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Attention Seeker

As an educational leader, there are times throughout the day that I feel like if there were two or three of me, we could actually be getting some things done.  Whether it is responding to emails, attending meetings on and off campus, meeting with teachers or students and doing whatever else comes up throughout the day (I had to remove a dead cockroach from the staff bathroom last Tuesday), it becomes increasingly hard to attend to the task at hand.

Maybe it's just me as I've struggled with attention issues my whole life but I have to think there must be other educators out there who feel the same way.

You are in an ARD meeting, it's 2:00 pm and you know there's a parent phone call you HAVE to make before the bell rings and there's a teacher who needs your support with a student and the last time you checked your email, right before going to the ARD, you noticed Inbox 64, and you just got a call on your radio that there's ANOTHER cockroach in the staff restroo…
Recent posts

Chop Wood, Carry Water

There's a Zen proverb that's been resonating with me lately...


Essentially, what it means to me is similar to the "keep on keepin' on" mantra.  No matter where you are at in life, obstacles you may face, successes you may have, "chop wood, carry water" or "keep on keepin' on".  
You see, a lot of people believe that the end result is what we are working toward, but is it?  Isn't it the work that leads you there the most rewarding and important part of your journey towards the end result or your, dare I say, enlightenment?  
Are we ever in a place in life where we don't ask ourselves whether or not we will be there next year, or the year after?  Sometimes we have a choice in those matters and sometimes we are just along for the ride.

Point is, be in the moment.  If you are chopping wood (so to speak) pay attention to the way the handle of the axe feels in your hand, the smell of freshly cut wood, the sound of the fibers of the wood…

Identity First, Then Culture

First, allow me to get this outta the way, real quick like.  

I am, unabashedly, an Indiana University basketball fan to the core of my being.  I grew up in Indiana and in Indiana, if you were raised right, you were raised to be an IU fan.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of my lifetime, they haven't been that great.  I don't remember the national championship in 1987, I was only 4.  

Recently they hired Archie Miller from Dayton University who is known for defense and toughness.  A "grind it out" culture if you will.  He gave an interview  (here) and in the interview, he mentioned something about culture that struck a chord with me this morning.  


“The big thing is to create the first identity opportunity,” Miller said. “Not culture.” I stopped Miller there. Coaches love talking about culture – it might be the most popular buzzword in the profession today. What’s with the avoidance? “I think culture is earned,” he said. “You don’t start talking about culture four weeks …

Punishment - Easier Than Being Held Accountable

I read an article today titled,

Teen coke dealer turns down chance to avoid criminal record
Think about that for a moment.  
The judge offered the young man an opportunity to participate in a Restorative Justice "scheme" in which the boy turned down.  The opportunity to take part in this program, according to the article, would have spared him a sentence and a criminal record.  
You see, when we dole out punishments, it keeps the offender in a passive role.  They are really never held accountable for their wrong - doing.  We think that if we reign down punishment on people they will suffer which means in the future they will be less likely to commit the same offense.  It's simply not true and that school of thought is not backed by evidence.  
Now, while I do not know what this Restorative Justice "scheme" would have looked like, I do know that the young man would have been asked to take a more active role and would have had to likely sit down with some people a…

Guest Post - Interactive Word Walls

To continue my little "guest post" series with my amazing first grade team, I bring you a beautifully written and well thought out post on Interactive Word Walls!

A first grade teacher and the team leader was kind enough to take some time to put together the following post.  I hope you enjoy!

My name is Luz Jasmine Arias (@Luzjasmine1) I graduated with my bachelors in Bilingual Education in 2010 and I received my Masters in Reading from Texas A&M Commerce in 2012.  I have been teaching at Barron Elementary for 6 years now and I absolutely love it.  Working with my students is my biggest blessing and I am so blessed to be able to do what I love to do!
                                              Interactive Word Walls
In the spring semester of 2016 our principal sent two teachers from each grade level to the Interactive Word Wall training with Julie Jackson provided by our school district.  It was there when so many of our eyes were opened as to what a word wall should be…

Goals

One of my favorite questions to ask students is - "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

It's simple

It's old

You might hear it on Sesame Street.

It's not innovative

But I am always taken aback when they don't have an answer for me.  Sometimes, they literally have NO IDEA.  I understand if it's a K-2 student, but in my opinion, students in 3rd grade and above need to, at least, have some idea.

I wanted to be an NBA player when I was a kid.  In high school, I was a 6'3", slow, had a pretty good jump shot, could never dunk a basketball and, like my best friends to this day remind me, was never a real stud in the weight room.  It didn't take long before I realized the whole NBA thing wasn't going to pan out.  BUT, before I realized that, I had a goal.  I had something to shoot for.  I had a path, and while I didn't always stay on it, I knew where it was and I had people to help me get back on it.

What do you think kids that have n…

Guest Post - Google Classroom

This is the second installment of a little "guest blogger" series on this ol' blog.

The wonderful information below is provided by a 1st grade teacher at my school, Tania Hiserote-Santiago (@Mrs_TSantiago).  Mrs. Santiago has been teaching for 7 years. This is her fifth year teaching in a first grade bilingual class. She taught 2 years in a second grade monolingual class in Houston prior to joining our school district. She recently got her GT certification by the state of Texas. She has served as a Science Curriculum writer and translator for the Writing curriculum as well!

In order to work towards reaching her T-TESS goal, Mrs. Santiago knew it would be helpful if she could share resources with other teachers in our building who shared a similar goal. She created a Google Classroom to help her do just that.  Enjoy the post below and don't forget to follow her on Twitter!

Why Google Classroom? Google Classroom offers many advantages for an educator seeking to learn a…