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123. Unit Dreaming: A Family-Designed Unit (ELA, Music, PE) with Elizabeth and Nancy Jorgensen

by Lindsay Lyons
July 11th 2023
In today's episode as part of the Unit Dreaming Series with special guests and educators Elizabeth and Nancy Jorgensen... More
Today I have on a mother daughter duo for our unit dreaming episode. So let me tell you about them. Nancy Jorgenson is a Wisconsin teacher, writer and musician. Her most recent book, a middle grade young adult sports biography was released in October 2022. Gwen Jorgenson, U SAS first Olympic gold medal triathlete. Nancy is also an essayist writing about music equality, family, aging and education. Her work appears in Ruminate Prime Number magazine, River Teeth, Wisconsin Public Radio, Cheap Pop and elsewhere. Elizabeth Jorgenson was named one of America's most inspiring educators. The Henry Ford's Innovator Awards. She co-wrote Gwen Jorgensen us A's first Olympic gold medal triathlete with her mom, Nancy Elizabeth, also released two education books in 2022 hacking student learning habits at times 10 publications and Cjo Korea's poetry form. Let's get to this episode. We brainstorm our unit inspired by the book they co-wrote about their daughter and sister respectively. Mhm I'm educational justice coach Lindsay Lyons. And here on the time for teacher podcast, we learn how to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice design curricula, grounded in student voice and build capacity for shared leadership I'm a former teacher leader turned instructional coach.

I'm striving to live a life full of learning, running, baking, traveling and parenting because we can be rockstar educators and be full human beings if you're a principal, assistant superintendent, curriculum director, instructional coach or teacher who enjoys nerd out about co creating curriculum with students. I made this show for you. Here we go. Elizabeth and Nancy. Welcome to the Time for Teacher Ship Podcast. Thank you for having us. Nice to be here. So excited that you're here. Do you want to start us off by sharing? And now this is one of our fun new like unit brainstorm episodes. So there is kind of an impetus or a context for what we're talking about today, right? And then we're gonna develop from there. Can you just share with listeners? You know what that context is, why we're talking about what we're going to be talking about today? Go ahead. Sure. I am a high school English teacher and I've taught basically writing classes for the past 18 years. Um And my mom and I actually had the wonderful fortune of teaching in the same building together.

Um Mom, talk about your role. Sure. I, I've been a choir director for over 25 years. I'm now retired, but I taught um oh, huge program of about 400 kids. And Elizabeth says we were in the same building for a while and shared some of the same students um and shared lunch together many days, especially when I forgot my lunch money. I was always down there trying to get you to buy me lunch. Right. Um And so my sister, she's Gwen Jorgensen and she actually won the gold medal in the Rio Olympics in the Triathlon. And Gwen is really passionate about giving back to young people. She's done some volunteering at different clubs and organizations. Um She also has a scholarship fund for young triathletes. And so Gwen, knowing that mom and I are teachers and knowing that we're writers, she came to us with an idea for a book. Um that would be for middle or young adult readers where they could learn about Gwen's story.

How did she go from average Wisconsin accountant and Wisconsin girl to world and Olympic champion to the winningest woman in the history of the sport. Um And so she came to us and we, we put together this book which is out now. And so that's, that's the impetus I think for our conversation today. That is so, so cool and awesome that this is like a true family like venture. This is very cool. My mom is also a teacher. So now I'm like, oh, what can we do together mom? Yes, it's, it's great. Right? Because I mean, she's gone before me. She's seen so many things happen. Um She has great ideas that then have bled into my classroom and then even into the book like it's, it's so many educators come from families of educators and this is just one of those examples. Super cool. So if we want to just dive into this unit design, if, if we could just start with, I think I love Doctor Goldie Mohammed's Hill framework. And so she talks about five pursuits. I like to focus on three because I think we always focus on like the skills and the content. That's just kind of what we do naturally as educators.

