Today on the show, Howie and Ryan welcome a wonderful educator that harnesses his passion for Disney into incredible classroom projects that ignite the creativity in his students. Our guest is Mr. Tim VanSwol, Tim began his teaching career in 1994 at Manteno Middle School and has been there ever since. His first classroom assignment was 8th grade Science which he did for six years. In the year 2000, he made the move to teaching 6th grade Social Studies in addition to Science. After a few years, his school population grew to a point he needed to become a full-time Social Studies teacher. This was a great move for him as he is a history enthusiast and enjoys the challenge of bringing history to life for his students.
In addition to teaching, Mr. VanSwol has embraced his love for sports as a coach and as the Middle School Athletic Director over the years. He has coached girls and boys basketball at various grade levels as well as coaching Middle school track and field. Tim is also a lover of music and enjoys volunteering his time as a supporter of Manteno Bands, Chorus, and Show Choirs. During his free time, he enjoys reading, traveling, and researching topics for the DubDeeDub Revue podcast as an amateur Disney historian.
You’re going to love hearing about Tim’s passion for Disney and how he has taken that passion and developed several Disney themed projects that have inspired his students to plunge into the magic of History and ELA. Tim discusses three of his best projects and talks us through what inspired them. He also walks us through how he implemented them into his course work and how they deliver the content to his students in a highly impactful way. Today’s show is just another example of the incredible educators out there and how Disney is helping them to bring magic to their classrooms.
In today’s episode of My Disney Class Podcast, Ryan and Howie discuss the theming of some of our favorite places to eat on Walt Disney World property and how they can inspire us to learn. Who doesn’t like to eat at places like Casey’s Corner and Columbia Harbor House but did you know that there are more than hotdogs and fish to enjoy in these establishments? When you stop and take a break from the hustle and bustle, you can find the little details and story that the Imagineers have diligently and purposely placed there for you to find. When you do find these details that help tell the story, the story will often envolve the history of our wonderful country or other cultures from around the world. It is these artifacts that will lead educators to a brand new world of learning.
Howie and Ryan will show that when you take inspiration from these artifacts, you will find yourself inspired to bring some wonderful lesson planning back to your students. Ryan and Howie will also share how they looked at the theming of some of the restaurants and then how they found resources online to help support bring that inspiration back into the classroom. So grab a snack, turn on the podcast, and then find some inspiration in some of the magical eateries that we love at WDW!
Today on the show, Ryan and Howie welcome a Motivating, Engaging, Technology guru, and Connected educator to the show, Jonathon Lee from EducationPlus, METC, and St. Louis RPDC (Regional Professional Development Center). Jonathon is a Google Certified Trainer currently traveling all over the state of Missouri providing training on how to integrate technology tools into instruction. Jonathon has presented at METC, Innovation Institute of Springdale, KySTE, MAESP, and ISTE. He is an ISTE certified trainer and educator and previously taught in the Brentwood School District as a 5th-grade teacher within a 1 to 1 Chromebook classroom. Jonathon is also host and creator of three educational podcasts. METC podcast, Podsquad, and METC minipod, all bring quality educational technology training to your ears on either weekly or monthly schedules.
We are pleased to have Jonathon on the show as he discusses some of the latest technology training he is doing. What the challenges are for those looking to help facilitate change in our schools and the challenges for those that are working to change their practices. Jonathon gives us some great insights on how we can move the change needle just a little bit each day and avoid some common pitfalls of technology integration. Jonathan has a great perspective as a result of all his travels to vastly different districts throughout the state of Missouri and we think you will agree that this is extremely valuable for all of us to hear and to consider as we look at the big-picture issues and successes in education as a whole. We know you will enjoy today’s episode as Jonathon shares his educational story and current journey in motivating, engaging, and connecting educators with and through technology.
Service Learning with Pixie Dust
In today’s episode of My Disney Class Podcast, Howie and Ryan discuss service-learning. As the temperatures dip and the leaves begin to change color, we often find ourselves becoming more and more reflective of our service to others. Though we strive to have service at the top of our priorities throughout the whole year, it doesn’t hurt to use this time around Thanksgiving to take some inventory on, not only our personal service but also on how we develop this reflective practice in our students.
