Sunday, April 27, 2014

Critical Conversations are part of the deal


Some call it a necessary evil, others just call it honesty.  Whatever or however you refer to it critical conversations happen each day in life (not just schools).  Below are challenges that I'm choosing to share to help everyone have the courage to engage in these pivotal discussions.

It was about a month ago when I had a conversation with a group of educators and I left extremely disappointed.  The four of us were discussing a transitional student and it was clear to me that the student had special needs and would require additional support.  Throughout the conversation I listened to other educators explain why they had not broached the subject with parents.  Simply put I felt the "buck" was being passed.

This conversation brought a few emotions.  First, I felt disappointment, I was upset because my mentality is and always will be that we are in this together.  We don't pass off issues...we deal with them.  We are the professionals and professionals must be willing to have critical conversations. Second, I felt sadness for other schools and educators.  I imagined other schools that now would have to talk to parents and bring up difficult truths.  This isn't easy, because sometimes parents don't want to hear it, or get so upset that they pull their child from the school.  It's sad.

To be candid, I don't relish confrontation or tough conversations.  I certainly don't go looking for them, but I'm willing to be honest and share my thoughts.  One major hurdle for me was my position or standing.  As a classroom teacher I had a very difficult time confronting my colleagues.  Repeatedly I would witness things that saddened me, but I was reluctant to do anything about it.  There was a time that I would make a point to NEVER go in the teachers lounge.  

Over time two things changed, experience and my position.

Experience can be a game changer.  When you come to peace with what is truly best for kids it becomes easier to engage in critical conversations.  It's unfortunate how many times the conversation will be twisted and turned and the focus becomes the individual and not what is best for kids.

Another struggle I often have is internal.  When I need to have a tough, honest conversation with someone I analyze how it will be received.  Will the individual grow from the conversation?  Will this person shut down and become defensive?  Is this the conversation I need to have for the best interest of my students and building?  Simply put, is this where I draw my line in the sand?

I'll be straightforward, I choose my tough conversations carefully.  Often times I will think, is this critical to our students?  That one question drives my decision making.  If it isn't critical then I begin to think about the building culture.  The reason I think about the culture is that a negative tone spreads much quicker than a positive tone.  It doesn't take long for people to become negative, yet it feels like forever to swing people to the positive side.

Over the years I have learned and continue to learn new strategies for dealing with critical conversations.  Below are my 2 cents on engaging in tough conversations.

First, make the conversation safe.  What this means is, don't engage someone in front of others.  Find a quiet place to have the talk.

Second, try hard to not be abrasive.  We are all human beings and criticism typically doesn't feel good. Be a human, empathize, but also be strong enough to get the point across.

Third, control your emotions.  This is vital.  If it is one thing I can assure you it is this, sometimes individuals feel that criticism is a personal attack and then they strike back.  Do not engage in personal attacks.  Stay cool, stay professional and try to refocus the conversation if it turns personal.

Fourth, treat the individual with respect.  It is important to go into a conversation with a plan.  My best advice is to be honest and human.  Don't lose sight of the goal.  Don't over think the situation, focus on what is best for students.

Fifth, your best friend can often be documentation.  Too often individuals dodge the tough talks because they believe they don't have enough supported facts.  Don't let this be your downfall. Document and reference moments of concern.

Sixth, this is not about winning and losing.  This should be about doing what is best for students and the school.  Anytime I fear a conversation I come back to one simple thought, "Is this helping or hurting our students?"  Sometimes that simple thought spurs me into action.

Seventh, when it comes to critical conversations you need to find inner strength and also inner peace. The strength to have the conversation, and the peace to move forward once it is over.

We have important roles, we work with kids and we help shape the future.  Day in and day out we teach students to stand up for themselves and do what is right.  Yet often times as adults we don't follow these same words.

This Week's Big Questions:  Are you willing to engage in the tough conversations with colleagues or parents? Have you ever felt disappointed in someone that you knew was unwilling to have the tough talks?