But typically, we don't as much focus on the pieces like I criticality and joy. And I think the more practice that listeners and and educators more broadly can get thinking and hearing people go through the thinking around this. Um it'll be really beneficial for teachers and for students. So thinking about what you want students to learn or pursue in this kind of dream unit, we have grounded in this context. Um What would those pieces be specifically around those areas of identity, criticality and joy? What comes to mind? I think we were talking Elizabeth and I about this. And um you know, one of Gwen's big things is discovering her best. She takes on a project and she wants to know what she's got inside of her, you know, what is, what is her potential and how to discover that. And um you know, there, I'm sure there are many ways to do that, but we want our kids to find out what's inside and, and to explore that and that could be used in any curricular area. I teach juniors and seniors creative writing.

What is, how can they produce the best possible writing that they can produce? It could be in your, your choir class? Right. How can I act to my full potential or tone or whatever those content areas are? What does that look like? How can we perform our, our best? Hm, I love that. And so I think that it connects to the joy sense for sure, because there's kind of this element of joy in accomplishing being striving for even like the journey to becoming our best or kind of testing what our best is. Um, I'm also curious, I was just thinking too from the perspective of like female athletes, like being a female athlete myself, not in, in any regard, like to that at that level, but like a high school player. Um, you know, that was really like a piece of my ident that was like important, but I also didn't see a ton of really powerful role models, right? We don't see women's sports televised often on, on TV, right? Like we see major league baseball, we never see softball. I mean, rarely do we see it like. So I'm just thinking too about the identity piece from the perspective of a unit that maybe looks at some of these models of what does it look like to be your best and who pursues their best.

Um I'm, I'm thinking your sister would be a great, and this book would be a great text to include, right? And this, and it's his sister because I'm looking at Elizabeth's screen, but sister and daughter. Right? And so, um I'm wondering what other people that you've thought about? That could be nice pairings with um your sister's story, your, your daughter's story thinking about um what you would want students to kind of explore as, as perhaps models or examples of this. We, when we were writing this, we looked for comps, like what other middle grade or young adult books are out there about female athletes and there aren't, as you mentioned very many and you know, that that does make us think about equity and who is being shown and what mentor techs are out there and how can we balance and provide both female stories and male stories? Yeah, I was even thinking um so I taught a literacy course at high school uh at the high school level also and it was kind of under the guise of I was I called it a feminism course, but the, the credit was for literacy or el A and so I was even thinking of like, um you know, even beyond sports thinking about uh like comedians, female comedians that are so many really good memoir books from like Mindy Kaling or I'm, I'm just thinking of like all these people who have Ali Wong, who have written about like the journey of motherhood and women in comedy and you know, whatever it is, like, there are so many spaces that uh women are succeeding and just underrepresented in the literature and in the writing.

Um I'm also thinking from a perspective of like um civil rights activists and sports and like how those pieces come together. And so I know you're talking about your sister being really passionate, right about like giving back. And so like, who else gives back? And in what ways could we give back? And what does that look like to use your platform for good and, and, and that kind of thing? Um So I, I think there's so many possibilities there on the identity piece, I'll pause here and see if you have anything else. Well, and the great thing too is we have such access to what those at least current athletes are doing because so many of them post on their social media challenge channels and we can hop on their Instagram or their youtube and see what, how are they giving back? What does their process look like? So many of these people? You know, I'm thinking too, she's this youtube channel where she follows her journey and you can see races where she just implodes and then she talks about how does she come back after that? What team is surrounding her, helping her? What processes does she have in place. I'm also thinking about in the fine arts, the um one of the academy award nominated films tar is about a woman conductor and you know, in that field of professional orchestra conductors, women are rare.

