I was not about to let November win. I am on a journey and even the best trips get detoured from time to time. Instead of reading in each of the classrooms, I took advantage of our Thanksgiving Break. I scheduled our second Facebook Live Bedtime Story. The added bonus of hosting these Facebook Live events, is that I can share the passion of literacy with my son, Cooper!
Reading Snowmen at Christmas. I needed to get back on track with classroom read alouds in December. December in Texas does not always mean cold temperatures. Rarely does it mean we are building snowmen. I took just a moment at the beginning of each read aloud to do a short mindfulness activity. With the help of a warm crackling fire place, we were able to imagine playing in the snow, sipping warm cocoa and sitting by the fire so we were ready to read.
Students practicing mindfulness as they imagine playing in the snow, sipping cocoa and sitting by the fire. As you can see, the second nine weeks did not disappoint. In fact, we went out with one last celebration on the final day of school in Early I talked about the students crushing the goal of adding books to our home libraries. Well, when we set goals and crush them, we celebrate big. Celebrating big led to the administrators being slimed!
All in the name of literacy! That is a great question and one that has more than one answer. The one thing I know for sure is that we are going to bring literacy into the homes of our SiglerNation families. Each chapter will be read aloud and recorded by teachers, staff and parents who have agreed to share their passion of literacy with our school community!
Admittedly, this post is overdue. It is actually way overdue! Aside from meeting some amazing educators for the first time, I was also able to reconnect with many whom I have had the honor of having in my professional learning network. It took all of a half a day to realize I had not been doing a great job as a building leader in creating and maintaining a culture of literacy at SiglerNation.
Literacy is something I know is important. Honestly, with so many things being important in the day to day, the intentionality of me modeling the culture of literacy did not exist. I had to humbly admit…I was at Zero. My only saving grace is that being at such a great conference, I realized I was not alone. There were other building leaders who also wanted to develop and grow a culture of literacy. My man, Todd Schmidt happened to be one of the great leaders at the conference who I had exchanged conversations with online, but had not had the privilege to meet face to face until NAESP.
Thankfully, surrounded by such amazing literacy leaders at NAESP, I was inspired and walked away with so many amazing ideas. If you are not following these literacy leaders, be sure to do so. They continue to push my thinking and inspire me. It was fun to do from the comforts of my home and allowed me to include my 7 year old son Cooper.
Leading a culture of literacy needs to take place at home for this dad too. Knowing I needed our staff to support this culture of literacy I was sure to include them in the process. I started by including a read aloud into our back to school professional learning. This idea was shared with me by another great literacy leader Mark French. I know the week of professional learning before students arrive is long. I needed to include a book that was fun. The feedback from the staff was great. I was reminded by more than one teacher, that we are never to old for a read aloud. Leadership It kept both of us super busy during the first week of school.
My Thoughts & Reflections on Life
By the end of the week, we each had the book memorized, but it was the best type of busy! We got into each classroom, met new and returning students and modeled out of the gate that literacy is something we are passionate and intentional about. The intentionality was definitely something that had been missing previously. The first week of school was winding down and Friday we hosted our first all school assembly.
It was a time to celebrate our first week together. This first assembly was the perfect opportunity for me to continue building our culture of literacy.
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We decided to read a story out loud in front of the entire student body. I wanted students to participate in an epic game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Thanks to the support of our teachers and their amazing facilitation skills, we pulled it off. We have had some great first weeks of school at SiglerNation over the years. I cannot think of one that is going to top this one.
We started with a vision to create and grow a culture of literacy. As I mentioned at the beginning, I am not on this journey alone. Be sure to check back often as we will continue to share our Zero to Literacy Hero progress. Until then, this Literacy Hero in Training is signing off. With over 2, members, it is an awesome resource where administrators share creative ways they are appreciating their staff and providing motivation across the building all year long.
And willing to share? Thank you! Upon seeing this, I commented back regarding a breakoutedu experience we had at the beginning of last year and quickly folks wanted to hear more. It was then I realized I need to share our experience more formally, so others could benefit from the experience. Last year we had a large number of staff that were new to the building. I knew we had to get our newest members of SiglerNation familiar with the community they were now serving.
