Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Skyping with Experts: Robin Roffer & Branding

Our Skyping with Experts Business Series ended with a chat with the one and only, Robin Roffer. Let me preface by saying that I have read and thoroughly benefited from Mrs. Roffer’s, Make a Name for Yourself: 8 Steps Every Woman Needs to Create a Personal Brand Strategy for Success. I initially used this book to research branding for my entrepreneurship unit and realized that it applied to my own career path . As I developed my lessons, I modified her exercises to give my students the opportunity to reflect on their interests and strengths as they developed a business.

My sixth grade class had the opportunity to chat with Mrs. Roffer about branding. During her presentation, Mrs. Roffer explained branding and stressed the importance of taking control of your brand. The message: If you don’t brand yourself, someone else will. This was a powerful message, especially for my preteens who have shown concern about what others think of them.

Next, Mrs. Roffer presented some celebrities and how their actions affected their brands. She also mentioned how companies develop brands and had students describe several companies’ brands. My students seemed interested in the marketing aspect of branding- particularly jingles. Mrs. Roffer further explained how jingles include short phrases or catchy tunes. This got my students thinking about a different approach to their marketing strategy for their business.

As I reflect on our Skyping with Experts Series, I am very pleased with the experiences that our guest speakers have created for my students. Their presentations have offered an authentic and rich perspective to our learning of entrepreneurship. The tips and concepts were also very practical, which made the whole experience so much more real. My classes and I would like to thank all of our speakers and hope that we can connect in the near future. I would also like to thank my husband, Will Deyamport, for arranging these events.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Skyping with Experts: Ingrid Stabb and Career Types

An important component that I wanted to include in my Entrepreneurship Unit was self exploration because part of being a successful entrepreneur is knowing your strengths and maximizing on these. When I decide to teach a concept like this, my first instinct is to find materials used and designed by professionals in a specific field. As a result, I chose to have my students take The Enneagram Quiz developed by Ingrid Stabb and Elizabeth Wagele in The Career Within You. This quiz centers on an individual’s strengths and outlines 9 EnneaTypes (career types) that best suit certain personality types. As my students took this quiz, I had them think of examples from their own lives. Next, I had them read about each career type and determine whether their “type” was accurate for them. All of my students agreed with the descriptions and even cited examples in their lives that reflected each type.

As a culminating activity, I was very pleased to have Ingrid Stabb as our guest speaker for my fourth grade class. Mrs. Stabb began her chat with a presentation on each type and gave examples of celebrities and historical figures who represented each type. She also asked students to share their type and any experiences that illustrated their type. Students enjoyed sharing their stories and I even noticed some students referring back to their quiz during the presentation. A final thought that Mrs. Stabb offered was telling students that it was important for them, their parents, and even their teachers to know their types because these help in identifying how they think and work best.

Even more exciting was the fact that this experience was featured on the examiner.com. To see the full article, click here.

Skyping with Experts: Pam Slim on Starting a Business

To jump start our Entrepreneurship Unit this semester, I have had the pleasure of connecting my classes with several experts in the business world. With the help of my husband @peoplegogy, I was fortunate enough to have Mrs. Pam Slim as a guest speaker for my fifth grade class.

Mrs. Slim led a very engaging discussion of how to start a business and offered some practical tips that kids can use to start their own business. She did a wonderful job of having my students brainstorm ways to advertise and bringing attention to the financial considerations. Mrs. Slim even surprised us with an offer to buy handmade Valentine cards! Of course, my students were up for the challenge and got to work immediately after our chat. The goal was to make and have the cards sent to Mrs. Slim by Valentine’s Day. But the biggest surprise was discovering that my students’ cards were featured on her daily blog. To see the blog post, click here.

I must say this chat was a very enriching lesson for my students. They loved connecting with an expert and creating the cards. But most of all, they loved seeing their final product on display.