Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm Going to Have Fun

Last week I wrote about our teachers experimenting with things at the latter part of the year, with the God forbidden Assessment tests completed. The last thing I want to occur in our schools is beginning test prep for next year. Make learning and teaching fun, motivate students so they are looking forward to getting back to school, and teachers are looking forward to getting back to use the new things they experimented with.

It then dawned on me, why can't I have fun also. This fun stuff shouldn't be limited to our teachers and students. Administrators should also try new things, and find new ways to connect with the kids. I have found mine.

A couple of months ago I wrote about my daughter in culinary school assisting our FACS teacher in cake decorating. As I watched her I was amazed at how attentive the freshmen girls were in what Makenzie was teaching them. In fact they decorated the cake that was served at this year's prom.

For the last couple of years my family has given me cooking lessons at the KC Culinary Institute for my birthday. I have thoroughly enjoyed these and even learned some things. Don't get me wrong, I'm not becoming Chef Greg and the Food Network has yet to contact me, but I enjoy it.

All that to say this. I talked to our FACS teacher and I'm going to prepare my favorite egg casserole for the freshman girls, but during their class they will serve as my sous chefs as we prepare a casserole. I am really looking forward to May 16th I'm going to have a blast.

So move over students and teachers the administrators are joining in on the fun, and this superintendent is leading the way.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Random Thoughts

I sure wish William and Kate would hurry up and get married, I'm already sick of the coverage and the event hasn't even occurred yet. Through no fault of their own I'm sure they wish it would go away, also. Our press has gone nuts over this event, anyway, I wish them the best.

I wonder if Jim Tressel, head football coach at Ohio State University, has thought about renaming his book, Winning with Integrity? How about Winning with Ineligible Players and Trying to Cover It Up? I think they a real mess in Columbus, but I will be surprised if they fire him, however, I'm sure the NCAA investigators are licking their chops. One would assume you should let your boss know of possible infractions before emailing, texting, and visiting with FBI guys as well as others about the incident, above all don't lie to the NCAA.

Is the price of gasoline going up in your area? Okay I know the answer to that, but it amazes me how the oil companies are quick to point out they don't set the price, my question is who does? Does Apple not set the price of their products? Then they want our sympathy because its not their fault there is unrest in the Middle East, as they record profits. How about this OPEC everytime the price of oil goes up per barrel the price of wheat goes up to match it. Since the USA, Russia, and China are the largest producers of wheat we can boost our economy and help out the farmers.

Is the Donald going to throw is hat in the ring for President, I hope so. How much entertainment will that provide. It also amazes me how the news people say he has no experience in politics, and that's a bad thing? Look where career politicians have gotten us.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What Do We Do Now?

We are winding down on taking the Kansas State Assessments, we are like so many other schools as this is a stressful time for teachers, administrators, and especially the students. Even though it shouldn't be, it still is, because those not in the education actually think these tests mean something. However, this post is not about standardized testing and my feelings in regard to them, there are plenty of posts out there that will reflect that.

When I coached football I really enjoyed coaching spring football, and the reason was experimentation. As we put together the things we learned from winter clinics and other changes we thought needed to be made, the spring was the time to look at these new things, to see what worked, what didn't, and what might work by tweeking it a little bit. I also made our coaches work at a different position area to gain an understanding of that position, and increase their knowledge of our program and schemes.

After our teachers take a collective sigh of relief that the tests are over, the infamous question abounds, "What do we do now." We still have a month of learning and the year is not over, just because testing is, its time to put on more steam. We will encourage our staff to experiment, maybe they were afraid to try something new earlier in the year because of "test prep." Now is the time to try a new methodology, a new piece of technology, start a class blog, have the students collaborate if they haven't done so on a project, incorporate more or different critical thinking skills, a different type of differentiation, the list can go on and on. The point is step out of your comfort zone, you may find something that you like and works better with the students. Some things will work, some won't, and some will need tweeking to work properly, but take a chance. It will improve our instruction for next fall, and that's what its all about, a continuous learning cycle.

