Thursday, March 23, 2017

Innovation vs Conformity

Recently, I watched a video from entrepreneur, speaker, and author, Gary Vaynerchuk. The first time I saw Gary V. on a podcast, I described him to a friend as Joe Pesci on crack. He is passionate, witty, and over the top.  In the video, he talked about how school failed him and many others, because systems are in place to develop workers and not entrepreneurs. In other words, schools focused on conformity over innovation. He ends his interview, by saying that often times people who have been successful in a system of conformity aren't ready for the "punch in the face" that the real world often gives to entrepreneurs.

I admire Gary Vaynerchuk and I appreciate that he notes there are always exceptions and that he was talking in broad terms about school systems, but it got me thinking. One of the things that drew me so much to authors Dave Burgess and George Couros is that they focus on breaking the mold, risk taking, and innovation over conformity. Yes, we have a set curriculum to teach, but how we present the material and how students learn, process, and demonstrate knowledge and application is up to us. We have a choice as educators to be dynamic in our teaching and learning or not. Think about your favorite class as a student. What stands out to you? Probably not the curriculum, but an engaging activity or having choice in what you learned and how you presented it. I still remember an archaeological dig that one of my middle school teachers took us on. I'm confident that he covered material from several core subjects through that week long project. We dug up articles (that he probably planted for us), we cataloged them, we speculated on their use and presented how the people might have lived and put ourselves in their place. That's innovation and it was probably the most well behaved our class ever was!

As an educator, I don't usually like videos that talk about ways that schools are failing students. We do so many positive things for students and the world that often go unnoticed. However, I also don't want to turn a blind eye when someone points out ways that we can improve. When it comes to innovation vs conformity, I will always promote innovation. We still need to teach our students how to conform to the rules and work together collaboratively, but we can do so in an innovative environment. Conformity will help our students prepare for the jobs that already exist, but innovation will help them prepare for jobs that don't exist yet and perhaps will help them create those jobs! I know what kind of school I would like to learn in and work in....how about you?


PEARLS OF WISDOM from Gary Vaynerchuk 

"I influence anyone who is able to get through the chaos of my first impression."

"I love people, and the hustle."
                                                                                                                                                   
"The reason we love our parents is because they loved us first. Every single company should take this advice."

GREAT EDUCATORS TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER





Jeff Veal











Amy Heavin







UPCOMING EVENTS 

Monday, March 27: Student of the Month Assembly 9:05 am
                                 Jon to Buchanan PTA 7:00 pm
Tuesday, March 28: Elementary Principals at Wayne RESA 7:30-9:30 am
                                All Administrative Meeting at Holmes 3:00-4:30 pm
Thursday, March 30: Staff Meeting (PBS led by Denise) / Jon to Cass for Staff Meeting
                                  Alena's Shower during lunch
Friday, March 31: 4th Grade to Johnson for school visit in morning
                              March is Reading Month Awards Assembly 2:30 pm
                              Roller Skating Night at Riverside Arena 6:00-8:00 pm

Monday, April 3 - Friday, April 7: SPRING BREAK!!

Monday, April 10: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am
Tuesday, April 11: Jon to Cass PTA 7:00 pm
Wednesday, April 12: Achievement Team (Nadon/Fuller) 8:20 am
Thursday, April 13: Elementary Principals to Riley 1:00-4:00 pm
                                 PTA Meeting in Library 6:30 pm (Nominations)
Friday, April 14: No School 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Nearly 20 years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Ireland. While I was there, I made sure to visit Blarney Castle and make my way up the tower to kiss the famous Blarney Stone. Legend has it that anyone who kisses the stone will receive the gift of eloquent speech. The word Blarney was described by Irish politician, John O'Connor Power, as "flattery sweetened by humor and flavored by wit". It's also called the gift of gab. To be honest, I had the gift of gab long before kissing the Blarney Stone, but it took me many years of experience to realize the power our words can have on others.