Service-learning is an important part of education and is grounded in experiential learning, it’s learning by doing. Service-learning differs from “pure” experiential learning in two ways. First, the goal of service-learning is to direct the learners into practical settings where the primary motivation is service and the second is that the learning takes place in two ways. As the students take part in the experience and as they reflect upon what happened during the experience and as a result of it. Howie and Ryan discuss both these ways that they experienced this with students, teachers, and Disney. For example, Parkway’s Food pantry, Howie’s church and Disney’s steps to service-learning.
We hope you enjoy today’s episode as we reflect on service learning as a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen our school and local communities.
Today on the show, Ryan and Howie welcome an extraordinary guest to the show, Lee Cockerell. Lee is the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World Resort. As the Senior Operating Executive for then years Lee led a team of 40,000 cast members and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shipping and entertainment village and the ESPN sports and recreation complex in addition to the ancillary operations which supported the number one vacation destination in the world.
Lee has written four books, Creating Magic, The Customer Rules, Time Management Magic, and Creating Career Magic. All of which are packed full of golden nuggets that will be sure to inspire and encourage you to develop habits that will lead to a vast growth in your teaching or educational field. They can also be great sources for your students as they grow into their roles of leadership and future paths. One of Lee’s major and lasting legacies was the creation of Disney Great Leader Strategies which was used to train and develop the 7000 leaders at Walt Disney World. Many of these strategies are shared in Lee’s books mentioned above but today we are lucky enough to have him on the show and sharing his wisdom with us and how these strategies can help educators and students both achieve the greatness we are all capable of.
We know you are going to love today’s show as we hear stories and lessons that Lee has learned over his wonderful career in customer service and leadership roles. Lee is a marvelous storyteller, would you expect anything else from a Disney rockstar, and very passionate about making a positive impact on the world he lives in. Lee is a man that does what he says he’s going to do and shows time after time again that he lives by the advice he gives.
In today’s episode of My Disney Class Podcast, Howie and Ryan discuss Howie’s recent European trip and how travel can be used to broaden student’s perspectives. Howie will give all the wonderful details of his recent cruise and inland excursions to some of the most historic and beautiful places on Earth. We will learn interesting details and tips that Howie has learned on his many travels and what we can expect as we potentially travel abroad.
Though Ryan has never traveled outside the country, he shares what he knows about one of Walt’s most famous trips called “Walt Disney’s grand tour.” Listen to why Walt was persuaded by his brother Roy to take this vacation and what many things were found to be inspirational by Walt that he would later use in the development of many of the characters and stories we love. For Walt, this vacation was relaxing, inspirational, timely, and also an opportunity to conduct the business of the company in Europe.
We conclude our show today by looking at how broadening our students’ perspectives can be vital to their growth in an ever-changing and global society. What ways do you challenge and stretch your students? We loved to hear from you on anyone of social media outlets or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you enjoyed this episode and come back for more fun, education, and magic!
Today on the show, Howie and Ryan welcome a friend and wonderful educator, Diane Trout. Diane is currently teaching 2nd grade at HEART academy at Julian Newman in Athens Alabama and is a Disney enthusiast, to say the least. She graduated from Athens State University with her B.S. in Elementary Education and a minor in Educational Technology. Diane has worked as a Title 1 coach and as a kindergarten teacher. In 2016 she was awarded “Outstanding Educator of the Year” from Athens State University and has shared her expertise, presenting at conferences like FETC, AETC, NATC, Athens State University’s TEACH conference, and several local EdCamps. Diane is also a Seesaw ambassador and Nearpod Certified Educator.
Diane has said, “I believe students have a genuine passion to learn and it is up to teachers to help develop those passions.” In today’s episode, you will hear from Diane how she goes about continuing her development as an educator and how she turns that development into the engaging lessons and activities that grow those passions in her students. One of the many professional development opportunities that she took advantage of was our P.D. Magic course and the culminating experiential learning field trip. Diane shares her expectations, experiences, and wonderful contributions to the course and then gives us some examples of how she is currently implementing these ideas into her classroom.
