Super Subs Rob Wolin (left) and Bob Barboza jam for a student audience.
Credit: Donna Hyatt
Professional drummer and drum instructor Ronnie Ciago is up on the
stage of the Little Theater at La Puente High School, in La Puente,
California, near Los Angeles. Without preamble, he sits down at his
drum set and runs through a crashing, rocking riff that stuns to
silence the twenty or so kids in the class.
When he stops, the kids whistle, whoop, and clap. As the noise dies
down, Ciago's colleague, Bob Barboza, begins his lesson on world
rhythms, with Ciago poised to demonstrate.
Not Your Average Substitutes
If this doesn't sound like a typical class, that's because it isn't.
These aren't your typical teachers; they are substitutes. And they
aren't your typical substitute teachers, either -- they're Super Subs.
The brainchild of Barboza, a retired teacher, the Super Subs program
is a way to bring arts and music to underserved students. Barboza
recruited a group of friends -- some of whom once played together in a
semiprofessional band -- to be the subs. At first, the idea was to give
back to schools in the community where they all grew up. But after
experiencing success at their local schools, they decided to take their
show on the road.
Here's how it works: Barboza and the twenty other musicians,
artists, writers, and designers he's recruited take over classes for
the day. They teach their own brand of music, art, writing, journalism,
and self-esteem. The visits don't cost schools a dime. The Personal News Network,
a social-media Web site run by one of the Super Subs, picks up the tab,
and most of the Super Subs volunteer their time. (Find out how to bring
the Super Subs to your school by visiting the Super Subs page at the Personal News Network.)
An Antidote to Teaching to the Test
The day the Super Subs visit La Puente starts like any other. All
the students attend their usual first-period classes. For the hundred
or so kids in the school's Multilingual Academy (for English-language
learners) and Folklorico programs, though, everything changes when the
second-period bell rings. Their teachers have arranged a Super Sub day
Students and teachers sing and dance as the Super Subs rock the crowd at a midday concert.
Credit: Lauren Elliott
They meet the day's ten visiting Super Subs in the auditorium for an
orientation and introductions, then head to classes held in the
theater, the library, and three classrooms. While Barboza is
investigating rhythms, a professional dancer and choreographer from Las
Vegas is teaching street moves in the auditorium. In a classroom
between the two, a guitar-playing sub talks about math and music while
another, a professional motivational speaker, winds up the class by
talking about dreams and aspirations.
English teacher Noel Martinez says the Super Subs' visit is a treat
for his English-language learners, who are liable to think of school as
something to endure rather than enjoy. "It brings in different voices,
showing them that other professions are available to them," he
explains. "It's not coming from their regular teachers, and it's not
from their parents, so maybe they'll listen."
"It takes a variety of media to reach everyone -- we just have to
find the right hook," comments Nancy Gibson, the teacher responsible
for the Super Subs's La Puente visit. "Our kids don't necessarily get
experiences like this. You know how when you think back to high school,
there were a few days when something happened that you really remember
as being great? I want this to be one of those days for these kids."
Students Find Their Voices
Two doors down from the motivational speaker, Super Sub Caren Singer
is instructing her students to write. She gives them blank journals and
tells them to write something every day. When this direction gets a
lukewarm response, she asks them, "Who here has experienced terror?"
Ernesto, a junior in a bright blue shirt, is the only one to raise his
When she asks what it was like, he speaks down to the table, but she
hears him and shouts, "Yes! It made you feel cold, and your throat
closed up, and you couldn't speak or move. Yes!" When she adds, "One
time, I was so scared I peed my pants," a ripple of amusement passes
through the room.
She hands around bottles of scent and asks the students to think of
words they associate with the smell. "Think of a season, think of a
color, think of a sound," she exhorts. As the kids call out words, she
writes them on the board.
A smart aleck at the back of the room says, "Underwear," making
everyone snicker, but Singer just responds with a serious tone, "That's
brilliant, very creative, good." Not getting a rise out of her, the
would-be joker gives up and gets back on task.
Once she has the lists of words for the various scents on the board,
Singer asks the students to put the words together into a poem.
Embarrassed grumbling results. "Trust yourself," she says. "There is no
right or wrong." When she reads out the poems the students have
written, the Super Sub exclaims over each unusual juxtaposition. By the
time the class is over, most of the kids are writing, writing, writing,
and they want to show her everything they've written.
When the bell rings, Singer returns to her stated objective for the
class: "I would like you to walk out of here today with a vision of
yourself as a writer." As they each clutch a journal and file out to
the next Super Sub class, it's possible that's exactly what the
students are thinking.
Later, after a lunchtime concert by the Super Subs that leaves the
impressed students asking for autographs, Ernesto -- the student who
spoke up during Singer's writing class -- reflects on the experience.
"My dad is a janitor at UCLA," he says, "but I want to do something
better, do well in school and go to college."