As educators, the main tools of the trade are our words. We use words to teach our students, communicate with our parents, and collaborate with one another. Our words inspire children to reach their dreams and find their own words. With social media, our words are no longer confined to our classroom or school, but can be shared with educators around the world. That's a lot of power to be able to tell our story and share our beliefs about education. Like all tools, we must be careful in the way we use our words.

With our words, we have the power to lift people up or knock them down. We have the power to build relationships or cause a rift. We have the power to spread the positives or echo the negatives. Our words have an impact on our attitudes and our students. I'm not suggesting that we all need to make a trek to Ireland to kiss the Blarney Stone, but I do feel that we all need to choose our words wisely as educators. Our words can help make a student's day a little better...if we choose.

It's a lot of work to kiss the Blarney Stone! (Yes, that's me:)

PEARLS OF WISDOM (Irish Edition) 

"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy." - William Butler Yeats 

"We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English." - Winston Churchill 

"Being Irish, I always had a love of words." - Kenneth Branagh

GREAT EDUCATORS TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER























UPCOMING EVENTS 

Friday, March 17: Happy St. Patrick's Day!!
                              Spring Pictures & 4th Grade Picture 

Monday, March 20: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am
Tuesday, March 21: 4th Grade Living Wax Museum in the Gym
Wednesday, March 22: PBS Committee 8:05 am
Thursday, March 23: Staff Meeting with special guest Paula Kohler 8:05 am
                                  Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 pm 
Friday, March 24: Bill Roberts from AXA in the lounge 8:00 am
                              Report Cards go home

Monday, March 27: Student of the Month Assembly 9:05 am
Tuesday, March 28: Elementary Principals at Wayne RESA 7:30-9:30 am
                                 All Administrators Meeting at Holmes 3:00-4:30 pm 
Thursday, March 30: Staff Meeting (PBS) 8:05 am
                                   Alena's Shower during lunch
Friday, March 31: 4th Grade to Johnson in morning
                              MIRM Awards Assembly 2:30 pm 

Monday, April 3 - Friday, April 7: Spring Break! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Building Relationships: Practical Ideas to Implement in the Classroom


It all goes back to relationships!

Relationships are the essential element in our schools. The old adage, “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” is true especially in today’s society when kids are used to so much choice in their world. Also, in today’s busy world, it’s important for teachers and school staff to make positive connections with students. We must be intentional and taking time with these relationships must be purposeful.

Members of the Compelled Tribe have teamed up to share practical ways for educators to build relationships with students. As connected educators we also embrace the notion that it is the power of the team that drives much of what we do. How do you build relationships with those that you serve? See the list below for ideas to add to what you may be already doing in the buildings and districts in which you work.