We know you are going to love listening to Diane and we know that you will know immediately through her passion that she is a true advocate for the student. Providing a creative, rich, and engaging magical classroom for all who come to her happy place.
Podcasts, Podcasts Everywhere!
In this episode of My Disney Class Podcast, Howie and Ryan are discussing what podcasts they listen to and why you may want to consider adding podcasts to your professional development repertoire. Podcasts are awesome if we do say ourselves! You can stream them, download them, listen on your computer or even your smartphone. Plus, they cover just about every topic you can think of. Though this may be considered a negative because of all the choices. Luckily, Ryan and Howie are here to help! They are sharing some of their favorite podcasts that cover everything from Disney, to animation, to education and everything in between.
While they don’t discuss every podcast they listen to, they do cover quite a few and that they think are some of the best. Many of the podcasts they share can bring you hours of entertainment and enjoyment. Others can bring you enjoyment through the knowledge they deliver and though the excitement you get from learning new things. Many of these podcasts are a great way to supplement your professional development.
So whether you are looking for podcasts that you can just listen to escape and enjoy, maybe find a little bit of Disney Magic, or you are looking for an opportunity to learn something new, we hope you enjoy some of our suggestions. We definitely know you already have great taste in a podcast!
Today on the show, Ryan and Howie welcomes a true Space Ranger, Denise Wright. Denise is a Science teacher at Ocean Bay middle school and has been in education for 22 years. She loves teaching Science and has a passion for STEM, robotics, NASA and of course, Disney. Denise is also a Tynker Blue Ribbon educator. Tynker Blue Ribbon educators are dedicated to making computer programming and coding an integrated part of students’ everyday lives. She is also a NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador (SSA). Solar System Ambassadors work across the nation to share NASA science and mission discoveries through a variety of events that inspire students and communities. Denise also sits on the NSTA tech advisory board and was the 2015 teacher of the year.
Denise has a passion for astronomy and has worked to incorporate her passion into her daily lessons. She was a piloting teacher for the Distance Learning Program at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, South Carolina. In this program, she was one of the first teachers to pilot a historic Alvan Clarke Telescope to be used in a classroom distance learning environment. Denise also has attended Astronomy Camp at the University of Arizona and the NASA Space Science Teacher’s Institute at the University of Colorado.
So it’s safe to say that in today’s episode you are going to get a lot of Space talk, which is fine with Ryan! We know you are going to enjoy hearing Denise talk about all these great things she is doing to inspire students and she also shares a ton of resources that you can use in your classrooms to help inspire the world’s next Buzz or Sally Ride.
Today on My Disney Class Podcasts, Ryan and Howie are celebrating the start of their 5th year of the My Disney Class Podcast! They say time flies when you're having fun and that seems to be true for this podcast crew. Howie and Ryan have enjoyed countless wonderful guests that are Disney fans and incredible educators. The conversations are often fun and inspiring and they are always informative. Ryan and Howie are extremely appreciative of all the support they have received from all their listeners and friends.
On today’s show, Howie and Ryan are starting the new schools year off by sharing their summer reading lists. They share some of their favorite reads that cover Disney history, what we can learn from Disney and other educational favorites. We hope you enjoy this list and finds a couple of new books that you can dive into and enjoy.
Traveling through History with Savannah Sanders
In today’s episode of My Disney Class Podcast, Howie and Ryan welcome the wonderful and well-traveled history teacher, Savannah Sanders. Savannah is multifaceted and does so much with passion and fun. Her teaching experience consists of nine years of teaching American History, 20th Century History, American Government, and Geography. She also has taught Freshmen and Sophomore English. She describes her teaching style as a combination of learning styles. In her classroom, she uses photos, videos, maps, and display slides showcasing the main points of her lectures. She encourages students to write, observe, critique, analyze, discuss, and connect past events with current events. Savannah believes in keeping it simple yet meaningful.
