You Are Not A Number #Aprilblogaday

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#classicrock #wordswag #notanumber

Today was the first of three days of testing for all Juniors in Michigan. Sophomores and Freshmen are taking the PSAT. The test windows, for grades 3-8, open and close on a rolling basis over the next seven weeks. Additionally, many schools incorporate some form of standardized test, as a local assessment, for all grades.

The average test scores for each district, school, and grade will be published in the local paper, usually accompanied by a story about how the test scores compare to previous years. The average test score is available through the school’s Web site, the state department of education and many other Web sites.

Children and young adults, who take the tests, are routinely judged by the numbers. Some schools use student test scores to determine placement in advanced or remedial courses. Colleges make decisions about acceptance utilizing a combination of test scores and GPA. Teachers and schools are judged on the average test score. Test scores weigh into teacher evaluations and school closing decisions. This is a another blog post, I will write in the future.

I have spent many years proctoring the required state tests and local assessments. I see the way students approach the test. Some take it seriously. Some take it as a chance to finish quickly and sleep. Some finish a section in twenty minutes, and some are less than half done when time is called.

However, I think it is important for children and young adults to realize they are much more than a test score. They are more than a number. As Bob Seger sings in “Feel Like a Number,” “I’m not a number . . . I said I’m a man” (Seger, 1978).

Students are not numbers. They are individuals. They approach the tests with different lives, different situations, and different experiences. A test is only a #selfie of the student at that time.

Tomorrow, my six-year-old daughter, a kindergartner, is taking the NWEA MAP test for his sixth time in two years. Thankfully, she likes challenges. She likes tests, but I want her to understand she is much more than the number she receives after taking the test. Like my students (and all other children), she has many different interests and attributes. She is an independent young lady, who loves to learn, draw, and write.

Each student excels in their own area. No number can truly tell us about the child.

Comments
Please share your thoughts about testing. Your feedback is important in helping me to reflect, learn, and grow. Thank you for reading.

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My Commitment – April Blog a Day Challenge

I have joined the #AprilBlogaday Challenge.

This month, I have decided to participate in the #Aprilblogaday challenge. To help with topics, I am using the prompts provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith) a teacher in Brooklyn, N.Y. Today’s topic was: Resources and Recommendations: Favorite tech gadget, app or software you have used to support student learning. I will come back to that topic. Today, I chose to write about a different topic, since I proctored the SAT.

The goal is to submit a blog entry every day in April. I will not promise each blog entry will be motivational, energetic, and thought-provoking. However, I will do my best to continue to reflect on my journey of learning and my areas of growth.

Today, I am Going to Love My Life #Aprilblogaday

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#wordswag #Whatittakes

This month, I have decided to participate in the #Aprilblogaday challenge. To help with topics, I am using the prompts provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith) a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Today’s prompt was: How do you pace yourself throughout the week? What rituals for self-care do you have that make the school year a little easier to manage.

I enjoy listening to podcasts. I have an hour-long commute, so I have plenty of time to listen, learn and laugh. One of the twenty-nine podcasts to which I subscribe is The Academy of Achievements bi-weekly episodes of “What It Takes”. In each episode they share interviews from people, who have made an impact, in every field. The above quote comes from one of those episodes.

Mrs. Burnett’s words spoke to me while I was listening. She is one of the greatest comedians of all time. Yet, she had dark moments, too. The anguish can be heard as she discusses the death of her daughter and how she continues to live.

Having experienced difficult moments,I understood the anguish evident in her voice. I also saw the importance of choosing to love life. We could continue to dwell on the negative things in our lives or we could choose to focus on the positive.

I have developed a routine that helps me to maintain self-care and the proper attitude. Each morning, I try to wake up around 4:00. It is particularly quiet, in my house, so I use the time to spend time focused on faith and fitness. This time of reflection and perspiration help me to develop the right frame of mind and the right amount of energy to stay positive and focused. Then I take the necessary steps to be helpful when others wake up. I make sandwiches or roll-ups for lunch. I help to wake-up the girls and make sure they are taking care of getting dressed, so we can leave by the proper time.

As I have said, I use my time to prepare mentally for the day. I listen to educational, leadership, and technology podcasts. I run through the lesson plans in my mind, and I visualize how I will use my time before, during, and after school. I want to make certain I am prepared for the day ahead. I try to make sure I have all copies made for my first three hours. If not, I get them copied when I arrive at school.