Um We had one in Milwaukee, Joanne Fleta who is actually mentioned in that movie Tar. But you know that that's another um another area to explore and it doesn't always have to be with books, you know, it, it could be with a movie like this. I love what you're both suggesting around text, I always say text and then, I mean, usually like anything you can read in the sense of like you could read the world, you could read like a piece of, of music, right? So I love that the text is broad, it could be social media accounts, it could be videos, it could be documentaries or, or movies. So I love this idea and I think we got a little bit at the criticality piece as well and just our conversation of, right, like thinking about who is underrepresented, is there anything else that you would want students to focus on throughout a unit like this when we think about kind of that power dynamic or that representation dynamic of these stories. Um You know, I've been, I've been thinking about title nine because I graduated from high school in 1972 the year that that that passed. And so much has changed when you when I compare myself to my daughters. Um, and I think that that's still evolving, you know, we think of title nine as well.

That was 1972. But II, I think we're still fighting to make that a reality and, you know, to explore how that happens and, um, and what we can do to make it happen. Yeah, absolutely. I was recently at, um, so I'm in Massachusetts and I went to a um Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. I think it's the acronym. Um and there was a panel of LGBT Q athletes as well who were talking about like being a trans athlete is incredibly challenging when we have athletics and sports teams in high schools being this is the female team and this is the male team and you know, like am I am I going to be accepted for who I am and that kind of thing too. So there's, there's so many pieces that play into how title nine is even applied and who it applies to and how does someone figure out back to that identity? Enjoy peace, right? How do I pursue my best in this context, aligned to who I truly am? And what's the context that it allows me to like do that or not do that and the power dynamics involved. So there's so much with Title nine. Yeah, that you could do there.

Wow, this, this would be such a cool unit. I hope someone actually like takes this and implements this. Um So now thinking about the driving question for this unit, I love a good question that kind of frames everything that a student is doing. It's like, I often coach, uh coaches or administrators who come in and are like doing the observations and you know, we often ask things like what is a student, um what asking a student, like, why, why are you learning this? Right? And asking a student to be able to come up with that answer? And so my thought is if you have a good enough question, then answering that question is the answer, right? The question is embedded in the daily reality. If you can answer that question, it radically improves your life or your community or something like that's kind of embedded. And every single lesson is to that question. So there's never like, oh how does this lesson today make sense? It's like, oh, it makes sense because we're answering the question, the question is relevant because the question is totally about life, right? And so I think this is a really big lift to create a question that does all of those things. But I think it's really exciting to kind of play with and and think about um any thoughts on what that question might be, that kind of does all the things and we can kind of brainstorm together, we can kind of throw out several ideas.

What are your thoughts on this. Hey, everybody. It's Lindsey popping in to tell you about today's freebie Nancy and Elizabeth are sharing their educator guide to the book they co-wrote about Gwen and you can grab it at Lindsey Beth lions dot com slash blog slash 123. Let's get back to the episode. I think we were, we were kind of talking about this a little bit yesterday. I think it's something along the line of what is my best. How can I discover it and how can I bring it to fruition or something along that line? Right? How will I know or what are indicators or what process can I outline that will allow me to perform at my best? Something like that if you want, wanna lead the, the question discussion that way? Yeah. Oh my gosh. OK. So I love it and I love specifically I, you have probably seen like my um driving question like frames that I, that I list sometimes for like, what I, what I think it could look like a question and I love like the, what's the formula questions? So I always talk about, there's um someone talks about, I can't remember from PB L works.

Maybe John Larmer talks about like, what is a good driving question? And he gives the example of like, um you know, who's the best basketball player of all time as like this really engaging question, right? Or who's the best athlete of all time? And so I kind of wanted to add that layer in the formula piece of like, yeah, what is that formula? And so that's a good example for me is like you could talk about, I mean, I'm more of like a basketball person. I I am a distance runner but I am not really good in the triathletes space. So forgive me for not having a lot of the language there. But I think um you know, basketball wise, you could talk about points, rebounds, assists, right? All these stats that we typically refer to when we're talking about like the best. But like, what about if that person is just not a great person, like not a great human being in their communities and is like harmful to their communities, right? Like, are they still like the best athlete of all time? Right? Like does that matter? And it's such an interesting discussion to have, right, with students who are just as people, right? To be like, what does it mean to be the best? Um So I love this idea of indicators, like, what's that indicator of the best?

