classroom champions


One of the classroom champions chats Meryl and Charlie did today. Just too much adorableness….can’t take it. Video is about. 25 minutes long.

Potentially the start of a fantastic beginning...

Every morning, 10 minutes before I start my school day, I have a small routine that keeps me in check for in-school and out-of-school activities. My three-step routine includes:

  1. Checking my school’s “board” online for who is absent, who is being covered, preps, meetings, field trips, etc.
  2. My e-mail because apparently, my smart phone isn’t enough?
  3., which claims to be “an independent news source about the New York City public schools”.

Who knew that a simple check of Gotham Schools one day in March would potentially start an interesting chapter in my career in education?

On March 18th, I checked one of the Reminders pages posted by one of the editors of Gotham Schools, Philissa. Classroom Champions immediately caught my eye for a couple of reasons:

  • Being the clear definition of what amateur “athlete” means, I naturally gravitate towards things sports-related, especially Olympic-related, as my devotion for the US Women’s National Team in soccer dictates.

  • The videos, stories, pictures, and overall presentation of the program’s website all caught my eye, impressing me in multiple ways, primarily on the interactions between the athletes and the students as well as the creativity the teachers show in developing lesson plans around the concepts taught through Classroom Champions.

  • Most of all, though, the program clearly reflected something I feel my classes now and in the future need more of: a push, a motivational and character-focused push to continue to strive to do their best in and out of school.

If there is one area (among others) that I feel education lacks, it’s strong character-building education. I worked through Peace Games (now Peace First) during my Junior and Senior years at Fordham, where a large focus of the lessons I taught with co-Peace-Games teachers was on character-building activities, focusing on the encompassing notion of “what is peace?” via effective methods of communication, developing strong social relationships, and other aspects.

I feel Classroom Champions is cut from the same cloth and I am ridiculously excited to be partnered with an incredible program (as well as an inspiring athlete, who I find out late summer). Frankly, from my past experience with Peace Games, the program and what it represents just fit me well, much like a hand in a well-crafted glove.

Anyway, about the actual applying part: I applied on a whim in late March, submitted Part 1 of the application, submitted Part 2 of the application (with my principal’s permission), and… I got a phone call tonight around 9:20 pm.

I’ll let you read my copy-and-pasted status update from Facebook about the rest:

I will periodically update you all on my Tumblr/Twitter about what happens from here, but as for me, there’s only one picture that can clearly demonstrate my excitement over all of this: a Derek Jeter fist pump.

Using Google Glass, Elementary Students Learn How Blind People Live

By Mary Pilon, Fast Company, Jan. 28, 2015

Ever since its introduction three years ago, Google Glass has endured more than its share of haters. While many lamented the announcement earlier this month that Google would end consumer sales of the face-computer-slash-eyewear, others eagerly eulogized the Segway of spectacles.

But Glass still has plenty of non-consumer applications for its technology. One of Glass’s more unusual and poignant uses was well underway on a recent weekday morning in Julieann Cappuccino’s fifth grade Northwood Academy Charter School classroom in North Philadelphia. There, students clustered around iPads and laptops, completing another lesson in a multi-month curriculum using video and insights from Glass to learn about, of all things, blindness.

“We can see what he doesn’t,” Bryce Stevens, a student said, pointing to a map of the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. Stevens and his teammates were trying to chart a course using beacons for Lex Gillette, a blind Paralympic silver medalist. “He shows us how he uses his phone, runs on the track, and walks around. It’s like we’re there.”

The concept is a bit counterintuitive. Gillette wears Glass, records video, and then sends a feed to roughly 120 students in California, Philadelphia, Indiana, and Louisiana. They then prepare questions for him (“What is your favorite color?” “How do you achieve success?” or “Do you drink coffee?”) and via video chat, and Gillette answers them while offering demonstrations of how he goes about his day.

