Friday, August 19, 2011

The New Kids

I just spent an active and informative week with some new kindergarten students. My district is fortunate enough to have received grant funding for what we call, Leap into Kindergarten, a summer program run prior to the school year starting. It gives the k-teachers a chance to get our eyes on the new crop and see what they know. I like knowing what I am getting into before the year starts . . . and in some ways ignorance is bliss. I am hopeful it will be a good year and hopeful for all teachers, especially those who are less fortunate with increases in class size and less funding. Good luck to everyone!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What Are We All About?

As an educator I am constantly revisited by this chatter that asks me, "what are you really all about?" I can honestly say I am more about the good of kids, instilling a sense of pride and celebrating their accomplishments no matter how they might be measured by others. I am more about creating a culture of good character among my students and the parents that take them home each night. This philosophy however does not usually fit in the mold of test scores and data. I also notice that whenever anyone says anything about data, meaning dismissive at all in nature, it is followed up with, "I mean, I know we need data, but it's not everything." You know what, though it may seem like I just have, I am not going to say that . . .I will say I am concerned about data, but not in the same way that I keep hearing others voicing their concerns. I know that I am always going to work hard, foster character development and build my students confidence in all areas. If I can look at my classroom community and see one helping another, kindness in action and a love of learning on their faces that is all the measure I need.
What are you all about?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's Gotta Go!

I spent a good part of the morning in that corner of my basement where I keep all my school materials that can be boxed and stored. Every year I go down to this corner where I have a huge wooden shelf that holds more than a dozen boxes of materials, books and random teaching supplies. Most of it stays in this corner, all year. Everything that I really need is either saved on my computer, on the book shelf I use regularly or stashed safely in my classroom. Yet, I still have these boxes. I realized today that many of these boxes were full of fantasies. A fantasy that someday maybe I would get to the many copied games and activities I had planned to prepare for some fantastic project. Various paper books to put together. Several notes and notebooks full of ideas. Well, needless to say, I kept the notebooks of ideas, stashed the fantasy projects that were complete but never used (more on that later), and dumped the projects that were all but barely started but had taken up residency for longer than I could remember. The stashed fantasy projects are consolidated to one box with the following statement on the side, "resist going through this box if you have not touched it prior to August 4, 2012, and recycle it NOW!"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Where Are You Going?

driven adj

Definition of DRIVEN
1: having a compulsive or urgent quality <a driven sense of obligation>
2: propelled or motivated by something —used in combination <results-driven>
driv·en·ness \ˈdri-vən-nəs\ noun

  1. They are driven, successful people.
  2. <a man with a driven need to be loved or liked by everyone>
(Directly from

Driven, what does it mean to be driven? Well, I guess I looked it up because I was curious enough to know what the dictionary had to say, but really, definition aside . . . who is driven? What kind of person? Does it come naturally . . . do you need to work at it . . . does it come in phases . . . what matters . . . and what are the outcomes?
Are you driven? To do what?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Outliers: Part Two

I picked up the book Outliers again today in hopes of finishing.
This book is very thought provoking. I would love to hear from anyone who has read it and what their thoughts were following. I have two chapters to go and have to say that the most fascinating sections so far have to be "The Trouble With Geniuses" part one and two. In these two sections the author challenges the idea that someone who is a genius is automatically guaranteed success and that talents can be innate. He talks a lot about circumstances, opportunities and hard work being the most important runways to success...which I can't really argue with at all. There is a lot more to his theories and they would definitely be worth exploring if you are questioning what it takes to be successful.
I am looking forward to finishing the book and reviewing it using some of the questions in the back section.
Should be fun!
I saw this image and imagined it was the doodle of random thoughts and connections a person with a genius level IQ might produce.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Outliers...Have you read it?

If you have read the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell I would love to hear a comment from you. I am only through the first 30 pages and already I am struggling with the many ways we are creating outliers in education. What are your thoughts? 

If you haven't read the book I have included a few small sections that really spoke to me so far to peek your interest.

This quote, from the introduction, is in reference to two medical researchers studying a small village of people who were much healthier than others in surrounding communities.
"They had to appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are, (pages 10-11)."

I liked this quote that followed a short description of a tall oak tree in a forest.
"We all know that successful people come from hardy seeds. But do we know enough about the sunlight that warmed them, the soil in which they put down the roots, and the rabbits and lumberjacks they were lucky enough to avoid, (page 20)?"

This one really got me:
"We are too much in awe of those who succeed and far too dismissive of those who fail, (page 32-33).