Savannah also has a passion for Disney and when she’s not visiting our favorite magical playground, she is writing for some great Disney blogs. One of them being Touring Plans which is a great resource for all us Disney planners and speaking of planning, Savannah can help you with that too! She not only plans her own vacations but as a certified travel agent that works for Destinations in Florida.
We hope you enjoy our conversation with Savannah as she shares how she makes her History lessons engaging as she harnesses the magic of Disney into her classroom. By the way, if you are looking for some lesson ideas, she has some on her Teachers Pay Teachers page, find the link to her page in the show notes as well as all her contact info. We hope you find some magic in looking to the past to help transform the future as Savannah does for her students!
In this episode of My Disney Class Podcast, Howie and Ryan are reflecting back on the past P.D. Magic class and some of the comments that the participants made about Disney and intentionality. This word continually came up during the conversations about how Disney intentionally does certain things to help create magic or maybe even to make safety or logistic improvements. During our P.D. Magic conversations, the talk would shift to how we can be more intentional in education. How can we as educators take the idea about Disney intentionally lowering the window ledges on Main Street or how they purposefully guide guests into different lands with “weenies,” and then apply it to our profession.
On the show today, Ryan and Howie will look at a few of their favorite ways Disney is intentional and how they feel intentionality can be beneficial in education. Looking at answering some of the following questions to help guide the exploration of intentionality; Is the goal clearly defined? Is the activity appropriately challenging? Will the activity promote growth? Is there appropriate scaffolding for all levels? Is the activity interactive, meaningful, and thought-provoking? What kind of plans are there for differentiation? These questions and main other ideas are discussed in this episode as we explore intentionality that is inspired by the work being done at Disney.
Todays episode was recorded while Howie and Ryan were actually in Walt Disney World.
Discover the power of professional development that is immersive, custom, and the most magical kind of development our hearts desire. We like to call it P.D. Magic!
Hear recordings taken from various parts of our first P.D. Magic cohort. You will hear their hopes for this course, their immersive learning that occurred on W.D.W. properties, and then finally their reflections of what magic they will bring back to their districts.
Ryan and Howie discuss some of the hidden educational gems in Future World at E.P.C.O.T. Student inquiry is an active learning process that allows students to investigate central, essential questions linked to curriculum standards and specific teaching objectives. We know that this form of instructions is effective and leads to a high level of engagement of our students, but do we as educators allow ourselves to learn in this way?
In this episode, Ryan and Howie will engage in this highly valuable form of learning as they try to ask questions and seek answers to those questions through the inspiration of Futureworld.
We think you will find something in our journey that will inspire you to create an engaging lesson or maybe spark a change in your educational repertoire. Travel with us around the different attractions in Futureworld as we discuss each one and how Howie and Ryan found hidden gems that they can use to help inspire educational magic!
Join us for a repeat performance of “A Magical Day with Brian Collins”
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.
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!
We look at how music can inspire us and inspire lessons that our students will love. Walt was quoted as saying,” I think a good study of music would be indispensable to the animators - a realization on their part of how primitive music is, how natural it is for people to want to go to music - a study of rhythm, the dance - the various rhythms enter into our lives every day.” Ryan and Howie also believe that educators can learn a lot from music as well!
Howie and Ryan both share ideas they have either used or have found other teachers using that implements music into lessons that range from Communication Arts, Science, Math, etc. They quickly share a little about each lesson idea and give resources to help you implement music in your classroom. Whether your favorite Disney song is “Let it Go,” “You Got a Friend in Me,” or Walt and Ryan’s favorite “ Feed the Birds.” We think you will enjoy this episode that just scratches the surface of using Disney music in the classroom to set a song track to your teaching magic!
Ryan and Howie take a walk on the weird side and try to recapture their shadows! On today’s show, we welcome CJ Casciotta author of Get Weird. Discover the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference and creator of Ringbeller.
