MHS 4/28/17 Staff Update

The National Honor Society Induction ceremony highlighted the start of the week on Sunday.  State Testing adjusted schedules with computer assessments from the ACT testing services taken by 9th and 10th grade students. [See the BLT notes as we are very likely adjusting the schedule next year for this in a very good way.] This allowed several important meetings including a JR Class meeting, a SR Class meeting, AP registration, and a prom trauma video.  We look forward to the opening of Grease on Friday evening with many upcoming performances.  Congratulations to Mr. Boettcher, Associate Principal and Athletic Director at MHS for being elected to the WIAA Advisory Council representing large schools in Wisconsin. [This is quite an honor especially considering the state-wide nature of the competition.]  DECA contestants attended national convention at the end of the week in California.  The inclement weather continues to cause many postponements and cancellations of Spring sports.  The Baseball Team swept Marshfield last weekend and the Tennis team continues to make waves in the BRC.  MHS Student Council earned many awards at the WASC state conference and the Forensics Team earned the Excellence in Speech award which is the top state award.

 

BLT 4/26/17 Notes

 

MHS Staff Update 4/21/17

MHS students and staff conducted the annual Tornado Drill Thursday coordinated with the Wisconsin Statewide drill.  The cast and crew of Grease have been rehearsing into the wee hours of many evenings and will be ready for opening night next week Friday.  Kelsie Lyall learned Thursday that she was named a national semi-finalist for the US Presidential Scholars competition.  With almost 3.5 million seniors in the nation, it’s quite an honor to be one of only 723 semi-finalists.  MHS learned that we had a junior earn a perfect 36 on the ACT but the student has chosen not to have a public release.  Civics students participated in their annual field trip to the judicial center on Monday.  The Wisconsin Badger Football Coaches held a coaches clinic at MHS this week.  Spring Sports teams had a slate of cancellations this past week including Thursday causing many rescheduled games due to inclement weather.  Next week is packed with home events on multiple dates including the opening of Grease on Friday.

 

Wisconsin Students in Grades 9 & 10 will be participating in the ACT ASPIRE Assessment during the spring testing window.  Menomonie High School is scheduled to take the ACT Aspire Assessment (Grades 9, 10) Monday, April 24 through Friday, April 28.  The ACT Aspire Exam will take place during Extended Learning Time (ELT) with the below schedule.   Because students in grades 11 and 12 will not be taking this exam, they will use this time as a study hall.  Also, there will be NO late start on Wednesday, April 26 due to Aspire Testing.

2017 Aspire Testing Bell Schedule

April 24th – April 28th – ASPIRE [9th & 10th grade]

*40 min class periods

Period 1 – 7:40-8:20

Period 2 – 8:25-9:05

9:05-10:45 ELT time for 11th, and 12th graders

Aspire Testing for 9th & 10th graders

Period 3 – 10:50-11:35 (announcements too)

Period 4 – 11:40-12:20

A Lunch 12:20-12:50

Period 5 12:55-1:35

Period 5 12:25-1:05

B Lunch 1:05-1:35

Period 6 – 1:40-2:20

Period 7 – 2:25-3:05

4/13/17 MHS Staff Update

All of our HOSA students (Amber Ruchti, Amanda McCullouch, Israel Fay Hill, Kelsie Lyall, Kaitlyn Trunkel, Joscey Kelley, Tayia Wik, Steven Yang) performed well & did a great job representing Menomonie High School!  Congratulations to Kelsie Lyall and Kaitlyn Trunkel for Placing 3rd in the state for CPR and First Aid, they are qualifiers to move on to HOSA International competition!  The Science Olympiad Team continued an amazing run placing 2nd place in the state completing a 4 year run with 3 State Titles.  I’ve heard from the team and coaches to watch out in the 17/18 season.  The Forensics Team held their end of year banquet before their state tournament appearance.  The MHS Forensics Team continues to be one of the top Forensics Teams in the state.  The school play Grease is near ready for the roll out at the end of April and start of May.  The Boys Tennis Team did a great job at home on Tuesday with the Girls Soccer team competing at higher levels.  The Chamber of Commerce awarded Ryan Sterry the 2017 MHS Teacher of the Year while also highlighting the MHS top 10%.  The Sports Complex Ribbon cutting April 13, 2017 highlighted the end of the week as we headed into a small break.

