Posts

Get Out There And Change The World

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I am writing this post from an airplane as I travel to the Teach Better Conference in Akron, Ohio.For the past week, I have been seeing a flood of posts from educators around the country getting pumped up for this conference and the connections that will be built. I too am excited about meeting and connecting with everyone, but most importantly I am excited to learn new things that I can implement in my school next week with kids.
I often ask myself if this type of learning and connecting is possible without leaving your building and going somewhere. I don’t think it is. Of course, with the use of social media, face to face phone apps, connecting has become easier than ever. However, it is not the same. (Some type of professional development is better than none)
As I was wrapping up things around my school this week in anticipation of being out on Thursday and Friday, I felt guilty. I felt guilty about leaving my school. I felt guilty about leaving my students. I felt guilty for leaving…

Read,Read,Read

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Over the past few weeks I have tweeted out asking what books people are reading and the response has blown me away. Hundreds of people have responded and have been sending me their book recommendations, making my summer reading list longer and longer. 
Growing up, I was never an avid reader, frankly, I didn’t like to read. I wasn’t very good at it and my reading comprehension was not good. It was hard for me and I felt embarrassed. My older brother was a voracious reader and would fly threw books. He would read hundreds of pages, while I was still on the same chapter. Fast forward to adulthood and now I love to read. It took me a long time to find what I liked to read. I read anywhere from 50-100 books a year now and my world has been unlocked.  Knowing now what reading has done for personally and professionally, I wish I had gotten to this place much earlier in life. 
Now being an elementary principal and lead learner, I have the opportunity to help others get there much sooner in life…

Belief Must Match Behavior

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Belief Must Match Behavior 
“I have high expectations for all of my students and I believe in them.” This is a statement that I sometimes hear from different educators, but when I visit their schools or classrooms, it looks different.
The reality is that some students take longer to reach, some students need more help than others and this is okay,  it is what we call equity in education. Providing what students need, when they need it, no matter what they look like or what our prejudice may be. 
It is a hard conversation to talk about unconscious bias with others, but without addressing it, the prejudice will continue and the actions that should come with belief, will not be happening. Reflecting on my own education experience, I witnessed firsthand my own teachers lowering expectations for kids that did not look like me.  
When you looked out the front door of my childhood home, you would see orange groves and when you looked out the back of the house, you would see avocado groves. The t…

Sometimes You Go Back, To Go Forward

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Sometimes You Go Back, To Go Forward
If you have ever seen my social media feed, you will know that my kids play soccer. I coach one of their teams, referee for two teams, and cheer for the other. This past weekend my oldest son and I traveled a few hours away for a soccer tournament. At the U14 level players understand soccer and can play at a very high level. The teams that are successful, can control the game and pass the ball around very efficiently. When the offensive player gets the ball and is pressured they look for another player to pass to. What separates the mediocre teams, from the really good teams, is how they attack.
The mediocre teams attack towards the goal and sometimes are pushed back by the defense, but they continue moving forward. The attack is met with defense that tries to clear the ball downfield, which sometimes results in a game of kickball. Kicking the ball back and forth does nothing for the attack unless someone has a bad touch in which you capitalize. Si…

Be Aware

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Every day we wake up and head out into the world. Whether you are going to the grocery store, work, school, or a coffee shop you are surrounded with different people from all different walks of life. It is important to remember that not everyone has lived the life that you have. No matter where you come from, we all have our struggles and we all have stories to share.

Harris was a student at one of my first schools that I taught at. He was one of those students who challenged the limits of what was allowed and what he might get in trouble for. The behavior would typically cross over the line and would need to be redirected. From the time he came to the school from Germany in the 2nd grade through the 5th grade he made a name for himself. Throughout all the shenanigans that he caused there was something that made me really like this boy. Harris wasn't in my class, but I had seen him in other classes and would interact with him on the playground. There would be days that I would pu…

How many more moments?

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How many more moments do we have?
I recently listened to a podcast by Jesse Itzler, author of Living With A Seal and Living With A Monk (Highly Recommend). In the podcast Jesse talks about his experience in living in a monastery, living with monks and he talked about a couple things that really got me thinking and put some perspective on living my best life.
He talks a lot about life, how many days left we have on this earth, and what are we doing with a time. He used an example, talking about his parents. If your parents are approximately  68 years old, and an average person lives to 78, that means they will potentially live 10 more years. If you only see your parents one or two times a year that’s potentially only 10 more times that you will see them. WOW!! This was scary to me.
What are you doing to maximize your experience in relationships with those people?
Too often we get distracted by every day lives, social media, technology and other stimuli. We don’t necessarily take the time t…

Say Yes To The Banana

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Say Yes To The Banana
The walk a thon is one of our biggest fundraisers every year. Every year, teachers compete to see how many laps they can get in and the kids create an energy that is contagious. Music is pumping, parents are cheering, and everyone is doing their best to complete as many laps as possible in the time allotted, all while raising money for the school.
As I do every year, I set a goal for myself. I am currently semi-training for a half marathon and my long run that week was supposed to be 8 miles. Instead of doing it that Saturday, I thought I would do it alongside the students. I would run 1-1.5 miles with each group and then put on the Hawk mascot costume and then run some more. At the end of the day, I would have 8 miles and my long run for the day would be done.
The day started off great! I was running strong with the first group of kids. At 1.5 miles, I continued my run into my office, while alrighty sweaty, changed into the Hawk mascot costume. Then I would head…