CJ is a writer and self-proclaimed serial media maker that has a passion for encouraging people to find or reconnect with their inner weird. As a writer and communicator, he’s traveled all over the world, inspiring communities like Lululemon, The Salvation Army, TEDx, and Charity: Water. As a media director and producer, he’s collaborated on projects with MGM Studios, The United Nations Foundation, and more. He created the popular podcast, Sounds Like a Movement and has been featured by MTV, RELEVANT, Catalyst, and Q.
We hope you enjoy our conversation with CJ as we talk about how we can encourage ourselves as educators to tap into our inner weird and how that can benefit our students. We also talk about valuing our student’s inner weird and what we can do to encourage it. Ringbeller was created by CJ and can definitely be one tool we can use to help in this endeavor. Ringbell is a series of video lessons that help teach kids creativity and kindness through interviews conducted by children. These children interview adult professionals about how they use creativity and innovation in their daily work lives. The premise is that aliens have recruited these students to help them learn about our planet, but what we all learn is how unique all of us are and how tapping into what is special about us will help us to find our true passions and best life. CJ has called Ringbeller “TED meets Mr. Rogers” for the modern classroom.
We think you will enjoy finding your inner weird with us today and be inspired by CJ like we were to value the individual traits in us that make us unique, special and helps us create the magic in our classrooms.
Disney: Truth, Myth, or Trash
In this My Disney Class episode, Howie and Ryan have a little fun being that it is April Fools day. Ok, Ok, it’s true that we have fun every day, but on this special day, we decided to share a fun activity that you can implement in several different ways in your classroom. We are calling it, Truth or Trash!
The way the game is played is simple. One person will give the others a fact about a topic, in our case, it will be Disney related, of course, then the others have to guess whether or not it is a truth or whether it’s trash (lie). Ryan and Howie take turns challenging one another with each of their facts or fact-ish comments, but also share ways they see this activity is used in the classroom and even share what makes a good stretch of the truth and how that you can use that knowledge to decipher whether or not someone or some source is accurately depicting the facts.
Ryan also shares his version of Truth or Trash that he uses in his classroom as a first day, getting to know you activity. Ryan talks about how he gives his students a first-day quiz (insert groans here) where they have to look at a list of ten facts about him and then guess which fact is not true. This is a great way to help students get to know you as a person and not just their teacher and it’s also a great way to start building a foundation for a classroom environment that values sharing. We hope you enjoy today’s episode and hope all of you find more truths than trash out there.
On this episode of My Disney Class Podcast, Ryan and Howie welcome back to the record-setting third time, Professor Jerry Johnson from Buena Vista University. Jerry is not only a recurring guest on this show, but both Howie and Ryan are honored to call him a true friend. Want to know more about the incredible things Jerry is doing in his University classes? Check out Episode 13 in season 1 where we first interviewed Jerry and shared the magic he’s making for his students at Buena Vista!
Today, Jerry has come on to talk about a very special passion project that he has been working on with students for three and a half years. This project is something that both Ryan and Howie had not even heard about in all their Disney research, so both of them were highly intrigued to hear more. The project is a documentary called, “Growing Magic: The Mickey Mouse Cornfield Story.”
Jerry and his students’ story starts when they took a two-hour trip to investigate the place were this cornfield Mickey was created. Though it has long disappeared, 1988, Jerry and his students found through talking to some locals, that were around then, they may be onto a very special story. So, on their van ride home, they decided to start this journey of creating a documentary.
After years of work and thirty plus different students lending their specialized skills, “Growing Magic: The Mickey Mouse Cornfield Story” is ready to premiere. The debut will happen March 28th at Buena Vista University with many other screenings happening across the country, including one near Anaheim CA. If you have a chance to catch this film, we really think you will enjoy it. Not only for the stories and Disney history that was captured by Jerry and his students, but also because of the passion and hard work that is evident in this production. We know Walt would give it a “Yeah, that’ll work!”
Learning at Sea
In this episode of My Disney Class Podcast, we welcome back ashore Howie fresh from his recent Disney Cruise. Howie is somewhat of a cruise expert as he has been on many different cruise lines and has traveled by water quite often for not being a clownfish. All kidding aside, we are tackling the issue of continuing to help our children grow both academically as well as culturally. Whether on land or at sea, we as educators know there is always something we can learn.