Check out the Movie Clip 42 at the bottom for a classic crucial conversation.
Is there anything you would add or change to this?  I'd love to get feedback from all people.  Share your take on crucial conversations.


NEXT WEEK AT A GLANCE:

Monday, April 28th:  1pm SAU tutor Meeting with Deb Scripter
Monday, April 28th:  1pm 1:1 Tech Meeting
Monday, April 28th:  4-5pm Minecraft Club/Lego Club
Tuesday, April 29th:  9:30 Admin Meeting
Tuesday, April 29th:  Minecraft Club/Lego Club 4-5pm
Tuesday, April 29th:  Tech N' Taco Night 6pm - 7:15pm
Wednesday, April 30th:  9am Assembly with all grades (Musical with Mrs. Fitz)
Wednesday, April 30th:  3pm - 4pm String team/Minecraft Club
Thursday, May 1st:  Fire drill in the AM
Thursday, May 1st:  Lego Club/Boy & Girl Quest 4-5pm
Thursday, May 1st:  7pm Musical for grades 1, 3, 5
Thursday, May 1st:  Top Teacher Award at Ella Sharp Park
Friday, May 2nd:  Grades K, 1 and 2 StoryFest


Articles Worth Reading:

How Staying Uncomfortable is the Key to Success +Patrick Larkin @patrickmlarkin

What's This, "Connected Teaching, Learning & Leadership" all about? +Joe Mazza @Joe_Mazza

Using Metaphors to describe your school +Jennifer Hogan @Jennifer_Hogan

2 Student Beliefs That Can Change Everything +Terry Heick  @TeachThought

Scores are in +Todd Nesloney @TechNinjaTodd

What innovation looks like in an Elementary School +A.J. Juliani @ajjuliani

50 Apps that clarify 50 new ways to learn +TeachThought @TeachThought

Now What?  +Tony Sinanis @TonySinanis

Simple Yet Effective +Eric Sheninger @NMHS_Principal

5 Creative Resumes That Did The Job (and 5 keys to build your own)  @YouTernMark

6 Easy to Steal Rituals of Extremely Successful People +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel

My New Favorite Race @ShutUpRun


Videos Worth Watching:

Importance of a Good Nights Sleep (4 min) +TheEllenShow






This clip always cracks me up...but it also gets me in trouble.



Are you willing to stand up for what is right? Fantastic clip from the Movie 42! (1 min)





Interesting and compelling movie (2 min)




Friday, April 18, 2014

Trending Forward

Spring is an interesting time of the year.  I typically think of fresh beginnings.  This Spring has done nothing to change those thoughts.  A couple weeks ago I was asked to be on a panel at a local university and talk to education students about everything from educational trends to keeping life balanced.  The panel discussion was actually just one in a series of events.  Since February I have had numerous conversations with prospective educators and educators looking for new challenges.  I have felt a sense of pride that people have had the confidence in me to ask for my thoughts.  The most common conversation I have had always seems to come back to trends in education.

This got me thinking, what do I see as the top ten trending ideas in education.  So here goes:

10) Wifi in all schools.  This is simply a no-brainer.

9)  1:1 Technology that has the potential to morph into a BYOD -Bring Your Own Device.  One of the major goals of schools is to prepare students for the future.  It goes without saying that technology is going to be a major part of our future.  I really like the Districts that are able to implement something close to a 1:1 and then evolve to a BYOD.  The reasons I like BYOD is this, we need students to understand multiple devices, we shouldn't pigeon hole them into just one.  It isn't about the technology, it's about the learning and doing.

8)  Flipped Classrooms.  This may not be the hottest topic at the elementary level, but I see flipping as a segway into Blended Learning.  Flipping the Classrooms allows teachers and students to better utilize class time.  It also allows students to do the learning on their terms.  As an educator you may not choose to Flip Your Classroom, but you should be aware of what it is.



