It’s been awhile…

So my blogging goals for last school year definitely slipped away from me! So back at it now, as better late than never, right? Today was the first day of the Cy-Fair Digital Learning Conference. DLC is a great conference that CFISD organizes each year at the end of July. I think today they said about 1700 educators were in attendance–fantastic for summertime professional learning!  I went to a great session on PLCs. It is fascinating to hear about how other districts (and campuses for that matter) view PLCs. Some view it as something to be done and for others,…

Listening to Understand

It is almost November and this is my first blog for the school year, oops! But better late than never, right?? In my conversations, meetings, books I’m reading, and professional learning opportunities lately a common thread has emerged: Listening to Understand.  What does that mean to you? Is that something you think about? I have am amazing opportunity to work with the Teaching and Learning Alliance on a Lab School Cohort on my campus. Our coach is Cynthia, and she is someone that you can learn so many things from! What I’ve noticed most is her ability to listen. And…

Starting off the school year

Summer is rapidly coming to an end which means let’s start the back to school work. Time to take all that summer learning from books, blogs, twitter, planning with co-workers, professional learning, vacation, and etc, and put it into practice. How do you start off your school year? Prep your classroom, make some lesson plans, get those bulletin boards and seating charts ready, etc?  What about the syllabus, class rules, and class expectations? That was something that was at the top of my priority list my first few years of teaching. I felt it paramount to cover every bit of…

Wrapping up a school year

We are getting closer to the end of the school year. This week we have our EOCs and next week will finish up AP testing. So what do you do at the end of the year? What lessons are your favorites? What do you try to leave students with to carry into the summer? Are you hurrying to finish your curriculum, or finding times to explore new things and to play? Now is the time to play, explore, and let the students inquire, right?  If you missed out on that all year because you felt the pressure to finish the…

Strengths

Do you know what your strengths are? What about your weaknesses? Is that something you think about or talk about often? And speaking of weaknesses–I dislike that in an interview question. Do you like it? It is a tough one to answer when attempting to persuade someone to hire you based on your skill set, but then have to explain to them where you have deficiencies. My husband is currently working on his masters (to gain administrator certification). One of his first assignments was to complete a Kiersey Temperament Survey. It was interesting to read his results as they fit…

#IMMOOC–The Innovative Educator

Innovation is more than just inventing something new. Innovation is creative and messy. It is about creating a space for experimentation, failures, change for the better. Critical questions to ask when looking for innovation: Is it new? Is it better? How can you use innovation in teaching? How can students use it to learn?  We have to create an environment of uncertainty and unpredictability.  If you know every day when you show up to class EXACTLY what is going to happen (think about it from the lens of a student–I’m going to come in, sit down, do my warm up, listen…

The Land of the Book Study

In my previous district, we occasionally talked about what we were reading. I read a lot of fiction for fun, aligned my reading to a host of Young Adult books so I could share insights and hear insights from my students in my classes and in my homeroom class.  I had a group of  big readers in my homeroom and loved it!  But for professional learning books–we really didn’t do a lot.  I followed blogs, keeps up with an rss feed in google reader (before they discontinued it) and occasionally checked out a book about teaching social studies.  Fast forward…

T-Tess and What is good teaching anyhow?

In our return to school today we spent time learning more about T-Tess–the new appraisal system for teachers in Texas (replacing PDAS).  I’m actually pretty excited about it.  It really lends itself to more of a coaching model within schools, and hey…this instructional coach here is happy about it! It is divided into 4 Domains: Planning, Instruction, Learning Environment, and Professional Practices and Responsibilities.  Read more about it here: https://teachfortexas.org/ The training was heavy on information, but had a few activities built in: Small group talk about what makes a lesson an effective lesson. Teachers wrote down their thoughts individually…

Reflecting on the elections…

My last two blogs posts were about Eva Kor and meeting her in Corpus Christi. Stick with me on this post to see how they are connected.   In light of the political climate, I have been reflecting a lot on how people interact with each other. I’ve watched a lot of news stories, read a variety of news articles, talked to family members, coworkers, friends, and acquaintances. I’ve read facebook posts and facebook comments.  I followed twitter conversations and news article comments. All of those have taken me down a path of reflection–that reflection relates to Eva Kor and…

More Life Lessons from Eva Kor

I posted last about attending TCSS in Corpus and having the opportunity to meet Eva Kor, a survivor of Auschwitz.  Since then, I have submitted the paperwork and have 30 students signed up to participate in a book study over her book and a SKYPE session with her! I’m am very excited about this.  We had over 30 students sign up, but the museum only allows 30 so we had to go based on time stamp of registering online. I’ve talked to a few students already and they are very excited to get started. So on to her next life…

Life Lessons from Eva Kor, Lesson #1

I was granted the amazing opportunity to attend and present at the Texas Council for Social Studies Conference in Corpus Christi (a full reflection post will be coming soon). While there, one of the sessions I attended was hosted by Eva Mozes Kor. I cannot even begin to describe the wisdom, patience, and grace of this amazing woman. She and her twin sister lost their entire family at Auschwitz and had to endure terrible conditions and medical testing at the hands of the Nazis and Dr. Mengele.  She has spent an amazing amount of her time, energy, and effort on…

Research, Better Conversations, and Relationships!

Recently, I had a discussion with some educational leaders on my campus about what is effective in education. Some of those leaders had attended a day long presentation on Visible Learning. I was interested in the book and the research, but also very questioning of it all.  I think it is hard to find research for education that is irrefutable. I’m curious as to what others think on this as well. I guess I’m sort of a skeptic on buying into educational research without doing some research of my own first. Ha! I believe that teaching is an art. It has…