#Oneword2019 Moment

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My focus for 2019 will be on the moment.

Live in the Moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Focus on the Moment.

Seize the Moment.

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I hope to focus on all the positive moments. Stop worrying about what happened in the past or will happen in the future. The moment is now! It is where learning happens. When we lose track of the moment joy and fun are lost! I have to work hard to remember that I am teaching students who only focus on the moment. I want them to realize that the learning will impact their future. My lessons will be more effective if I can make students realize the value of their learning in that moment! When we don’t focus on today, the past is just a memory and the future will not be impacted by it.

The moment is now, to carpe diem!

My previous #oneword posts on Time,  Opportunity, and Advocate.

Thanks for giving me a moment of your time to take the opportunity to advocate on behalf of my students.

Show The Value Of Schools

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Recently I noticed the following Walmart ad:

This ad is Walmart’s thank you to all of its associates for all the extras they do. While I watched the advertisement I wondered why communities didn’t create ads like this about their schools?

Schools are incredible assets to their communities. I just think about our middle school with 800 students, we make a difference every day. Each month our staff and students contribute to the larger community around us. Since school started our students have: raised money for fire victims, collected food and clothing for the poor, completed highway clean ups and raised funds for those in need. All of these efforts come from formal school activities run by student council or National Junior Honor Society.

There are non-formal activities going on in our school that make a difference. Students have taken on voluntary jobs to help out in the school office or in classrooms. Teachers show up early, give up lunch or stay late to help students with academic or personal needs. Every day schools make a difference, yet few of these stories show up on the news.

Schools do so much more than academics, they teach students to be positive contributors to society. Students are often introduced to the ideas of philanthropy in schools. Schools need to be celebrated for all they contribute to our communities! Our government repeatedly spends tax dollars to make us feel good about the programs it provides. It might be time to spend some of this money to show all the incredible things our schools are doing!

If Walmart can do it why can’t the State of Michigan or the US Department of Education? One outlet that does a great job doing this is the School News Network out of Kent County Michigan. Maybe this network should be state wide!

Keep ending up in Silos

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One of the reasons I became engaged in twitter chats in 2011 was to break down silos in education. On twitter all views are welcome, the audience weighs the views on their merit rather than looking at who or where the ideas come from. Twitter was a tool that leveled the playing field. A student’s ideas carried was equal to a school superintendent’s ideas. Twitter chats had diverse groups of participants and ideas were freely shared and debated.

As we fast forward 7 years to 2018 the twitter chat landscape and mentality has changed vastly. While there are still some broad chats like #michED, #mschat and #edchat there seems to be a huge surge in audience specific chats. Whether they are administrator chats, building chats or book chats. There are very specific chats now that maintain narrow focuses. Some districts have used twitter chats to replace parts of staff meetings with leaders posting questions and monitoring responses. It appears we are retreating to the comfort and easy organization of the silos.

Looking around the education landscape most organization seem narrow in focus. There are leadership organization, technology organization and subject specific organization. Most conferences seem to focus on one of these areas as well. This structure seems to rebuild the silos that education should be breaking down.  Few organization like AMLE  have a broad focus.  AMLE focuses on all aspects of teaching in the middle level.

If education is going to be transformed, the silos need to go. Twitter, conferences and organizations supporting education need a broad scope and inclusive conversations. All teachers need to be talking about reading, math, social studies and science instruction because they all relate. Sure teachers should specialize into the areas of interest but they all need to be aware of how their content connects to others. Time for educators to be on same page and stop meeting in isolation.

Our world is one where ALL content areas come at us at once. A job rarely focuses on one content area or speciality area. Students need to see the natural connections. Best way to do this is make sure all educators are on the same page and have similar training.

Let’s stop building silos. Time to bust them down.