There is no better way to get familiar with a community than spending time in the community and putting boots on the ground. With the help of my brilliant Assistant Principal, Carrie Tracy , we started to identify the landmarks in the community we wanted our new staff members to be aware of. Once we identified the landmarks, we hopped in the car and drove to the sites to determine what clues we would want to use. Clue 1 — Sigler Elementary. We randomly divided the group into teams and their first task was to show the other members of their team where in the building their classroom was.
Attached to the padlock was a USB drive in which the following video was stored. Each team was also provided with this neighborhood map, indicating our attendance boundaries with arrows to help navigate the route and numbers to assist in identifying the landmarks in which they would need to visit. With the video providing the background and the map providing the way, the following clues were each placed in separate envelopes which the staff were given after unlocking the padlock holding the USB.
Clue 3 — The Bridges. Clue 4 — The Bel-Air Oaks This clue unlocked the 3 digit lock — the sum of the building s on each of the laundry areas. Clue 7 — Hackberry Park. If you are familiar with the BreakoutEDU kits, you know there are four locks they need to unlock:. If you look at the clues and answers above, we provided the teachers with three of the four. The fourth and final clue was right in front of their eyes, they just could not see it.
After we printed the clues, we used the invisible pen visible with the black light flashlight and spelled out the character traits we follow at Sigler Elementary. We underlined some key letters in the words and if staff payed attention, they discovered the underlined letters spelled STARS, which happens to me our mascot and the answer to the multi-letter lock.
The activity exceeded our expectations and ended with both teams working together as they completed their visit and ended up back in the library with their clues and answers. Each team needed one last clue and between the two teams, they each had the answers the other needed. Have you made a mistake today? If you are anything like me, you have probably made multiple mistakes today.
I tend to make a lot of mistakes. I do not always make them on purpose. Sometimes my mistakes come from trying something new. Other times my mistakes happen because I am taking a risk or doing something outside of my comfort zone. On the contrary, sometimes I make mistakes because I am being careless or just not focused on the task at hand. Case and point…last weekend. I had just finished a Saturday morning run and after a refreshing swim, had showered and sat down ready to enjoy some breakfast, which included my go to drink of choice in the morning, a Bulletproof Coffee.
Little did I know, I did not have the lid to the blender on right. As I inverted my drink and placed it on the blender, the drink literally exploded as the lid blew off and my Bulletproof Coffee went everywhere. I wish I could say this was the first time this had happened. I could not for the life of me figure out what I was doing wrong. Why did this keep happening to me?
One week later, I am happy to report I have not had another Bulletproof Explosion. I was able to figure out the mistake I was making and have not made it sense. Thankfully my wife was able to share the secret. Turns out the rubber ring that seals the lid has disappeared. My recent troubles and mistakes got me thinking about the mistakes students, teachers and administrators make as we work our way through a school year.
Or in some cases, the mistakes we do not make.
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As I look back over the school year, I am reminded of three things I believe to be important when it comes to mistakes. I vividly recall my first year as a principal. There are so many things I wish I could go back and redo. I feel the exact same way about my first year of teaching as well. I remember coming home each night and just before going to bed I would check my email, but it was almost out of fear.
I feared that I had not done something right during the day. I feared that I had not communicated something clearly and someone was going to ask me a question. I feared that someone was going to challenge a decision that I made. I feared that a parent was going to be upset with me. Years later, I can look back and laugh at my worry. What a terrible practice. Thankfully my email and I have separated after about 6PM most days and the last thing I am thinking about before I go to bed is my email. All of the things I was fearful of happened that first year.
They also happened the second year, third, fourth…. What has changed for me though is I come to expect it. I know I am not going to do everything right during the day. I know I will not always communicate clearly however I hope I communicate better today than I did seven years ago. I can almost guarantee that someone is going to challenge a decision I make or heaven forbid ask me a question. And yes…despite my desire to make each of the parents of SiglerNation happy, sometimes we miss the mark and they get frustrated. I look back at my mistakes over the last seven years and thank the lord daily, that I have made each of them.