When Senior English ends (first three hours), I use my prep period to finish any last-minute arrangements for Freshman English and Current Event. I check the news to see if there is any topic that requires our attention in Current Events.

The end of the day comes quickly.Sometimes, it can be over before it feels like it has begun. I then use whatever time is necessary, to prepare for the next day. I reflect on how the day went, whether I need to make adjustments to our schedule or lessons, and what tomorrow holds.

I tend to stay later on Mondays and Fridays to input grades. Tuesdays and Thursdays I have responsibilities at home, so I leave earlier. Wednesdays are staff meetings and family night. Additionally, I use Sunday nights to grade papers and input grades.

I try to get exercise a minimum of three days a week. I have recognized that I have more energy and a better attitude, when I have exercised. This winter, I struggled with my energy level. I did not get the exercise I needed. And I was hit by the flu bug. My failure to stay healthy led to less physical activity which led to less energy and more side effects from the flu.

When I am on my game, things flow. Consequently, I work to maintain the flow necessary to keep balance in my life.

Even when things are not going well, I choose to have a positive attitude. I choose to “love my life.”

Comments
Please let me know your thoughts about weekly routines and your routine. Your feedback is important in helping me to reflect, learn, and grow. Thank you for reading.

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My Commitment – April Blog a Day Challenge

I have joined the #AprilBlogaday Challenge. The goal is to submit a blog entry every day in April. I will not promise each blog entry will be motivational, energetic, and thought-provoking. However, I will do my best to continue to reflect on my journey of learning and my areas of growth.

Social media – benefit or hassle? #Aprilblogaday

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#wordswag #digitalleadership

This month, I have decided to participate in the #Aprilblogaday challenge. To help with topics, I am using the prompts provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith) a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Yesterday’s prompt was: What role has social media played in your teaching practice, teaching community? Good and Bad.

I started using social media in 2007, to keep an eye on my older children. As I became more involved in its use, I began to discover the power of mass communication provided. At the time, I taught at a residential treatment facility for juvenile offenders, so I was unable to employ social media for connecting with parents and students. However, I began to follow influential educators, read blogs, and listen to podcasts. I was hooked.

It took me some time to begin to ask questions and seek help via social media. In 2010, I began to understand the power of social media in a job search. I was able to check out schools and leaders. I recognized some schools and educators did not use social media. I used their Web sites to determine social media policies, so I could answer questions about my use.

When I became the administrator of a small, Christian school, I learned about the importance of social media in marketing. I read more information from Michael Hyatt and Dr. Rick Newberry. Both provide valuable content about using social media for marketing. Additionally, I used social media to seek out information about social media use policies and user agreements for students/parents.

As I discovered more education-related podcasts, I heard more information about Twitter chats and the unconference movement. I started following, then participating in different chats. I attended several EdCamps and other similarly focused events. At each event, I learned more about how other educators are using social media to connect and collaborate. I began to experiment more with the use of social media for communication. I started using the school’s social media accounts to share school happenings, announce snow days, and communicate with parents.

When the school closed and I changed positions, I focused more on connecting with other educators and helping fellow educators to utilize social media to communicate and share. Last summer, I presented, at the #TeamJXN EdTech Kickoff, about using social media management tools to post to several networks at the same time, to schedule posts, and to follow hashtags. I shared the value of Hootsuite and Buffer. We explored how teachers and administrators can use these tools to limit their time spent posting to several different social networks.

Additionally, I attended the presentation of Sarah Soper (@soperclassroom) about how she uses social media to connect with her students. She discussed the use of chats and backchannels for class discussion. I found the presentation valuable as I stepped back into the classroom last fall.

My current school only utilizes social media for communicating with parents and sharing school happenings. No class or teacher accounts are used. I have not asked about their use, but I will for next school year. I believe the benefits far outweigh the potential negatives. Moreover, as teachers explain, discuss, and model proper use of social media students will observe and learn.

Comments
Please let me know your thoughts about my blog. Your feedback is important in helping me to reflect, learn, and grow. Thank you for reading.

________________________________________

My Commitment – April Blog a Day Challenge

I have joined the #AprilBlogaday Challenge. The goal is to submit a blog entry every day in April. I will not promise each blog entry will be motivational, energetic, and thought-provoking. However, I will do my best to continue to reflect on my journey of learning and my areas of growth.