 

I always rely on your availability in front of your classes as much as you are able to assist with hallway supervision.  Everyone does such a good job with this but it’s always worth reminding as we approach the end of the school year.

 

Let’s finish strong by making this our very best 30 days!

 

MHS Mustang 5 – things to know going into 1:1 – self-directed PD focus

Building Leadership Team Notes from 4/5/17

MHS 4/7/17 Staff Update

Parent Teacher Conferences filled the week for MHS staff, students and families.  We experienced good traffic Monday and a bit less on Thursday but I’m thankful for several staff following through with reaching out to families via phone call in order to provide an introduction and positive feedback about their student.  The Sports Complex Donor Boards were installed this week in preparation for the Grand Opening of the Sports Complex on Thursday before the 1st track meet.  The Track Team battled late into the evening Tuesday at the MHS Invite which is actually held at UW River Falls.  Gabi Sobota was honored as the new FCCLA State Officer Vice President of Career Development.  Several staff have been working long hours on interviews for both Tech Ed and PE.  We anticipate having hire recommendations prepared by the board meeting monday for both positions.  We’re excited about both candidate pools!  Professional Saxophonist Sue Orfield, also an MHS Graduate, performed with our Jazz Bands Thursday night to a receptive crowd and energized student musicians.  Stop out to the Baseball Game Friday evening or one of the many home events next week.  Congratulations to Nate McMahon for being name Educator of the Year for WI Clear Waters Trout Unlimited for his continued support of cold water resources and trout unlimited.  Stop by Mr. McMahon’s room sometime to see the trout that he’s nurturing for eventual release.

 

MHS 4/5/17 Building Leadership Team Notes 

  • Staffing Recommendations to School Board
  • Scheduling Timeline and Information
  • New Staff  – Tech Ed, PE, Custodial
  • Tornado Drill
  • Self Directed PD next year – book study
  • Summer PLC institute
  • Academic Career Plans – roll out plan pending/information
  • Room Switches following 1:1 final decision which is Monday
  • Staff Meeting 4/12/17

 

MHS 3/31/17 Staff Update

The Band, Choir, and Orchestra performed magnificently Thursday evening in the Gym for the annual Music in our Schools Concert.  I heard many positive comments from students, staff, and parents about having all of our musical areas playing and represented at one time.  Mad City Money filled the Gym on Tuesday with many businesses in the community represented to help educate our students in personal financial management. The Track Teams have had many events over the last few days most recently Tuesday evening at Stout.  Both teams continue to do very well and are enjoying and using daily the new track even in bad weather.  The Softball team won an exciting game last night at Wakanda Park and the Girls Soccer Team opened the home season Thursday losing but competing at a high level.  Mrs. Krause-Kuchta [Science Teacher] has registered students from MHS to be part of Orion’s Quest Program.  Orion’s Quest is a nonprofit education outreach that engages elementary, middle and high school students in experiments being conducted by world-class scientists on the International Space Station (ISS). They provide all of the materials and support needed for the experience and the program is provided free of charge. You can learn more about Orion’s Quest by visiting their website at: http://www.orionsquest.or.  Thank you to Mrs. Krause-Kuchta for helping bring NASA into our classrooms.  There will be a press release to local news outlets in our area to raise awareness and to let everyone know about this great outreach at Menomonie High School.

I’ve only included one posting from our presenter from earlier this year largely because of the perspective provided in the screenshot labeled ‘Mindset will move us forward, not any technology.’

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 9.41.28 PM

 

 

The Principal of Change

Stories of learning and leading

In the 03/26/2017 edition:

What types of questions are you asking?