  1. Greet students at the door. Smile and call them by name. Tell them you are glad to see them.
  2. Ask your students to share three things about themselves. Let them choose what they share. Keep them on index cards to help make connections throughout the year.
  3. Know your students families. As important as it is to know the students, make the connection to home. Great relationships with your kids starts where they kick off their day. As the year continues and both the good and bad arise, having that connection will be crucial to getting the results you are seeking.
  4. Journal writing is an activity to get to know your students well and give students a voice in the classroom.
  5. Make positive phone calls home especially within the first two weeks of the school year.
  6. Genius Hour/Passion Projects really give teachers an opportunity to learn about student passions.
  7. Have kids make something that represents them out of Play-dough and share.
  8. In the first couple of days of school, learn the first name of every student in your first class of the day, and something personal and unique about them that has nothing to do with your first class of the day.
  9. Be vulnerable!  Let your guard down and show your students that you are a learner, you make mistakes, and persevere.  They will see you as a person, opening the door for a relationship built on trust. Share stories about yourself as a learner or challenges you’ve faced when you were there age and help them see what it took to overcome it. It’s easy to forget how much a simple connection can make the difference.
  10. Eat together.  Have breakfast with a small group of kids or join them at the lunch table.  Gathering around meal time provides an informal way to have conversations and get to know your students.
  11. Hold Monday morning meetings (We call them “Weekend News Updates”).  Ask each student to share about their weekend - good or bad.  Ask questions.  Be sure to share about your weekend too!  Occasionally bring in breakfast or make hot chocolate.
  12. Laugh with them. Frequently. Show them that school, and your class, is just not about learning stuff. It is about sharing an experience. Tell them you missed them if they were out.
  13. Keep in touch with past students.  Show past students that you do not have a 1 year contract with them.  The ongoing relationship will also model to your current students the value of a positive classroom community.
  14. At the elementary level -- hold morning meeting everyday as a class and stick to the routine of greeting, sharing, team building activity, and morning message.  This is a sacred time to build and maintain a culture of risk tasking and building relationships.
  15. Send positive postcards home to every child. Have them address it on the first day of the quarter, keep them and challenge yourself to find at least one thing each quarter to celebrate about your students, let them and their parents know.
  16. Find their interests and what motivates them! Sometimes it may take a bit to break down barriers and build trust, but through being genuine and authentic with them this will happen in no time.
  17. Make personal phone calls to parents. Find one good thing to say about the children in your class.  It can be how they contributed to a class discussion or how well mannered they are in class or in the halls. For older students it can be how diligent a student is at learning challenging content.
  18. Share something about yourself that they will find relevant or interesting to extend your relationships with students.
  19. Tell a story from a time you were their age. This approach allows students to see teachers as they once were and make connections easier to establish and maintain.
  20. Create a unique handshake or symbol for each of your students.  Use it when you greet them at the door or say goodbye.
  21. Eat lunch with a group of kids throughout the week. They will enjoy a time dedicated just to them. (And you will enjoy a peaceful lunch!)
  22. As a school, hold monthly celebrations to recognize students and educators their accomplishments.
  23. Take pictures with students. Print. Write a special note on the back to the student.
  24. At the end of a term or year, write a thank you to students telling them what you have learned from them. Be specific and honest - authenticity goes a long way. Try to make the note handwritten if possible, but email works well too.
  25. Each day write two students a personal  note about something that you have noticed about them.  Go into some detail and be specific. Keep track of who you reach out to over the year and try and reach as many students as you can. The time you spend doing this will deepen connections and pay off 10 fold.
  26. Have dance parties! It is so fun to let loose and get down with students. Students love seeing you have fun with them, and the saying goes, “The class that dances together, stays together”.
  27. Play with students at recess or during a free time. Climb the monkey bars, play kickball, or tag. Students will never forget you connecting with them on the playground.
  28. Hang out in the hall to give high fives or to have quick conversations with students. Relationship-building can be squeezed into any time of the day.
  29. Notice students having a bad day. Ask questions without prying. Show that you care. Follow up the next day, week, etc.
  30. When a student is having a rough day, ask if he/she has eaten. We are all more unreasonable when we are hungry. Keep a supply of snacks on hand (ex: breakfast bars, crackers, etc).
  31. Go see students at their events: sports, theater, dance, volunteering. Meet parents and families.
  32. When a student stops to say “Hello” and has a friend in tow, introduce yourself and be sure that the guest feels important.
  33. Stop class from time to time with a comment such as, “Hey, everyone, Katie just asked me a great question. I think you’ll all benefit from this. Katie, could you repeat that for everyone?”
  34. Sing “Happy Birthday” to students; send birthday emails (I use “Boomerang” to schedule my birthday emails each month).
  35. Say “I missed you yesterday” when a student has been absent. Be sincere.
  36. We have to make time to grow relationships with our students. This time can not always be in a planner or a calendar. Sometimes, this simply means just being there for your students.
  37. Mail them a postcard for their birthday. They are always amazed to receive personal mail!
  38. In a leadership position, learn as many names as you can. Greet students by their name as often as you are able.
