Sunday, October 14, 2018

If you are not continuously learning your passions or practicing them... shame on you.

As an educator we strive to create students that fall in love with learning and pushing themselves.  We strive to try and find what motivates them.  This is certainly easier said than done in a classroom of 25-30 students. 

One thing you can do is continuously strive to push your own interests.  Take care of you, and you will understand your students and their needs more.  I have 2 interests.  Music, in particular DJing and exercising.  I love both equally.  Maybe music a little more, but a good run or lifting session does make me feel better than sitting at turntables for an hour. 

One is creation and one is stress relief.  I would push you to find at least 2 hobbies that satisfy these needs.  Reading, knitting, drawing, walking, adult team sports, etc.  There are many options. 

Just find yours.  It keeps me going and I promise it will keep you going too. 

My writing is just here to document and keep my other 2 hobbies honest.

My number 1 passion is children and their growth, so I have that covered.  Thank goodness my 9-5, satisfies my number #1 need.  I can only imagine if I worked at a bank and I had to have 10-12 hobbies to keep me happy.....

I also know that if my number #1 passion of school pushes more than 50% for too long, I need to push back and be okay with it.  It is always in flux, there are weeks that school hits 75% and that is okay, it just can't be a forever thing. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Today was Today

I am referring to all interactions here as "they" and "them" just to keep it confidential.  This is not about a kid, but our assumed role as educator.  Not what you learn in college, but what you learn in the work. It is inevitable to all of us, and I felt this today more than usual.

It was 8:50, a parent came in.  No big deal, they always come in at this time. They walk back after my dedicated secretary gives me a heads up.  Never had a secretary before CD, but I appreciate her for this, more than she understands. 

They come in as parents to speak to me about an issue or in this case to "make me aware" of a situation.  I love my community and my school.  I love how they want to share with me the inner most "issues" they are having.  I am not going to share that or anything more, but this is more about what all of us as educators need to feel at this moment. 

We are not all counselors, we are not psychiatrists, we are not psychologists, therapists, or doctors!!!

And this is exactly the point.....


We are educators, because our mission is to educate their most prized possession, we are open to everything.  Think about it, no parent sends their most prize possession to a place for extended periods without a great amount of trust and faith. 

With that faith and trust comes an unwritten contract that you are allowed to learn things about their family and their children that their grandparents, mom mom's, sometimes biological parents, uncles, and neighbors don't know. 

This is a great responsibility, but one you sign up for the day you sign the contract to educate.  This is not the reality colleges teach, the reality that reaches, the reason you stay in from season to season. 

I would argue the story I heard today, although hurt, I felt for them, made me want to love my job more than ever.  I don't want hardship, I want success, but I also want to be the rock, the reason they have faith, the reason they reach, the reason they strive to bring them to us, our school, our community, our number 1 on many levels, a beacon of caring, a place of safety, and place for them to learn.  We have more coming to us than others for a reason. I am proud of that with my staff.  It is hard at times, but worth it to see the successes! #cddolphins

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Just an Idea we are going to call "Learning Days"

Over the summer I try to meet with staff a few times in a relaxed workshop setting to generate ideas, discuss visions, and try to create some focuses for the upcoming year.  Over the past 3 years we have done a lot of work with Instructional Rounds (Season 3 linked there for context).  I think we were all feeling like we need to modify and tweak what we were doing.  It was good work, very proud of what we did, and a great learning experience.  I think the sentiment was that we wanted to keep the idea of observing each other, learning together, and growing as a group.

Could we just modify how we did this to give it a new life?

So we began with these question: "How do we best learn?" and "How can we best learn from each other?" or something to that affect, I have since lost the poster that displayed our original questions.  We used a protocol and shared ideas on both these ideas.  Conversation was good, everyone had a voice thanks to our protocol and we paused......

Then we each wrote down some ideas on what this might look like?  We started throwing out ideas based on the following constraints:

  • Because of time and money, I could only give coverage to teachers for 3 half days.
  • There needed to be an "observation" component.
  • There needed to be a debriefing component.
  • We needed to learn from each other.  To respectfully borrow from the clothing line, FUBU mentality.
That was about it, that I can currently remember.  The rest was an open piece of paper or poster to generate ideas.  I heard more than once, "what is your vision Doug, what are you looking for?" More than once I repeated something like, "I don't know, it is a blank piece of paper."  

Truth be told, my staff know me pretty well, and sometimes when I say, "I have no idea," I actually have an idea, I just want input.  Honestly in this scenario, I had no idea, it was a little scary to be honest.  We needed to satisfy the 4 bullets above, but that was about it.

So we created 3 posters of notes and a rough plan.  If at the time, I thought I was going to write this, I would have taken pictures of our posters.  I have to remember to do this in the future.  As a group we have generated some pretty awesome ideas and I need to do a better job documenting them.  I have some pretty talented and creative people!

Pre-Work (graph above shows an even break down of what people want to share. interesting)
  • Fill out “Teacher Best” survey - Doug's job Here is the Form I used.
  • Organize groups - Doug and Michelle's job (Math and literacy coach) - Emphasis on combining similar ideas.
  • Fill out "Teacher Interest" survey - Doug's job - Not created as of this blog post. It will be generated after all the "Teacher Best" survey's are done. This will create the menu to organize people into observation groups.
  • Organize groups - Doug and Michelle's job - Once both survey's are done, the participants (observers) will be matched up with a "Teacher Best" teacher to observe their lesson. Groups of 3-4 teachers. We have approximately 25 teachers total. Substitutes will be utilized for coverages.

