Friday, May 11, 2012

From atop the soapbox

Next Week at a Glance:

Monday, May 14th: Ben is out of building at New Science Common Core meeting at the ISD
Wednesday, May 16th:  Grades 3-5 morning assembly @8:45
Wednesday, May 16th:  PLC time 2:50-3:35 with Mike MaGuinness (location TBD)
Friday, May 18th: 5th grade Zoo trip
Friday, May 18th:  4th grade field trip to Waterloo

Thrive or Survive?

I happened to be participating this week in an #educoach chat.  I read a tweet that asked the question, "How do we thrive at years end, compared to simply surviving?"  I loved this tweet.  It made me think of how we view situations.  Take my week for example, it surely had high ups and low downs, but don't most of us experience ups and downs?  I once read this quote:  

“Make a game of finding something positive in every situation. Ninety-five percent of your emotions are determined by how you interpret events to yourself."  

I believe this!  Every person has the power to choose how they will react.  I try very hard to not overreact to any situation.  I grew up with a simple approach and have tried to keep the approach in all situations, that is: cooler heads prevail...and their is a reason for everything.  The second one I heard as a teenager.  One of my close friends told me God has a reason.  I thought about this, it was deep for me.  It was at this time I put faith in a higher power, I "let go".  I tried to look at the positive in all situations.  Some may say it's annoying (my wife gets bothered by my positiveness, she says it would be nice if I could just be pessimistic once in a while).  The longer you are around me the more you are bound to see that I look for a positive spin in most if not all situations.  It's as I mentioned last week, I try to avoid people that bring me down or zap the positiveness from me.  So that brings me to THRIVE or SURVIVE?  The end of the school year is four weeks away.  Some dread summer-itis in students, some get very impatient with the general lack of focus, some count down the days and can't wait for summer.  All of these modes are SURVIVAL.

I'd like to see a shift to THRIVE.
*  Use the weather to your advantage - write a story on cloud patterns while students lay on their backs and stare at the sky
*  Create a walking field trip around your school
*  Have students teach mini-lessons and brainstorm ways to assess and engage all students
*  Create projects that students have a say in choosing (find an area of interest for them)
*  Read a story that students can connect with...and try finding one that has been made into a movie (compare and contrast the two with a Venn diagram)
*  Involve parents, have students write about a parent and then read the story in front of them at school
*  Use technology for student centered projects (Comic Book app, iMovie, Garage Band) let students tinker with technology to excite them!
*  Have students create and sing a song about something they learned in class.  I used to have Revolutionary Raps quite frequently in May. (seems so long ago)

If we stop dreading the days, fighting with class management, and groaning to co-workers we can thrive.  I say try something new!  If you are in survival mode stop now.  Shift your thinking, collaborate with others and find a way to motivate, inspire and engage while you still can.  That is the KEY phrase..."while you still can".  In less than a month your fingerprint on this group of students will be over.  Sure you can still play a minor part, but not like you can now.

How will you THRIVE in the final month?

Great Things Noticed or Heard:

-Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!  Our wonderful Warner parents supplied five days of delicious lunches!  I must say, shame on you parents...those desserts were irresistible : )
-A big thank you to Mr. Kinney, your assistance Friday was much appreciated.
- Terrific Mother's Day Celebration on Thursday morning with Mrs. Archer's classroom and Mom's!  I loved hearing all the wonderful things kids say about mom's.  The portraits they drew are keepers.
-Kudos to Mrs. Dault.  I really enjoyed my time in her classroom, the kids wrote nice poems and learned good restaurant manners.  Great approach!
-Really enjoyed my morning in Mrs. Moffitt's room.  Students were working on the letter Q...Kenneth was trying so hard to rhyme different Q words.  Not sure if this qualifies...quarter and quamer?  Sounded cute though.
-Chief Ratkiewicz had someone turn in a cell phone, it had my number in it.  He called me and then walked over to Warner.  As I walked off the soccer field the kids couldn't stop talking about me and the chief chatting!
-Best news about his visit, the phone was Mr. Delor's!  Glad that worked out for the best!
-Started a new class this week.  Finance and School Economics...I can hear you all groaning, but I was pleasantly surprised after week one.
-Walk to School Day was a hit!  Kids love just the right amount of exercise.
-A dad came in this week.  He asked if he could go give a hug to his kindergarten daughter...he said he wasn't real nice this morning and wanted her to know he's sorry (#goodparenting)
-Got a chance to share information about myself in Mrs. Holton's class.  Kids loved the pictures, wearing the color yellow, seeing me hold a stuffed animal and devouring fruit roll-ups!
-Saw a very disgusting (but also fascinating) picture of gum thanks to Mrs. Oliver and Sid!
-2nd graders raved about the trip to Impression 5!  Heard great stories about bubbles, teeth, and shadows. Hands-on learning is the best!
-Congrats to Makaila M. for being first to correctly solve the Friday riddle.
-So grateful for the flexibility from Mrs. Holton and Mrs. King with the Band Fitting.  Very thankful!
-Happened to notice Mr. Lenhart and Mrs. Shearer returned both Thursday and Friday to enjoy delicious lunches.
-Livingston surprised me again.  This time he wrote personal letters to all of Mrs. Valentine's students.  It's easy to spell quality, just like this...L...I...V...I...N...G...S...T...O...N!  You're a class act young man.
-Observed Lyle Torrant this week.  Always good for me to see other schools, gives me great perspective on how wonderful we have it at Warner!

Articles worth your time:

10 collaborative projects for school
Recapturing the last days of school
10 videos every educator should watch
Website for creating classroom certificates

Videos worth your time:

Most Teens Don't video shot in Downtown Jackson.
Can you guess who Dorothy is?  Look close, I bet you recognize her.

Wouldn't this be a pleasant surprise?  I think yes!

MUST SEE VIDEO, thank you Dan Spencer.  Only 4 minutes and very powerful personal testimony. 

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