Showing posts from July, 2017

Keep Them Moving

Summer is coming to end for many teachers, parents, and students. Summer is a time for everyone to get outside, exercise, and enjoy each other. When school starts, no of that should change. We need to keep kids moving all year long.

Too often as the year gets going, classrooms get busy and activity is not a focus. Getting students up and moving decreases behavior in the classroom and increases attention. Activity needs to be present in every classroom and no excuses should be made. Here are 10 easy ways to incorporate activity into every classroom without losing "academic" time. 
1.   Introduce vocabulary words to your class on a daily/ weekly basis. Use a bone or muscle each day instead of saying the word "go". This allows students to learn parts of their body, increase their vocabulary, and work on their spelling. Incorporating vocabulary into the class gives the teacher another avenue for assessment. Teachers then can administer quick writes, allowing students to…

Get Connected and Build Relationships

Relationships, Relationships, Relationships

Those three words are constantly talked about at conferences, meetings, books, and summits. We need to build relationships with students, but we need to build relationships with other educators. If you are only surrounded by like minded individuals then you will never grow. You need to surround yourself with people who think differently and will challenge your way of thinking. I am never the smartest one in the room, because I don't want to be. I want to continue to grow. 
I was recently listening to Better Leaders Better Schools podcasts by Daniel Bauer and something that struck me was how much his guests talk about growing because of surrounding themselves with people that push them. He has establish Mastermind groups of educators that regularly meet using technology and challenge each others thinking and weekly push them to be better. School districts can do a better jobs on setting up these internal mastermind groups with teachers fro…

Who Tells Your Story?

How do you connect with your families?
How do you tell your classroom story?
Once I hear you answer those two questions, I can tell you about the climate and culture of your classroom. There is always so many negative things coming out about teachers, schools, and classrooms it is our job as educators to kill the negative with all the positive things happening in our schools and our classrooms.
What are you afraid of?
After speaking with many educators typically there is something that scares teachers from telling their story. You are awesome and it is okay to brag and share what it is happening in your classroom. Educators tell me they are scared of failing while telling their story. What a better way to demonstrate to kids that is okay to FAIL other than showing them! Fail Harder is a mantra that I have and taught my students. Try! Try! Try Again!
I have found the following 10 resources a great way to communicate with my parents, community, and other educators to tell my school/cla…

Everyone Needs An Advocate

When my wife was in 2nd grade her teacher told her that she was dumb and that she would never read. After having this encounter with her teacher she ran home to tell her mom what had happened. As we were driving tonight she was telling me the story and she could recount everything that had happened and the facial expressions of her mom as she heard the story. The next day her mom rushed into school and demanded a classroom change. The change occurred and my wife grew into a voracious reader that has a love of all classic literature. In this circumstance she needed an advocate and the advocate was her mother. 
Why does my child act this way?  Why is he such a pain?  Why is he so annoying?
These are some of the questions that parents ask me. Whenever these questions are asked of me, I always think how can you think of your child that way. Kids need an advocate and they need someone to believe in them. In the above story my wife needed someone to be that person. Unfortunately her teache…

Be the One Who Makes School A Positive Memory

"Kids don't remember what teachers taught them, they remember how teachers treated them." 

Earlier in the summer I was interviewing for a counseling position and the candidate made the comment: "Kids don't remember what teachers taught them, they remember how teachers treated them." This quote made me think. It made me reflect on my own past and how much I remembered about my teachers. 
Reflecting on my own educational experiences and the teachers that I had, I can't remember specific details on what lessons were taught to me. I can however remember how teachers treated me and I can remember the details of some of those interactions. 
Kindergarten: I had a teacher who was so much fun. I can remember her riding trikes alongside us and how she always had a huge smile. 
1st Grade: My teacher shared her passion of reading with us and she had a unique sense of dental hygiene. I remember each day she would have us brush our teeth after lunch. It was her way of…

Reflecting on my NPC Journey

My alarm went off at 3:30 am on the west coast. It was time to get up and get to the airport to catch my 6 am flight to Philadelphia for the National Principals Conference. Due to security and ticketing lines, I ended up running and boarding the plane while out of breath, but we made it. My wife decided to take this opportunity to get a vacation away from kids and recharge while I attended to conference.
We arrived in Philadelphia around 2pm. Took a taxi to our hotel and started to explore the area around the hotel. At 6 pm I headed over to the conference center to check in and meet up with my co-presenters, Jay Posick and Mark French. We would be presenting the next morning and had never met face to face. Due to airport delays Jay was unable to make it, but Mark and I shared stories and went over the plan.
As Jay was running late, Mark and I decided to head over to our PLN (Principals In Action) meet up at a local restaurant. It was kind of surreal as I have been talking with many…

Simply Start Blogging

Recently at the National Principals Conference, I was sitting and learning with Eric Sheniger. He asked the question of raise your hand if you blog.  A group of hands went up, but mostly in the middle of the room, which happened to be members of my PLN Principals In Action. He then asked, who blogs regularly? Even less hands were left in the air. 
My hand was up through the series of questioning, but two years ago it would not have been. When I was first urged to start a blog by my friend and colleague, Adam Welcome, I felt that I had nothing to write about. The thoughts and feelings that went through my head were:
I am not a writer.  I am not special.  No one will read it.  I don't have the time. 
A year later, my professional life has completely changed for the better. I am now:
Connected   Have a Voice Motivating Others
People will listen. People want to know what you think. People want to know your story. Simply start blogging and writing down your thoughts. Use it as a way t…

Stop Making Excuses

I don't have enough time.  My custodial staff cannot get to it.  I am waiting for someone else to do it. 
Every school has someone who has said one of those three phrases. Time, staff, and certain district level roles are sometimes limiting schools on how they can get things done. As a leader in any business or school, you need to do whatever it takes to get things done. As a principal, vice principal, or teacher, I have never been above doing whatever it takes. If I need to show up to school in my work clothes and bring my drill, then you better believe that is what I am doing. 
A few years ago I was working at a school that needed another office built to house a counselor. After submitting a work order and waiting months, something needed to happen. I made a trip to the hardware store and quickly split one big office into two smaller offices. I built a wall because that is what was needed for my staff and for my students. 
Later in the year there was a an old home economics roo…