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Showing posts from 2017


Sleepyogation This summer, I have dedicated myself to my sleepyogation. I needed to accomplish three goals over the course of the summer including vacation, seven to eight hours of sleep each night and rededicating myself to my yoga practice. Sleepyogation was born! Educators earn a summer break away from students. Most educators continue to work throughout the summer, just not with classes of students. My two AP classes begin their year with two summer assignments requiring my attention. I spent most of June in professional development. What I didn’t want to do was spend thousands of dollars on a week or two of sand and surf. A week or two at the beach would not necessarily help me accomplish my three goals. A sleepyogation could. Research shows that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every day. The interesting thing is that any more or any less sleep can actually lead to negative consequences such as elevated risk for disease, obesity, memory loss, and even early death. I nee…

Reflecting on Our Impact

Reflecting on Our Impact As a secondary teacher, I don’t think it is very common for teachers to truly reflect on all the lives impacted. Teacher2Teacher shared the tool to create this graphic based on an idea by Nikki Sabiston. Perhaps we should also use a tool to hear what the students say our impact has been? It is easy to put a number to the grade taught, classrooms, and schools. The actual number of students taught becomes a bit murkier for secondary teachers. Schedule changes from 50-minute classes to block classes shifted the number of students we teach. Also, in our mobile society, students often move from school to school and state to state throughout the school year. I was blessed to teach first grade in Hawaii. We moved back to the mainland in 1991, and I began to substitute and volunteer in schools while our boys were young. After a move to Arkansas, I earned an M.Ed in Secondary Education, and I was able to teach at the same school my sons attended for their secondary ye…

Shhh...We're Rocking the Test (as usual)

Shh….We’re Rocking the Test (as usual) This week we begin our annual testing season. A season that we typically rock! Someone in our school will test each week through the end of school. (ACT Aspire, AP, NWEA) As a K-12 school, this means our students need to be their best academically and behaviorally during the last month of school. Academically for their test score and behaviorally so as to not negatively impact another peer’s test score. In a perfect world, our students, schools, districts, and teachers would not be measured by one test. Yes, as an English teacher I do realize that at least in Arkansas, students, schools, districts, and teachers a In a In a perfect world, our students, schools, districts, and teachers would not be measured by one test. Yes, as an English teacher I do realize that at least in Arkansas, students, schools, districts, and teachers are measured by not one, but indeed, by three separate tests. ACT Aspire measures English, Reading, and Writing. Science a…

Time and Patience -Key to Relationships

Time and Patience -Key to Relationships Time and patience are desired by many. Time to accomplish dreams and patience to wait for the fruition of dreams. Spring Break 2017 provided me the opportunity to reflect on the importance of not only time but also patience. Both are required to develop meaningful relationships. Many Edu Gladiators are espousing that relationships are critical to learning. What they tend to leave out is that the path to building significant relationships is messy. Time and patience are required. A relationship is not built on one sticky note to a student or one fist bump in the hallway. Relationships are built on trust developed over time. The much lauded Simon Sinek @simonsinek spoke this fall about the challenge of working with millennials and the importance of time. Specifically, he spoke about what is needed to develop deep, meaningful relationships. Sinek spoke passionately about the need to help our millennials learn how to become successful human beings.…

When White Privilege Rears Its Ugly Head

When White Privilege Rears Its Ugly Head Last week, I had the privilege to attend and present at the 2017 ADE Reading Conference. When I arrived to pick up my name tag, it did not exist. I was told that I was a presenter, but was not registered for the conference. Since they were scanning the name tags for attendance details at each keynote and breakout session, I was constantly aware that I was missing my name tag. Each session, I slid past the ADE staff scanning the name tags. I felt guilty, yet I had was doing exactly what I was advised to do. I was never questioned. Why? My white privilege. Teachers are largely white and female. I looked like I belonged. No questions asked. Why is this a problem? I focused on a name tag that I didn’t even need. My Turkish friends also have name tags. Due to their religious affiliations, they are labeled by the current Turkish regime as terrorists. I am not claiming to know the truth about Turkish affairs. I can merely state what I know. I’ve witn…

myONreader for Engaged Readers

Our school began to use myONreader this semester. Our desire was to put more books in the hands of our youngest students. We know that reading is simply critical to life success. We began with K-5 and then quickly added our middle school students and Special Education high school students. Yes, we have a school library. Yes, we have classroom libraries. We intended to meet our students where they live. Let me be honest, our students live on computers, tablets, and phones.

myON Reader is a "Literacy Ecosystem that is built upon five pillars: Personalization, Unparalleled Content, Unlimited Access, Collaboration, and Success." Now, our students have 24/7 access to over 13,000 books that they can self-select, annotate, read, and review by interest and Lexile levels.

     So what has our experience been? Simple! Our students are reading more than ever! In two months, since beginning our use of myON, our 660 students have read a total of 15, 797 books for an average of 23 book…

Fish Philosophy

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the Teacher Practice Network convening at Lake Point Conference Center in Russellville, Arkansas. Our @APSRC leaders facilitated the convening built around the ideas of the Fish Philosophy. The philosophy is based on the Pike Place Fish Market.

The four principles are

Teachers need to remember to play, not only grind out the work. After all, we all know what happens when our students do not get recess. Teachers need to bring their creative spirit to more than just lesson plans.  Play taps into our natural way of being creative. Play is the spirit that drives the curious mind, as in “Let’s play with that idea!” It’s a mindset we can bring to everything we do. Stuart Brown, a play researcher, and psychiatrist said in his TED talk that what is"so unique about our species is that we're really designed to play through our whole lifetime."
Teachers need to remember to Be There. It is our present to be present each and every day with …
Learning Blade is a free platform for Arkansas Middle Schools provided by a $400,000 grant.  This platform may also be used with GT groups in elementary.  There are Social Studies, Science, Math, and ELA aligned lessons that are fifteen minutes long. There are over 400 interactive lessons. There are printable lessons and resources to go along with the interactive lessons. It is flexible and aligned to state standards.
Why do we need STEM career instruction?
The National Academy of Sciences identified three goals for STEM education:
*Increase the number of advanced degrees awarded and people entering advanced technology careers
*Increase the size and quality of the STEM-related workforce
*Improve STEM literacy for all students

A pilot study of Learning Blade showed the following results.
These students responded that:
72% learned something about new careers
76% learned something about technology
61% and 54% learned something about math and English, respectively
71% would rather use Le…

Six Things Educators Can Do