  39. Music! Bond with your students over music. Play soft classical music while they are working. Incorporate music/songs into special events or lessons.
  40. Classroom: Start a compliment jar. Share comments at the end of class or randomly throughout the day. School: Do shout-outs during morning (or afternoon) announcements/news show.
  41. Smile and make eye contact.  “Good morning”, “Good afternoon”.  Something as simple as a greeting in the hall with smile and eye contact conveys both warmth & safety.  Try it tomorrow.  
  42. First day of math class have them choose 10 numbers that are significant to them (3 for number of cats, 1 for brothers, 20 for number of hours they work, etc.).  Everyone shares out.  You will learn lots about all your students in one day.  
  43. Cut them some slack every now and then.  “What were you doing?  What should you have been doing?  Can you do that for me next time?”  We all make mistakes.  
  44. Hold class celebrations and have students develop unique cheers for various accomplishments...these can be anything from a sports team victory, to being selected for something, to earning a grade, and they need not be school related.
  45. Allen Mendler’s 2x10 strategy for challenging students. Spend 2 minutes per day for 10 consecutive days talking to a student about something not academic.
  46. Share your own goals, successes/failures. Don’t be a mystery to your students.
  47. After morning announcements have students participate in a daily discussion question.  Have a student read the question and set a timer for two and a half minutes.  Each person turns to a partner and answers the question then volunteers share with the whole class.  Each question, in some way, will help you get to know your students.
  48. Halfway through the year, have your parents and students fill out a feedback form.  In my classroom, these forms look different.  Allow them to evaluate you so you can keep what works and change things that aren’t working.
  49. In your summer introduction letter, include a letter asking parents to write about their children in 1,000,000 words or less.  Keep the assignment voluntary and open so they tell you what is most important to them.
  50. Don’t be too busy to truly listen.  Listen to understand, not to respond.  Are you starting a lesson when a student interrupts and tells you they are moving?  Take the minute to hear them out.  That time will mean more to the student than the first minute of the lesson ever will.
  51. When students get stuck in class, teach the other students to cheer them on.  We do a simple, “Come on, [Name], you can do it,” followed by three seconds of clapping.
  52. Teach students call and responses to uplift each other.  When a student responds with something profound and someone loves it, that student gets to start the cheer.
  53. When you check in with groups to give them feedback or see how it’s going, make sure you are seeing them eye-to-eye.  If they’re sitting, don’t stand.  Pull up a chair next to them.  If they’re sitting on the floor, sit down on the floor next to them to avoid standing over them.
  54. Give honest feedback even when it may not be positive.  Your students will appreciate that you expect more out of them than they’re showing.
  55. Create a “You Matter” wall.  Take fun pictures of each of your students.  Print each photo and put each student’s photo in an 8x10 frame.  Hang them all on your wall under a “You Matter” heading.  At the end of the year, send the photos home with students.
  56. Tell them what was hard for you when you went through school and how you worked to overcome the challenges.  It shows they aren’t the only ones who struggle.
  57. Defend your students in front of other people.
  58. Take risks so students feel comfortable doing the same.  Don’t ask them to do anything you wouldn’t do.
  59. Create something that is unique to your class.  For us, it’s a house competition.  It’s something that connects my past students and current students.  It’s also a family bond that only the students who have been in my class understand.
  60. Apologize when you make a mistake.
  61. Cook together and then you can eat family style in the classroom. Some fun and easy crockpot meals: applesauce, vegetable soup, chicken and dumplings. Then, make cupcakes for dessert!
  62. Every so often, take the pulse of your building according to students. Convene a volunteer roundtable with student reps from various groups (athletes, scholars, quiet, loud) and ask them for critical feedback about topics you are working on. Some ideas I’ve seen discussed in this format include schoolwide incentives (assemblies, sledding event, etc.), dress code, and discussing recess options for winter.
  63. During your informal walk throughs, saddle up right next to students and ask them the purpose of the lesson they are involved in. Why do you think the teacher is asking you to work on this? You’ll be more than surprised with the honest feedback.
  64. Bring board games back! Add a few games like Checkers, Uno or Chess to your lunch table options. See if any students are willing to play a game or two with you and others.
  65. Use sidewalk chalk to decorate the entry of your building with positive messages to students. Have teachers help you write and draw the notes!
  66. Leave nice notes on post-its for students on the outside of their lockers. Recruit other students to help spread the kindness throughout many lockers!
  67. Forgive them when they make mistakes. Remind them that mistakes are opportunities for learning. Don’t hold grudges against misbehavior and don’t allow other adults to hold them either.
  68. Make time for dismissal. Tell them you can’t wait to see them tomorrow and share high fives on the way out!
  69. Notice which students still don’t have money to pay for lunch. Help them out when you can. Treat them to a snack they don’t usually get to purchase at lunch time.
  70. Find special projects that need to be done around school and recruit the most unlikely helpers.
  71. Remind your students you and your staff were all kids once too. Have your team bring in pictures of themselves as children (at the ages you have in your school). Post them and have a contest allowing students to guess which teacher is which. Those 80s pictures are the most popular!
  72. My favorite question to ask my students or any student I come in contact with is what are you into lately? This opens communication with your students and let's them know you are interested.
  73. Allow students to do a job shadow. Give them a peek into what you do and how you make daily decisions.
  74. Host an ice cream social for students that meet certain goals.