7)  Gamification Learning.  This is a growing trend in education.  We all know that most students love to play video games.  In many ways it is the ultimate engager!  So the question is, how can educators harness this tool and use it to their advantage?  I for one am intrigued.  I learned a lot growing up and playing, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego and from the Legend of Zelda.  I expect Gamification to continue to grow.  Check this out: Gamification Infographic

6)  Maker Movement/Project Based Learning/Genius Hour.  I lump these together, but they are not the same thing.  Let's start with PBL, the common core lends itself to exploration and discovery.  What better way to achieve this than through projects?  Allow students to discover answers and share information.  Project Based Learning has been around for a long time, but recently is has regained momentum.  As a classroom teacher and principal I get a lot of joy from checking out what students have created.  Maker Movement has some similarities, but it is also scientific in its approach.  Students are creating and making as they solve problems.  One part of me believes the Maker Movement is the wave of the future.  As soon as the Next Generation Science Standards are finalized we will all see a huge shift in focus.  I believe science will become a MAJOR focus.  Finally, Genius Hour, I'm a big fan of Genius Hour, but I realize it is a process.  Initially I looked at Genius Hour with skepticism. Now I see the value and the ownership that students take.  Genius Hour is here to stay!

5)  Paper Less classrooms.  This may seem drastic, but I must admit it excites me.  With increased technology, student blogging, online learning and the ability to create multiple ways to show what you know, paper and packets are quickly becoming archaic tools.  If you want to begin to dabble in the paper-less movement I suggest looking into Evernote.  I believe you will quickly find it is easier than you ever imagined.

4)  Taking charge of your own LEARNING.  For new educators and for experienced educators the times of District Professional Development being the only source of growth are LONG GONE! Educators can now attend FREE Edcamps, participate in Twitter chats, and talk face2face on Skype or Google Hangout with other professionals.  I have openly informed all perspective educators that this is a key component for new teachers.  Administrators are looking for individuals that have the drive to grow, improve and try new things.  Do you own your own learning?

3)  Blended and Hybrid Learning Environments.  It has already begun.  Students and parents are looking for an individualized education.  Families don't want to be tied to a school schedule and for some students they crave choice.  Over the next few years I predict High Schools to take on a new model.  We will begin to see hybrid learning environments, students will spend part of their day in class, part online and part on their own.  Teachers will begin to create online lessons that allow students to learn at their own pace.  Now all students will come to school at 7:30 and leave at 3pm.  As this takes off I predict more and more students will get involved with internships.

2)  Truly understanding differentiation and engagement.  For some time these words have been thrown out there.  It is vital for educators to have a true sense of how to differentiate their classroom and then how that differentiation increases student engagement.  I'm a believer that all students can learn, it is our job to find the motivator and the way to pull them in.  Relationships are always key!

1)  Sharing The Great Stories Everyday!  The time is now.  We as educators MUST share the positive things happening in classroom and schools on a daily basis.  Educators have an endless amount of tools to communicate the greatness.  There is Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Animoto, email, Instagram, Remind101...the tools are endless.  If you are not sharing the positive stories you are missing out on a golden opportunity.

As you check out my top ten trends notice I didn't put anything on there that is curriculum specific. This is for good reason.  I am an authentic learning believer.  My goal is always to empower teachers with tools for their toolbox, but I do not want to force teachers into a one-size fits all method.  The resources available to educators are endless, and I hope people are willing to get messy and find the tool(s) that works best in their classroom.

So now you see my list.  What would you add or subtract?  Better yet, do you have a top ten educational trends list?

This week's big question:  What was one educational trend from five years ago?  Any guesses?