Is it something that you define for yourself? Is it something externally defined? If? So what is that list? Can we co create that? And I'm I'm always thinking how the driving question leads into, you know, a project, like what students actually produce at the end? Is that something that students could, you know, like produce that checklist? Or indicator list. But I also love the idea of a process, like maybe the indicators are shared that something we core as the class by the end of the unit. But also like the process might be really unique and different. So again, is that like indicators of the process, you have to go through certain phases, but it could look different. I mean, I'm just kind of like brainstorming here, not on versions of the question, but I just like what happens in the class with that question? I want to kind of throw it back to you guys to think about like what that sounds like. Well, yeah, I mean, I'm thinking in order to perform my best, what do I need? I need to be hydrated. I need to be well rested. I need to be in a clear mind space, you know, like all of those kinds of things you could discuss. What environment do we need or which environments help us perform at our best.

I also think along with what do I need? Who do I need? Um, because Gwen just did not do this alone. And the first thing that she will credit are the people on her team, you know, the coaches, the nutritionists, um, the massage therapists, her husband, um, us, her family, her fans, you know, nobody does anything alone. And so who are those people that you can add to your team to make you better? I absolutely love that. I, there is a quote out there from some, um, uh, I think he was like a, a movie star or a TV star or something and he got into really good shape and everyone was commenting, like, wow, you got into really good shape really fast and he was like, oh, anyone can do this if you have and then it was like a list of all the things which he included as well, like lots of money and resources and you know, like to be able to take the time to do this full time or something, you know, like there were so many layers to what he was speaking to, to what you guys are saying with not just like the who but also the environmental context of, you know, whatever this is. So I, I love this balance of like the individual stuff that you're doing your community space in terms of the people around you and what they offer you and how you work within that.

And then also those structural pieces I'm thinking of bringing in that layer of criticality and you know, women, for example, we've talked a lot about women, but like from a gender perspective, right? Like, aren't often given access to those structural pieces as often. And so how do we do that better? We talked about title nine. So I think there's so many pieces that would just make this conversation really rich. Um If we were having this discussion. So I love that idea. Um So language wise, I think we threw out a couple of examples. I think you had an initial one. That still sounds good to me. But what do, what do we want to land on for the, the language of that driving question? If you had one you liked? Let's do it. I think. What, what was the one that you shared at first? I really liked that initial, I don't know what to do. Rewind. Can we do? Can we like drop in a replay on reality TV? You know, they like flash back five minutes ago. I was just said, I think it was what are the indicators? But I also, so um I like the indicators. I also like you talked about indicators and processes at first that I had written down. But I also like, what are, what is the environment that I need to be my best?

And who do I need to be my best? I don't know if the who is embedded in the environment and, and we just talk about that and break that down as a class in terms of deconstructing the question or it's like what environment? But II I love this idea of the environment because then um this next question, it leads to like, what is the project like? What are, what are students doing with that? So they're looking at these different um stories, they're looking at you know, um Tar, right, that film, they're looking at Gwen's story in the book that you wrote, like, they're looking at all of these pieces they're thinking about their own lives and they're thinking about this environment question. But then they also have, I typically think about a final project that like does something for the community. Like I i it's like a uh taking action kind of to pursue justice in your community or something. So I'm almost envisioning something that also connects back to like the class community or the school community or the athletic community in your district directors, you know, like what ways we could have students kind of take action to better support like everyone to be their best in those spaces.

Um I'm rambling a bit. What do you all think? What were you thinking for the project? A huge part of the book is Letters Gwen writes letters to her former self, um things she would have wished she would have heard as a little girl or, you know, an adolescent. Um And then she also writes letters to the reader and she encourages the reader to write back to her. And we also have a educator guide to accompany the book with all of these lesson plan ideas that are tied to the standards. Um And so there's, I think a lot of possibilities within letter writing alone. Um I'm thinking kids could write a letter to themselves and I've done this so I teach high school seniors primarily and most of them are college bound. And so I tell them you're going to write a letter to yourself and I'm gonna hold on to it for four years. So it's theoretically your high school. See yourself right into your college. See yourself. And then I mail them in four years and then the kids get them and I just, I just mailed out the, the first semester one from four years ago.