Real Work

Day 1 Plan - Observation Day 
  • Observe lesson with concentration on what questions you would ask the teacher being observed. (30 - 45) minute lesson observation. We are only writing questions we need answered. This is not to give the teacher being observed feedback, but to "learn" from what they did, choices they made, etc. 
  • The “observed teacher” joins the group for the debrief (not feedback) to answer questions and provide more context for later planning. (45 min - 1 hour)
  • The “observed teacher” goes back to their classroom.
  • The rest of the group begins planning a lesson/activity based on what they observed. (rest of the day)
  • Role Play/Practice with the group (rest of the day)
Pause - Take a deep breath

Each participant in the observing cohort does this on their own. Recording will be assisted by Doug or Michelle for set-up.

  • After the observation and planning on day 1, the group of teachers record a lesson teaching based on what they observed and were modeled. This recording holds you accountable for trying what you wanted to try after seeing a model lesson.  
    • This should be accomplished within 3 weeks of day 1. As a group we decided there needed to be a quick "jump in" and turn around. We know if you don't practice what you observe or learn quickly, it goes away faster. 
    • The participant or observing group from day 1 selects 5-7 minutes of the video they want to share with their cohort and then get feedback.

Final Meeting Day

  • Day 2 - half a day - Hopefully 4th week, or as soon as we can. The teacher guides us through their video and gets non-inferential feedback.

After all of this we hope to accomplish a few things:(This is the most important part!)
  • Gaining a new perspective on something. A new way to teach, manage, or guide a lesson.
  • Push the idea that we are all continuous learners and we can not stop practicing the skill of learning.
  • Push community by opening up our classrooms and trusting that we will observe and provide feedback to each other that is beneficial in a way that keeps inferences out.
  • Model to students that teachers are learners too.
  • Continue to promote an atmosphere of collaboration and sharing.
  • Maybe have a little fun, we often joke around a bit when we are working together.
I think if I added more to that list above I would be stretching. I also think if we can accomplish all of those things in a day and a half, we would have accomplished a whole heck of a lot!

Disclaimer - I really look forward to these days as they are a true break from "principal things" and allow me to be a learner right along with other educators.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Yeah... Whatever

Been a while, no post to think
Not because the thoughts didn't sink
No apprehension, season, allergies, no reason
Hip Hop grabbed a minute, not apprehension
Comprehension, Got so far off the rational mark
The blog, a start
Always for me, but here it is my cognition
Inducing a notion, a motion, an emotion
I rhyme way too much with I.O.N

Pharoahe Monch may be the...
Say my name... Say my name...
That was the game... Oh No
The point it is only the grind
The everyday, the greatest times
Too many forget the reason
Change in season, treason
Induction meaning, without definition
Not understanding, vox me in the morning

I realize 40 is the journey
This is the time, experience date
History delivered
Finally, always felt a kid
A wait till your time ...ager
Maybe what I do, what I did
Reading now, a definite page tuner

This one for me, need to do
For me equals for them
If I am worthy, repeat no jury
Forever up at night, mind fury
2:23 am last, maybe 3:00 tonight

Want to amp it up
Not rest it down nope
Privilege is my rope
Use it to believe it
Rest is not acceptable
Strive for regular
Never gone achieve legitimate
For that I leave
Hoping to exit legit

Monday, August 27, 2018

Don't forget the one that does not connect right away - My Daughter's story

So today was the first day of school for my students and for my kids.  My middle child, my daughter sometimes has a difficult time in situations.  She is my creative, my attitude, my go the other way child.  She is the generally the best behaved and I think in most situations my introvert.

She came home today and reported that she sat by herself at lunch.  She did not know anyone.  She is in 4th grade.  She seemed fine with it (her attitude), by I know she wasn't.  She has always had friends in her class to start the year, but not this year.

She did not want myself or her mother to intervene (her attitude).  So I am putting my faith in her teachers that I know are wonderful, to recognize and do the subtle things that teachers do to make sure she starts to make connections and friends naturally.

So this is my call to all teachers.  Recognize those kids, the one's that seem to walk alone at recess, sit alone at lunch, and maybe can't find a friend at group work time.  Intentionally make opportunities for them, be strategic, not overt in helping them make connections.  Allow them to share their interests in non-embarrassing ways.  Allow them to find others with similar interests naturally.  Do all those wonderful teacher things.  I know my daughter counts on it and so do thousands if not millions of other kids.