With the things that are now available, I find everyday I learn something new in the education world, and now I wish and hope our staff will do the same.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Random Thoughts

Boy I'm sure happy our government spent 7 years and $55 million to get an obstruction of justice vs. Barry Bonds. Maybe we should hire better attorneys to try cases or just quit bringing charges as the government. Good gosh OJ had the glove why couldn't they have gotten a hat from early in his career and had him try it on. Then ask the tough question, how many people's head grows a size or two in their adulthood? Wonder why that happened?

The government did not shut down last weekend Oh Boy Oh Boy. Both sides claiming victory, isn't that just like politicians they don't know when there is a winner and a loser. They are the winners and the American people are the losers. Nice that they would continue to be paid and our troops wouldn't, makes sense to me. Wonder how those politicians could look them in the eye and say "we are sending you to a war to protect our oil interests and by the way we aren't going to pay you, but we will still draw our paychecks." Now to work on next years budget, let the games begin.

As I have stated before I don't fly and don't intend to start anytime soon. I do like afternoon naps so does make me a candidate to be an Air Traffic Controller. I wonder if they realize they have people's lives in their hands. Comforting to know that the guy in the tower may be rocked back in his chair, feet up on the desk, drool rolling down his face. Maybe they should look at putting people on day or night shift, so they can regulate their sleep instead of shifting them back and forth, just a thought.

Have a great week.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Random Thoughts

Now that the NCAA basketball tourney is over and college fans are holding their breathe to see if their local stars are going to the NBA or not. I loved listening to Charles Barkley during the tourney, he said he didn't see a freshman this year that was ready for the next level. I've always thought the one and done was perhaps the stupidest rule I have ever heard of. If a kid is good enough out of high school to play let him go to the NBA. They can in baseball, tennis, and golf why is basketball so special. If a kid wants to go to work after high school do we say "no you must attend college or a vocational school for one year then we can hire you, and by the way we could care less how well you do in your classes, you just have to attend."

I am not a flyer, I won't do it the reason-I'm a coward, its scares me. I wonder if Southwest's new advertising slogan will be No Baggage Fee but the Roof May Come Off. I'm guessing they should have checked the cracks in the top prior to it being skinned back at 36,000 feet. Now ask again why I won't fly.

Glenn Beck fired by Fox? What's up with that? Ratings were good and I thought that's all that mattered to the networks. I watch Fox News please don't dislike me for that, never been much of a Beck fan, though. Just surprised me I'm doubting if any of the other main stream media networks will pick him up.

TransOcean sent out a letter to their employees that last year was their best year for safety. Should we again show them the video of their oil rig in the Gulf blowing up and 11 people died. Glad I don't work for them if last year was their banner year for safety. Maybe they can help BP look for the missing laptop, sounds much safer to me.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I'm Excited

I put in a proposal to be a presenter at a tech conference, June 3, at Pittsburg State University in southeast Kansas. I received an email on Tuesday that my proposal had been selected. The hair on the back of my neck stood up with excitement about this opportunity.

I know I won't be the most knowledgeable speaker there and that is fine. But I am one that didn't send an email until 2002, when our oldest daughter moved away to college. I figured I might as well learn how to email so I could stay in touch with her, without calling or using snail mail. I have even made the statement that why get started with all this tech stuff since what we're using now will be outdated in six months. Even though that may be true it now excites me to see what is available in six months.

Then our high school went 1:1 and that was my learning revolution, how cool it was for teachers and students to learn from each other, leveling the playing field for all students, and opening up to the wealth of information that exists out there. Then my next learning revolution was being introduced to twitter via @gcouros and now I have really blossomed as a tech learner and am eager to share my transformation as well as some of the tools I use as well as our school.

I have spoken before at conferences but they were coaching clinics and I was talking about football, something I have the utmost confidence in my knowledge. I am in the catching up phase here, and at my age, I think that is a benefit to show even an old dog can learn new tricks, but keeping up with all the people on twitter keeps me young and enthusiastic.

The initial plan is to talk on symbaloo, google docs, prezi, zunal, and edmodo. I know that is a lot to cram into an hour, but there is a method to my madness. I figure if I talk the entire time no one can ask me questions at the end to see what I really don't know. I just hope I'm not last on the itinerary since I am well aware that the only thing going through educators minds at that time of day is when am I going to get home. Wish me luck!!