Um And so now I'm seeing on like Facebook, all of these kids commenting on how cool it was to receive this letter and to see what they had hoped they would achieve in the next four years, I think that that's, you know, there's a possibility there. And then I'm also thinking of another assignment that I've done on advocacy letters where kids find a problem in our community and then they write a letter to a person who has some control over that and then they ask for the change that they want. Um, one simple example at school, kids were complaining about parking. We have this thing called FSL Flexible Schedule option where some seniors can come late. And so the seniors who were coming late were find that there were no parking spots by the time that they got here or if there were parking spots, they were way at the back. And so kids wrote advocacy letters saying, can you make special spots just for the FSO kids and the school did it like they worked. And so, you know, just this idea of our voice matters and if we can present our best selves in, in these letters, the change is possible um within our community.

Now I'm rambling a bit. I'm also, I'm also thinking Elizabeth of your project to put together a literary journal where you give a, you know, you give an assignment and then everybody writes and then I think what you've done is included all of them in the journal which puts some pressure on, on each writer to give their very best. But, you know, I it, it could also be, um, modeled more after a professional literary magazine where people submit and not everything is accepted. And then you'd have to go through the thinking process of who do we accept and why do we accept it and you know, what are the guidelines and make sure that it's not heavy on, you know, just the men or just the women or, um, there's just lots of considerations when you have to put together a professional type publication like that. I love that. And then having the kids decide which ones are best, which ones are worthy of publication and why? Which ones make your heart ache? Which ones do you wanna like that? That could be a really rich discussion. Oh, my gosh. Yes.

And thinking about the identity and criticality and joy pieces again. There, right? Like do we have all aspects? Right. So that could be part of the checklist for the students to be able to say like, well, we don't have representation from this particular identity group or something or, or we we want to include a little bit more of this identity group because we historically have not heard a lot or this brings me joy, right? We have the ache in the heart, but then we also have the joy in the heart and then we want to balance that and like, oh, this would be so cool. I love this idea. And the, the journals that I've done in the past, I've been able to find some funding or get some donations and the the kids, they just treasure them. Um You know, that they hold on to them and it's almost like their yearbook of creativity or I remember when I was in that class, look at this artifact that we have from that time together. So cool. And then you could do it at, if you had year to year, right? You could look at the previous years and then like have those as mentor attacks. I'm sorry, Nancy, I cut you off. Oh, that's OK. I was just gonna say I, I was thinking when I was teaching, I did something sort of similar. Um I was, I had a, a music theater troupe kind of the, an elite group and we did a project it was called Music Theater nights where the kids became, they did the whole thing.

They were the directors, they were the choreographers. And it was again that submission process where a wannabe director had to submit their idea for a song and who their cast would be and what the, what the message of the song would be and um their, just their vision and then a committee would screen it and kind of the same things that we were talking about in the literary magazine they would do for this musical production. And it's just, you know, I think it's, it's applicable to a lot of different content areas and the authentic purposes there, right? The, the magazine, it's this artifact and then the performance, the parents came, they bought tickets like you have to be ready on this day to share your joy, to share your best self with the community. Oh my gosh, I love it. And because they always been thinking about what is the authentic audience or like the the publishing opportunity, sometimes they call it even though it's not like publishing as in a literary journal per se, but that's a great example. And then also there's the publishing that's like live. So I'm just imagining there are some students who thrive in like the writing space and they do want to submit and then they want to be done.