Even more than the kids, the parents of those kids that start every year with this anxiety are counting on you.  It is hard being a parent and trusting all this with a total stranger, but someone you know has your child's best interest at heart.  It is a trust thing, and acceptance thing, but certainly not an easy thing.  It's got me stressed out, although I know it will all work out.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Doubling Down

To double down is not what you think
It is the contest within, the acceptance of your worth
Work on what you struggle, but live on what you don't
Accept that you are only mighty in time spent
It is okay to capitalize on your good
It is acceptable to achieve based on your mood
If that is your double down, your inner zen
This is not about every level being a ten
Your value is based on what you excel
Not based on how many times you fell
Remember failure leads to advance
But success is ultimately your stance
Confidence is different then perserverance
To persevere is a struggle, needing a break
Double down on that which you succeed
Teach to work, teach to perservere
But also teach to push to that we hold near
Push the passion, the undying driven drive
That which we strive, no matter what is contrived
Double down on what you flourish with attack
4 steps forward, 1 step back is a better math fact
Don't forget to double down when you can
It helps when your feeling down, face in the ground

Monday, August 20, 2018

Short Term Goals - Coming back from injury

About 7 weeks ago I bruised some ribs on my left side and had a pretty deep cut in my back.  I was trying to climb a tree with my children, playing on a Saturday afternoon.  Not a long story... I fell straight on my back, hurt myself.  I was injured.  I couldn't run or workout for about 6 weeks.  It was hard to breath and I was sore.  I did nothing really physical over that time.  My fitness suffered.

So about 7 days ago, I decided I would try to jog.  It was hard to breath, but I manage about 1.5 miles at a slow pace.

I was frustrated, but also felt a little sense of relief and excitement.  When you are starting from what seems like scratch, or your own personal scratch, there is only improvement.  I am lucky, I am usually always in pretty good shape, so my scratch is relative.

I committed that day to running for 7 straight days.  I set a goal of 10 miles for the week. Definitely manageable.  On the 8th day, which was Sunday I decided to go for 5 miles.  I did not quite make it before my breathing hurt a little and my legs got a little weak, but I was happy with where I got.

There is a sense of failing when you lose all the fitness you have in such a short period of time.  There is also an equally enjoyable feeling when you hit a short term goal you put in front of yourself.  I am no where near where I was, or where I want to be.  I may never get it back, but I reached my achievable short term goal.  This week is 15 miles.  I am off to a good start, one short term goal at a time.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

You Are The Inspiration, You Don't Need To Promote It, You Are It

To my edurockstar tweeters.  The poem is for you:

To inspire is a gift, that can be learned
To inspire is a gift, that must be earned
To inspire is a fruit, needed to refresh
To inspire is a fruit, never have enough
To inspire is a beacon, A light in the distance
To inspire is a beacon, created for specific instance

To inspire is many things to many persons
For some it is a song, a line, many reasons

To create inspiration is easy as a thesaurus
To spread inspiration is as easy as a chorus
To benefit from blanket inspiration too many among us
To be inspired by "fill in the blank" is without purpose

I was called out for double standard inspiration
No longer directly addressing twitter regurgitation
Gonna keep it close, gonna keep it general, a dedication
My distaste for "I don't know you" social media "inspiration"

Below is what I really want to say to the rest of you, can't' figure out how to rhyme it necessarily:

Be mindful of needing to find shallow words.  Be mindful of looking outside your immediate to keep you driven.  Be mindful of using things that have no real connection to you.  Don't cling to something, looking for answers.  Don't cling to hoping or seeing something to keep you going.

If you are in a bad situation, get out.  If you can't find inspiration in what is right in front of you, then look a little deeper, and put your phone down. 

As educators inspiration is easy, not all situations are easy, but the inspiration should be easy...

It is hard, hard work, lean on your students, your colleagues, your admin, your community.  There is inspiration in even the most desperate situations.  Use that to drive you.  Use those interactions, those experiences.

We find in our work a need to be inspired.  I would argue we are the inspiration!  Don't go looking, go producing, go out there knowing, not everyone can do what we do.  Know that the greatest, the best, the most inspirational, have all come from our classrooms, our schools, and our halls.

This is not meant to inspire, as that would be a double standard to what my point is.  This is meant to be a wake up call and call to action.

Stop promoting "inspiration" 

Be inspiration, it can be shared, or not, that is a personal choice.  The important part is you believe it, you honor it, you acknowledge it, you are... It. You are an inspirational daily constant reminder and influence to our most precious commodity on the Earth.

"Our Kids"... Enough said. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Engage vs. The Pushers

Play this while you read, it helps with tone.

There is a need for the pusher, the dealer
BlackJack to 21, quick handed stealer
Dreamer not, forgot the mission, 45k strong
What is the point, constant elevator song

The pusher makes us think we need more
Makes us think, drives to our core
But it is like a Swift or Minaj chorus
How long we gonna buy the bore us

Find the inspiration in the friend
Neighbor, parent, the student to defend
Quote a fake revelation, it is par
I have chosen to mute so many edurockstar

Never thought I would, but makes me
Feel like I connect with what matters, feel free
Thought the dialogue would matter
Just ends up showing me as a hater

Found my jam, it is 39 strong 2018-19 #cddolphins clan
Doing the work the... new refocus, out of stagnation
Focused again on the mission, not a remission
Forgot the work, forgot need to tweak
Forgot the work begins at student registration

Got above myself, thought I could change the world
No need, I change my situation, total dedication
The students I serve, community, and staff not a resignation
This I stand on a devotion, democratization, and concentration

Be Brave, Be Proud of who you are... It matters to so many

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Classroom Conversations Need to Challenge in the Right Ways

Classroom Conversations

I promote the idea that classrooms should share in difficult conversations.  These could be political, cultural, gender (when appropriate for age), etc. We have become so polarized in thought.  We have stayed away from difficult conversations in light of political correctness and the idea that school is just for academics.  

“This is not our role,” is heard so often.

