Monday, August 30, 2010


Just got done with my meeting with our staff to kick off the new school year and had to start by apologizing to them for not having the guts to follow through with my convictions.

Two years ago I told our Commissioner of Education at a conference that we needed to scrape our state assessment testing and go with the ACT or something else where we can compare apples to apples outside of Kansas. Well McPherson, Kansas, has had enough guts to tell the state they are no longer giving the state assessments since they don't have relevance. The state school board has given their blessing to doing this, McPherson is now seeing how it will effect their federal funding. They will MAPP test lower elementary, give the ACT Explore to the upper elementary, ACT Plan to junior high, and ACT to high school.

Bully for them and I guarantee I will not sit back any longer and do nothing, the subject we are talking about is to important: young people's education. We are in the student learning business, not the the teaching business and I am going to let my feelings known.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Whole New World

As I wrote in my last post I have made connections with a Principal in Canada that write blogs that are much more widely followed than mine. One of the first things he wanted to know is if I was on Twitter, I immediately responded no. The reason being was I could care less about who was going to Starbucks or WalMart and would never care about that. He agreed wholeheartedly, he didn't care about that either but he did care about kids and educational technology as do I.

I am trying to get our teachers and administrators to try new things and what type of leadership would I be displayed if I didn't give Twitter a shot? So George walked me through the sign in process and I waited. After a couple of days George asked me how things were going, and I told him if I had one more follower I'd have one, he said he do a "shout out" to get people to follow me. My goodness I thought my cell phone would vibrate off the table from people now following me.

What an educational resource this has become and I'm just getting started, the information available by people is astounding. Imagine you get a magazine once a month, read the articles of interest and then wait 25 days for the next issue. This is like getting magazines, newspapers, and blogs of the nation that educators find of interest to other educators. I used to copy articles to give to our administrative team that I thought would be of interest to them, it didn't take long to realize that would be impossible, now I just have have to remember who tweeted what. So far I really like and wish I hadn't been so narrow minded for so long. Thanks George for being persistent.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I have written before about the blogs I read and I throughly enjoy them and think they keep me current with the happenings in the education world. With the help of the internet we can now provide our students with all the benefits and resources that every other student in this state and nation have.

One of the blogs I read, Principals of Change, is written by a principal in Edmonton, Canada, he also hosts another blog, Connected Principals, which I read. He is very insightful and I decided to try to get ahold of him through Skype. We made contact last Sunday night and talked about education, technology, practices, the differences of our countries and a variety of other topics. We visited for approximately 50 minutes and I felt I had gained professionally.

Then the thought struck me that we could connect our students through the same medium. George is an elementary principal and is ahead of the curve in what his school is doing with the available technology. I offered an invitation for our grades 3, 4, and 5 to skype each other and learn about the others country. George was also excited about this and we are going to give it a shot, I am excited about this and for our students to experience this.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Teacher-Directed Learner Directed

Direct Instruction Interactive Exchange
Knowledge Skills
Content Process
Basic Skills Applied Skills
Facts and Principles Questions and Problems
Theory Practice
Curriculum Projects
Time-slotted On-demand
One-size-fits-all Personalized/customized
Competitive Collaborative
Classroom Global Community
Text-based Web-based
Summative Scores Formative Evaluations
Learning for School Learning for Life

I believe I would want my child in the class that was working on the skills to the right. Why we don't allow student collaboration I'm not sure, since they will collaborate the remainder of their adult life. We make all their decisions and then wonder why they make poor decisions on occasion, we have to let them experience in school what they will experience when they aren't in school for them to be responsible citizens.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I am an early riser, and enjoy the quiet time to watch the morning news and drink coffee. I also enjoy reading blogs about education, teaching, and technology used in education and what people are doing with the current technology available. Blogs I read on a daily basis are: new list daily of technologies that can be used in the classroom or to enhance learning. reformer that has some interesting viewpoints. blog by school administrators for school administrators. information on new technologies available for education.

educationaltechnologyguy-Updated list of tools to use to enhance learning and make a teacher's life and job easier. used to mainly build a professional learning community. principal in Canada that is full of energy and ideas on how to connect with kids and make learning relevant. Canadian that has some different ideas in regard to education-you can also find that he is a disciple of Alfie Kohn. site that deals with what people are doing with technology. is about teachers that are cutting down on the usage of paper in their classes. education reformer.

There are another 15 or so that I check on a weekly basis, several of them are magazines and since they release monthly, one really doesn't need to check on them daily. The amazing thing about reading blogs is they always lead you to another blog. If you don't read blogs in your particular area of interest you are really missing out on becoming better informed, and we are lifelong learners.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Well I've taken the summer off from blogging and the urge to write did hit a couple of times but it passed and I got on to several other things. I did find a couple of new blogs that I really enjoy and I think my next write will be the blogs and sites I do enjoy the most, not that it will have any effect on your world, but might give you some interesting reading.

I did come across an article by Alfie Kohn that I thought was excellent and wish to share with you. Mr. Kohn writes mainly on education and parenting and has some unusual ideas in some areas but if you read him with an open mind much of what he says makes sense. This article was about working with kids as opposed to doing things to them, here are the 10 suggestions he offers:

1. Reconsider your requests-Sometimes when kids don't do what we tell them, the problem isn't with the kids but with what we're telling them to do.

2. Put the relationship first-What matters most is the connection that we have, or don't have, with our children-whether they trust us and know that trust them.

3. Imagine how things look from your child's perspective-Parents and teachers who regularly switch to the child's point of view are better informed, gentler, and likely to set an example for moral development.

4. Be authentic-Your child needs a human being-flawed, caring, and vulnerable-more than he or she needs someone pretending to be Perfect.

5. Talk less, ask more-Telling is better than yelling, and explaining is better than just telling, but sometimes eliciting (the child's feeling, ideas, and preferences) is even better than explaining.

6. "Attribute to children the best possible motive consistent with the facts"-Kids live up to, or down to, our expectations, so its better to assume the best when we don't know for sure why they did what they did.

7. Try to say yes-Don't function on auto parent and deny children the chance to do unusual things.

8. Don't be rigid-Predictability can be overdone; the need for inflexible rules may vanish when we stop seeing a behavior as an infraction that must be punished--and start seeing it as a problem to be solved (together).

9. Give kids more say about their lives-Children learn to make good decisions by making decisions, not following directions.

10. Love them unconditionally-Kids should know that we care for them just because of who they are, not because of what they do, they don't have to earn our love.

There is my first post in quite some time, I hope some of these help and make sense to you, and I will try to post at least once a week.