NEXT WEEK AT A GLANCE:

Monday, April 21st:  Morning IEP's
Monday, April 21st:  3:45pm 1:1 Leadership Meeting
Monday, April 21st:  4 - 5pm Minecraft Club
Monday, April 21st:  4 - 5pm Lego Club
Monday, April 21st:  KDG Round-Up
Tuesday, April 22nd:  EARTH DAY
Tuesday, April 22nd:  Morning IEP's
Tuesday, April 22nd:  Minecraft Club 4 - 5pm
Tuesday, April 22nd:  Lego Club 4 - 5pm
Tuesday, April 22nd Boy & Girl Quest 4 - 5pm
Tuesday, April 22nd:  KDG Round-Up
Tuesday, April 22nd:  Science Night at Warner from 6pm - 7:30pm
Wednesday, April 23rd:  Grades K-2 morning assembly
Wednesday, April 23rd:  National Secretary Day!
Wednesday, April 23rd:  KDG Round-Up
Wednesday, April 23rd:  Minecraft Club 3 - 4pm
Wednesday, Apri 23rd:  String Team 3 - 4pm
Thursday, April 24th:  KDG Round-Up
Thursday, April 24th:  Lego Club 4 - 5pm
Thursday, April 24th:  Boy & Girl Quest 4 - 5pm
Friday, April 25th:  Staff Meeting at 8am in Mrs. Smith's classroom
Saturday, April 26th:  Happy Bday to Patti Dault
Sunday, April 27th:  Happy Bday to Joleen Hurt


Articles Worth Reading:

8 Things I'd Like To Change in Education +Justin Tarte @justintarte

Rip the Training Wheels Off @jonharper70bd

4 Tips for a Successful Parent-Teacher Conference +Erin Klein @KleinErin

4 Types of Leaders You Shouldn't Be +George Couros @gcouros

The Case for Change +Nicholas Provenzano @thenerdyteacher

Plant a Seed of Change +Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp

How To Make It To The End Of The School Year +Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher

Exposure +Josh Stumpenhorst @stumpteacher

60 Apps in 60 Seconds +Scott McLeod @mcleod

What Principals can learn from Kliff Kingsbury... +Amber Teamann @8Amber8

Now What?  +Tony Sinanis @TonySinanis

25 Things You Should Never Stop Doing For Yourself +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel


Videos Worth Watching:

My Digital Stamp.  How will you be remembered? (18 min) shared by @Joesanfelippofc




Unsung Hero!  This is amazing...must see. (3 min) @jvbevacqua 





Pass it Forward...how will you make a difference? (2 min)





Use it or Lose it...Love this from Ellen! (2 min) @TheEllenShow








Sunday, April 13, 2014

What determines a successful school year?

This past week I went to a county educator meeting and I listened to back and forth chatter about Standardized Test scores, Smarter Balance and student achievement.  I listened.  I grew more and more agitated under the surface.  I began to think about some of our students that in all likelihood won't excel at "the test".  I began to think, "Is this why I got into education?"  I truly wish standardized tests didn't exist.  I don't believe they are the solution.  I drove back to Warner after that meeting with mixed feelings.  One thought I couldn't get out of my head is, "If a student is not proficient does that mean the student is a failure?"  Does it?


This now brings me to this week's focus story.  Back in August I was wrapping up class lists and we had a move-in student to the district.  This student was a 5th grader and he also came with a very thick file.  As I looked at his file I became a bit nervous for our staff, but I also became very sad for this student.  The cards had been stacked against him for years.  He had been shuffled here and there and everywhere.  

My nerves were worn thin because the two previous years we had students with EI labels in Gen. Ed and things were volatile.  I was skeptical that this might be a repeat.  

From the beginning I found the young man very likable.  He had a grunge look about him, and I watched him with his younger sister and her friends and I saw a kindness that was underneath the rough exterior.  I began to wonder if the exterior was a facade.  Is this young man broken underneath and is he simply trying to cover things up with his appearance?

Before the year actually began I sat down with several staff members and ISD personnel to put together an action plan to be proactive.  The plan had the student taking breaks and receiving multiple check-ins from several adults throughout the day.  On paper we had something to start with and most everyone seemed good with it.

