Saturday, June 2, 2012

From atop the Soapbox

Next Week at a Glance:

Monday, June 4th:  4th and 5th grade Field Day
Tuesday, June 5th:  Final Panther Pride lunch of the year
Wednesday, June 6th:  No Assembly
Wednesday, June 6th:  Final Fire Drill in the PM
Thursday, June 7th:  5th grade graduation
Friday, June 8th:  K-3 Field Day
Friday, June 8th:  1/2 day students (Last Day of School)

*  Teachers please remember to contact me in regards to the Student Growth Data meeting
*  Teachers in grades 2-5, please remember all cabinets must be emptied before you leave for the summer, if you need boxes let me know
*  Teachers please be sure to complete the End of Year checklist before you leave for the summer
*  Teachers if you are going to be taking a field trip and plan to miss lunch please inform the cafeteria

Continuous Pursuit of Improvement

Think back to when you were getting ready to begin your first year teaching.  Remember the enthusiasm, excitement, and energy you had.  These were the days that you could change the world, cure cancer, fix every child, and find time to enjoy life outside of school!  These were also the days that no matter what anyone said to you, you remained positive, upbeat, and confident.  Oh to be a first year teacher, the zest for life, and the wherewithal to do whatever it takes to succeed.

Something must be said for this vigor and enthusiasm.  We all had it (or at least most of us did), and I want to try and pinpoint what we had...I think it was a mixture of becoming a professional and a drive to be our very best.  

As you wrap up another year, lets not think of it as another year.  Lets think of it as a good year, but lets try and make next year even better.  The continuous pursuit of improvement!  

Sure it's easy to get bogged down by Federal and State mandates (Common Core), educational trends (flipping classrooms), bureaucratic decisions (insurance and etc...), State and Local Assessing.  I challenge you not to get bogged down, not to say, "its another fad", I challenge you to look at things as though it was your first day on the job.  

What if... What if you were just beginning your journey in education and your first year was with the common core?  What if you were just beginning teaching and you heard of flipping lessons?   What if you read Harry Wong and you couldn't wait to inspire every child?  What if you treated things as if it was your first day on the job, I bet your outlook would be filled with hope and possibility.

As you prepare to take a well deserved summer break, I would simply like to say this:  The passion that made you enter teaching will never go away.  You'll always have a passion for educating.  Let your passion come to the forefront.  You'd be surprised, passion and youthful enthusiasm are contagious.

Healthy suggestions to keep the passion alive:

1.  Try something you've never done before
2.  Complete something you've been putting off for a long while
3.  Read an inspiring book
4.  Take a class that challenges your mindset
5.  Volunteer, it's amazing how good you 'll feel

Summer Break is needed by everyone.  Try to find one area or more that you can improve on over the summer, here is my list-

My Summer improvement plans:

- I'll take and complete my first ever Finance class
- I'll finish reading Shifting the Monkey
- I'll begin reading Good to Great
- I'll participate in at least one ED chat a week on Twitter
- I'll write at least one grant for the building
- Play with my kids (this will help with my youthful enthusiasm)
- Break 19 minutes!  (If you know me, then you know I'm determined to do this)
- I'll learn to make a Prezi
- Take my wife on several dates (gotta remember what is really important)

Saying Goodbye can be tough...

This is our final week of school, please try and remember some students are not looking forward to this.  School is their safe place, they find comfort and love from you.  These are the students that may be most challenging this week, if you find yourself losing patience, understand in all likelihood it isn't you, it's their anxiety of losing you.

Stop in and watch Mrs. Valentine in action this week!  After June 8th we are going to lose one of the very best.  If Warner had a Hall of Fame she'd be on it.  Mrs. Valentine you've made the difference in so many student lives.  Your soft spoken, caring mentality is your greatest asset.  Remember this, none of us want you to go, and we expect to see your smiling face back in the building from time to time.  Enjoy retirement and enjoy your well deserved family time!

This is the final week for our fifth graders at Warner.  In one way or another each of you has been a part of their journey.  They graduate on Thursday, and then it's off to the Middle School!

Boy and Girl Quest wrapped up on Saturday with their 5K.  I was lucky enough to run with several great kids.  My favorite part was watching the determination and perseverance in so many of them.

Articles Worth Your Time:

Education hitting an Iceberg?
15 Educational Experiences Kids won't have in the future
Coolest Absence Note Ever!  (If Mrs. Powers ever received one of these I'd frame it!)
10 things you can do to make yourself an EDTech Star

Videos Worth Watching:

Touching, Inspiring,  a video I'll be sharing with Upper El. next September at a PLC assembly.

A great explanation of how a video goes viral.  I enjoyed this, and also found it quite fascinating. 

I sat with Dean Archer at MACUL and listened to Kevin Honeycutt.  Simply put, he blew me away!  His words and methods are all about preparing kids for the future.  Kevin created this music video, I enjoyed it.  This video made me think of how I can change, and make education more 21st Century.  The message is simple...It's about the Kids!