28-Charlie Rowley Tells Teachers to let their Freak Flag Fly


A few years back, Charlie Rowley became my student teacher. Charlie is a really good looking dude. He’s friendly, calm, and to top it off, he was a college football player. Many of my kids were immediately drawn to Charlie, but there was a handful who were totally closed down and not ready to give him a chance. It was like they were thinking, Oh great…another jock Social Studies teacher! I pulled Charlie aside and explained this delicate social dynamic. Charlie didn’t hesitate, “Okay…let’s see if I can win them over. This sounds like fun.” He’s a great guy.

Charlie Rowley

Charlie Rowley 


Over the next few weeks, Charlie shelved his ego and worked hard to engage his reluctant contingent. It was working. They started warming up to him. And then one day, one of Charlie’s emerging converts made an amazing observation. Listen to this episode to learn how a simple observation from a student revolutionized Charlie’s ability to engage his students!

Episode Template

The Problem:

Teachers are afraid to be human in front of students.

The Solution:

Become aware of, then whole-heartedly embrace, your interesting proclivities.

What You Can Do Tomorrow?

  • Challenge students to list some of their proclivities.
  • Direct students to list some odd tendencies or quirks of friends and family. 
  • Ask student a simple question,Is there anything I do or say on a regular basis that you guys think is strange or unique?” 
  • If you do something odd…own it, exploit it, and find ways to perform it on a regular basis.

Discover your unique proclivities. Exploit these wonderful behavioral fingerprints as potentially wonderful engagement tools.

Listen to “28-Charlie Rowley Encourages Teachers to let T

27-Dorali Arambula…a Beautiful Young Dreamer on More Inclusive Schools

Dorali Arambula is senior at Westerville North High School in suburban Columbus, Ohio. Dorali was born in Mexico, but she moved to the United States at age 2. America is her home. She has no recollection of Mexico.


Dorali Arambula

Dorali Arambula

Dorali was in my class 2 years ago. At the end of that school year, her family moved down the road to a neighboring school. As you’ll learn in the episode, It was not the first time she’d moved schools. Sit back and listen to her fascinating life journey. Sometimes she’s felt welcomed and valued, other times not.


With the brutal political rhetoric we’ve all experienced during this election season, it’s so wonderful to hear her uplifting voice! We all have a lot to learn from this beautiful dreamer!

Episode Template

The Problem:

Some students feel disenfranchised.

The Solution:

Become more empathetic and aware.

What You Can Do Tomorrow?

  • Take note of a student who might feel excluded.
  • Analyze why this youngster might feel this way.
  • Monitor your words and deeds. 
  • Strategically pair excluded students with positive peers.
  • Practice empathy 24/7. 

Make all your students feel welcome and included.

Listen to “27-Dorali Arambula…a Beautiful Young Dreamer on More Inclusive Schools” on Spreaker.


26-Amanda Reynolds and Channeling Your Inner Yoga Teacher

The Problem: Teachers get lost in their agendas and forget to be empathetic to students.

You might be muttering, “I don’t have an inner yoga teacher.” But please consider Amanda Reynolds’ words before submitting that verdict. She’s an amazing yoga instructor. I know because I’ve taken a lot of her classes. She’s compassionate, gentle, and encouraging. She empowers stiff students to open. If you interact with Amanda outside of the studio, however, you’ll be struck by her intense Ayurvedic Pita nature. She’s enthusiastic, active, focused, and competitive. She kids me that I’m a pita too. Guilty! Amanda’s story is relevant because her daytime job is to teach high school English. She uses her yoga background to channel, and at times mask, her intensity, build relationships, and engage students,  


The stunning Amanda Reynolds




The Hack: Use compassion to build relationships and foster engagement.

  • Engage your intuition.
  • Ask this youngster, “How are you doing today?”
  • Ask your students a courageous question. 

Strive to interact with students compassionately and in the process, gain valuable insight into them and how you can make your class more engaging.

Listen to “26-Amanda Reynolds and Channeling Your Inner Yoga Teacher” on Spreaker.


25-The Celebrity Couple Nickname Game Staring Trevor Ambrose, Jack Belcher, Liz Bender, Mikayla Colvin, Alejandrina Hernandez, Christopher Ward


The semester just started and you have 150 names to remember…and you must do it fast! Students feel marginalized when you can’t remember their names:

  • I’m insignificant
  • Mr. S doesn’t notice me
  • I’m not important
  • Mr. S doesn’t like me
  • I’m invisible
  • Mr. S knows other student’s names. He must like them better

A number of years ago, for some odd reason, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie came up in class. I referred to them reflexively as Brangelina. I was struck by how every kid knew exactly whom I was referring to. Hmmmm! Perhaps, I thought, I could do the same thing with a student’s first and last names. This was the birth of the Celebrity Couple Nickname Game. It has:

  • Been a fun bonding tool
  • Allowed me to remember student names
  • Created powerful allegiance to my class

Ten days into class, you don’t want to be saying, “Hey…you in the brown shirt, what’s the answer to #10?”

Listen to these incredible student voices promote the power of this technique!

Episode Template

The Problem:

It’s hard to remember student names.

The Solution:

Play the Celebrity Couple Nickname Game.

What You Can Do Tomorrow?

  • Take your seating chart and create celebrity nicknames out of the first and last names.
  • Present examples.
  • Challenge kids to morph your name. 
  • Deputize your students to create their own celebrity nicknames.
  • Present students with your creation. 

You can’t engage kids if you don’t know their names. Creating celebrity nicknames will transform this tedious chore into a fun game.  


24-Hacking Engagement the Book Launch

It is my great pleasure to announce that my book…“Hacking Engagement”, is actively seeking a home on your bookshelf! Mark Barnes interviewed me about my book for his Hack Learning Podcast. I liked the interview so much that I published it on the Hacking Engagement Podcast. Listen and you’ll learn a lot about my book…and hopefully, be motivated to spring for a copy!