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Monday, December 9, 2013

Sunshine Award

I am truly honored and humbled to be nominated for the Sunshine Award.  It states from these two fine educators:
The Sunshine award gives others an opportunity to learn more about me as a blogger, then, in turn, I will send sunshine the way of 11 other amazing bloggers for you to get to know.
Thank you Amber Teamann & Paul Wagoner for nominating me for Sunshine Award. They are both so much better bloggers than me and are edurockstars! I’m just an old superintendent trying to keep up.

Here are the Sunshine Award Rules:
  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)

Here are my 11 Random facts…
1.       I’m a lover of the arts as much as I am sports. I have a lot of money on my walls at my home.
2.       When my granddaughter says “hi Pappa” my heart melts.
3.       I live in Corpus Christ…on the coast, but I am NOT a beach person!
4.       My wife and I have been on 5 cruises, that is our way for travel.
5.       My hobby (which I have not done in a couple of years) is building golf clubs. All the clubs in my bag are built by me.
6.       I get to be on the headphones during varsity football games with the head coach. “You can take the man out of coaching, but you can’t take the coaching out of the man.”
7.       I think I am a pretty good cook and my wife will tend to agree.
8.       I tend to like to landscape, even build flower beds, but only when I am ready to do it.
9.       I went from coaching & being an athletic director to serving as an elementary principal. It was me and 33 women, no assistant or counselor. I’ll leave it that…
10.   “Wizard of Oz” is my favorite movie of all time. I have found it a great movie on leadership…I’ll let you think on that one for a while. And it is the ultimate “chick flick” a movie of two women fighting over a pair of shoes.
11.   Yes, I played in the NFL, and an experience I will always treasure. I hardly ever share that now, heck that was a long time ago! I just wish I was good enough to make more than one year…sigh.

Amber’s questions:

1.       Do you prefer to shop online or stores? Hmm, I will do both, whatever mood I’m in at the time.
2.       How many pairs of shoes do you have? About 20 dress/casual, 5 athletic, 4 boots…I know I probably have too much estrogen, and I have been told that before!
3.       What is your favorite type of music? That is hard since I always listen to sports talk…but I would say ‘Classic Rock.’
4.       Cats or dogs? This is easy…dogs, and I have to say that my Schnauzer, Mally, may be the best dog ever!
5.       What is your typical bedtime? It is rare that I make it past the evening news, unless there is football to watch, of course.
6.       Favorite twitter chat? This is really tough! I’m not going to limit to one - #tlap #arkedchat #IAchat #Alaedchat #edchatri #SBGchat . All of these I have gleaned so much from and mostly because of the moderators of which I admire so much.
7.       Democrat/Republic/Other? I would have normally said Republican, but that party seems to be so anti public education…so I really don’t know now. I am quite conservative in my thinking.
8.       Best place you ever vacationed? Paris! Which my wife won the roundtrip airfare at a Houston Astros game. There is a story behind that, ask me about sometime.
9.       Best book you read in 2013? I will start with Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burges, then Game Changers by Julie Adams, then Classroom Habitudes by Angela Maiers, and now reading David & Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. I recommend all of those!
10.   Favorite television show when you were growing up? Flipper
11.   What is one thing you never/rarely share you are exceptionally proud of? (See #11 above)
My  11 Bloggers to follow
1.       Angela Maiers (@angleamaiers)
2.       Daisy Dyer Duerr (@DaisyDyerDuerr)
3.       Todd Nesloney (@techninjatodd)
4.       Julie Adams (@adamsteaching)
5.       Dave Burgess (burgessdave)
6.       Rafranz Davis (@rafranzdavis)
7.       Kristy Vincent (@bigpurplehat)
8.       Amanda Dykes (@amandacdykes)
9.       Jennifer Hogan (@Jennifer_Hogan)
10.   Kimberly Hurd (@khurdhorst)
11.   Jimmy Casas (@casas_jimmy)
To all of my PLN (and not just the ones listed above), you will never know the impact you have had on me. I am truly blessed to have you in my PLN and will forever be indebted to each of you.  You all are edurockstars to me!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Our classroom is the only level playing...-->relationships

When I was the high school principal at two high schools with  very high low economic population, I would tell my teachers, “Your classroom is the only level playing field all of your students have.” I would give the example of my daughter; Emily Roberts goes home to a nice house, a place to study, a computer with internet access, and two parents with two degrees and high expectations from both. Joe Poverty goes home to a house with no place to study, maybe one parent or no parent(s) since they had to work 2-3 jobs, is responsible for preparing supper for his siblings and getting them to bed. And then is he able to begin his homework. He may have come home from working at his job to help support the family or from participating in an extra-curricular activity. I would then ask, “When assigning homework, do you consider what your students go home to? Is it fair that you grade the homework of all students with the same grading standards?”
Several times when a student was suspended for a discipline issue, and did not have a way home, I would drive him home. This practice opened my eyes to what many of my students went home to. During the drive I would talk to him/her about the issue, but more times than not, I would just talk to help me understand what he was going through at that time of the school year.  I sometimes built closer relationships with these kids (low economic backgrounds) than with other students. I soon found that when I built a relationship with them, they would almost always turn around their bad choices and would soon begin to improve their performance at school.
I think all educators would agree that we must build relationships to discover/understand about our kids’ lives, other than just them as students. Once those relationships are established, we see our kids grow, learn, excel, and perform at a higher level than we thought possible. When I was discussing her book, Julie Adams (@adamsteaching), Game Changers 7 Instructional Practices That Catapult Student Achievement,  said “Relationships maybe THE most important factor of a productive learning environment." Daisy Dyer Duerr (@daisydyerduerr), principal at a K-12 campus in Arkansas, who moderates the weekly #ArkEdChat, continually stresses the importance of relationships in her chats. I could go on and on about all the professional educators who know and see the value of relationships with our students.  
As educators, when we realize that our school is the only level playing field that our kids have and when we  work (yes it takes work and time) to build relationships with them, we will see them perform for us and have better discussions at a higher cognitive level, because they want to please us. Of course there are boundaries, but when we honor students as people worthy of respect, this will lead to enhanced learning. This is enhancing kids' lives, which goes beyond teaching them a subject matter.