The Power of One

“Sports reminds us what history has long revealed — that courage is contagious.

That the actions of a single individual can impact those whose faces they will never see. And that a single voice can resound through generations.

This month, we honor those who have let their actions and their voices speak– not only for themselves, but for us all. That the challenges that we face, with the courage, the conscience, and the power that resides in each of us.”


The Importance of Social and Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning is the core of essential learning. Without these necessary core social skills, students are not prepared to continue their learning in the classroom.

The implementation of the CARE program in the school highlighted in the video below has changed the culture and climate of this school. The principal has observed that less time is spent mediated conflicts and practicing social and emotional learning has allowed the students to collaborate and exist together with fewer conflicts.

Like the principal in this video, I greet my students every morning to wish them a “Good morning”, give high fives and wish my students and parents a great day. I want my students to know that we want them here on our campus and I am hoping that being visible allows the parents to feel as if their student is safe with us.

18 apps that curate creativity

A couple of days ago, I came across an article on Edutopia that introduces 18 apps that assist in the curation of creative sharing.

Some of the apps have been mentioned in our class by not just by our instructor but also by some of my colleagues (in particular, Wayne). These apps can be used by educators, parents, and students to assist in the creativity process.

Here is the article:

15 minutes of anything but work… Recess in high school

The first thing I tell all of my middle school students that will be transitioning to high school is, “There is no longer a recess time.” Why is that?

When you have an eight hour job, you are allotted two 15 minute breaks and a 30-60 minute lunch daily. Research has found that taking a break allows us to clear our minds and lower our stress levels. This allows us to focus better when we are asked to accomplish a task .

So if our mission is to prepare our students for college or career readiness,  then why are we taking this break away from our students?

In the video below, you will observe a high school that has incorporated a “recess” into their day. The purpose of this break is to give their students 15 minutes of mindfulness and/or activities that allows them to engage with their peers in a comfortable and meaningful way.

Technology on the past and present state of education

Why technology fails to revolutionize education? Derek Muller published this video discussing some very interesting ideas on the past and present state of education and the effect that technology has had on it.

The topic of teachers also comes up and guess what? Again it is found that the most important role of the teacher is to connect with students, motivate and encourage them to learn.

Take a few moments to watch this video questioning if technology has altered the way students learn, retain or disseminate information:

Flipping Classrooms…lessons at home and homework at school

As I was browsing through as I normally do, I came across a story on a Principal, Greg Green, who was sure that he could make a difference at his school but couldn’t quite put his finger on the change he needed to make.

Being the principal of the school for 12 years and a club baseball coach outside of work, he started to correlate the time he spent with his players and what they did outside of practice to improve their skills. He would send his players home with film of their practices and have them watch them at home. This gave him more time to work on mechanics when he was with them and allowed him more time to fix problems rather than explaining them to his players.

Green decided to put this practice into his classrooms at his school; thus, he flipped a classroom of struggling students as a pilot to compare with an average classroom. The results were the once struggling students now out-performed the average students’ class.

Green was now able to get buy-in from the rest of his staff and by 2011, his entire school had flipped classrooms. He was able to assess that it was not just the technology piece of watching the online module at home and front-loading the information but for the most part the process of the teacher assisting and being available for support in the process of applying the module to the classwork.

The schools failure rate dropped from 35% to 10% in only two years.

Take a look at this article/video of how this change affected Green and his students:

Just right books…Wonderful things happen when children read at their level

One of the biggest areas where students are struggling at my site and around the nation is in literacy. And early intervention is not prescribed as part of the average RtI plan. What about our Kindergarten through third graders that are below level? Where can we start?

Attached is a short article on the importance of children reading just right books. Richard Allington, an expert in reading and literacy, states that reading abilities of children will significantly improve just by providing kids books at their reading level as well as provide an opportunity for them to read them.

As a result of this research, many of the principals in my area, including myself have started establishing classroom libraries so that our students will have access to many books at their reading level in their classrooms.

Moreover, some of us have started using assessments (i.e., Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA)) to determine what level kids are at, as it is crucial that children are reading independently at their level.

Although I have discussed classroom libraries, this article is about reading at home and getting books in kids hands at home. While my colleagues and I may not have the resources to buy books for each student’s home, what we can do is allow students to take a couple of just right books home every day from school. We are aware that some books may get lost or never return back to school, but the literacy gain will far outweigh the possible risks.