The larger goal, according to organizers with Classroom Champions, a nonprofit focused on connecting Olympic and Paralympic athletes with students at high-need schools, is to use Glass to increase children’s empathy and goal-setting skills.

“When I first heard about this, I thought ‘How is this going to work?’” Cindy Carey, Northwood’s principal for fifth through eighth grade, said. But since implementing the Glass program at the start of this year, she said she’s been pleased with the results. “It’s fostered such a sense of community with the kids. They really feel connected to him.”

In April, Google put a call out to nonprofits for ways in which they would use Glass to pursue their mission. Five winners would receive a free pair of the glasses, a trip to Google for training and a $25,000 grant.

Steve Mesler, an Olympic gold medalist bobsledder and chief executive of Classroom Champions, said he heard about the proposal from a board member and Gillette immediately came to mind.

Gillette said he was interested, and realized that the students he would be mentoring were roughly the same age he was when he lost his vision.

“I thought the idea was amazing,” Gillette said. “I wanted to give the insight into my daily life and change their perceptions of how they viewed blind people. But I also wondered if I was going to look like someone on Star Trek.”

“We were impressed by Lex’s ability to mentor and inspire students through his work with Classroom Champions,” Jessica Sapick, a marketing manager with Giving Through Glass, said. “Their proposal to let students see the world from Lex’s perspective worked well with Glass, since it also allows you to share your point of view with the world.”

“They can see firsthand what Lex can do,” Mesler said. “A blind athlete in California is a hero to inner city, able-bodied kids across the country. That doesn’t happen anywhere. They look at him now and don’t see a disability. They see a friend.”

Gillette, too, thinks the product has yet to do its best work with the blind. The device, much like his iPhone, helps him better take photos, navigate, and someday, he wonders if he could rely on face recognition to identify people he can’t see. “The possibilities are endless,” he said.

He has become something of a celebrity at Northwood, where roughly three-quarters of students qualify for the free lunch program. His photo graces a bulletin board in the back and as they wiggled in plastic seats, students eagerly recounted their past Glass and video chats with Gillette. They have included explainers on how he plays piano, runs on the track with a guide runner, flies a remote-controlled helicopter and uses Siri to text family members. By now, Gillette said he can recognize students by their voices on the video chats.

“He has an app on his phone that can tell him whether it’s a five or twenty dollar bill,” Jasmine Bailey, said.

“Lex can shoot a basketball and make it in,” Jacob Drummond said.

“He’s used to walking around with a friend or on his own,” Scarlet Garcia-Pena said, zooming in on the green and beiges of her iPad screen. “He’s digital,” she added.

While teachers and organizers are still compiling data on the Google Glass experiment, preliminary reactions to the project have been strong, teachers, parents, students and educators said. Students who have reported improved empathy skills, even when controlling for factors like teacher quality, and were more likely to say that they felt more personally responsible after participating in the program.

All told, 95% of teachers who participated in Classroom Champions said that the program improved their students’ digital literacy and that students in the program were 58% more likely to use video chat technology in school than students who did not participate in the program. Eighty-five percent of students in the program said that they could find lots of ways around any problem, compared with a national average of 35%, according to the group.


From their Classroom Champions lesson today.  The audio is horrible but their cuteness is on display.

Going, going, back, back, to 30 Rock, 30 Rock!

So this is the big news I wanted to mention, but didn’t have time:

Through the organization of Classroom Champions, my co-teacher and I’s class is going BACK to Rockefeller Center tomorrow the 26th to meet with Meryl Davis and Charlie White again! The Today Show is involved as well and Meryl/Charlie will be interacting with the class on camera from 8:30 to 9 am EST for those with DVRs. This time around, the students will be able to see the physical representation of Meryl/Charlie’s hard work: their gold medals!

On a very slight selfish bit, there’s a chance I may get interviewed as well, but who cares about that?

I don’t think I need to explain the incredible impact this will have on my students in multiple ways.

