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Showing posts from 2014

A Secret-"all that is gold does not glitter"

I have a secret to share.

I am not a fan of garish lighting displays during the holidays.
As I was walking  Pewter, my silver Lab,  last night, I thought about how often educators can be led astray by technology and the latest and shiniest new strategy.  I personally love to share the latest technology with our teachers. But, as @dylanwilliam mentioned, sometimes we stop using what we know works in order to implement something that does not work.

So, then, as we move forward with technology, how do we avoid the twinkly lights and continue to use that which is proven to work? I'm reassured by Tolkien's words.

J.R.R.Tolkien wrote this poem for The Lord of the Rings.

All that is gold does not glitter,Not all those who wander are lost;The old that is strong does not wither,Deep roots are not reached by the frost.From the ashes a fire shall be woken,A light from the shadows shall spring;Renewed shall be blade that was broken,The crownless again shall be king.[1]


November 2, 1014
Each fall our school begins the traditional Saturday Math and ELA camps. These camps are fun-filled opportunities to remediate our students based on their state benchmark scores, their NWEA MAP scores, or teacher recommendation. Just like Snoopy in the image above, our students grab their backpacks and head to school on Saturday.
So, you might ask, how fun are these camps?  Our teachers joyfully create rigorous yet fun learning opportunities. Each student cycles through a set of classrooms based on Common Core standards. Technology is used in the classroom with Chromebooks and Computer labs. The school provides a fun pizza and soda lunch and a short recess time. At the end of the day, our students review the skills they have learned  through short competitions and are assessed on their new knowledge. This year we are using Edmodo Snapshot to quickly assess our students.  It is easy to use and provides easy to view visual data. We are able to see three areas to remedi…

Are Educators "Too Blessed to be Stressed?"

There is a meme, "Too Blessed to be Stressed."  While in theory this  meme sounds truthful and reasonable, it seems to suggest that is is wrong to feel stressed.  I do have a flush toilet and a warm bed. I do have a family that loves me and a profession that I enjoy.  I also experience a variety of stressors on a daily basis.

Stressors are part of life. Every type of employment, or family situation has stressors. Psychology Today defines stress as an "omnipresent part of life."  What I can control is my reaction to stressors. With all the demands and changes in the educational world, it is vitally important that educators remember to attempt to balance their lives and their reactions to stress. David Hayes and James Eddy (1985) explain that "While some stressors can be avoided and others need to be confronted, in the end, a good balance of stress in one's life can be healthy, and growth promoting in terms of one's physical, social, emotional, and inte…

Meetings simplified

July 28, 2014

     Recently, @DavidJ Hinson, +Hendrix College CIO, tweeted his blog which presented a video about "Making Meetings Count."  He simply nailed it. #BePrepared, BePrompt, and #BePresent. Meetings are a fact of life. Teachers and Admins endure meetings ad nauseam.  If every person involved in a meeting followed David's suggestions meetings would be efficient and dare I say it...enjoyable!

Puppies and students profit from patience, persistence, and proximity

June 26th

Summer has finally arrived and  I am enjoying some quality family time.  This summer, my college son insisted that we procure a new puppy for our family.  (Enter Pewter stage left)  Puppies and students profit from patience, persistence and proximity.

Pewter is our precious Silver Labrador Retriever.  Puppy with  capitol P and all that it entails.
After a month of working with Pewter 3 words guide our actions:  patience, persistence, and proximity.  It occurs to me that our students deserve and teachers must employ all three actions for proper classroom management and academic achievement.  Author Paulo Coehlo, +Paulo Coelho  @PauloCoehlo asserts, “Why is patience so important? Because it makes us pay attention.”  Our students need our apt attention. We need to be able to observe behavior and make minute adjustments to our behavior and their assignments. Patience is a virtue for teachers and parents of puppies and it requires persistence.

 Persistence with puppies requires t…

Lighting the Flame: Embrace change

Education Reform-embrace change

It is curious to me that those individuals most seeking education reform are also those most resistant to change. Pundits spout the importance of change, but when change is actually enacted they
blog away about the importance of saving public schools as we know them. It simply cannot be both.

Teachers and those who teach teachers have three choices.
1.  Embrace the change
2.  Writhe in agony
3.   Quit

I am reminded of the quote by Arthur Burt.  "Nothing happens until the pain of remaining the same outweighs the pain of change." Change is difficult, yet it is continual.  Fredrick Douglas said, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress."

One of my colleagues, +Jessica Wright @jessicampitts latest blog
Healthy Teacher, Happy Teacher: Loveis about LOVE. Teachers need to
use social media to empower our profession.  Embrace the change! Blog about the great things going on in education! Tweet about the great moments in your classroom. …

School Diversity and Family Atmosphere

May 10, 2014

School diversity and a family atmosphere propel LISA Academy students through rigorous academics to success. There, I've said it.  I don't often speak directly about our school through this blog.  Educators often feel gun-shy about writing from a personal standpoint about their school.  We shouldn't, if we have good things to say! Our stakeholders believe in the ability of our school's interwoven triad to support the student in academic rigor.

