The Center for Educational Improvement
  Implementing the WOW! Factor in Schools
In This Issue
Implementing the WOW! Factor
The WOW! Factor in Global Education
Resources for the WOW! Factor
Current Events

Visit CEI at the National Middle School Association conference in Baltimore, MD November 4th-6th, Booth # 471.

Dr. Mason will be presenting the WOW! Factor presentation at the Global Education Conference (GEC) November 15th. Please click here to go to the Facebook page devoted to the GEC for more information.

CEI is currently leading the Center for Improving Ohio Schools as an Ohio approved SIG vendor. We now have a team of 40 professionals available to meet your needs. Please visit our website for more information.
Services Provided

School Improvement Plans We can help you develop and monitor School Improvement activities to meet state and federal requirements. We are certified as school improvement officers in Ohio and trained in school improvement reviews in Washington DC.

Workshops and Seminars
CEI implements our unique "WOW! Factor" presentation style for interesting and vibrant workshops.

We also provide over 30 different training modules that can be formatted to fit your school's needs. Among these are workshops on: co-teaching, closing achievement gaps, global education, and the Response to Intervention model. We provide both live, in-person and web-based workshops.

Data Driven Instruction
CEI can assist teachers and adminstrators in training and implementing DDI programs into their schools. We do this with wow! by incorporating a multi-media approach and relevant group exercises into this training.

Praxis Tutoring
We offer Praxis tutoring for teachers working on completing their Praxis I or II tests, as well as the speciality exams.

More information
Please visit our website for information or to arrange for a presentation regarding services.

Contact Information
Contact our Executive Director, Dr. Christine Mason.

 Email: [email protected]

(571) 213-3192

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Wow! is intuitive. We know what we like, what stands out, and what is memorable. In this digital era, schools use technology to measure and record test results. Schools have also rushed to get smart boards into classrooms. However, schools face an uphill battle in getting teachers prepared to use these technologies. In the past 10 years, schools have shifted how resources are deployed. Rather than providing teachers with the necessary training to utilize technology, many schools have focused on using technologies to record student achievement.


Under the guidance of school leaders and consultants, many teachers are working diligently with students prepare them to take state standardized exams. Rather than focusing on GREAT lessons, we have been bogged down in analytical minutiae. This is not to say that there hasn't been important and worthwhile training on differentiation, closing achievement gaps, and improving students' reading and math scores. However, the Wow! factor is often missing from classrooms across America.


What others are doing with the Wow! factor can be imported into classrooms. Corporations, classrooms, arts and music groups, television programs and others are adding wow! to their presentations and products. Here is one example. Cobalt Media, an Australian social marketing firm, explained wow! this way:


"Overall, we wanted it to be more visual, more active, more in your face," said assistant market coordinator Chris McConnell, who contributed most to the wow factor by suggesting that some graphics "fly in" from the right side of the screen. "Basically, we said, 'What can we do to absolutely knock the socks off [company CEO] Nathan [DeGeorge]?" To add wow!, Cobalt Media incorporated 30 "flip left" slide transitions, added an aurora borealis template, and inserted an audio element featuring the Smash Mouth song "Walkin' On The Sun."  The company wanted to be remembered. The company wanted its message to be remembered, so it took its stock presentation and upped the volume. This is what we are recommending for teachers.

More on the WOW! Factor

Prezi Presentations

For those of you who rely on Powerpoint presentations, visit Prezi to learn how to go beyond slides and linear presentations. Think in terms of pictures  and hiding content within pictures.

Please click here to see more information from Prezi.

WOW! Teaching

Here is another recommendation. Dr. John Eggers comments on some of the factors that lead to the charisma and the success (the wow!) of people such as Bill Clinton, Steven Spielberg, and Oprah Winfrey. Here are some of things they have in common. They are individuals who

1. Have passion

2. Enjoy people

3. Have clarity of language and focus

4. Have know -how (expertise). They know their topic

5. Are unique - They possess some unique quality that few others have.

Please click  here for more information about WOW! Teaching from Dr. Eggers.

CEI Blog: Teaching as a Performing Art

Visit my recent blog - Teaching as a Performing Art - for other, very related tips. Here is an excerpt:

"So to Graphicbe effective, speak from your heart, not just your head. And make sure your audience knows you believe it is critical to connect.

To connect, there are myriad of ways to get and keep attention. One could clown around, dance a dance, do magic tricks, dress in the costume of the era, teach with a flair for the dramatic, or do acrobatics. One could play music, sing, create art, whisper, or shout from the rooftops. 