By George on Mar 25, 2017 09:17 am
I received a tweet asking me for suggestions on keyboarding programs for students.  I didn’t respond. I couldn’t respond.  I am not a fan, and when schools are saying that they are either a) in a time crunch or, b) having limited use of technology, I struggle that we use this precious amount of time focusing on keyboarding programs.

Think about it…Have you ever seen anyone in their teens on a mobile device, furiously typing away?  What “iPhone Keyboarding” class did they take to learn that?

You know the answer…they didn’t. They learned on their own. They were compelled to learn on their own because if you can’t type fast enough, you might be left out of a conversation.

So, instead of looking for “keyboarding programs”, why not find compelling ways where students will want to learn to type? I asked my wife, an amazing educator, if she ever taught her grade four students “keyboarding”, and she said “never”.  What she did share though was using chat programs to have conversations with topics, and that students learned that the old “hunt and peck” method would not be good enough; they had to adapt.  Her reasoning was that she never learned how to type in high school, but by using ICQ (uh oh!…Please tell me someone gets that joke).

Simply put, if I am in a position where I need to learn something to be able to do something that is meaningful to me, I might actually learn it in a much more powerful way.  Create something compelling and the students will learn to type.

As I am writing this, I am thinking about the questions we ask.  There are two different ways that this question could have been asked:

  1. What is the best keyboarding program that has worked for your students?
  2. What are some of the best strategies that you have used for students to learn how to type?

The first question leads you to something solving the problem for you. The second pushes creative and innovative thinking.

Once we start hoping the technology will solve our problems, the more trouble will be in as educators, for a plethora of reasons.

Mindset will move us forward, not any technology.

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 9.41.28 PM

 

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Flipping the Script; 3 Obstacles to Innovation Viewed Differently
Intent vs. Impact
The Paralysis of Fear
Stuck in a Rut or a Groove?

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MHS 3/24/17 Staff Update

Dani Allenstein organized the HOSA Blood Drive run on Thursday producing 171 pints from our students and staff!  The students solicited donations and were able to provide a pint of culvers custard for every donated pint of blood donated.  We wrapped up the ACT this week with make-up exams.  We will once again post an almost perfect test participation rate thanks to Mrs Hoyt, our counselors and all staff involved in assisting with the ACT.  The Track Teams held their annual MHS Indoor Invite on Thursday hosting teams from around the county and they’ll follow up with the much larger Northern Badger Track Invite at Stout on Saturday.  Mr. Ruegnitz and many volunteer students and adults are putting the finishing touches on the preparation for the empty bowls event being held at MHS this year from 11am to 2pm on Saturday.  Our Seniors returned from Spring Break excited for the final stretch before graduation which is a little over 40 school days away.

A special congratulations to Ryan Schwarz and Kayla Oliver on their engagement!  Great News!!!!

Developing the Innovator’s Mindset (Series)

Hey! Thanks so much for signing up for this series of emails about The Innovator’s Mindset. I hope you have enjoyed what you have read so far.

The second post I want to share with you is “What Makes a Master Teacher”. This is one of the most popular posts from my blog (please feel free to read here directly from the site), and I wanted to share this with new subscribers. I hope you enjoy it.

What Makes a Master Teacher

The term “master teacher” seems to get thrown around a lot, but is something that many educators aspire to be. In my ten years in the field of education, I would say that the definition of “master teacher” has definitely changed. When I think of a master teacher, here are the qualities that I would suggest they have:

1. Connects with kids first -For all students to excel, teachers must learn about them and connect with each child.  This is not just about finding out how they learn, but it is finding out who they are.  It is essential that we get to know our students, learn their passions, and help them find out how we can engage them in their own learning.  If you are not able to do this as a teacher, the following characteristics will be moot,

2. Teaches kids first and curriculum second – Teachers must ensure that they differentiate learning and work to meet the needs of each student and understand how they each learn.  I believe that students have different learning styles and if we can best figure out how to help them meet their own needs, students will excel in the subject areas we teach.

3. Ensures that they draw relevance to curriculum – The question, “What does this have to do with real life?”, is something that I would prefer never be said in a classroom.  Not because it is not a legitimate question, but because teachers should show the relevance before there is an opportunity for it to be asked.  As we are obligated to teach curriculum objectives outlined by our government officials, this is something that must be done.  It is not always an easy part of the job but it is something we much continuously strive to do.