The first few months went well.  The young man was off to a good start, he thrived at 5th grade camp and he was experiencing small gains.  I made the comment to @DelorSara that if this student fails we as adults failed him.  I truly believed this.  Now please understand, he was getting out of class multiple times during the day and academically he was showing minimal growth.  BUT, I was looking at his history and I kept thinking that this is a damaged young man...we need to help him heal socially and emotionally before we can expect academic strides.

Then December arrived and things began to go down hill.  I had to adjust his transportation, we needed to revisit our plan for him and I met with parents on multiple occasions.  Things were headed south.  I began to reflect and think that part of this students struggles were not new to us.  I imagine many of you have students that have difficulty at school before extended school breaks.  The kids don't realize it, but they miss school, they miss the structure, security and the consistent care.  I had a hunch that was what we were seeing with him.

We were able to weather the December storm, but little did we know more storms were on the horizon. During the months of February and March we had a plethora of meetings on this young man.  We had Intervention Meetings, TEAM meetings, Parent Meetings and his IEP yearly meeting.  We also met with the 6th grade TEAM for more than an hour.  I was to the point that I felt like we were "talking" the situation to death!  The situation was not improving and to boot everyone involved was trying to take the student off of my plate (side note: I didn't ask for him to be taken off my plate).  

Then in early to mid-March we devised a plan that we are still holding strong to.  Now let's think about this:  First, the student moves in to the district with an abundance of needs.  Second, a plan is put in place, but only seems to do the trick for the first nine weeks (or as some call it, the "honeymoon" period). Third, as adults we begin to brainstorm what is best (this lasts for months as we try new strategies and interventions).  Fourth, it is now the final nine weeks that this student is in our building, the plan is somewhat successful, but nothing is a magic wand.  Finally, we have 7 1/2 weeks of school remaining, we now know the student.  How do we make this end on a positive note and set the student up for success moving forward?

I imagine as you read this you have experienced something similar.  As educators we sometimes look for the magic wand, the ultimate fix.  The truth is some of our students are very complex and it may take years to completely turn things in the right direction.  You must trust and believe that what you do as an educator makes a difference.  You must also believe that academics is not always the most important thing in a student's life.  How dare I, as an administrator, say such a thing?  But it's the truth! This young man is not going to show a lot of growth academically, until he experiences sustained, long term social and emotional growth. He is participating in Boy Quest (he is one of 16 boys training for a Spring 5K).  He helped lay tile in our gym over Spring Break.  He has learned to blog.  He has learned to look forward to school...not for academic reasons, he looks forward to being with people that take time during their busy day to check on him and help him. School is not all about academic growth...social and emotional growth are critical to a child's overall development.

So I end with this:  Is academic growth the end all say all?  If a student doesn't show growth has their year been a failure or a loss?  Think back to a student you have or have had in years' past.  How did you make their life better?  Did you make the effort to walk in their shoes?  Do you understand why they act out and put up defenses?  I, for one, can't always walk in their shoes, but I can give them the support, love and patience that they truly need.

This Week's Big Question:  What determines a successful school year?  

NEXT WEEK AT A GLANCE:

Monday, April 14th:  Arnold Elementary Teachers visit Warner
Monday, April 14th:  1:1 Tech meeting at 1pm
Monday, April 14th:  Minecraft 4-5pm
Tuesday, April 15th:  Keicher Elementary Teachers visit Warner in the PM
Tuesday, April 15th:  Baby Shower for Amber 4-5pm
Tuesday, April 15th:  Minecraft 4-5pm
Wednesday, April 16th:  Grades 3-5 assembly at 8:45am
Wednesday, April 16th:  Minecraft 3-4pm
Wednesday, April 16th:  String Team 3-4pm
Thursday, April 17th:  Fire Drill in the AM
Thursday, April 17th 8am Staff Meeting
Thursday, April 17th:  Farewell to Emily Ke at SAU 1pm
Thursday, April 17th:  Andy Griffith's author visit 2-3pm for grades 3 and 4
Friday, April 18th:  Good Friday