They are difficult conversations to have sometimes and can be awkward at the least.  I would say this is exactly our role. We are professionals who have developed relationships with multiple students from multiple backgrounds.  We gather with them upwards of 7 hours a day. It is exactly our role.  We are in the perfect position to have these discussions. It is italicized because they do not and should not always be verbal.  If not in this environment, then how will they learn to discuss, debate, question, accept and deliver their ideas in a way that is meaningful and peaceful.  

I have 3 children of my own, I push what I think is a positive inclusive message.  I would have no problem if at school they had discussions about this.  I just want them to have the space to do it, in a non-threatening environment.  It does not and in many cases should not be verbal, it can be written, it can be private, it should be varied.  There just needs to be a space and opportunity based on subjects, topics, or ideas that the teacher can present to the class or that students can bring to the classroom.  

I think the role of the school (teachers, counselor, admin, etc.) is to provide a safe space for these conversations.  They have to be the master moderator, again does not have to be verbal, where each person is given an equal opportunity and provided a medium for them to be heard.  Adult opinions should be left out, but historical context, fact checking, and other answers based on what can be proven are the role of the school (teachers, counselor, admin).

For example if a student were to say something that is just false, questionable, or lacks context the teacher needs to be able to jump in and either correct or pause until more information can be found to further explain their point.  This can be tricky, but can be done.

Examples of how to have these conversations: (keep in mind when it comes to certain topics like race, you want to go with the least open approach and work from there.  Anonymity at this point is important)
  • Open debate in class - Assign roles and ask students to argue the unpopular or misunderstood side (this might require extra resources)  This would be for more fluffy type conversations that would not spark emotions or too many deep connections with students.
  • Teacher makes statement “In the news it was reported that…..” Write your initial reaction to this.  As a teacher collect it and present the ideas to the class at a later juncture for comment.
  • Have students write a narrative from the perspective of a person that may have been involved.  You will quickly understand their perspective and ideas this way.
  • Find 2 different opinion pieces about the same story and assign students to defend sides.
You want to make sure whatever method you choose that it is accessible and available to all students in a way that will protect their anonymity if necessary and value their voice.  I would not allow just an “open discussion” unless it is a part of an already established routine like a morning meeting and the topic lends itself to being a little more light.  These can go to chaos quickly, offend students without warning, and more introverted/quieter voices can be lost very quickly. The more dominant personalities tend to take over and the idea of allowing students to share their ideas freely is lost.  Those in the minority opinion are never heard and feel ostracized.

Push the idea of challenging uncomfortable conversations within a controlled environment. This can be done at all grade levels, just being mindful of what your students can handle and topics that can and should be discussed.  

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Falling... Again

I have had my experiences with falling.  I mean falling, not failing, just to be clear.  Literally falling. I spent most of my life before 25 as a goalkeeper in soccer, a skate boarder, skier, and overall taking chance type of physical person.  I have had 3 documented concussions with hospital visits, no memory, and probably 2 more that I faked as if I was okay. #manup only to play, not to try and hide my pain.  There is a difference between physical and mental pain.  We should never #manup the mental.  B-Dawk reminded me of that last night with his hall of fame speech. I just know the game of training rooms and if I wanted to play, I had to fake no pain to be in the game.  It is the competitor in me.

In soccer I was good, really good, like Olympic Development good, trained with eventual MLS and many division I players good.  They were no better than me, but at the moment of selection I eventually fell, not failed (2 concussions 2 separate years).  Camps, I got kicked in the face, I have a Kevlar plate and pin in my eye currently.  Tournaments, cuts got infected, to the point of hospitalization.  Junior year in college 3rd game, dislocated rotator cuff in the left shoulder.  This time I told the trainer I was fine, and did not miss a game.  The rest of that season, I could raise my left arm above my head unless I was making a save and adrenaline force my hand up.  It still tings and bothers me a couple of times every day.  We eventually made the NCAA tournament and we played well.  That summer I self inflicted a broken hand that spit 2 of my of bones in my right hand in half, requiring a 4 screws and a plate to hold them together.  They had to later be removed.

I spent a stint in the hospital every year from 11 to 21 without a year off.  Some years multiple nights.

Skiing, skate boarding, other stuff, similar falls.  I remember the time I slid half way down a concrete hill on my knees and shoulders from going way too fast and losing control of my skate board.  I remember hitting a tree and then flying into a net at about 40 mph on ski's going way too fast.  All of these taught me lessons.

Tonight I learned another.

3 weeks ago playing with my kids (hide and seek) I fell out of a tree using a rope to clime up.  I fell square on my left back and cut my back pretty deep, but more importantly bruised the left side of my internal ribs pretty badly.  Bad enough I could not breath or cough, laugh, and definitely not sneeze for a week or more without major pain.  It still hurts to this day and I can't sleep on my left side or lie on my stomach.

knowing all this, I decided tonight to skate board down a pretty substantial hill in my neighborhood, with my kids, they were on bikes.  I don't own a bike.  I have done it before, but not in a while and not with a previous injury.  I fell once leaving my driveway, this should have been a sign!  It was minor, I just ran into the grass and tumbled.

I then embarked, it is actually 2 hills with a straight part in between, but after the second hill there is no real slow down spot, just a cul-de-sac.  I made it down the first part fine, straight away, back and forth, left to right, feeling good... Then the second hill hits.