Not only is it essential that we draw relevance to the subject matter of what we teach, but it is also essential that we use mediums that are relevant to how students learn.  Disconnecting from devices that WE use as adults and kids use all the time the minute students walk into school is wrong.  A master teachers knows that it is essential  to use technology in the classroom to enhance learning in a way that is relevant to students.

4. Works with students to develop a love of learning – We are obligated to teach curriculum objectives but we are also obligated in our profession to help students find their own spark in learning.  Why do I write this blog?  It is my way of connecting with others and reflecting on my own learning.  It is a way that I choose to share and learn with others.  There is no pay or compensation that I receive from this.  A master teacher will try to tap into those ways that students love to learn and build upon that.  Creating that spark in each student will lead them to continued success and growth.

5. Embodies lifelong learning – A master teacher knows that they will never become the “perfect” teacher since that is unattainable.  They will look at ways that they can grow along with students and develop their own skills.  Education and learning will always change and a master teacher knows that they need to change with it.  I have seen teachers that have proclaimed that they are master teachers but have not changed their practice in years.  Growth is essential as a teacher.  Society changes continuously and so do its needs.  We need thinkers in our workplace and teachers must show that they are on the leading edge of this.

6. Focuses on learning goals as opposed to performance goals – Reading “Drive” by Dan Pink, he talks about the difference between performance and learning goals.  A performance goal would be similar to having students wanting to receive an “A” in french where a learning goal would be a student wanting to become fluent in the language.  Many students are smart enough that they know how to meet the objectives of a rubric and still not grow much in their learning.  A master teacher sets the goals based on learning not on receiving a grade.  This type of assessment is not about understanding what a students knows and reporting on it, but it is a tool used for learning.

7.  Ensures that “character education” is an essential part of learning – Character education is just as relevant, if not more so, than any learning objectives set out in a curriculum.  We live in a world where collaboration is vital to success and working with others is an important skill.  Working with students to teach the fundamentals of respecting others and being able to listen and learn from others is vital.  Students can have the smartest understanding of objectives but not have the ability to share these ideas with others in a respectful way or take the time to listen to other ideas.  A master teacher ensures that students not only grow mentally in class, but also emotionally.

8.  Passionate about the content they teach – If a teacher works in the area of math and LOVES the subject area, that passion will spill over to the students he/she works with.  As an administrator, I work hard to help teachers work in subject areas that they are passionate about because I believe that enthusiasm is infectious. A master teacher shares their passion and enthusiasm with those they work with.  However, if you are a teacher in an area that you do not “love”, it is important that you find ways to spark that passion for yourself.

9.  A master teacher is a “school teacher” – I often talk with people about the difference between a classroom teacher versus a “school teacher”.  It is essential that a master teacher does not only impact the learning environments of the class that they work with, but that they also have an impact on the school culture.  This can happen in sharing their passion through extracurricular activities or their knowledge on strong teaching strategies with school colleagues.  It is important that teachers do not just build connections with students that they teach now, but with students they had in the past or may have in the future.  It is great to see teachers that connect with kids that they do not teach at the time leading to enthusiasm for that student to one day be in that very same teacher’s class.

10. Strong communication skills – Obviously it is important that teachers are able to communicate with the students they teach, but what about their colleagues and parents?  Sharing knowledge, back and forth with colleagues is essential to the growth of the individual as well as the collective.  It is important that these skills are continuously developed.  It is also imperative that you are able to effectively communicate with parents as they have great insights on how their child learns best.  I have learned more and more as an educator the valuable learning that can come from communicating with parents and how important they are to the development of the school and class culture.  A master teacher will effectively draw upon this knowledge.

