Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday: School's Out!

New Readers... today is Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday.  It is the day we draw a card from Roger von Oegh's magical deck of cards and use the concept described to jar our own creativity.  We do this with a particular predicament in mind and then, of course, I also challenge you to apply the concept to something in your own world.

Today's predicament is compliments of my trusty and creative neighbor.  She called me last night suggesting that spend some air time generating creative gift ideas for teachers.  It is, after all, the end of the school year and many of us will be looking for ways to show our appreciation.  This might even apply to day care providers... or heck... even your favorite college professors or administrators.  

To the untrained eye, this might sound more like an idea for Free For All Friday.  Friday's, after all, are reserved for generating creative solutions to problems just like these.  But, I got to thinking... Much like we did with Mother's Day (and to a lesser degree Father's Day), it might be nice to hear from actual teachers when generating gift ideas.  What are some of the favorite things/gestures teachers have received?  

How will we muster up enough teachers to make this segment truly useful?  That's where Whack on the Side of the Head Wednesday comes in....

So, today's predicament... How will I assure a significant increase in readership among educators for THIS FRIDAY (5/16).  My goal... have 100 teachers post the favorite treat/gesture they have received... or wish they would have received!  Now to the Whack Pack for my creative solution.

Make a Metaphor.  Philospher Ortega y Gassett:  "The metaphor is probably the most fertile power possessed by man."  The key to metaphorical thinking is comparing unrelated concepts and finding similarities between them.  Example: what do a cat and a refrigerator have in common?  They both have a place to put fish; they both have tails; they purr; they come in a variety of colors; and they both have a lifetime of about fifteen years.  What similarities does your idea have with cooking a meal?  Conducting an orchestra?  Building a house?  Raising a child?  Waging war?  How can these help you understand your idea in a new way?  What can you compare your idea to?

Hmmm... I'll start with the first one and see where that takes me.  What similarities does my idea, of recruiting 100 teachers who are willing to post their ideal gift on this Friday's blog, have with cooking a meal?

  • There's more than one way to cook an egg, just like there's more than one way to recruit teachers: Scrambled, poached, sunny-side up, fried, hard boiled, soft boiled... these are all the ways you can prepare and egg.  Call, email, write a note, personal invitation, list serve, word of mouth, students, contact professional teacher associations, notify the PTA, advertise... these are all ways to recruit teachers for Friday's blog. 
  • Both require turning up the heat:  Barbecue is low and slow.  Grilling is hot and fast.  For the purposes of this week's exercise, we will be GRILLING.  Today is Wednesday.  We have until mid-night on Friday to solicit input from 100 teachers!
  • Chefs and recruiters follow recipes: A recipe when talking about cooking a meal is fairly obvious, but what about a recipe for recruiting?...  For the purposes of this activity, we'll view recruiting as a form of marketing (marketing the idea of posting to teachers far and wide).  The four "P's" of marketing include : Product (getting teachers to post); Price (free); Promotion (Any teacher who makes a post on Friday will be entered in a drawing to receive school supplies for his/her classroom next year); Place (teacher lounges, highlowaha and other relevant blog sites, pick up and drop off lines outside of school, etc...)
  • Both are better when they include dessert: Preferably CHOCOLATE.  So, have I got a treat for you!  Refer the greatest number of teachers (which we'll know if they mention your name in the post) and YOU too will earn a treat...compliments of Sous-Chef Claudia.
Now your turn.  What ideas can you cook up, using the analogy above?  Or, test out one of the other metaphors...recruiting teachers and... raising a child, conducting an orchestra, building a house, or waging war.  

Either way, we want everyone to pitch in.  Contact every teacher you know and have them tell their friends.  There's no time to waste.  ... Dig in!

Signing off until tomorrow...

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