I do not always feel that way in the moment, but I know in time, making mistakes is what is best for me. I would spend my days trying to do it right and now I spend parts of my days righting my wrongs. I often will see students getting frustrated with a problem they cannot solve or struggle to reach an answer that seems just out of their grasp.
I expect you to make mistakes. Do we view the efforts of our teachers through the same lens? When teachers are delivering a new instructional strategy do we expect them to implement it flawlessly the first time? I expect mistakes to happen. As a leader, I do my best to create a culture where teachers know mistakes are welcomed. Whether it is through the lens of being a student, a teacher or an administrator, we need to be OK with making mistakes.
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When you look back over the course of your career what mistakes have you made? How did you put yourself in a position to make mistakes? If we have created a culture of it being acceptable for everyone within our campus to make mistakes we must also create a culture of agreeing to learn from our mistakes. Some of us listened and other did not. Chances are if you did touch the stove it was a mistake you made once, but not twice. You learned from your mistake.
As educators spend time away from their buildings for the summer, I would challenge you to consider the following:. How do I create an atmosphere in my building, classroom that supports teachers, students in learning from their mistakes? Early into his presentation he posted the following slide which I had to share with on Twitter:.
We know that students are going to make mistakes in the classroom when they read. So we teach. We know students are going to make mistakes in the classroom when they write. We know students are going to make mistakes with their behavior. How can we change this narrative? One way is by making sure our students understand learning is messy.
Learning includes mistakes. We learn from our mistakes. That includes mistakes we make in regards to behavior. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself. If you are reading this post, I hope you see I am willing to share what I have learned with you based on the mistakes I have made over the years.
After all, with each mistake I have made, I have learned. I believe it is our job as educators, mentors and leaders to share mistakes we have made so those who come behinds us can avoid the same mistakes and learn from the mistakes we made. While that seems easy enough, others will only learn from our mistakes if we share them.
We do a really good job of making our lives look spectacular. We all know there are mistakes hiding behind the posts we see and share daily. So I will ask again,. Are you comfortable enough with your learning and honest enough with yourself to share your mistakes? Perhaps you have a small circle of colleagues you share them with? Students enter our classrooms each day and we know they are going to make mistakes. Are they allowed to share the mistakes they make with others? How powerful would that be, if students could make a mistake, learn from their mistake and then share what they learned with another student so the next student could avoid making the same mistake?
What if building leaders created safe places for teachers to share their mistakes? Does your building culture provide teachers with the necessary levels of trust to be transparent enough to admit they made a mistake and then share the mistakes with others free of judgement and criticism? Instead of judgement and criticism the teacher is met with gratitude for sharing and helping the next staff member avoid the same mistake?
This post from George Couros also reiterates the importance of mistakes. As you read and reflect on the mistakes you have made, what you have learned and how you have shared that learning I challenge you to be transparent with those thoughts. You can share your thoughts via Twitter using the hashtag beyondthequote. You can also share your thoughts using this new hashtag myedumistakes. How great would it be if educators from around the world shared the mistakes they made and what they learned from it all in one place?
It would become a go to place for folks to look to learn from and avoid mistakes that have been made by others who were willing to make them, learn from them, and share them. I encourage you to check it out. One year later, we are still building our school culture. If you have been following our story, you have been introduced to SiglerNation. While teaching and reaching students with instruction that is meaningful and relevant remains at the forefront of mission and vision, so does establishing a culture in which our staff, students and families feel as if they belong.
This past week in an interview, a candidate who was familiar with our building and with me, paid me a compliment at the end of the interview mentioning the culture of our building. While I appreciated her compliment, I quickly let her know the culture of a building is more than just the principal. Yes, the leader sets the tone, but the staff also plays a significant part in creating, establishing and maintaining the culture. In a few days, our building is going to be empty. Staff and students will be on vacation, yet we are still building our culture.
While many of the popular summer activities have returned, we have also added in a few new wrinkles.
Day 2 : My thoughts and personal reflections
Are you familiar with Wonderopolis? Each summer, Wonderopolis releases an online Camp Wonderopolis that supports literacy and learning through creativity, wonder and hands on maker activities. This is a must do activity this summer and I cannot wait for my son and I to begin.
