As reality shows go, Dancing With the Stars is among the most palatable. It is true that some of the so-called stars have outlived their former celebrity status—Melissa Gilbert, Jack Wagner– and others have been clearly chosen for shock value— Tom Delay, Chas Bono. But in the end, there is music and dancing and skimpy costumes and that all makes it fun to watch. And let’s not forget that Mirror Ball Trophy.
What if there were a show called Teaching With the Stars? How cool would that be? Instead of professional dancers guiding quasi-well known entertainers, politicians and athletes through complicated waltzes and sambas, master teachers would put the celebrities through their instructional paces, like differentiation and collaborative learning, culminating in a summative/formative assessment. Nice, right?
Teaching with the Stars: Season 1
Here’s my vision for Season 1. First, the stars: NY Jets coach Rex Ryan, John Ratzenberger– aka Cheers mailman Cliff Clavin , Today show co-anchor Anne Curry, talk show diva Wendy Williams, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, 90′s R&B singer, R. Kelly, and last, but never least, Brittany Spears. Pretty eclectic gathering, right? Each star would then be matched up with one of NY’s smartest: teachers.
Practice sessions could be grueling, injuries commonplace. Stars would have to become content area specialists and study the steps to delivering effective instruction. There would be stacks of essays to grade for grammar and content, quadratic equations to follow from start to finish, Spanish verbs to conjugate in three tenses. Simultaneously, they would have to manage planning, pacing, delivery, and the smartboard, no small task. Motivational speakers and world class shrinks would be on call for celebrity meltdowns. Students would be hauled in for demo lessons.
The Lesson: Can The Stars Do the Instructional Dance?
Then the moment of truth: the lesson. The stars and their pros will have collaborated to choreograph engaging tiered instruction, incorporating technology, the common core and differentiation, hoping against hope that it will all come together for a perfect score on the Danielson scale. All performed for a group of kids asembled adn held against their will, seated next to their BFFs.
Imagine dear Brittany, in her plaid school uniform, hitting eighth graders one more time with the Pythagorean Theorem or Rex Ryan creating a graphic organizer sequencing the events leading up to the Boston massacre. Sight words–read and frisk– with the Commish. Gizmos and Science 21 per R. Kelly. Anne Curry’s original DBQ. Wendy Williams–”How you doin’?”–leading the physical fitness challenge in red spandex. All the while, teachers–professionals in the encouragement business–would be coaxing, cajoling and cheering on the celebs.
Yeah, imagine it. Team teaching at its best.
Then there would be the judges. Ah yes, who would/could apply appropriate APPR standards to the lessons? Experienced principals? Veteran educators? Nah. The panel on DWTS are three former dancers/choreographers. Makes sense, right? So Teaching with the Stars should feature former educators as evaluators. Sting was a teacher. So was Stephen King as was Gene Simmons of KISS. Rumor has it that Art Garfunkel spent some time in the classroom, too. Sounds like a plan.
Winner Takes All
In the end, though, like Dancing with the Stars, the winner will be determined by public votes. Winner takes home the coveted E-Learning Trophy.
Let the games begin.