The list will grow as our experiences and our connections grow. Feel free to reach out to any of the Tribe members listed below to learn more about the power of our team and how our tribe constantly supports each other in our teaching, leading and learning.

Compelled Tribe Contributors:

Jennifer Hogan, The Compelled Educator  @Jennifer_Hogan
Jonathon Wennstrom, Spark of Learning  @jon_wennstrom
Craig Vroom, Fueling Education, @Vroom6
Allyson Apsey, Serendipity in Education, @allysonapsey
Sandy King Inspiring The Light @sandeeteach
Jacie Maslyk   http://jaciemaslyk.blogspot.com/    @DrJacieMaslyk
Jodie Pierpoint  Journey In Learning @jodiepierpoint  
Jim Cordery   Mr. Cordery’s Blog  @jcordery
Allie Bond   The Positive Teacher @Abond013
Angie Murphy ConnectED to Learning @RoyalMurph_RRMS
Karen Wood https://karenwoodedu.wordpress.com/ @karenwoodedu
Lindsey Bohler lindseybohler.com @Lindsey_Bohler
Debbie Campbell The Curious Educator @DebraLCamp
Michael McDonough M Squared at the Microphone @m_squaredBHS
Barbara Kurtz bkurtzteachermentor.blogspot.com @BJKURTZ
Stephanie Jacobs www.thisblogiswhy.blogspot.com @MsClassNSession
Michael Todd Clinton Motivated teacher blog  @MotivatedThe
Cathy Jacobs https://cathyjacobs.org/ @cathyjacobs5
Reed Gillespie Mr. Gillespie’s Office @rggillespie
Molly Babcock Sweet Tea and a Live Oak Tree @MollyBabcock
Lisa Meade Reflections @LisaMeade23

GREAT EDUCATORS TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER




Jennifer Hogan












Craig Vroom







UPCOMING EVENTS

Monday, March 13: Principal Advisory Committee 8:20 am
                                Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am
                                Student Re-entry Meeting (Benson/Limberg/Wennstrom) 9:25 am
                                Jon to Rotary 11:45-1:15
                                Parent Meeting Larabell 4:05 pm
Tuesday, March 14: Robotics Assembly in the PM
                                Diabetes Training (Jon,Shannon, Denise, Roxanne, Sherry Lynn) 3:15 pm
                                Parent Meeting Berrelez 4:05 pm
Wednesday, March 15: REED Fuller 8:20 am
                                     Jon to PTSA at Garfield Elementary 6:00 pm
Thursday, March 16: Collaborative Learning Time (CLT) 7:50 am
                                  Spring Pictures / 4th Grade Photo
Friday, March 17: CPI (Child Restraint Training) Jon, Shannon, Denise 3:00 pm

Monday, March 20: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am (Check presentation to MDA)
Tuesday, March 21: Living Wax Museum in the gym (Lunch in classrooms)
Thursday, March 23: Staff Meeting with special guest Paula Kohler 8:05 am
                                   Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 pm
Friday, March 24: Bill Roberts from AXA in lounge 8:00 am