They don't want to read it out loud or they just want it to exist and people read it on their own time. And then there are people who are like, I don't, I don't like writing, right? I am like I am a performer, I am an artist. I want my art to be seen live. Um And, and, and then both people have spaces or both, both kind of types of artists I should say have spaces to perform in their own space. Um So I love that there is kind of choice in that as well. So if you don't make it into the literary journal, you have this other space or maybe you don't even submit to the literary journal because you do have this other space or something. I'm trying to think of like including all of the students that's beautiful to have those different types and you would have kids too who would work on the lighting or who would work on the costume design. Like there's these backstage pieces for kids who like you're saying they don't want that spotlight, but everyone has a role even if those roles look vastly different, right? And none, none of those more important than the other. Really, the people out on stage could not live without someone running the lights and the sound.

So all equally important. Yeah, that's such an important point. I think sometimes when we think about, oh, we're just creating rules to create the roles, you know. So everyone has one, then there is kind of this hierarchy in our minds of like what is more important. But you're absolutely right. If you don't have the lights, like no one's gonna see the show. So it is again that conversation about how do we enable everyone to be our best? It really transcends through the content, but also how these projects are being lived out and what it looks like as a class community to talk about all of those pieces. I in, in that as an as an example of just like the roles that we all take on for the performance. Oh My gosh, so cool. I think I'm realizing we're close to the 30 minute mark. So I'll move us to the next question. So we're thinking about like what this actually looks like in terms of the activities, we talked a little about the end pieces. What does this look like in terms of like, how would you start this unit? What are some maybe activities or I call them protocols? But like, I often think about like circle or a gallery walk of text or you know, those like teacher kind of activities that we do.

Um What are some of those that you think have been really successful or would be really successful in a unit like this? You know, when I did this kind of a unit um tradition played a huge part in, in the present year production and um the kids knew the history of what had gone before them and they were extremely motivated to live up to the quality of the kids who had preceded them and in whatever projects had gone on before them. Um, and because they, the, the group I had were juniors and seniors primarily. And so they had spent, I inquire, they spent four years in the, you know, in my program. And so they knew the history and they had looked forward to it. And um, I, I really think to make the, to make the quality, uh a primary part of it and to insist that, you know, it's, it really is a professional quality, um, project is motivating for kids and stirs up ideas.

I'm also thinking when I do these publishing opportunities with my students, the first thing that I do is I check, we have a list at our school of all the parents who don't want their students likeness or name out of our school walls. And so I start there and if I do see a student whose parents says, no, I reach out to them and I say, here's what we're doing. I just want to make sure that you don't want your student to participate. And when I do that every single time the parent says, yes, we want our kids to participate. And so, you know, just making sure that you have all your I's dotted and t crossed, you know, just checking all of those things and then having conversations with the students about why, why is it cool to share our words with the world? Why will this publication or presentation or performance make a difference? Oh my gosh. Yes. I I'm thinking for the first the quality Nancy that you mentioned, I think, you know, having a um you co created rubric or something, not rubric sounds very stifling but you know, like a co created like list of quality indicators or something, right? Um Having I used to do like peer, I used to call it peer review, like as if you were submitting for a journal and people were peer reviewing um where you would do your performance or you would do like submit your piece or something.

And then literally, you would have a team of people right in front of you. We're like, we're going to review this and then they would like give you live feedback on the rubric or on the indicator list um as like a specific protocol that people could do, like you could do that weekly for each draft of the project or, you know, whatever. Um And I and I Elizabeth to your point, I am one of those parents in my child's day care right now. That's like, I I'd rather not like have his face used for promotional reasons, but if he was doing an activism project or something like this, like you're making your community better, like, yes, please do that, go write that letter, such a good point. Yeah. And you know, you just, you don't want to get yourself in trouble and you don't wanna do something against the parents' wishes. And so just that little bit of leg work at the beginning can save you a whole lot of stress later on. Uh and not like in um unintentionally exclude someone, right? Like, like you were saying for it just a kind of an alignment. And so that that family as partner piece, I think that you're mentioning is huge. And also sometimes parents will tell us or our family members or caretakers will tell us these publishing opportunities that may exist in different spaces. So they may bring in like, well, actually there's this community event that like we're going to choose a few students to perform here, like let's let's extend this and expand this project, which is something that, you know, as an individual teacher, you, you only know so much and so many resources that you're connected to as one person when you involve 3400 students, you know, however many it is like and their families, then you have that network that really expands outward and the possibilities just grow, which is super cool.