I can not check my speed, because I have not seriously skateboarded in 25 years.  I pull my usual move to slow by sliding my left foot forward (I stand goofy foot) and try to grind out a stop.  It gets squirrelly right away, I feel the fall coming, I am in the middle of the street.  It happens, I hit, not on my left side, thank goodness, but I twist to my right as I saw it coming.  I scraped my elbow bad, rolled 2-3 times, but kept the pain to my right, my now good side.

My kids are behind me, they ask if I am okay.  They also witnessed my fall from the tree 3 weeks earlier and saw the blood pulsating out of my back as I cut through a vein.  That was a slow popping trickle in cadence with the pulse out of my back.

I got up tonight.  I successfully fell, as I knew it was coming, not like the tree fall or the soccer kick to the face.  More like the tree and the net and the knees and shoulders down the street. 

My moral is this... I think when I can see a fall coming, I can deal with it and recover a lot faster than when I don't.  That is pretty common sense.  I also know that if I have a fall I don't see coming, I can also recover, it just takes a bit longer.  Pushing myself to recover faster always works although it always brings more pain.

I am thankful I did not hurt myself worse tonight, but I had a half a second to prepare.

I also learned that I am 40 years old and that I should be a little more careful.  I was at the very least wearing a helmet!  I Don't think I want to stop taking chances that create great experiences, just want to set up situations where I have at least a half a second to prepare for the fall.  That is all I need.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Wave

You can't deny it, it is coming, you are 10 feet out
No way back, no turn around, no chance to get out
Without confidence you jump, ride it, get knock down
Dive in, really no choice, swim or tumble, you're in
Mind is numb, one thought, keep low, turbulence
Excepting, really feeling, your a cog in the wheel
Movement not circumspect, except by those on shore
Needing more, pushing the limits, feeling the next
They come in sets, three to maybe four, the after
The laughter, the joy in breath
The joy in teasing the depth
Pop up, no stop, here comes another
Check your brother, your other
Eyes open, clearer than ever
Funny came to me from 2600 up sea level
Top of the mountain, thinking waves forever
Bring the challenge, bring the objection
Tossing me, acquaintance, water is the learning
From here I see free, I see our means
Meaning focus is the key, the only direction
The Power of We.
Gonna push the limits this year
We are near, just do it without fear
Got your back, look forward
No coward, can't miss, we got this!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Organization of ideas... With a given planner

Sometimes you are presented with a new tool, a new way to do something, framework, or organizer that you must use.  It is the movement, different than what you are used to, but this is not optional, so you must figure out how to use it.  There are a few different paths one can take.  Choose wisely:

Path 1 - Complain, stare, ask questions or make comments like; "what is the point of this?"  "How is this going to help me?"  "This makes no sense, it is too much, and this will never work"

Path 2- Become completely overwhelmed and push it on to someone else.  This might involve you staring at it and working individually for a minute, but in the end just basically spinning your wheels.

Path 3 - (My chosen path) Starts like path 1 and path 2.  You become overwhelmed, want to say many things, stare for no more than 5 minutes and realize...

Find a partner or 2, not to work with, but to talk out loud too.  They don't necessarily need to respond, facilitate, question, or anything.  They are just there to hear you and you hear them.  I did use the word hear on purpose.  They are not really listening, which is totally fine and the point.  This is so you don't sound ridiculous or seem uncomfortable talking out loud to yourself.

You point and click, go back and forth, maybe complain a little to your partner about the length, the format, wishing it were printed up, etc.  Although most of your complaining would not really help, it does make you feel good for a moment.

You look at a provided sample which gives a little insight.  You look at suggested "evidence" or other sentence starters to give you another push.  You type a word on this page, a sentence on that, totally not connected, which at this point is still fine.  You say out loud to now partners, "what about this!"  They hear you, nod with a smile or say in some sort of way, "sure... go for it".

Two minutes later you have settled on one idea, one thing to get you going, but what you have really done is created a path to move forward.  An idea builds an idea, builds an idea.

You then find a facilitator of this work and you spit out over a 2-4 minute dialogue from start to finish about what you are thinking, how it might work together, and how you will set it up.  You are definitive, THIS IS THE WAY, THE ONLY WAY, there is no deviation in your voice from this!

Pardon my love for analogies below:

Then the facilitator asks 2-3 questions for clarification.... *poof* and you are... REALING... 

You are knocked upside your head... not down and out, but definitely woozy.  You hear the bell! Thank goodness... Your glad because you immediately needed that wake up jab.  It reminded you that this was going to go all 12 rounds, but you are prepared. You have done so much training, you want to push yourself.   

You don't think about it for the next 8-10 hours.  You wake up early and in your head is the outline of the perfect plan of action to use.  You think it will help get all your "ideas" that were grown from a different space (multiple meetings before this one with stakeholders) to fit into a new framework you are given.

The framework is not going to stop you from doing anything, but allow you to not worry about how and where you are going to store all your information.

Besides, that was the problem that your meeting with the stakeholders produced anyways.  You have posters and posters of sharpie and not much more.  Stakeholder meetings are great at creating ideas, not so great at organizing them.  That is done individually or in small groups to be tweaked by a larger group once a strong rough copy is done.