These are the characteristics that I believe make a master teacher.  I definitely know that as an administrator these are ideals as a teacher leader that I work towards everyday and want to embody.  The one thing that I do know is that my learning is nowhere near complete and I can still grow.  Learning from you, what areas do you think I missed on this list?  I would love to hear your thoughts as I continue to grow.
Thanks for reading,

George

 

 

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Updates from

The Principal of Change

Stories of learning and leading

In the 03/24/2017 edition:

Dreams to Norms

By George on Mar 23, 2017 06:05 pm
As the world moves forward, are schools standing still- At best, are we doing school plus digital, or have we totally rethought school- (1)

Just thinking…

My daughter just turned 7 months old. Watching her grow up has been fascinating, and when I FaceTime her on the road, she reaches out now, trying to touch my face. It melts me every single time.

As I was looking at her, I was overcome with the idea of how when I was a kid, I could only dream of a day that we had “video phones”; she will never know anything different.  Isn’t that a powerful thought?

In fact, the things she dreams about one day, will not be her reality as a child, but her norm as an adult.

Yet, when we look at the experience of school, will her reality in kindergarten be the same as mine, with just more “digital” thrown into the mix?

I loved school. My Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Stock, was amazing, and she could be reading this right now, as we have stayed connected on Facebook.  I still remember moments from class and that she taught me how to do “bunny ears” to tie my laces (which I still use!), and I still think of her impact on me often.   There was so much from my experience of school that I hope continues with my daughter.  That she will adore many of her teachers as I did (and still do).  But I also do not want school to be exactly the same for her as it was for me. I want it to be so much better.  Isn’t that the drive for every parent? That their kids have it better than the do.

I am happy that my dreams have become her reality (although I will do my best to raise her not to be spoiled by any of this).  I just want to make sure that this is both in and out of school.

My hopes and dreams for my daughter are the same as my parents were for me.  Same, yet different, but ultimately, better.

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 4.02.38 PM

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Intent vs. Impact
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Stuck in a Rut or a Groove?
Find problems, create solutions.

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The Principal of Change

Stories of learning and leading

In the 03/22/2017 edition:

Flipping the Script; 3 Obstacles to Innovation Viewed Differently

By George on Mar 21, 2017 04:15 pm
Arguments against innovative practices abound.  Innovation comes from not only dealing with roadblocks but recognizing when to turn these same roadblocks into the conversation on how we can do things differently and much better.

Think about the way you (and others) ask questions. Is it in pursuit of moving forward or the hidden reality of holding on to what you have always done?

Here are three common arguments I hear against innovation, and how I respond to them.

 

1. We don’t have time.

No matter where you go in the world, there are 24 hours in a day. Why is it that some schools are able to do things in a much more compelling way? They do not have more time, they just use it more effectively.

Let’s retire the “we don’t have time” argument. Start to rethink what is important, and how we are using our time. It is not about adding more, it is about doing things differently and better.

I had this same conversation with a teacher years ago about how they could not have students blog because there was no time in the day, yet when observing them, they had students write (copy) for 20-30 minutes items into their agenda daily. The argument was, “They need to be able to learn to organize.”  Reality check; I do not write any notes into a book that says “agenda”. It all goes onto my phone.  I am also not learning to organize myself if I am told what to write down exactly.  I am learning to do what you tell me.  Send them a google calendar appointment (PS…this was a classroom where all students had a laptop) if you like, and then use the other 19 minutes and 30 seconds to do something where the students have to be thoughtful, not mindlessly write off of a board.

Reshape your time, because there is no more coming your way.

2. We don’t have money.

There has never been a school that I have traveled to where they said, “We have so much money this year! What should we do with all of it?”

How you use your money and where you spend it is crucial.  Are you asking for innovation yet having the same textbook budget year after year?

Here is a great conversation starter for the “money” question.  Check out this gif on the “Evolution of the Desk”.

 evolution desk GIF

The question I always ask after showing this, is that if your school has more access to laptops, is your school supply list exactly the same?  Are there things that you can do with this one device, that you are spending money on elsewhere?

Again, it is not always about finding more, but rethinking what you have.

3.We are not sure this will work.

