Monday, July 14, 2014

2014-2015 One Word (It's actually two)

Last year my One Word was Pursue - You can read about it here.

Well, this year's One Word is...a hem... actually two words. I couldn't find something that meant the same but in one word, so I went with two words.

Be Present. 

I struggle with being in the moment. Sometimes my hands and my eyes are attached to some electronic device. I miss things. Important things. I'm missing important dad things. Husband things. Classroom learning opportunity things. Coaching things. You name it. I miss things because I struggle with being "in the moment." My mind wanders. I do other things. I'll check my phone incessantly. I stare off into space. I wonder about whether that stain on the carpet was there yesterday or not. I don't focus on what I'm currently doing. Actually, I've probably gotten up about 15 times while writing this. I have a "present" problem. I also have a problem with being selfish and can be very me-first. I'm more me-first at home than I am at school. It's something that I'm working on and I'm hoping that my One Word will help me in this.

I watched this by Alan Stein, basketball training guru, a couple of years ago and it really resonated with me. Yes, it's basketball related, but it can be translated to life. We need to play present. We need to give all we have to this exact moment. No matter what it is. Whatever we're doing at the very minute, we should be giving that our undivided attention. Alan states to focus on the process, and the two things that you have absolute control over - your attitude and your effort.

The logo -

Pretty simple really. Just "be present" in a script font. Nothing too fancy. I did add the Google Maps (or most maps now, I guess) location dot thing though. It's a reminder that I need to "be" right where I am. It's like I need to "check-in" and actually be present and not just existing in the same space as others. Moments needs to get all of me.

The picture - 

A map of Medieval Europe. Not really sure why, but it's my tie-in to my social studies classroom. My One Word is supposed to encompass all facets of my life. From home, to school, to coaching, to the weekends. All of it. It's a reminder that no matter where you go, there you are.

The verse - 

Honestly, I struggled with coming up for a verse for this year, but Romans 12:10 is the verse I chose. This verse is going to be my guide this year as I hope to turn my attention away from myself and onto my family, students, colleagues, and players. Devoted is a strong word. It invokes a lot of action. Love. I just read The Carpenter by Jon Gordon for the second time. You should read it as well. Love, Serve, Care is the success formula that J. Emmanuel shares with Michael in the book. This verse speaks to that. Honor.It speaks of humility and placing the needs of others before yourself.

It's going to be a daily battle for me. It's going to be a challenge, no doubt. But the benefits are going to far outweigh the struggles as I hope to get more closer and develop more meaningful relationships with those who are closest to me.  If you don't think I'm following my One Word, you have permission to call me out on it.

Be Present is my One Word for my school year 2014-2015. What's yours and why?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Couch Conference

A couple weeks ago, I attended the Couch Conference put on by Danville Schools and lead by my friend of one year @TimKasper from #247Tech  fame. Search #couchconference to see all the twitter posts from the day.

I was so pumped for this because Dave Burgess of Teach Like a Pirate  and #tlap chat (9:00pm EST on Mondays) fame was giving the keynote and a session. I had read his book over Christmas break last year and it no doubt changed my view of what a classroom should look like. I started integrating a lot of his ideas immediately.

Here are a few of my notes from Dave's two sessions. (Side note: Dave might have the most enthusiasm I have ever seen in an individual. It's almost downright ridiculous... in a positive way. He talks incredibly fast so I took limited notes because I already have the book.) It was great to get to see him in person "teach" us. Sometimes you listen to speakers and you think they might just be there to collect a check when they are done. From Dave, all I saw was how he wanted to share how he filled a need in his classroom so that everyone can benefit from it.

On to the notes -
  • Teachers are in the life-changing business.
  • We must gain engagement but not lose it with transitions. 
  • Have props/images.
  • Be more concerned with the learning, than how they show it. (See choices on presenting)
  • Create experiences. Kids forget lessons, but they remember experiences. 
  • Want to change the way you teach? Begin by asking questions.
    • E.E. Cummings - "Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question." 
    • Be careful what you ask for. 
  • Teachers are the greatest thieves in the world. (I might add coaches, also.)
  • Be able to document all your ideas. He uses notepads. 
  • Use origami in class. 
    • I did this this year and the students loved it and remembered it. We made origami tables when talking about how to backup your ideas with details. The top of the table was the main idea, but it couldn't stand without the table legs, the support. Towards the end of the year, I referenced it, they all knew what I was talking about.
  • Add some zombies.
  • Use the brackets. 
  • Draw in the world to spark engagement. Use current events. 
  • Dave referenced this quote from Bruce Lee.
  • Follow Todd Nesloney aka @TechNinjaTodd
    • What's your 5 word GPS for your vision for your classroom? Write it down. Make it come to  life. 
  • Follow Matt Vaudrey aka @MrVaudrey 
  • Use the class clowns in your lessons. They already want to put on a show. 
Like I said, I didn't write too much because it was so fast. I highly suggest seeing him in person once you read the book. 

Lunch Break 

I ate lunch with my former crew from Danville (new post on new position some time soon), a new friend I had met on the Twitters, Kari Catanzaro aka @catanhistory, who also teaches 6th grade SS, but at Maconaquah MS. It's pretty cool how one Dave Burgess brought us together through a twitter chat. 

Speaking of bringing people together, I also had lunch with who I like to call my doppelnamer. His name is also Matt Miller and is a Spanish teacher at Turkey Run HS. You can contact him at @jmattmiller or . We met last year at the Center Grove iPossibilities Conference as I took both of his workshops on student blogging and ditching textbooks. I learned a lot and incorporated blogging this past year. Over the past year, we tweeted back and forth and met another educational Matt Miller in @MentorSuper and another Matt Miller teacher in @matthewm1970. Needless to say, one day all the Matt Miller's of the world are going to unite and take over. Matt Miller, as in Ditch That Textbook Matt Miller, coined the term #Mattpocalypse

Anyway, we had a nice chat and got to know each other a little more. What I didn't know, was that he was crafting his upcoming keynote speech about using social media. Then, we took a picture together.

Then, he used it in his speech. Pretty neat how he worked that one out. I think he was thinking ahead. :)
Afternoon -
I attended the session on MyBigCampus and NBCLearn with @libster and @CyndyNBCLearn.
NBC Learn is doing some neat things with current events and videos.

End -
I ended the day drinking a smoothie from that was delicious. (Randomness - Debbie from A Cup Above and her daughter spent a month working at the orphanage in Taiwan where our son was cared for before he came to us. Small world, huh?"

I also won a door prize. I never win door prizes. I'm also not sure why they are called door prizes because I've never seen a door given as a prize. I wonder if they give actual door prizes at construction conference? :)
Back to the winning: I received some Dry Erase Crayons. Yes, dry erase CRAYONS. I have yet to try them, but they sound cool. I also received 4 dry erase erasers. These aren't your typical erasers. No. These are in the shape of race cars. Pretty sweet if you ask me.

Good day. Good people. Good learning.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Posters

I'm changing jobs and schools. (That's another post.) In my old room, I had quotes on the wall in vinyl letters/stickers. I can't take them with me, so I decided to make some posters with those same quotes. I should probably put these on TeachersPayTeachers, but hey, sharing is caring. :)