Articles Worth Reading:

Why I'm Giving the Bammy's a 2nd Chance and You Should Too +Joe Mazza @Joe_Mazza

What is a Great Teacher? +Amanda Dykes @amandacdykes

How Many? +Joan Young @flourishingkids

Technology will replace Face 2 Face Interaction... +George Couros @gcouros

Embrace Your Vulnerability +Jimmy Casas @casas_jimmy

Matters of Creativity: 10 Things To Inspire +Krissy Venosdale @venspired

The Power of Storytelling +Joe Sanfelippo @Joesanfelippofc

They Don't Judge Him @jonharper70bd

You May Say I'm a Dreamer... +Brad Wilson @dreambition

4 Good Reminders When You've Had a Bad Day +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel


Videos Worth Watching:


Google Glass...I'm going to try and get a pair! (2 min)




How to start a Youtube Channel...entertaining and filled with great tips. (8 min) @veritasium 



Kelvin Doe shares more of his story during a Ted Talk! (10 min)



Let it Goat? Sure to make you smile : )  (1 min) @TheEllenShow 



Friday, April 4, 2014

#1in68

Five years ago I would have considered my son to be the exception.  Now he's becoming the rule.


I remember watching Drew as a youngster, he was fascinated by John Deere tractors.  Next came Hot Wheels, after that it was Star Wars and now it's Minecraft.  It's important to note that fixations alone do not make a child autistic.  The point is, as I've watched my son grow I've picked up on his areas of strength and his areas of weakness.  I guess it is easy to say that he gets stuck...and in those moments of getting stuck you can clearly see his autism.

Fives years ago my wife and I first began to hear about autism.  At that time Drew was diagnosed with Aspergers, simply put, he was/is a high functioning autistic child.  For the next couple of years my wife Amy read several stories and articles about autism.  We both consulted area experts and we helped Drew the best we could with psychiatrists, psychologists and lots of love and patience.  When we first heard about aspergers and autism it was pretty rare.  The odds were roughly 1 out of 150 children in 2009 were diagnosed with ASD.  As an educator I rarely had students that were on the Autistic spectrum.

To take it a step further, in the year 1999, my first year in the classroom, the odds were roughly 1 out of 400 children would be diagnosed with autism.  At that time it was uncommon.  Fast forward to 2010, my first year as Warner Principal, we had four students on the spectrum.  My second year we had seven students diagnosed with ASD.  This year we are over ten students that are on the autism spectrum.

In the year 2014 Autism is currently diagnosed in 1 out of 68 children.  That number is quickly rising. I will guarantee that you WILL have an autistic spectrum student in your classroom if not now in the very near future.

What does it mean to have a student with autism in your classroom?  It first means that we must all understand what autism is; (to paraphrase from so many sources that I cannot even count) Autism Spectrum Disorder typically means that the individual has social impairments, communication difficulties, lack of empathy and difficulty understanding social cues and norms.  This is just the tip of the iceberg (so to speak).  I encourage you to check out the links below for more information.  

On a more personal level I do have some advice for all educators.

1)  Autistic Students struggle with change.  Change of schedule, change of rules, change of routine are all difficult.  Creating a visual schedule is key.  It is also highly effective to front-load the student with changes before they occur.  If you know there will be a surprise assembly, you may want to talk with your autistic student before hand and give the student a "heads-up".  Visual schedules can be small (desk size) or large (for everyone to see).

2)  Autistic Students will not respond the way you hope or expect.  My own son struggles with eye contact.  When he was younger most people that encountered him would remark that he was rude.  My wife and I worked very hard to get Drew to understand society...our biggest wish was that society would understand Drew.  If you have an autistic student you cannot expect the student to understand sarcasm, tone and body language.  You need to keep it simple and straightforward.  If you are an "old-school" person that DEMANDS eye contact...my advice is, get over it!  Many autistic students will withdraw or shut down if you require this.