I choose path 3, it allows for me to be human, blame people for giving me more work (HA), and some processing time.  All the while still working next to colleagues and getting a good start on how to organize "ideas" to move forward with plans.  Plans are what we aim to start any school year with.  From plans come monitoring, observing, and feedback with eventual growth.  The evaluation should then be a celebration of the work, not a damnation of the situation. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

StagNation - 8th edition

Take a minute, Not with it
Got me down, way up, graduate
No need to negotiate
Interpret, getting back 
Love lost, found it late

Can you write, blog, song sing
Karaoke rotation, what is your motivation
An exaggeration,  deeper relation 
Write, delete, read, repeat, reguritation

Looking for a path, a way to reach past, do my part
Shady in the head, direct conversation
Life's been good to me.... an alliteration 
The Ringer to Fall into Spotify relation

It seems so far, limits me, feel against the combination
So far from my thought, meetings off expectation
Protocol got me stressing, pause 5 my recommendation 
In my voice, fight back confusion and apprehension 

Think my style is off
Black white to woke right now
Don't do the now to wow right now
Disavow, style is off right now

Standing, none needed, or deserved
Reserved worker, honest contributor
Believer, never changed, but have to refocus 
Find time to write again
Stay out of the notice Nation... 

Miles got me cancelled
Dancing, my own fiction, like lost best friend
Call it a funk, depression, blueprint 
Need to come up, need to challenge
Work concussion, Pardison consumption
Moment of bobbing interior, Poppin, Thinking
Creating, even if nothing, to jump start incarnation

Manifestation Determination needs to be a "RAP" declaration
Education got us determining to undermine engagements
Same things, administration, "It is safe" not your turn
Relative democracy, context classroom, content news stations
Space open, closed circle sharing, bring opposite relations

Back to the point, stop metaphor, which in itself is hysteria
Addressing mystery, the reaction to Stagnate initiation
Make it ridiculous, make the goal the "moon"
Lie, quiet.... Most ideas come to you at 5:00am in your room.
Go with it, trust the voice, stop thinking, not so anxious
Neal down, not me, Well, your behind
Reminders my StagNation is other's innovation

Eighth edit here, rest were read with tone
Direction that is started, things we've done
Excited today about direction we thought 
Onward, forward, forth, the thesaurus I got 

Looking for a new degree, my mind to be free
Uncomfortable moments, awkward joke, not planned trip
Slip of the tongue, forgiven I think, I thank you
This one's for me, to get me out, summer hours
Release of the responsibility, needs to shout
Need to know why synonyms for "free" are sorry
While synonyms for "innovation" are glory grand

The idea of "free" itself is what I want from me
Free to not think in terms of me
Free to think as we are we
Me for me, see destiny, or path is clean
Freestyle, not me, wish is different than need
Running from myself, as I find myself again
Rough copy, I share, eighth take
Want rap, this mistake
All copies are rough, that's what makes this tough
Never down, never settle, my nation needs...
Better and better, my uncle's motto, from construction

From now until forever, one blog, one thought
Growth is compare, creation to adaptation
Trying to keep balance with consumption
To avoid further StagNation

I SO WISH I COULD rap this.... I am working on it.

One Blog.... All forever... My forever challenge to my life at this moment as a hobby to master.  I want to Rap these lyrics.  I am not ready... I am not a rapper. But I am a competitor.  It may take 10 years, but I will get this....

 "Fall" -  Eminem if interested in my BPM for this take... It is a Censorship Warning! 

Still not happy, irked, therefore "forever problems" lurk - HAHA! 

Friday, June 8, 2018

On the 2017-2018

Don't quite know how to associate
Appreciate beyond understanding

2018 was an ending, 2017 was the beginning
Bringing hope, energy, repeated understanding

Let's be real, this is tough, not rough, at times
Just had enough, the year is a success, ain't mine

Had so many crying, not wanting to leave
Please... love is blind, and Mr. Timm smile

Mile after mile, We love your child
This school, this video, this booboo

We know what to do, we do
Year after year, this is nothing new

Staff, students, and guardians for real
All the meals, 18 classes, 4 specials

Feedback coaching, just 1, she's exceptional
4 squad para in luck, nurse when struck

IEP muck, SPED coordinate, OT relate
Psych, counsel, Reading assist time

Lost FCT, had moment, mentor movement
Worst go to nurse, We are the school to return the purse

Evan's view, Cafeteria Latch team is Ford of menu
Bus and clean up crew, None of this is new

#cddolphins are the the what, the why, the how
Now is the time, listen...
Don't go pushing time, Definition a Black Star
Carrie Downie, bigger than... larger than... Allstar!

Can't post the BPM, wish I could trust myself to put this out there vocally... Still scared... I am a white 40 year old that has loved hip hop since 7 years old..., but it don't sound right....

I love my school though, that is easy!

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Accepting, Acceptance, Accepted, the Accept of no need to reflect
That is what that word means. No need to look back, no checking the rearview
Objects are definitely closer than they appear, no fear, It becomes we're
The moment you realize your idea is done, when your not done, just not any more
Realize you need to realize what is your more, your floor, your time to choose the right door

Did not sign up, but never did, change is acceptance at times, not innovative
relative only in only where you sit, your adjust, your trust, your learning, and purpose
This is not a court, not the sort, no argument matters
No statement is material, as it is surreal, acceptance is real

NF hit me with a truth, not understanding content, but feeling, but need to deal
I need to let go, realize acceptance is truth, it is proof, the real magicians poof
I thought I would realize as I got old, I only realize my mold
A one that needs to feel, without that there is no deal, no reason to fear

Remember This - NF - Needs a Listen...