Watch tomorrow morning on the Today Show and see what kind of impact incredible role models like Meryl and Charlie through Classroom Champions can have on children coming from all kinds of backgrounds at home and in their community.

By Bit Think Editors

“… In the old model, an expert would drop by a classroom, give a talk to students, answer some questions, and that would be it. “We wanted to do something that would be more impactful than that one off visit,” explains Mesler…..The technology helps the athletes forge a meaningful connection with the students. “They actually form personal relationships with these kids, because the kids are able to send videos back and send content back to the athletes showing them off,” he says.“


Classroom Champions

I’ve been blogging ever since my freshman year of high school and within that time, I have had some great highs (especially with GothamSchools linkage), some grave lows (let’s not talk about high school, okay), and some recapping of relationships, parties, and many other events within the last 12 years of my life.

This blog post I’m linking to is probably the biggest one I’ve ever written.

We’re talking a national audience involving Meryl Davis and Charlie White’s fans, Classroom Champions fans, and many others.

Look, Ma, I made it!

Ha, no, but seriously, this is my word-for-word account of what happened on Tuesday when my class got to meet Meryl and Charlie among many other awesome people.

So many thank yous to Meryl, Charlie, Classroom Champions, my students’ parents, my co-teacher, and my students for putting this all together!


What My Students Learned from Classroom Champions 

Thanks anon!

What Exactly Is Happening Tomorrow...

Twitter/Tumblr fam, For those with TVs, I would highly recommend DVRing the Today Show tomorrow from 8 to 10 am. Why should I ever suggest a thing like that? Well, my class will actually be ON IT! 

Through Classroom Champions, tomorrow morning, my class is invited to see our Athlete Mentors, Winter Olympians Meryl Davis and Charlie White, perform at Rockefeller Center for the Today Show and actually MEET them after their performance! Needless to say, we are all excited for this once-in-a-lifetime experience! 

To prep for tomorrow, my class created these posters, which they will hold alongside their cheering and excited classmates (all artwork and suggestions made by them)! Frankly, I’m still a little shocked that this is all actually happening, but I can’t wait to see what becomes of this! So seriously, check us out tomorrow!


Meryl and Charlie’s latest Classroom Champions video…done when they were in Georgia.  Love that Meryl used her dyslexia to talk about persevering through a challenge.  She’s a wonderful example of overcoming a learning disability and achieving all your goals through perseverance, hard work, dedication and support of those who were there to help her through it.   

Want to inspire kids to dream big? Here's how.


Prezi Causes:

The fact that you’re reading this means you have the power to facilitate change. Our continuing campaign, Prezi Causes, highlights some of the biggest problems facing the world today, and how you can be part of the solution without ever leaving your desk.

Imagine being able to help a child believe in themselves. Classroom Champions does just that.  

Kids in high-need schools across Canada and the US are connected with Olympian and Paralympian mentors to help them overcome obstacles, persevere and dream big. Participating classrooms report that their kids are more than twice as likely to pursue their goals and find solutions to their problems, skills that will help them have a bright and productive future.

Check out Classroom Champions’ inspiring story and learn how you can give kids the skills they need to succeed.


Prezi Causes puts the power to change the world in your hands. As part of our community of over 50 million users, you’re in a position to spread awareness and have a huge impact on the issues that matter most.

Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing a series of great presentations and ideas with the potential for global change. These ideas have moved us and inspired us—we hope they’ll do the same for you.

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anonymous asked:

Dude you have to watch DW's latest classroom champion chat. Charlie mentions seeing the latest Avengers movie and he doesn't understand why the "Robot"s" (Ultron"s) lips move😂😂😂 #it cracked me up

Bahahahaha. Ahhhh bb!Charlie. XD I definitely have to see that, thanks for letting me know. I was wondering if they’d seen Age of Ultron yet.


Meryl and Charlie’s latest Classroom Champions video (November 2014)


Welcome video from last years classroom champions….they really are too cute