The message of the day, that you can achieve what you aspire to
achieve, is not news to him, but he says the way it was presented was
entirely different. "They did it with music and it was . . . wow," he
states. "This is the first time in three years here I've seen anything
like this." Then he smiles widely and adds, as though he invented the
idea, "You learn better when you're having fun."
International STEM Programs in Antarctica
Mississippi calling the North Pole
Enhanced STEM Programs for Kids Talk Radio Homeschooled Teams
We are Podcasting the news from the North Pole, South Pole, Amazon Jungle, Italy, Japan and the Cabo Verde Islands. Our Kids Talk Radio STEM Team from Mississippi is part of our Jr. Medical School Program. Their job is to keep track of our National Geographic Explorers and to podcast the news to school across the world. Kids Talk Radio Science has a communication and journalism team.
Backpack STEM Journalist at Kids Talk Radio Science
Taking Kids Talk Radio to the schools.
We are training student backpack journalists.
Super Subs Taking Enhnaced STEM Programs Into Classrooms
Bill Ward Interview Photos
Mike Vlatkovich Interview Photos
Ronnie Ciago Interview Photos
Bob Wolin Interview
Magic Li and Megan Lewis Interview
Dom Famulardo & Vic Firth
Michael Mc Carty -Storyteller
Meet Paul Schmitt the Godfather of the modern-day skateboard deck manufacturing.
Southern California has a lot of gems and Paul Schmitt is one of them. Paul has a personality that is on fire and a product for schools that is worth taking a second look at. Students lean and create their own skateboards in class.
Our Kids Talk Radio reporter Bob Barboza spent some time with Paul Schmitt to learn how his organization Create A Skate was reaching out to schools. We met Paul at the Tech Ed. Conference in Ontario, California. He
talked about all of the wonderful things that he was doing with kids
from around the United States. Our student news team is planning a more in dept interview this summer during the height of the skateboard season.
Our student reporters will be on the scene all summer to bring you all the news that you can use. With over 12 million skateboards in the United States this proves to be a hot top among kids. What can you add to our news on the American Skateboard? Who are the learders in this recreational sport? Did anyone ever see that skatebord moving with a kid name Scott skating with a monkey? Send your news and comments to Suprschool@aol.com.
We want to train Kids Talk Radio Backpack Journalist at your school?
Orange County CUE Teacher learn about the Kid's Talk Radio high motivational afterschool programs.
Green Dot Schools: Watts No. 1 High School(Animo Locke Tech) Charter High School
Kid's Talk Radio Talent Search
Animo Watts No1 Charter High School
Kids Talk Radio Auditions
Bob Barboza is working with the Teen Press Team to get them ready for a news assigment.
What does it take to build a super student journalist?
We are looking for new ideas for integrating music in to our radio shows.
Constructivist Teachers in Georgia Meet and Talk About Kids Talk Radio Plans
Kid's Talk Radio Differentiation in Practice
Integrating Differentiated Instruction into the Kids
Talk Radio Program
focuses on whom we teach, where we teach, and how we teach.Its primary goal is ensuring that teachers
focus on processes and procedures that ensure effective learning or varied individuals.
What we hope to achieve with
Kids Talk Radio have an elegant curriculumthat would reach out to students with learning disabilities, highly
advanced learners, students with limited English proficiency, young people who
lack economic support, students who struggle to read, students who are at risk,
gifted and talented students and a whole host of other students.
We wanted to create a high motivational
learning program that would help our students to listen, speak, read, write,
and compute. We were inspired by the
work of Carol Ann Tomlinson and Jay Mc Tighe and we studied the books
Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design, and well as
the work of Carol Ann Tomlinson and Cindy A. Strickland in their book
Differentiation in Practice, A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum in
Grades 9 through 12.
In designing Kids Talk
Radio we wanted to pay close attention to the five classroom elements that
teachers can differentiate –or modify- to increase the likelihood that each
student will learn as much as possible, as efficiently as possible.
Content- What we teach at Kids Talk Radio and how we
give students access to the information and ideas that matter.
Process-How students come to understand and “own” the
knowledge, understanding, and skills essential to a topic.
Products-How a student demonstrates what he or she has
come to know, understand, and be able to do as a result of a segment of
Affect-How students link thoughts and feeling in the
environment- The way the
classroom feels and functions.
At Kids Talk Radio we have an
opportunity and the time to pay close attention to three student
characteristics to which teacher can respond as they craft curriculum and
Readiness-The current knowledge, understanding, and skill
level a student has related to a particular sequence of learning.
Interest- What a student enjoys learning about, thinking
about, and doing.
profile- A student’s preferred
mode of learning.
Kids Talk Radio in the Public Schools
Kids Talk Radio: In the Public Schools
This dedicated team of teachers, paraprofessionals, and school psychologists brought lots of joy to many students that wanted to participate in Kids Talk Radio.This was one of our first Kids Talk Radio training teams.