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Need to Create

Sometimes to create you have to give up to gain
Like rain keeping you inside to allow growth
Something you know and need to get out
Head in knots, disorganized it is not

A purpose to create share and forfeit
Often thought as soft, finding the time
All by design, with the goal of sharing
Creation is key to one’s passion, their heart

Not regurgitate, basically an inside look
Not considered work, beyond your body
Needing nobody, inner dive into your feel
Open the seal, gratification to create your own book

Something for others’ to enjoy, inner self demands
Allow discovery within your inherent remains
Pull the plug, pure stuff, allow it to blow you up Belief to create makes you woman and man

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Fork In The Road - Went Both Ways....

Moments in time when you appear to lose your way
Moments when you can't remember what you're meant to do today

Realizing, the feeling, anxiety creeping, needing reality feeding
Your impending, challenging by your own indecision, nervous twitching

Just breathing, give me meaning, forgiving my own limitations
Sensing the beginning of the ending, leveraging, meandering

Lacking the exciting, the driving, forcing, enabling
Wondering how to get it back, sensing and affirming

Off the bank of cognitivity, off rhyming with ING
Monotony of Monday until the relief of Friday

How do you get back the groove you felt?
How do you get back the sensation of advance?
How do you get back the idea of growth?
How do you get back to what you once wrote?

When have you have fallen off
When you don't know what you lost

I realized more than ever lately that my naivety I can not take lightly
While at the same time realizing my longevity, although lengthy
Ultimately expires with little in terms of my obituary
Which I want to be read this way
"He cared, although joked constantly, he believed in people, kids, and family"

All three are important, especially in my line of work.
I am so sick of reading posts about "You may be the only one in this kids life that cares..."
NO YOU ARE NOT! Why do you say, how do you dare...

Those that make those statements live in a privilege of thinking themselves too much
You may be an important and maybe top candidate for caring
But in the draft of life, child picks family over educator every time
Even in a not so great environment place, recognize your influence
You are a chapter, like my time with Napster, you help them gather
Forever thankful, but not the beginning, middle, end.

I don't state this to hate, but hopefully send a message
Recognize, you need to understandably know your role

Your flow, directly reflects your ability to advocate, negotiate
Mediate, the love to educate, needs to be different than that to liberate
Know your influence has importance, a consequence, repercussions, and signifigance

But you are not the only one, there is always someone else.
Just be real, even in the saddest eyes you see, empathy

This is okay, it is the way it should be, you are a cog in the wheel
I hear Maslowe before Bloom's and I do 100% agree
But you can't take on the role of everything, there are too many needs
It would be better to find, guide, and work with what they bring
Reach out, understand and support, help direct them, allow them to sing

This being said, I love the "best principal" ever card, posters and pictures that line my walls
I need to understand in my fork in the road, that I am a believer in kids, not their everything bestowed
I need to understand that I am not changing the world every day with every kid.
I need to understand a quote, a speech from me is wasted, it depends on what they see and what we do.

Hologramz - The whole album esp. "Speeding" - Hex One, 5th Element - AVG 92 BPM

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Why when I create it takes so much time
The dime is not a deal and not the corporate line
Two steps forward one step back
I want to be talented, jump on Lin-Manuel's Miranda
Spoken word to the one's and two's, what I do

I did not knew, nor know, what this leads too
Me three, four, five and six post, mix, still a fix
Netflix for comedy, remix, repeat, neat I wish
On repeat, sweet, just a tweet, I am beat

Create, got me feening, needing, creating
Patterns mnemonic, I rhythmically stole it
I need to find the space, my plate, no microwave
My attempt, not brave, to rhyme to be creative.

 - Credits to "Dinner Time" Go find it, not a regular play or what you search.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Repost to the point...

When dealing with a child you work with anger, frustration, unexplained sadness, etc. don't worry so much about the "why" in the moment.  For kids you work with examining that "why" will probably lead to more frustration and questions.  Concentrate on the "what" and skills of recovery.  These are but not limited to acknowledgement, admittance, reflection on behavior not "why", restitution (if needed), game planning, and practice of some sort.  Practice can be as simple as repeating a few steps over and over.

It is certainly not a one stop shop of fixing negative emotions, and for many, there may never be a true fix.  Sometimes it is management and preserving longevity.  How do you keep your car running longer?  Keep up on maintenance.  It may never be as good as the day it came off the lot, but it can still look good, and sound good, many years later if you take care of it.

On a side note I think working with your own "why" as it relates to your emotions, can be helpful, but you are also in your own head all day.  It is much more convenient.      

Here is the full post -

Thursday, March 15, 2018

You Have 5 Minutes!

You have 5 minutes!  You have 5 minutes!

What can I get done, probably a little, not much, just enough
When you have 5 minutes, managing it can be really tough
Call that parent, send that quick email, enter one more data piece
Shuffle some papers, check your mail, write a to-do list at least

Maybe what you should do with that 5 minutes before "go"
Is thank yourself by just saying "no"
Don't rush to do in 5 what should take 10
Just use the bathroom, a drink of water, a quick laugh with a friend

I need to learn from my own words right here
I should not be afraid of the 5 minute spaces this year
Look to create more of them it might be healthy
Who am I kidding! I now only have 2 minutes and no coffee!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Thanking your negative feelings and maybe applications for dealing with kids

I have been listening to a podcast, done a little reading, and researched a bit about the ideas from Jack Kornfield.  He trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, and most impressively spent 500 days in basic silence.  I think I would struggle with 500 minutes, unless I was sleeping, and even then... Here is a website to give you some ideas of something he founded, he has also written at least 5 books.           