Libraries are an underrated summer destination as many offer free programs for children all summer long. Not to mention the great books you will find while you are there. This one is a bit sentimental for me, as I have fond memories as a child of eating watermelon all summer long. Find yourself a juicy piece and enjoy!
As a bonus, your children will love spitting the seeds. Who can spit them the farthest? Many of our summer nights end sitting outside. Cash in on being outdoors and capture a selfie as the sun is going down. Perhaps you go for the double and capture your sunset selfie while you are on the beach, in the pool or in an airplane. You can get as creative as you wish.
I encourage you to share, create and participate in a SummerSelfieBingo Challenge on your campus to continue cultivating those relationships across the building, but also so you can keep building the culture you want for when students return in the fall. Skip to content Hi! Like this: Like Loading Here is how it works: Get on Twitter.
Enter your school handle when posting your selfies. Wonder — Go West. Wonder — Using Google Draw. Part II… One staple that has remained constant over the course of this journey is modeling my growing passion for literacy with the students and teachers of SiglerNation. October October provided me the opportunity to read two different read alouds.
Book Fair I mentioned the book fair had exceeded my expectations. November November kept me busy! Here is What We Created Clue 1 — Sigler Elementary We randomly divided the group into teams and their first task was to show the other members of their team where in the building their classroom was.
GoodToKnow My recent troubles and mistakes got me thinking about the mistakes students, teachers and administrators make as we work our way through a school year. As educators spend time away from their buildings for the summer, I would challenge you to consider the following: How do I create an atmosphere in my building, classroom that supports teachers, students in learning from their mistakes?
They converted a meager two triples out of 20 attempts after making The charity stripe was unkind to the Pioneers as well — they left eight points off the scoreboard after shooting There may be no explanation other than the moment was possibly a little too big for the second least experienced team in the NEC.
On the flip side, a veteran LIU Brooklyn squad made the most of their opportunities from behind the arc, draining 11 of 24 These two programs share some recent history in the NEC tournament, as each were exactly in the same position three years ago, at least with respect to their seeding. Fleming had as many 3s 3 for 3 in the game as Sacred Heart had combined 3 for This time around was almost like deja vu for Latina. After making just two triples all season, Eral Penn made 3 of 5 from long distance. Jashaun Agosto, known far more for his ability to go downhill and attack the rim, made all three of his 3-point attempts.
One of those buckets came at a critical time. As the old saying goes, guard play wins championships. Jashaun Agosto for threeee! Blackbirds lead SHU, with to play, and the Pioneers call a timeout. Agosto now has 13 points, joining Clark 16 and Penn 15 in double digits. JashaunAgosto NEC19 pic. You can afford to lose the battle on the backboards -6 , score less points in the paint and commit more turnovers -5 as long as you do one thing significantly better than your opponent.
The Blackbirds made shots on the road, and they won. The Knights came into the NEC tournament as one of the hottest teams in the league, winning 11 of their last They won those 11 by an average of 10 points per victory. They shot a blistering The high flying, shot-making, crisp passing Knights under Greg Herenda were back and seniors Mike Holloway and Darnell Edge were a part of it for the second time.
And then the fireworks started in Hackensack. What transpired was an offensive masterpiece — the Knights closed the first half out with 43 points on their next 23 possession for an absurd 1. In those 23 possessions, the Knights came up empty just four times, while scoring in their final seven times down the court.
Five Knights scored in double figures led by NEC all-conference second teamer Holloway and his 18 points on 7 shots.
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Jahlil Jenkins was his heady floor general self, dishing out six assists versus just one turnover. Greg Herenda now possesses a career record of in the NEC tournament, including a perfect mark at home. That flawless record at the Rothman Center will be tested with Andy Toole and the defensive minded Colonials coming to town. Who do you match up on the suddenly resurgent Holloway? It sure is fun to watch them in transition…. Come on E! Conversely, Braica is in the conference playoffs with his only two victories coming during the Terriers magical win season in Want more kindling on the fire?
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