the time and know where to look. Discover these educational gems with us as we welcome in 2017 and as always we wish your coming New Yyear is filled with joy and magic!
The Imagineering Pyramid author Lou Prosperi visits today and breaks down the process of Imagineering and how you can apply those techniques to other areas, Learn how to apply this to education, as we climb this fascinating pyramid and discover how we can bring the creative energy of Imagineering into our schools and classrooms.
In today’s show, Ryan and Howie put on their Santa caps and break out the eggnog as they share their top 10 Disney holiday gift ideas! If you’re anything like the My Disney Class crew, you maybe running around last minute trying, that perfect Disney gift. Keeping the whole family in mind and a wide budget range, we have some really fun and educational gift ideas to share with you. No matter if you’re the maker type or the bling loving type, we have a gift for you. We hope you enjoy this episode and remember that while it is fun to discuss all the fun Disney gifts out there, the true meaning of this time of year is much more than that. We at My Disney Class can’t help but pause and reflect this time of year and we couldn’t be more thankful and awed by the wonderful My Disney Class community.
From Howie and Ryan, we thank you so much for your support and we wish you a very happy holiday and healthy new year!
Take a trip back to one of everyone’s favorite neighborhoods, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Hedda Sharapan shares what it was like to work with Fred Rogers and how she is carrying on his mission today.
Hedda is helping to carry on the Rogers legacy through writings, speeches at conferences, developing and presenting professional development materials for people who work with children,
Hedda is also a Senior Fellow at The Fred Rogers Center, where she works to continue the Center’s mission of helping children grows as confident, competent, and caring human beings.
Join us and discover the wonderful resources and lessons that you can learn about on this episode of My Disney Class but the real value in today’s show is the feeling that you get listening to Hedda.
Join Ryan and Howie as they look at the educational topic of “Design Thinking”. Howie and Ryan share some practical applications of Design Thinking as well as resources that they have found helpful in learning about Design Thinking.
Howie shares a discussion he caught on tape with educator Thomas Riddle and one of the curators of Starwarsintheclassroom.com Thomas talks about how design thinking is used in his classroom and why he feels that it is important to develop these critical thinking skills with students.
Listen as Thomas shares how he develops empathy in his students through projects like building a prototype home for the homeless in their community.
Like always we hope you enjoy the show as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you and we hope you learned a little about design thinking along the way.
Howie and Ryan welcome a very special guest, Disney Historian and author Jim Korkis.
Jim has had a connection to Disney since very early on when his elementary teacher was none other than Mrs. Disney!
Jim shares his journey from Mrs. Disney’s classroom all the way to his own classroom, where he taught English and Drama. He then shares with us how he incorporated Disney in his teaching as well as how he now incorporates what he learned from the classroom in his Disney work today.
We then take a closer look at 4 of Jim’s 33 books, that he has authored. Jim is one of Ryan and Howie’s favorite Disney authors and it’s not just because he’s a great storyteller, which he is, but also because he is someone we can trust for accurate Disney history and facts
Howie and Ryan discuss two more of their favorite attractions, “Space Mountain” and The “Pirates of the Caribbean”.
They discuss the history of these attractions they also share lessons ideas that these classic attractions have inspired.
Journey through a Space Station on our way to board a rocket. The attraction Is packed with learning opportunities and inspirations that you can bring into your classroom. Learn how to bring new ideas to the table about how you can use Space Mountain in education.
Next we grab his sword and parrot and heads to the high seas as the captain of our own educational ship. From History to Communication Arts, Pirates of the Caribbean has all the educational ties you need to fill your lesson plans with adventure and engagement.
Enjoy our inspirations from these attractions as well as find inspiration yourself for use in your classroom.
Join Ryan and Howie as they welcome an old friend Jerry Johnston back to the show. The self proclaimed three Caballeros have a huge announcement of a new partnership between My Disney Class and Buena Vista University. Howie, Jerry, and Ryan will be offering a graduate level class through Buena Vista University that will help participants bring the Magic of Disney into their classrooms and schools. Oh and by the way, this online class has a special field trip. Yep you guessed it, we are going to take a week long field trip to the most Magical classroom of all, Walt Disney World! Listen as we discuss what is going to make this class so special as well as what the course will cover and how an on-line class works. We wrap this show up with Jerry sharing some of his experiences of taking students down to WDW. He shares how some of his students thought that a mouse couldn’t teach them anything and by the second day they were confessing how wrong they were. We hope you enjoy this show but more importantly we hope you will consider joining us on this unbelievable opportunity to earn graduate level credit by learning from a very special mouse.
Join Howie and Ryan as they discuss two of their favorite attractions, the “Haunted Mansion” and “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.”
Discover what they love about these attractions, and ways to integrate the concepts into several lessons that have been inspired by the attractions.
What can we learn about the 999 haunts that reside in the Haunted Mansion? What is the Pepper's Ghost? Learn how to teach lessons on the magic of the properties of light, reflection, and refraction.
Howie and Ryan then tackle the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and share ways you can bring this lovable bear into your classroom to teach a wide variety of topics that range from elementary all the way up to high school.
Howie and Ryan interview the author of the book "Walt Disney World for Teens and Tweens", by Tim Brooks.
Tim’s book shares his book that is a guidebook for teens and tweens and addresses the issue of finding the educational value of a trip to Walt Disney World. In this episode we explore the reality that a lot of families with teens find themselves in and that is leaving for vacation to the most magical place in the world in the middle of school, sports, and many other commitments of the teen’s demanding life. Listen as Tim gives advice from his book and his personal experiences on how to handle these situations.