I No Longer Have The Passion #Aprilblogaday

This month, I have decided to participate in the #Aprilblogaday challenge. To help with topics, I am using the prompts provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith) a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. I have chosen to write about a different topic than Continue reading I No Longer Have The Passion #Aprilblogaday

A Letter to My Younger Self  #Aprilblogaday

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Advice to My Younger Self #Aprilblogaday

This month, I have decided to participate in the #Aprilblogaday challenge. To help with topics, I am using the prompts provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith) a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Today’s prompt is: Advice to a first year me-If you knew then what you know now.

Twenty-two years ago, I thought I knew what I was getting into as I faced graduation and the possibility of having my own classroom. I will admit now, I truly knew nothing I would face.

I finished my student teaching, about this time in 1995. I enjoyed Spring Break, and then I started as a substitute teacher. Below is a letter I wish I had received when I started.

Marc,

Congratulations! In the next month you will graduate and begin your journey as a professional educator.

In the next month, you will have a choice between keeping your word (subbing) and meeting President Bill Clinton. Trust the values you have developed. You will make the right decision. Honoring your commitment is the right thing to do. You may never get to meet a President, but you have shown you are dependable.

You will want to resume your education, in the fall, but you may want to consider all your options. While a M.A. in Middle Level Education may be enticing, your future students may receive a greater benefit if you choose a program in Special Education. The ideas you learn and use each day will benefit all students, not only those with special needs.

The silos of education cannot continue to exist. Utilize the changing world of the Internet for more than chat and email. Take time to learn the intricacies of technology and networks. They will play an important role in education.

Many great educators will cross your path. Have the courage to connect with them, network with them, and create a Mastermind group. Start connecting, sharing, and learning from educators in other buildings, districts, and states. Be willing to explore the possibilities of using new tech to expand your support network. Do not wait until 2013 to start using Twitter to connect with other professionals.

Start a blog to reflect on your learning. Be open with others about your struggles, failures, and successes. Without a willingness to share and be open, we cannot tear down the silos. Be consistent with your blog. It will be cathartic.

Read and comment on other blogs. Share blogs and podcasts with other who may benefit from the information. Your future and the future generations of students will forever be changed by your learning and that of others.

Live with COURAGE to be reflective, connected, and bold,

Your Future Self

Comments

Please let me know your thoughts about my blog. Your feedback is important in helping me to reflect, learn, and grow. Thank you for reading.
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My Commitment – April Blog a Day Challenge
I have joined the #AprilBlogaday Challenge. The goal is to submit a blog entry every day in April. I will not promise each blog entry will be motivational, energetic, and thought-provoking. However, I will do my best to continue to reflect on my journey of learning and my areas of growth.

 

 

My Dream Course . . . #Aprilblogaday

This month, I have decided to participate in the #Aprilblogaday challenge. To help with topics, I am using the prompts provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith) a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Today’s prompt is: My dream course would be . . Continue reading My Dream Course . . . #Aprilblogaday

My Goals #Aprilblogaday

This month, I have decided to participate in the #Aprilblogaday challenge. To help with topics, I am using the prompts provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith) a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Today’s prompt is: Goals? Short and Long-Term? My freshman English Continue reading My Goals #Aprilblogaday

Empowering Students With Choice #Aprilblogaday

This month, I have decided to participate in the #Aprilblogaday challenge. To help with topics, I am using the prompts provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith) a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Today’s prompt is: How do you integrate student choice into Continue reading Empowering Students With Choice #Aprilblogaday

Standing on the Shoulders of Others #Aprilblogaday

  This month, I have decided to participate in the #Aprilblogaday challenge. To help with topics, I am using the prompts provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith) a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Today’s prompt is: What role has professional mentoring played Continue reading Standing on the Shoulders of Others #Aprilblogaday

Winning With Technology #Aprilblogaday

This month, I have decided to participate in the #Aprilblogaday challenge. To help with topics, I am using the prompts provided by Meredith Towne (@BklynMeredith) a teacher in Brooklyn, NY. Today’s prompt is: Teaching Win: Where have you grown the most Continue reading Winning With Technology #Aprilblogaday