It is the 7 year old opera singer that creates a wow! So doing something incredibly well can create a wow!" To read this blog click here.

The WOW! Factor in Global Education: Cross Cultural Arts Experiences in Ghana

Aba House, Located in Nunga, a fishing village on the coast of Ghana, is an artist retreat that encourages visitors to produce art alongside local Ghanians. This is a tremendous way to promote cross-cultural understanding. Children and adults, trained and untrained artists, are often seen working side by side. The founders and staff at Aba House view each person as a teacher and a student.

CCC invites artists and scholars from all over the world to work with Ghanaians on collaborative projects that range from mosaic walls to documentary films. Many come for two week experiences and some return year after year.

Aba House VISION....
is to place people from different life experiences in an environment where they can exchange ideas and find universal connection

View the following video to see how the project in Ghana has brought the WOW! Factor to that region and the world.
WOW! in Ghana

The WOW! Factor and At-Risk Students: Motivating Students to Want to Learn
Many times it is the students who are at-risk that have the most difficult time with their learning experiences. CEI has expertise in working with at-risk students, as well as providing teachers ways to reach those students who are often hard to engage.

In his article, Optimizing the Power and Magic of Teaching, Phillip G. Zimbardo found that "teachers are placed in one of three categories: those who perform at an unacceptable level, those who function at an acceptable level, and those who go beyond the basic job description to teach 'charismatically.'" He explains that in order to reach all students, teachers must be willing to make every one of their lessons engaging and memorable for their students- in other words to teach charismatically. He gives four major steps that teachers can use as guides for each lesson- make each lesson:      (1) memorable, (2) right, (3) relevant, and (4) better next time.

Many school districts are heeding Zimbardo's advice and revamping their whole curriculum to ensure that each teacher is providing students with insightful lessons- lessons that make each student say, "WOW!" The staff and administrators at West Hill Primary School in London, England have changed their curriculum so that each lesson starts with a question so that each student is engaged from the beginning. The teachers at Mayfield Primary School, also in London, have followed in West Hill's footsteps and often use different techniques such as adding cooking, arts, and music into their daily lessons.

All students need is motivation. They need something to draw them into the lesson for the day, each day. At-risk students are especially susceptible to getting "bored" and, therefore, are the ones teachers need to reach out to in order to change their learning experience.

Here are some ideas for how to help students be WOW! in the classroom:
  • use of technology: laptops, iPads, mobile phones for reading (;
  • use of arts: painting, culinary arts, music;
  • use of graphic organizers
Motivation for continued education starts with teachers. And for many at-risk students, teachers are the only ones pushing them to do great things.
Resources for the WOW! Factor
Would you like to learn more about the WOW! Factor and how it could be incorporated int o your school, teac hing style, or education program? Below are several resources and links that will lead you to several different ways to bring the WOW! Factor into your school!

Links and Resources
  • For more information about how CEI uses the WOW! Factor as our unique presentation style, please click the image below.
Wow! Factor
  • Challenge for Students: The Citizen School is promoting a WOW! Challenge in which they are challenging students and educators to come up with a WOW! Project involving technology. The winner receives a $1000 technology grant for their school! To learn more about this exciting project, please click here.
  • Using WOW! in the Classroom: A Marsh Market- Here is a sample lesson plan for grades 2-8 for using the WOW! Factor in the classroom. These types of activities allow students to become involved and work together in this hands-on activity. Click on the image below to view this lesson plan.
WOW! Lesson
Remember you can choose how to approach teaching.
And most likely you can get your students to help you create stunning, multi-media presentations. Students can help explore the technologies, contribute to the formatting, and find the music to add the pizazz. Save presentations year to year so that this year's knockouts become the exemplars for next year's class.

Start with a few multi-media wows! In a workshop recently I suggested that teachers try to develop and deliver one wow! presentation a day. A teacher corrected me, saying that each lesson can begin with a wow!, incorporate some interesting and little known facts in the middle - another wow!, and end with something amazing - another wow! His aim was 3 wows! a lesson.

Whether it be one wow! a day or 3 wows! a lesson, start wowing your audience. Start practicing this in small ways. Wow! isn't always the Grand Canyon. Sometimes it is the nanotechnology, or even the emotional appeal of a toddler's glee in learning to walk,

May you experience a wow! today,

Christine Mason
Center for Educational Improvement
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Please contact Lauren Lomsdale with corrections or comments at [email protected]