This year is our 10th Anniversary. In preparation for our gala at Robinson Center, we commissioned Bespoke Video production company to create a video for the gala.  During the interview and taping for the video, faculty, parents and students spoke freely about the diversity of students and staff, and the family atmosphere.  Over 12 hours of video went into the final editing process to create a 7-9 minute video.  The reiteration of rigor, family and diversity was profound.

Friday evening our seniors and their parents …

Documenting Learning

March 25, 2014 Learning is my passion. Many things about the schooling process are important to parents. Parents are trained from daycare or preschool by the schools to care about grades and behavior, as well as, activities and field trips.  But, my passion is learning. We need to activate our parents concern for the actual academic learning taking place in each classroom, particularly in middle school and high school.
More importantly, as educators, we need to retrain ourselves to document learning, and to talk about the actual learning.  Preschool programs such as Montessori and Reggio Emilia are meticulous about documenting learning. MS and HS teachers are meticulous about grading.  Is SBG the answer (look to @drjolly and @garnet_hilman)? Perhaps. Even if a school uses a standard grading scale with mandatory weighting, grades are still subjective. As teachers we also need to hold students accountable for documenting t…

This is a test. This is only a test of the American Education System

 "This is a test. This is only a test of the American Education System"
As an Arkansan Educator, I read with interest @Edusanity's recent blog post by +Jason Endacottwho blogged about the +NWEA  MAP data craze at his son's school.  As a fellow #Eduparent, I share a similar concern, as do all parents. We want our children to be recognized as special, unique individuals. More importantly, as an #Eduparent, we owe it to our schools to be the voice of reason. 

Last July I blogged about the #Unitedoptout plan. I urged reason then, and I continue to urge reason in the rising tide of testing angst. This is only a test. Your child is not a number.

 "My child is NOT a number."  I remember hearing that same refrain from a parent of one of my first grade students at @HolyFamilyAcademy in Honolulu, HI.  My students were assigned a number so they could put their papers in order by number, line up in a specific number order, and imagine this...think numerically! I knew that…
What is Power?
Today, I had the honor and pleasure to attend +Hendrix College  #TEDxHC.  We all think we recognizepower.  
But, do we really?

According to Barb Allen, Powerful leadership is moral leadership.
According to Todd Brogdon, @WestrockCoffee, Powerful companies are for profit, but reinvest in their people/communities because they ask the right questions.
According to Amy Cuddy, @Amyjcuddy, Power poses can be faked until they BECOME real. Interestingly enough, the Science supports this idea.
Hendrix College junior, Sami Kennedy, suggests that collaboration is powerful.
Hen Mazzig, @HenMazzig, used the childhood experience of violence to shape a future built on #HOPE and #ThePowerofGood.
1992 Hendrix alumnus, Stacy Sells, @stacysells, talked about the power of a great college.
Bryan Stevenson's TED talk suggested that Power is just.
To wrap up the event, Mark Gilman talked about the connectedness of humanity to the earth. Our decisions have an impact. Humanity can choose …

WHAT IF? #GoTeamUSAEducation

#GOTEAMUSA   #GoTeamUSAEducation

Today, I read with interest "Biggest Lugers" ( the  +ESPN  article written by +Chris Jones @Mysecondempire. I think that Tucker West, @TuckerWest1 US Olympic Luge team member, is blessed with a father who believes in the Olympic dream.  As a former college athlete, each Olympic season rekindles the thrill of patriotic zeal. Today, however, I pondered more deeply. WHAT IF?

WHAT IF parents/guardians spent as much time and money concentrating on the education of their students as they do on their recreational activities? I do realize that often it is the college athletics that can keep a college afloat due to the perception of a great athletic dynasty. Athletics adds fun and spice to any school. BUT...

WHAT IF parents/guardians/administrations cared more about the academic outcomes of their students?

WHAT IF stude…
EdcampHOME and Paleo/Primal are tied together?  YES! (at last in my mind)

There is a certain primitive feeling to the education sphere currently.  It is a certain undeniable desperate feeling.   There are the defenders of #commoncore and the #edureform movement that seem to be battling each other when we should really be working together for the good of all of our students.

The Edcamp format is about teachers having choice and voice. EdcampHOME is an online Edcamp format that harnesses the power of Google through G+ and Ghangouts. Participants post their ideas for discussions/session ideas. The sessions were voted upon by the members and then moderators created a hangout for participants. The technological aspects can be a bit bewildering to those new to the power of Google. I, myself struggled-but still managed to ask questions in an On Air segment about Rebellion in education, and Hangout with a fellow curriculum director in my state. Huge shoutout to the organizers and moderators of …