And they do, I've had the same thing happen and I've reached out to parents and then that snowballed into their, that parents idea, which is snowballed into another project. It's really cool. And then you feel like you're part of a team, you know, teaching can be so isolating and then to have all these people who are supporting you and giving you ideas even what we're doing today. Right. I'm like, my mind is just blowing up. Oh, my gosh, I can do this and I can do this and I can do this. Yeah. Absolutely. I think this kind of like co creation process. Unfortunately, as teachers, we often aren't given the time and space to do this. And if it is, if we are given that it's like summer break and it's unpaid, you know, or something, so I think being able to create those spaces that could be a whole other podcast but is so critical. Um And I think the last question I was going to ask in terms of the unit design process, we kind of, I've already touched on, but I wanna just surface it again in case you had additional things you wanted to say, we talked briefly about like the texts or the resources that we would be able to highlight. So we talked a little bit about the um you know, the book, the book you wrote about Gwen, we talked about Tar as a film, we talked about some, some different examples. Anything else that you would share if someone was to go teach this unit about a resource that they could use or a text they could write.

I don't know if you know Rich Ro No uh he's got a great podcast. Um and he actually wrote the foreword to the book and it aligns really nicely with what we're talking about today. Rich Ro's message does. Um And so he would be a person that I would recommend people talk about, you know, there's um his podcast also has video and so you can see him engaging with the conversations and I'm thinking of one conversation in particular he had with Alexi Papa. Do you know her? She's got a great book out called Bray. That would be really appropriate for high school readers. Um And so that might also be, you know, Ritual Lexi Papa coming together, you know, that, that's another option. I'm also thinking when I was teaching choir, um my kids were my greatest resource because they were just really into Broadway and they knew all the latest shows that were about to be mounted and the ones that had just closed and the ones that won awards and they knew all the resources, they knew where to follow these things, you know, what were the newsletters and the podcasts and the um just the websites where they would, where they would go for information.

Um One kid, I, one time he gave me this whole library of music scores on a disc. In the days we had discs, but hundreds of musicals and I had the piano conductor score for all of them. Um I don't think it was legal but, but I'm just saying when your kids are into something, they know where to go to find some of these resources that is brilliant and they're gonna have heroes and, and, and um mentors and these stories that, that like we have never heard of. It's such a good point. I'm just thinking about my, my teaching experience the last four years I taught was to students who were new to the country. So they span like their countries of origin were about 50 different countries. And so it was like, I don't know all of the people that you would be connected to and the the the the, you know, um mentors and you know, people who are in all of these different fields we've talked about today in 50 different countries. So you are the experts, you're gonna have to bring those in um and share with us and we can, we can center that. So I'm almost imagining um one of the protocols I use is usually like a gallery walk or, or jigsaw around like a case study.

And so sometimes I tell the students the case study, for example, it might be Gwen's story, it might be uh the story of the they conduct their right. These are like cases of someone at their best. It could also be that the students co create the case study list or they find a case of their own in their original research. So I think this would be super cool to be able to just throw it back to students and say like you, you can choose one, right? Like you, you bring in the next one and you get to see their joy then you know, then they bring in the things that they really truly are passionate about and love. Absolutely. Right. Oh my gosh. OK, cool. So we're, we're wrapping up the 30 minutes here a little over, sorry about that. Um But as we think about, you know, the, the I, I like to just do a quick reflection, like the process, the conversation that we just had, like, what, what we kind of went through? How does it feel? How do you hope that the, the topic and the process of, of, of all of the things we just did will enable educators to feel that joy, feel um that fulfillment um to be able to put this into action. Um So how are you feeling in this moment about all of those pieces? I'm just feeling like I want to take all of this and like, do something with it.