Thursday, March 2, 2017

80 Plus Basketball

Every election day, we have voters come in from two precincts to vote in our school. Many times we don't have students, but most recently we did. It posed a few logistical challenges, but we were able to keep things running smoothly for those community members doing their civic duty and also kept the students safe with some additional safety precautions. One of the reasons things ran so smoothly was the person in charge of the voting process. His name is Mr. Lane and he always comes in a day early to map out the area that he knows so well. He checks with myself, the custodian, and secretary to make his game plan. He goes over every detail to prepare. He's the kind of guy that I often say I want working on the plane that I fly in. He is sharp as a tack, quick on his feet, and has been running this program for a long time. I just didn't know how long.

This year, as I was talking with Mr. Lane about how long he had been at it, I found out that he was 87 years old! I couldn't believe it. I asked what his secret was to remaining so youthful. He said keeping busy keeps him from slowing down. He then proceeded to tell me that he was getting ready for an upcoming basketball tournament. He was proud to tell me that he was heading to a championship game in the "80 plus" category.  I didn't even know there was an 80 plus category, but I didn't have a hard time imagining him giving it his all on the court! This year, I happened to ask him how many voters we had, because it seemed like a higher turnout to me. He said he would let me know. A couple of weeks after the election, I had completely forgotten about my question, but he hadn't. He mailed a letter to the school giving me the numbers for the current election by precinct and also compared it with earlier years. He ended the letter by thanking all of us for making him feel at home each year and for being a "super" principal (noting my Superman gear in the office:).

School is a place of learning, and over the years, I have found that I have learned the most from people like Mr. Lane. People who lead by example with their zest for life, their pursuit of perfection, and most of all their positive attitude! To be honest, some days I don't have that much energy when I leave school. I sometimes feel drained, spent, and for lack of a better word...old. When I think of Mr. Lane and the spring in his step, twinkle in his eye, and out there on the court playing with the 80 plus basketball league, I don't feel quite so old. And that zest for life he brings becomes contagious and spreads to me. We may not all be playing on a basketball league when we are in our eighties, but we can all share that same positive attitude and energy no matter what our age with our students and with the world!

PEARLS OF WISDOM

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." - Mark Twain

"You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old." - George Burns

"A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age." - Robert Frost



Cocoon: The Return "the boys" playing basketball:) 

GREAT EDUCATORS TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER




Aaron Hogan












Tara Martin







UPCOMING EVENTS

Monday, March 6: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am
                               Jon to Buchanan in the afternoon
Tuesday, March 7: Sky Dome in the gym (lunch in classrooms)
Wednesday, March 8: Pizza Delivery at 1:30 pm
                                    REED Benson 3:15 pm
                                    Kindergarten Parent information night 6:00-7:00 pm
Thursday, March 9: Staff Meeting 8:05 am
                                 Elementary Principals Meeting 1:30-4:30
Friday, March 10: Students Dismissed at 12:10 / Work Day in Building in afternoon 

Monday, March 13: Principal Advisory Committee 8:20 am
                                Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am
Tuesday, March 14: Grades due in by midnight
Wednesday, March 15: REED Fuller 8:20 am
                                      IEP Boggs 3:15 pm
Thursday, March 16: Collaborative Learning Time CLT 7:50 am
                                  Spring Pictures for Lifetouch
Friday, March 17: Report Cards go home



Thursday, February 23, 2017

In Their Shoes

Last week, I took the Shadow A Student Challenge again and returned to second grade. This year, I took some lessons I learned from last year and was a little more intentional in my approach. I shortened the length of my shadow to half a day (in elementary it's a little more easy to get the feel of the day as all the instruction is self-contained). I also made sure I had coverage for the office and that people knew where I was and why (not sure I did a good job of that last year). I was also more selective in my choice of a student. Last year I randomly picked a volunteer (who happened to be a third grade girl). You can read about my experience here . This year, I again asked for volunteers, but I chose one who brought some unique experiences. The student was new to our school, received ELL and Title I services. I thought he would give me insight on what many students experience in our school.

