Monday, May 23, 2016

Episode 6 "Textbooks"


Episode 6

I hope you enjoy episode 6 of Educating Jo about my dislike of textbook teaching! I hope you enjoy me sharing why I don't use textbooks in my Biology classroom and some activities I do instead of reading chapter sections. 
Please share with anyone you think might be interested and I would love to see your comments here or on the YouTube channel! Thanks for watching!

Student Choice: Stars 
Activity: Jelly Bellicus

Here is the outline I used to make the video!

6. Textbooks
Hey Jo, this week I’m going to talk to you about my hatred of textbooks.
My inspiration for this post came from listening to a podcast of Matt Miller who wrote “Ditch That Textbook.” First I need to mention how lucky I am to teach what I teach. I have an 1 ½ hour prep period and then teach biology 3 sections a day. This gives me the time to plan lessons that not every teacher gets. I am also the only teacher that teaches sophomore level biology in my school which gives me even more freedom. So today I want to explain to you why I don’t use a textbook and somethings I do instead of a scripted curriculum or a read the chapter, answer the review questions approach.
  1. Why I don’t use a textbook.
    1. I think if a student wants to learn something, they google it. Reading a textbook chapter and learning information from it is no longer a skill students need.
    2. Creation vs. consumption
    3. Connect concepts to activities
      1. Easier to recall something you have done, vs something you have read
    4. As a trained professional, I have all the resources I need to make my own material. I don’t need a textbook company to tell me what connects with MY students.
  2. Read the textbook replacements
    1. Review engagement strategy
      1. For a 5 step process, group of five, each say a part then scramble. Content on the board and erase as needed.
    2. Act out the process with paper models and record.
    3. Presentations
    4. Student choice
      1. Here is the concepts we need to understand.
      2. Research the concepts to understand it.
      3. Figure out how to teach their classmates→ diagrams, videos, activities.

Highlight of the week: Golden Spaff Award
Struggle of the week: Grading and saying goodbye
Activity of the week: Jelly Bellicus

Outro: I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode and feel free to share, like, comment and subscribe! To all the other Educating Joes out there, have a great week teaching or starting summer break!

Thank you for taking the time to watch my video! I'd love to continue to conversation in the comments! Starting next week I'll be trying out a new format for the summer. My school is doing a summer book club over "The Innovator's Mindset" by George Couros. I'll be doing a shorter vlog over the a few chapters each week. Let me know if you like the change!


  1. Well, thank goodness that Jo has that all straight now! Wow ... your take on textbooks rings so similar to mine. I'd be in the front row yelling "amen" to all of it! Keep ditching those textbooks, and keep up with the vlog ... what a cool concept!

    1. Thank you for watching and commenting! I'm excited to be a part of your #ditchbook community next year!!