Noa Daniel is a part-time classroom teacher outside Toronto Ontario Canada. She’s a consultant and Chief Building Officer at Building Outside the Blocks, she’s the co-founder and executive director of The Mentoree, she hosts the weekly OnEdMentors Podcast on voicEd Radio. Noa is a TEDx and keynote speaker, a director on the board of Learning Forward Ontario, and the author of the newly released children’s book Strum and The Wild Turkeys.
How have things changed since we first recorded 4 years ago in 2017?
Since we recorded 4 years ago, I have upskilled in terms of podcasting, writing, speaking, and presenting. When I listen back to my appearance on your show, I can’t believe how quickly I spoke and how much has changed. I continued to look back fondly on your appearance on The Personal Playlist Podcast. I loved that show, and even though I left on a high note, saying goodbye to all 159 guests continues to be hard for me. I have archived the shows on my website and some are still available on various platforms. If there is an educator you want to get to know, ask them about their nostalgia, identity and pick me up songs Better yet, ask your students through The Personal Playlist Project.
Why did you write Strum and The Wild Turkeys?
I was originally commissioned to write a book that told a story about a real event. I had turned it down because I was working on my TEDx Talk, but then the event date moved, and I took on the project. When I wrote the story, I realized there was so much in it for the classroom. I asked if I could send it to a publisher, and the only place that I wanted it to be was with EduMatch. Sarah said yes, and now I am part of the EduMatch family with you, Barbara. Here is the origin story.
What are the themes and why are they meaningful to you/reflect your WHY?
All of my work is about building skill, autonomy, community, and connection. It amazed me that there was so much of myself and my WHY is woven through the vividly illustrated pages of Strum and The Wild Turkeys. With themes of finding your voice, belonging, inclusion, and the transformational power of music, this book reflects everything I value as a teacher and all of the things I am trying to build into my own life.
This is a post where I explore the theme of belonging in more depth. We are hardwired to remember things as stories. The power in a story is not what happens to you but the story you tell yourself about what happens to you that can reframe your experience to build you up or break you down. I build up. We are hardwired to remember things as stories, and what both kids and adults remember after reading Strum and The Wilds Turkeys isn’t just how this book has rhythmical writing or vibrant illustrations. It’s how it makes them feel. This book reflects my WHY because I create projects and initiatives that create community, foster connection, and help people learn in personalizing and meaningful ways.
How can educators use this book?
I developed a For GrownUps section of our website so that educators could see the many different ways this book could be a springboard to activities, lessons inside the curriculum, and social-emotional learning/character lessons. I dream that this will become a dynamic space where teachers will add the lessons they develop to use with the book by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kids have started sending their artwork to be put up in our Creative Corner, and I even created a page called For Kids so children could have a book club or do things with the story and character in a more self-directed way. I even wrote a song that Strum sings the chorus for in the book. Once the lyrics were rejigged for cadence, the melody came to me and Different Is Good was born. You can find the music and lyrics here, and we’ve invited classrooms and communities to share their version of the song through our #StrumIntoSong Initiative.
How are things at The Mentoree?
I have built The Mentoree with our leadership team and with the vision of supporting educators throughout their careers. The Mentoree is a mentorship community for educators that aims to cultivate a collaborative mentorship community grounded in professional learning, well-being, and efficacy.
OnEdMentors is the podcast connected to The Mentoree where a different panel of educators is gathered each week to teach and learn from each other. I love when you pop in for a visit to voicEd Radio to be on the panel for the live broadcast. One of those was an episode about coaching and mentoring.
Noa’s Contact Information
Interested in checking out more of the Rethinking Learning reflections and podcasts, click on the podcast tab at the top, the logo below, or go to https://barbarabray.net/podcasts/
For more information about Barbara’s book, Define Your WHY, go to this page or click on the new image of the book for resources, questions, and links.