Show, Don't Tell

Last Thursday I offered an ASK training after school.

ASK stands for Author, Specialist, Knowledge, and is a literature based program that ends with a videoconference interview of a specialist or author. The program was designed by Dr. Kettel, University of Michigan-Dearborn, and has been successfully implemented on a large scale in Macomb county. Macomb ISD has mentored us as well as TWICE and others in implementing this program locally.

Usually my ASK training covers what it is, the 13 steps, the various books and programs we offer to our local schools, how to make your ASK program a success, and is generally a lot of talking. This year I wanted to do it a little differently. Partly due to the influence of 123 Jazzing on my teaching, partly due to a sore throat, and partly due to the realization of good teaching: show – don’t tell!

So I brought out a copy of most of the books that we offer and spread them out on tables. After watching the ASK video and reviewing the various books, we did a mini-ASK process. Each person read a couple pages in one of the books. (I really believe in choice with adult training!) Then they journalled a few lines. Wrote their questions on 3×5 cards. Then we split into three groups to pretend we were in an ASK program. We connected in from 3 of our VC systems and simulated the project. Everyone got to ask their question in the recommended format. “Hi, my name is Jane, and this is my friend John. Our question is, In the book, ……”. They got to see how the video switches in a voice activated format. How to mute & unmute. How to have the students stand at the microphone listening until the author or specialist has answered their question.

We covered just about everything in the Making Your ASK Program A Success handout without me hardly *telling* any of it! They experienced it. Cool. Everyone was really excited and signed up for programs right away.

It’s funny how you KNOW in your head what good training should be like, but when you have just an hour and a half you think there isn’t time. Well, there is!

By the way, there may be a few spots left in the TWICE ASK programs. And if I have any in mine (I don’t right now), I’ll let you know here.

And also, if you’re a regional coordinator for distance learning, you ought to be offering these kinds of programs for your schools! Want to learn how?! My online class, Kid2Kid Videoconference Connections, starts next week and includes how to run ASK programs as well as MysteryQuests and other projects. We’d love to have you join our learning community!

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