Here is one of the major concepts I pulled out of what I have looked into.  This is basic, but has been significant for me in dealing with inner feelings.

Make sure to "thank" what you might perceive to be your most negative feelings and actions.  For example when you are calm, make sure to "thank" your anger.  When you are calm, make sure to "thank" your frustration.  It only takes a minute.  It is not justifying those emotions, as they may have been misguided, but will allow you to understand them more deeply and approach them from a different angle.

Here is an example:  You got into an argument with a loved one, you went into a depressive state for a period of time.  This could be minutes or days depending on the level of the argument.  There is certainly relationship repairing that needs to happen between the two of you, but there is also repairing of your inner self, that is not dependent at all on the other person.

Your feeling of anger or frustration and then possibly depression or anxiety are not dependent on anyone else.  If you "thank" that feeling and except that it is not only natural, but at times a needed defense mechanism that you have built up to prevent you from being hurt, then you can deal with it.

So what does this look like after this symbolic "thanking"?  That is the hard question, and I think Jack would say there are many ways and is really dependent on the individual.  The important part is to have that acknowledgement without negative self-talk.  By thanking, you are acknowledging with a more positive spin on your emotions.  It starts you off on the path of recovery, back to a normal state, in a much better place. 

How could understanding this relate to school?

We all have encountered an angry, sad, frustrated, etc. child.  We often default to "why" when we could default to, "It happened... what occurred and what are we going to do now" (what are those steps?)  I don't know that children would understand the idea of "thanking" emotions as they might see that as justifying their behavior.  The intent is not to justify, but to mitigate and grow.  Through a different approach, we can get kids to think about "steps" and ways to recover, acknowledge, and improve.

The "why" with kids is sometimes so difficult, deep-rooted, and confusing that it may never be understood within the setting of a school.  We don't have the resources, time, training, and in many cases background information to truly understand every angry or frustrated "why" of students.  When they get frustrated, their defense mechanism may go to a subconscious feeling of neglect when they were a baby, or some sort of abuse from a loved one.  We can't even begin to understand many of our student's "why's" no matter how great a relationship we have with them.

We as professionals can discuss possible "why's" as a way justify for ourselves and build some compassion and empathy.  This may help establish a set of thinking between adults working with the same child, but won't necessarily help them moving forward.  I would also argue that searching for the "why" about students with consistent and constant behavioral outbursts only leads to frustration and resentment with adults.  We internally put our own experiences on them, or see it as, "this worked for me or this other kid, it should apply here."  Examining this would be a much longer and deeper idea than my point here, so I will sum it up with this.

When dealing with a child you work with anger, frustration, unexplained sadness, etc. don't worry so much about the "why" in the moment.  For kids you work with examining that "why" will probably lead to more frustration and questions.  Concentrate on the "what" and skills of recovery.  These are but not limited to acknowledgement, admittance, reflection on behavior not "why", restitution (if needed), game planning, and practice of some sort.  Practice can be as simple as repeating a few steps over and over.

It is certainly not a one stop shop of fixing negative emotions, and for many, there may never be a true fix.  Sometimes it is management and preserving longevity.  How do you keep your car running longer?  Keep up on maintenance.  It may never be as good as the day it came off the lot, but it can still look good, and sound good, many years later if you take care of it.

On a side note I think working with your own "why" as it relates to your emotions, can be helpful, but you are also in your own head all day.  It is much more convenient.     

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Your role in relationships

I have written about relationships before. Relationships with staff, relationships with students, and relationships with parents.  They are all important, but I think the most important relationships are those between students and each other. 

I have seen the quotes and saying that go something like this;

·      All a student needs is one connection with a teacher to change their life.


·      A relationship with a student can change their life forever.

I think on the surface and in theory this sounds fine, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that message.  But in reality, it is an overly narrow approach to your role. It puts you in the role of the hero, the one that is needed beyond all others.  It implies to an extent that if you can not connect with that particular kid you have failed them.  We aren't all able to connect with all kids, no matter how hard we try.  

I would say that although the relationship between educator and student is super important and not much can be done without it, cultivating relationships amongst students is even more important.  It is not as glamorous though.  

Your ability to establish a culture in your building and classroom that promotes relationships between students is a testament to your ability to run a safe and healthy school. 

Every kid needs a friend.  At least one.  Not having friends leads to resentment, which then leads to all sorts of things.

So when you are thinking about working to build relationships with students, remember you are only going to be with them for a short period of time.  Their classmates potentially, could be with them for years. 

Think not what I can do for them, but how you can help them do for them.  You can have a major influence to promote and cultivate this. 

The greatest way I have found success as a principal has been finding a common task, game, or goal and allowing students to work together with my supervision and questioning to get them to open up.  Much of their day is scripted in many ways for them.  Or if not scripted like recess or lunch may be without an adult immediately present.  When we have unscripted time, which is all my time with kids, find some commonalities and build on them.