When I hear this reluctance to try something new because of fear of failure, I always try to get people to think about what they are doing now.  Is that practice knocking it out of the park?  Are worksheets “best practice” or “easiest practice”?  If what you are doing right now is stoking curiosity, and a love of deep learning, while empowering students, there is no need to search elsewhere. Do what you are doing.  But if it is not working for every kid, then you have to go out and venture and find (or create) something better for your students.

We also have to redefine “risk”. This is how I explain it to educators:

Risk defined

It doesn’t seem so bad when you see it that way, does it?

If you are not sure something “new” will work for your students, you also have to look at if the “old” thing is truly working, or if we are just doing it because we always have?


 

What is important about all of these “challenges” is that we use them as an opportunity to have conversations, not as roadblocks.  If we start looking at the challenges as a great way to get people to think differently about the “why, what, and how” of education, we are in a good spot. If we ignore these statements and running away from the challenges, we are actively doing what we don’t want to happen in our schools.

If people are not comfortable sharing these statements, it doesn’t mean they don’t believe them.  It just means that they are in a culture where they aren’t comfortable to have the conversation. Embrace the challenge and see it as an opportunity to move forward.

Every conversation we have is an opportunity to move education forward.

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Developing the Innovator’s Mindset

Hey! Thanks so much for signing up for this series of emails about The Innovator’s Mindset. I promise to send some good stuff your way in the upcoming days and weeks.

The first post I want to share with you is “8 Things to Look For in Today’s Classroom” (if you want to read it on my blog click here).

8 Things to Look For in Today’s Classroom

As I think that leaders should be able to describe what they are looking for in schools I have thought of eight things that I really want to see in today’s classroom.  I really believe that classrooms need to be learner focused. This is not simply that students are creating but that they are also having opportunities to follow their interests and explore passions.  The teacher should embody learning as well.

Will Richardson recently wrote this in a comment on one of my recent posts on what teachers need to be like in our current day and the focus that needs to be on learning:

…we need teachers who are masters at developing kids as learners who are adept at sense making around their own goals. Teachers who are focused on helping students develop the dispositions and literacies required to succeed regardless of subject or content or curriculum

This moment is all about learners having an amazing new freedom to learn, not teachers having an amazing new freedom to teach. I’d love to see 2013 all about making that shift in our thinking around education.

Although technology is not the focus, it does give us many opportunities to magnify the opportunities I list below.  So with that being said, here are some things that I believe will help the learner of today be successful in our world, both today and tomorrow.

1.  Voice – Students should have the opportunity to not only learn from others but also share their learning with others as well.  We live in a world where everyone has a voice and if we do not teach our students to use this effectively, they will definitely struggle.  To me, this is so simple yet so essential.

2.  Choice – This is not only about how students learn, but also what they learn about.  How do they further their learning in areas of interests to them?  Throughout the first few years of university I did poorly, yet in my final few years my grades were better than they ever had been.  What was the difference?  I actually cared what I was learning about.  Strengths based learning is extremely important.

3.  Time for Reflection – Classrooms are an extremely busy place and I understand that many feel that they are rushed through the curriculum, but I think that taking the time to connect and reflect on what is being learned gives learners a better opportunity to really understand what they have learned.  I know many classrooms have DEAR time (drop everything and read), so why do we not have time to simply write and reflect?  This is not only for students, but for teachers and administrators as well.

4.  Opportunities for Innovation – Recently I visited Greystone Centennial Middle School during “Innovation Week” and saw students that created a hovercraft (not kidding) using things that they had around the house.  They were able to guide it around the gym and it was able to carry people around.  These kids were in grade 9.

When I asked the students about this opportunity, they had told me that they had saw something similar on YouTube but it was missing a few elements that they wanted to add.  They made it new and better.  I can only imagine what the students will do after they leave school because of this day, not in spite of it.