We focus on the Disney cruise for this podcast because um yeah, this is My Disney Class Podcast but Howie does mention some other cruise lines and what they offer educationally as well. The Disney cruise line may be a bit more pricey but it does offer an unforgettable vacation experience for families and is worth the premium over other cruise lines with its impeccable attention to detail, personalized service and wealth of educational experiences. We hope you enjoy our conversation in this episode as we share ten or so learning opportunities you can write home to your teachers about as you set sail on your cruise!
FETC-19 REFLECTIONS with Rae and Bruce
Today on the show, Howie and Ryan welcome two extraordinary individuals that happen to take part in the recent Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC). Both Rae Hughart and Bruce Umpstead are here to discuss their opinions on the conference as well as what they feel the future is for technology and its role in education.
Rae comes to us from central Illinois and is currently a 6th-grade math teacher at Evans Jr High. She is also the Director of training and development for the Teach Better Team. Bruce is joining us from Michigan where he is the Director of State programs at IMS Global. He also serves as the FETC 2019 IT Track Chairperson and Host. They both bring a vast wealth of knowledge and passion to this discussion and we know that you’re going to love hearing their thoughts on FETC and technology in general.
On today’s episode of My Disney Class Podcast, Howie and Ryan share some impressive examples of students doing innovative things inside and outside of the classroom. Innovations are always needed since every problem needs a solution, so there is always a need for someone to discover a new and useful way to tackle these problems. So how then do we allow our students these opportunities so they are able to sharpen those problem-solving skills?
A collaborative classroom encourages innovation by pushing students to work with others who may be different from them, either in their belief, behavior, or background. Collaboration in the classroom encourages discussion, which is the father of all innovation. Ryan and Howie will discuss some of these traits that they believe help create the environment for innovation to flourish inside the classroom as well as discuss some of the challenges. They will also share some impressive stories, like that of Ann Makosinski that through her empathy for a family friend, designed and built a human-powered flashlight. There truly is magic in releasing your students and allowing them to ignite and follow their passions to reach great heights. We hope you enjoy today’s episode and we hope that we’ve inspired you to find more ways to release your own and your students’ innovation magic!
Howie & Ryan welcome an incredible educator from the UK in Preston England.
Daniel McComb, teaches courses in recreational activities, sport, literacy, and many and he inspires his students with challenging and engaging lessons that reach beyond the classroom walls to bring high-interest topics to his students.
He has brought Marvel comics into his literacy course. His students were asked to write a news report pretending that they were covering a Tony Stark press conference where Spiderman was being unmasked. His students even had a hard deadline to meet or they would be fired. We hope you enjoy this episode
Howie and I would first like to wish all of you a happy and prosperous new year and we hope that 2019 brings you more magic than your heart desires. In this episode of My Disney Class Podcast, Ryan and Howie are doing a little Disney dreaming and sharing what they are looking forward to in 2019 and beyond.
If you haven’t visited Walt Disney World recently, then there’s even more for you to explore and experience than ever before with much much more to come. There is the giant elephant in the room that is Galaxy’s edge the new Star Wars land coming to Hollywood studios. This new land promises to be the dream every Star Wars fan has been waiting for and the level of interaction between the land and its guests promises to be one like we have never seen before. Let’s just say, Ryan and Howie, can’t wait!
We also talk about several other attractions coming to Hollywood Studios, including Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Pixar Place being transformed into Municiberg city block from the Incredibles. All these coming attractions are sure to expand Hollywood Studios into an immersive fun experience for the whole family that we at My Disney Class are sure will provide plenty on new inspirations for the classroom as well.
We also talk about some of the other changes coming to some of the other parks including Guardians of the Galaxy at EPCOT, Ratatouille: The Adventure, Tron Lightcycle Power Run and many more. We hope you enjoy this episode as we look to the future and reflect on the past. Here’s to a magical and fantastic 2019!