Prior to the experience I had met with my new student, whose name is Jack. I also called his parents and made sure he received a school t-shirt to wear for the day and to keep as his gift for being shadowed. After lunch recess, I joined Jack in his second grade classroom. I was delighted to find that I had my own desk (with materials) right next to my partner. The students were excited to have me in the class and many offered to help me during the math lesson. Having seen the students interact with new students in the past, I already knew they were helpful to others, but it sure made me feel welcome. During the math lesson, I participated and even got words of encouragement from the teacher when my work was correct:) She really went out of her way to make sure I was treated like a student and the class members loved it!

Later in the afternoon, we went to art class. I loved art as a student and it was still as fun as an adult. We were drawing a gorilla with various background elements. I appreciated that several times throughout the lesson, we all got up and walked about the room to see what others were doing. This allowed us to check our progress and also give us ideas for things we could add to our own picture. I took a little liberty with coloring my gorilla purple, but the art teacher didn't seem to mind my creative expression.

During recess, we spent part of the time getting to know one another in my office. This was my favorite part. I learned that Jack was born in India and can speak both English and Punjabi fluently. He has a little brother and loves to play soccer and other sports. His favorite thing about school is "learning" and also PE class. He seemed to be very happy in his new school (I found out this is his third school) and likes our weekly "Celebrate Monday" assemblies. After we talked for a while, we went outside and joined the other students for recess.

At the end of the day, I got to say goodbye to Jack in the bus line and thanked him for letting me shadow him and learn what it was like to be a second grade student in our building. I also got to thank his teacher for making me feel so welcome as her new student.  A year ago, I participated in the Shadow a Student challenge, because I saw others doing it and to be honest I just jumped on the bandwagon to try something new. This year, I feel it was more intentional and planned and more "natural". I guess it's like anything we do, we get better at it as we do things again after reflecting on them. It was truly a chance to understand my students by being "in their shoes." Educators are often asked, "Would you want to be a student in your own classroom?". Taking that question to the building level, "Would I want to be a student in my own school?" My answer is a resounding "YES!".
Jack and his "Shadow"! 

PEARLS OF WISDOM

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

"Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow." - Anthony J. D'Angelo

"Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death." - Albert Einstein

 Hero Teacher Sonya Romero (5 minutes) 

GREAT EDUCATORS TO FOLLOW OF TWITTER






















UPCOMING EVENTS

Monday, February 27: Student of the Month & March is Reading Month kick off assembly 9:05 am
                                    Parent Meeting Casucci 3:15 pm
Tuesday, February 28: PBIS Committee 8:05 am
                                   REED Fuller 2:30 pm
                                   District School Improvement Team 5:30-8:00 pm
Wednesday, March 1: IEP Merchant 8:20 am
                                   Students dismissed at 12:10 pm
                                   Building Based PD in Library 1:00-4:00 pm (Standards Based Reporting)
Thursday, March 2: Staff Meeting 8:05 am (iReady Presentation in the Computer Lab)
                               PTA Meeting 6:30 pm
Friday, March 3: Jon to MEMSPA board meeting in Lansing (Sandi Benson covering office)

Monday, March 6: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 am
                              Jon to Buchanan for meeting 1:30 pm
Tuesday, March 7: REED Boggs 8:20 am
                             Sky Dome in the Gym following Google Schedule
Wednesday, March 8: IEP Boggs 8:20 am
                                   Pizza Kit Delivery at 1:30 pm
                                   REED Benson 3:15 pm
                                   Kindergarten Parent Information Night 6:00-7:00 pm
Thursday, March 9: Staff Meeting 8:05 am
                               Jon meeting with Discovery Rep 10:45 am
                               Elementary Principals Meeting 12:30-4:30 pm
Friday, March 10: Students dismissed at 12:10 pm
                             Teacher work day in the afternoon (end of 2nd Trimester)