5.  Critical Thinkers – In the “factory model” of education, students were meant to be compliant and basically do “as they were told.”  This is not something that sticks with a child only, but goes into adulthood as well and it creates “yes” people who tend to lose all originality.  One of my best friends and my first admin partner, told me to never just let him go out on his own with his ideas without questioning them and sharing my thoughts.  His reason?  He wanted the best ideas, not his ideas.  He wanted me to ask questions.  He wanted to be successful.  It was not his ego that was important, but the success of his staff and students.  I have learned to ask the same of all those I work with and although it can turn into spirited conversations, it is was best not only for school but all organizations.  We need to have students that are able to ask questions and challenge what they see, but always in a respectful way.

6.  Problem Solvers/FindersEwan McIntosh has a brilliant Ted Talk discusses the notion of “problem-based learning” and how it is not beneficial to give students problems that aren’t real.  Instead, he focuses on the idea that students need to be “problem finders”; being able to find some tough challenges and then being able to solve those problems.  Megan Howard shares a wonderful story of how one of her grade six students was able to see that there was a problem with classmates losing their school uniforms and then being able to use QR codes to be able to identify them.  Let’s start asking kids to really look into finding what the problems are and giving them some purpose in solving something real.

7.  Self-Assessment – I don’t think that I have ever heard a teacher say, “I can’t wait until we get to write report cards!”  That being said, I think we spend too much time focusing on being able to tell others what our students can do and know, and not enough time helping students understand those things themselves.  Portfolios are a great way to share this knowledge and will actually have students develop their own understanding of what they know.  If you can write in a report card that a student can do something in October, yet they can’t do it in January, is that report card still relevant?  I think that we should spend more time working with students to teach them how to assess themselves and not just do it for them.

8. Connected Learning – When I first started teaching, I remember really struggling with science.  It was a subject that I struggled with as a learner and that continued on as a teacher.  I now think that if I was in the classroom, that the best person to teach science wouldn’t be me, but a scientist.  With most people that having a computer also having a Skype account, there are many that are willing to share their expertise in different areas.  This does not only have to be via technology, but we should also be bring in experts from our community to talk to students.  I know many teachers have done this for a long time, but technology opens the doors to people that we could not even imagine being a part of our classroom even ten years ago.  Even Shaquille O’neal has made some time to  Skype with students in one school.

Now I believe that all of these things are extremely important to the success of our students in the future, but there is one thing that is important to all of this; that our students are good people.  One of the things that I have told my students over and over again is that it doesn’t matter how smart you are if you are considered a jerk.  Treat others with kindness and consideration. Always.

Finally, let’s start to really tap into the wisdom of our rooms and have students not only learn, but teach each other.  There is a saying from my time as a referee was that the best officials are the ones that you never notice.  Does the same hold true for a teacher?  I have walked into classrooms and have been unable to identify who the teacher was immediately because they were, as Chris Kennedy would say, “elbows deep in learning” with their students.  Students were  also teaching others along the way.  If we start to acknowledge that everyone can be a teacher, and everyone a learner, I really think that you will be able to see more of the elements I have discussed in our classrooms today.

What I have missed?  I would love your thoughts and feedback on the blog.

Thanks for reading,

George

MHS 3/10/17 Staff Update

The Girls Basketball Team ended an amazing run, possibly the best ever on Saturday losing in the sectional final game.  The ladies did an amazing job and it was a great environment for many families, students, and staff.  Kaitlyn Trunkel and Grace Braatz placed at State in Gymnastics capping a very successful winter season.  Spring sports started Monday with the track team excited to be able to use the new track on the very first day.  MHS staff continue to work tirelessly in wrapping up ACT testing for those students with accommodations.  Mr. Sterry has been selected as Chamber of Commerce 2017 Teacher of the Year.  He will receive the award from the Chamber in a little over a month.  The stage floor will be replaced next week which will be an excellent addition before the spring play.  The Science Olympiad team won their home invitation which was also the Regional competition.  The MHS Science Olympiad team will compete at State in early April.  MHS DECA did an outstanding job at State qualifying several for the National competition in California.  Playoff Basketball will fill the gym Saturday if anyone is interested in other teams trying to go to state while using our gym.  This is a good example of how our new facilities continue to pay off because this sort of thing wasn’t possible before the Referendum.  Happy Spring Break!