Monday, June 20, 2016

Edubabble III passion

Being a champion, is there anything else that takes more passion.
Fashion that no distraction would have kept Lebron from adulation.

A version we need when lacking competition.
How can passion still be found in a totally different profession?

Eradication of the basic computation of old thoughts and distractions.
Pushing complication is a reputation built on repetition.

A contradiction of expression is it's definition.
Can an organization understand a translation of this exhibition?

Not allocation, centralization, but a collaboration and realization
That passion is combination of communication, commotion, connections, and celebrations

The operation to creation of imagination and pushing with ambition.
The attraction to correction and a solution to a problem or situation.

A revolution or more a position to mission and vision that is not fiction.
Not to be a statistician, technician, or a politician and leaving a bad impression.

The passion of a magician and a confession to depression.
Leaving you with the impression of a possession for education.

Beyond comprehension, we've had that discussion.
Intervention of the construction of your lesson.

A mention of my intention to devotion and dedication to my position.
Hollow ground is a school's composition and constitution.

Relation and friction go hand in hand with emotion and tension.
All of this provides me a passion, the opposite of demolition.

Construction, a reproduction with daily intention.
No need for permission to live and work with passion.

4 am blog

To be totally accurate it is currently 4:16

I got up before 4 am

I don't get up this early every day

Usually just a few times a week

My wife and I alternate early starts so one of us can be here, if our kids wake up

The other days is usually around 5 am

I don't share this because of insomnia

I actually have no trouble sleeping

I get up because I have an idea or my alarm goes off

If it is because of an idea, it is usually around 3:43.

Then I scratch that itch and get the thoughts out on paper or post-it.

The morning is so peaceful, sometimes share with coffee, or just water.

I have put together lists, sent out some messages, but overall purpose is to organize the head.

It is done with routine, where clothes are pick for the gym which opens at 5.

Breakfast is always the same on days I wake up at 4 am.

My goal is to get there by 5:01, so I don't have to wait in line.

There is a line to the YMCA at 5:00 am, who knew?

The point in any of this, is just to share, from my experience.

I have been doing this for 8 years, ever since my son was born.

Don't get me wrong, not perfectly consistent with days, I do skip here and there.

Although 4 am days sound horrible, they are always my best

I already know how the first 2 hours are going to go.

I will have accomplished a few positive things without thinking.

That is the secret to my 4 am days.  Consistent accomplishments without having to think about what I need to do.

That means automating the little stuff, so that I can write, create, exercise, all while it is dark out.

Why I wrote this as single lines, is beyond me, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

I don't even think I am going to proofread it yet, as it is getting close to 4:53, the time I need to leave.

The beauty of 4 am is there is little that can go wrong, little to distract you, and so much potential.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Blog 100 Professional Passion to Park

For someone that was not a very good student, hated to write, and quite frankly only cared about a few things in High School and College, including playing sports, music, and you fill in the rest.  I am pretty excited - no actually proud - that I have put my thoughts on paper 100 times since January 2015.  I had no deadlines, no reasons, no one forcing me, it wasn't part of a larger picture to drive conversations or chats, I just wanted to do it.  It was quite simply that simple. I just wanted to do it.

I never wrote during work as this was always something done on my own time.  I did take my inspiration from the job and developed many of my thoughts in the car on the way to and from, but otherwise all done at home.  Why?  I have no reasons other than it has helped me formalize, compartmentalize, and organize my thoughts, feelings, and ideas in chapters or posts.

Is that even that important?  I think so... as a school leader.  You need to be driven and clear with your message/vision with staff and the larger school community.  I am here now, and have the same motivation to continue as I had when I started.  Probably more, as it is getting easier to put thoughts to paper or whatever this is...

So I am going to use this moment to write about my professional passion.  It is not technology, observations, delivering professional development, or writing, but I do like them all.  It really is just hanging out with kids in classrooms and then on occasion, documenting this with video and pictures, many occasions!

I was asked at contract time by my superintendent where I wanted to be in 5 years?

My answer was quick and simple, exactly where I am, principal at Carrie Downie Elementary School.  I don't know if he was expecting a different answer?

There were a few others in the room at the time, and they seemed a little confused.  I think my reputation in the district is to be a little pushy, in a good way, and someone that is always looking for new and better ways to operate.  I guess this perception contradicted with my answer, which seems very complacent.  To me it was simple, I understand drive and I also understand park.  I am very happy to be parked.  I have never wanted to do anything more than be a principal, because I felt it gave me the best option to feed my passion of being in classrooms with kids.  Any classroom I want actually.  Being in #cddolphins classrooms is a dream come true!

When I am not dealing with administrative stuff, the byproduct of being principal, I go into classrooms all day and call it work.  I have even termed some days walkabouts, borrowing from the Australians' historical right of passage for young males.  Not walk throughs, but walkabouts.  I simply walk around popping in and out of here and there checking in on students that I know need to be checked in on.  I try to check-in on students that never get check-in on as well.  They are often forgotten, but not by me.  I don't want any student or parent to ever, "foreva eva" ask who is the principal at Carrie Downie?  I shamelessly don't know my own kids principal's name off the top of my head, because they never talk about her.  That will not be me...  

I do it to learn, observe, be challenged with behaviors, questions, and jokes with kids all day!  No one can tell me to stop, no one can tell me to get out, no one can tell me "no thanks, not today!"

I am the principal ;)

If I was a supervisor of curriculum, or director of this or that, I would not be the principal.  I would not be able to be in classrooms with students every day.  If I were higher up, I may have a greater influence over decisions and district direction, but my immediate impact on a school and children would be very diminished. I can not except that reality as that was never my professional goal or passion.  

The logical progression of so many is to move up in ranks, and this is needed, as people need to be replaced.

