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Crafter or Cog?

By Mark T. Burke As an educator, do you consider yourself a crafter or a cog? If you seek ways to help students create learning experiences, you are a crafter.  If you view standards as guides and minimums, you are a crafter.  If you allow classroom events to evolve as you go, to take you […]

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Organizations and Teams Must Understand “Divide and Conquer”

By Mark T. Burke “Divide”…simplify….to separate…to isolate…to break down. “Conquer”…to win over…to defeat….to overcome. This phrase has been used for years within organizations as a way to build capacity. It could be said that staff hiring models have been built around the idea of “Divide and Conquer.” Check any org chart and you’ll more often […]

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Guessification vs Gamification of Learning: Using Failure

By Mark T. Burke Last night, I logged into my Red Cross First Aid, CPR, AED course, started the AED section and immediately found myself wanting to yell “clear” and deliver a few joules to the course itself.   After reviewing a short (under 1 minute) video on what AED stands for, I clicked next […]

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Beyond School…The Model to Follow

By Mark T. Burke As a past music educator, the power of “Beyond School” experiences make sense to me. Each day, after the final bell had released students back into the community, I saw smiling faces, tired, but smiling. I saw kids drop burdens of imposed experiences in exchange for an experience they chose and […]

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Help, Too Much Talking During Class!

By Mark T. Burke Guess what. All that talking is coming from us, not the students. That’s right, we spend way too much time talking about this and that during class and lessons. We like, no LOVE to hear ourselves deliver words of wisdom to our students. Minute after minute go by as we sing […]

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CrossPit Challenge

By Mark T. Burke Have you seen the latest innovation in fitness competition? The CrossFit community (Reebok CrossFit) has created itself from scratch in a short period of time. CrossFit participants practice for the unexpected. Each day, their workouts consist of bizarre combinations of exercises, strange moves, with INSANE goals. Their goal is to prepare […]

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“Entrepreneurity” is Needed

By Mark T. Burke While driving to the office yesterday, I was thinking of the qualities passionate supporters of music programs, the arts, and innovative, progressive education exhibit. Creativity was certainly in the mix.  Ingenuity was also at the top of the list.  In today’s tough educational times, demonstrating creativity and ingenuity just gets you […]

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Idealists, Creatures of Habit and Connectors

By Mark T. Burke Come on…you know a fellow music teacher in each of these categories..right? The Idealist..a music teacher who teaches what should be taught because music is an art, we must know the classics, we must pay tribute to those who built the foundation our art stands upon and all kids must understand […]

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Circle of 5’s: Organizing for Change

The Circle of 5ths.  A nice, tidy way to organize key signatures, right?  Sure.  But, science is behind that little concentric piece of genius. Just think about how much music is structured around that circle…amazing!  Like you, I’m always looking for ways to apply proven systems to new challenges.  A few months ago, I thought […]

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Our Ice Cream Fundraiser is Melting

It’s May and our Band Director, Mr. Sams, just told us we’d be doing ANOTHER fund raiser.  This happens every May. Just as we’re about to finish the school year, me and my band friends hike around town asking everyone we meet if they would buy a “Famous Ice Cream Cake”, the world’s biggest, sweetest, […]

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