3)  Expect frustration, anger, depression and sadness:  Imagine life for yourself, what if people didn't understand you?  What if you went through life knowing and feeling different?  Autistic students feel this each day and this manifests into anger, frustration, sadness and even depression.  My wife and I noticed the depression in second grade.  That was our first clue that Drew needed more support than we could give him. Even today I still worry, I worry that he is depressed on the inside.  Our family has tried to become better listeners, more patient, more understanding and simply loving.

A few weeks ago a student that is on the spectrum came up to the office.  He looked very down and depressed.  I immediately tried a couple of tricks to perk him up.  I asked, "Guess what color my socks are?"  He just shrugged.  So I said it again, "Guess what color my socks are?"  I then added, "C'mon, just a guess, I'll give you a Hershey kiss."  Well that worked...he muttered, "White."  I replied, "WHITE! WHITE! Mr. Gilpin never wears white socks!"  I then showed him my purple socks that matched my purple tie!  He smirked.  I then said, come here it looks like you need a hug.  I gotta tell you, he melted into my hug.  That's exactly what he needed.  He just felt down and needed somebody to slow down and take care of him.


My advice: You need to be prepared to slow down and love your kids.

4)  Offer choice in your classroom.  What I have discovered is that students in general respond better to choice activities rather than being forced to do something.  This can definitely be said for students with ASD. My advice, use their fixation to your advantage.  You may find that allowing them to do what they are passionate about will bring out their best work and their happiest frame of mind.  Be willing to let go of the way things have always been.

5)  Allow your Autistic Students to share their story.  Notice I said allow...do not force them to.  My son chose to share his story during his fourth grade year.  This made a huge difference.  He had pictures, information and simply told his classmates about Autism and about himself. He took ownership and pride in the fact that, this is who he is.  If you have a student that is old enough to understand and share I would talk with the parents and see if they want to share their story.

April is Autism Awareness Month, you will see puzzle piece ribbons and you will see lots of "blue" for autism awareness.  I encourage you to learn more about autism, and I will assure you, you will encounter a student with autism, if not now...very soon.

This Week's Big Question:  Are you prepared to educate students with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Next Week At A Glance:

Monday, April 7th:  Reading Month Winners get a Limo Ride and Lunch at 12 noon!
Monday, April 7th:  Minecraft Club 4-5pm
Tuesday, April 8th:  PTO Meeting at 7pm
Tuesday, April 8th:  Minecraft Club 4-5pm
Wednesday, April 9th:  Assembly
Wednesday, April 9th:  Minecraft Club 3-4pm
Wednesday, April 9th:  String Team 3-4pm
Thursday, April 10th:  Spring Pictures
Thursday, April 10th:  New Kindergarten Parent Meeting at CAC 7pm
Friday, April 10th:  Consumers Energy visits the 4th grade

Staff:  I'm looking for any volunteers to help with our Lego Club. We should be starting in two weeks.


Articles Worth Reading:

68 Things To Know About Students With Autism @HuffingtonPost

Autism Awareness - Show Appreciation @PrincipalHowell

A Once In A Lifetime Trip To The Zoo (Take That Autism) @aspieadventures

The Starfish Story (Shared by Shelley Singleton) @Events_4_Change

Here Kitty, Kitty (take the time to read and watch the short video) +Spike Cook @DrSpikeCook

Epic eBook Guide +Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher

Organizational Apps @theOCBlog

We Carry It With Us +Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp

Hurt Heart +Joan Young @flourishingkids

Who's in charge here? @jonharper70bd

10 Reasons Why Vacations are Hard @ShutUpRun

40 Amazing Things You Will Never Forget +Marc Chernoff @marcandangel


Videos Worth Watching:


Twinned with Autism (3 min)



Journey of Hope (13 minutes)




JMac Hoop Dream (5 min)



Touching...even if it is an ad. (2 min)