I am going to stay in park.  I am going to roll my windows down, feel the breeze, open the sunroof, put on a great song and sing out loud.  People may drive by me, may honk their horns and wonder what I am doing, ask me if I broke down, needed a nap, whatever?  I will smile, wave, thank them for their concern and explain my car is fine.  The song is not over yet, and I have crates of music to listen and sing too still!

Here is what I am singing right now!

My first blog on Blogger - Link Here 

Motivation Behind Professional Learning

I might be off base, I might be off my rocker...

I definitely don't have the most innovative idea ever...

This has been done before, turn the page...

What is all the rage over personalized PD and professional learning..

To be better, to grow isn't that the meaning we want to show!

So this is not a poem or a sonnet, but an explanation to why I think teachers want to be better with the right motivation.  Many before this and many after will come up with learning experiences for teachers that are optional, open, self-paced, and available.  What I want to do is create opportunities that are meaningful. Base them on the direction we are going.  I want everything that the #cddolphins doing to be moving in the direction that satisfies our vision.  There is certainly choice and deviation with the ability to question, but I want tasks that they can do on their own to move them within our mission.

To develop as I call them, "Quests" for teachers.  A badge is then the reward with recognition and confidence of knowing you practiced something.  I want exposure for staff so that they might find their passion.  Maybe it is screencasting, maybe it is writing, maybe it is planning lessons flipping Bloom's.  There is even going to be an option that allows teachers to pick their own.  What I want them to do is think beyond the curriculum that is provided and create learning experience for themselves that mirror what I want them to do with "our kids".


I hope that was clear.  If you are not willing to try something new, put yourself out there, get feedback, etc. you also should not be teaching kids.  We ask that of our students every day, we need to be able to except the same in return.

I get feedback, even today, and every day.  People love telling me how to do my job, sometimes very warranted!  I listen, or at least try, then adjust if needed.  Isn't that what we all should do?  In any case, I am open to the conversation with you.

So the motivation for creating learning quests for teachers is not for improvement, although that is the expected outcome.  The motivation is to create experiences, exposure, and maybe allow some to find a passion.

If it is writing, great!
If it is recording your class learning, great!
If it is screencasting, great!
If it is flipping lessons, great!
If it is so much more.... I can not reveal all, great!

I am not good at everything, but I want to be really good at the things that I feel are important and passionate about.  I will then use that to leverage my abilities on things I struggle with.  Confidence in self, does apply to all areas, but I need that reservoir of confidence to draw on first.  That is my motivation for practice, so that I know I am good. Through practice of skills, I hope to help teachers build this confidence as well. You are good enough, what you did is great, do it again, and share it! 

My algorithm is simple - exposure + practice = development of confidence  = success on things you are not so good at.

Not a perfect American Algorithm, and I may have carried incorrectly, but I think my equation works.  If you are exposed first, find a passion, practice it repeatedly, and get positive feedback, confidence will breed itself. That confidence is the fuel for everything and it starts with exposure, experiences, and challenges or as I call them "quests". 

If you want to know what they all are, hit me up in September. They are not all created yet, but I will share freely at that point. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Sure 7051 is just a number, a large number.

It is not the answer to a difficult math problem.

It is not the code to a lock.

It is not a passcode to a website.

This number represents something.  It represents a commitment to documentation.  Documentation of learning, culture, and the backbone of what the #cddolphins stand for.

We have over the course of this year taken 7051 videos and pictures of our students' learning, engaging, and just plain having some fun at times.  This number is also low as it does not represent the videos that go straight to twitter, youtube, or other side projects.  That conservatively probably reaches closer to 10,000.  

It is important, it is a data source, it is something to celebrate.  Does it equal learning?  No, but it does represent it.  It does represent a commitment by the staff to share what we do.  We are special, we do want to model, we do want to celebrate "our kids".

It is not hard to take a picture or post a short video.  Why would you not?  What is the down side?  Who would argue that celebrating "our kids" through visuals is a bad idea?

I am more than proud about what we have done this year and we have over 7051 pieces of evidence to show you what we did!

Keep it up #cddolphins, we are special and we should continue to share.  Have a great summer and keep those smartphones, ipods, and ipads handy.

Here is our latest weekly video and our last one that we use to capture and memorialize our learning journey each week.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Realization of a Great Man!

Tonight I had privilege of attending Dr. Carlton Lampkins retirement dinner.  As I approached the room, the first thing I realized was not the diversity in culture, which was evident, but the diversity in each person's relationship with him.

That is the first sign, for me, of someone that has made an impact on other humans.

The night continued, we had 8 speakers, all with jokes, poems (Delaware Twin Poets Laurette) and others that have work with Dr. Lampkins.  Each had their own take and each spoke to his ability or need to control or command a room, committee, situation, etc.  None of the stories were perfect or of the sort that is just complimentary.  On the contrary, most of the stories started off with faults or situations where each person was changed for life.  Again a sign of a true leader.  If everything is perfect then growth is not occurring.

As I will not claim to know Dr. Lampkins really well, I know a little, and being in the district long enough, he is going to leave a mark that will be hard to replace.  I think it is important to document the work of great people, so this is my humble attempt from my view.

I find common ground with him.  I too feel honesty, speaking your mind, and always striving for "our kids" in a way that is more than just academics, is often forgotten and missed.

This was often his calling card and a needed voice.  I found out tonight he started so many programs, initiatives, and spots for "our kids" to land.  It was because of his soft hand, and loud deep voice that a district that often was rigid in thinking was able to move past just "Do It A Little Better Next Year."

I thank you Dr. Lampkins for pushing us to think about kids more than test scores, or numbers, but to get to know them as members of our community.  I love our community and our district and I now realize the power of how you created a sense of the POWER OF WE!

Twin Poets Poem to Dr. Lampkins (Not totally complete)