I'm even, I'm my, my brain like literally cannot stop brainstorming ideas, thinking of um one time the band director did a Korean piece of music and my students were learning Korean poetry. And so then he had me come in and teach his band students this Korean form of form of poetry and then they put the poems into the program. So that, then as the parents were listening to the Korean song, then they could read this Korean poetry and I was just like it authentic purpose. The kids got to, you know, just publication all of that. I just, that's my reflection is my brain will not shut off. I just keep thinking of all of these ideas. And then didn't, didn't one of the students who wrote one of those poems win a contest with it. They did, they won a national shi competition with the poem. Oh My God. That's so impressive. Wow. Yeah, I, you know, I think any time you can sit down with a colleague like this and just say, here's an idea I have, let's walk through it together. The time is so well spent. It's just you, you learn so much. And I think, you know, this whole idea of collaboration, which you mentioned a little bit before is just so important.

And when um in my career, I always had a team teacher just because our groups were so huge. You know, we had choirs of 100 and 25 all in the room at the same time. And, and so I always worked with someone and in writing this book, you know, it was Elizabeth and Gwen and me all writing together and this session right now, you know, the three of us collaborating, I just think um so many times we're in our little lane with with very, very little opportunity to collaborate and it, it feels good to do it. Absolutely. Oh my gosh, I love that as kind of like an ending piece for people to reflect on. I do know that people are going to want to read the book that you wrote to follow you to learn more about one story and the work that you all do. So where can people find you or connect with you, Elizabeth? You do this? Great. OK. In the show notes, you'll see links to copies of the book. We also have signed copies available at one of our local bookstores, books and company in Ocon Wisconsin, but they ship, you know, nationwide. And so we always encourage people to buy local or check it out at your local library.

Um We're on social media. We each have websites which will also be in the show notes, but my website is Liz Jorgenson dot weebly dot com and on Twitter, I'm at Liza Joe LYZ AJ O, I'm very active on there. And so if anyone has questions, um just shoot us messages either via social media or our websites. And then the same with, we were mentioning those letters in the book, Gwen writes letters to the reader and she encourages them to write back. And so if you have kids who want to write to her, all they need to do is find her on Instagram and put their letter into her DM. And she's going to do her best to get back to those kids. Uh mom say your website and your social media. Oh, yeah, Nancy Jorgenson dot weebly dot com. And I'm at Nancy Jorgenson on Twitter and Nance Joe on Instagram. And I don't know if like you said it so fast. Elizabeth, I can't remember if you mentioned, but our teacher guide is free and that will also be included in the show notes and it's got, you know, content standards, all aligned with the activities and anybody who wants it is welcome to have it beautiful.

Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for sharing all those beautiful resources and I'm sure listeners are gonna be very excited to connect with you and get all that free stuff. Thank you both so, so much for being on today. It was really inspirational to brainstorm with you. It was a joy. Thank you. Thank you so much. If you're leaving this episode wanting more, you're going to love my life coaching intensive curriculum, boot camp. I help one department or grade team create feminist anti racist curricula that challenges affirms and inspires all students. We weave current events into course content and amplify student voices which skyrockets engagement and academic achievement. It energizes educators feeling burns out and it's just two days. Plus you can reuse the same process any time you create a new unit which saves time and money. If you can't wait to bring this to your staff. I'm inviting you to sign up for a 20 minute call with me. Grab a spot on my calendar at www dot Lindsay beth lions dot com slash contact. Until next time leaders continue to think big act brave and be your best self. This podcast is a proud member of the Teach Better Podcast Network better today, better tomorrow and the podcast to get you there, explore more podcasts at teach better dot com slash podcasts and we'll see you at the next episode.

123. Unit Dreaming: A Family-Designed Unit (ELA, Music, PE) with Elizabeth and Nancy Jorgensen
123. Unit Dreaming: A Family-Designed Unit (ELA, Music, PE) with Elizabeth and Nancy Jorgensen
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