Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy New Year!

Students left today for a much deserved Winter Break. It is always fun to hear their shouts of excitement as they know they will be sleeping in and enjoying each other's company for an extended period of time. I wish all Husky Families a safe holiday break. We will see you in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Being cold outside always offers up the opportunity to curl up with a great book inside. After doing my professional reading, I started reading the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson. I was seeing the books all over with the 6th and 7th grade students, so naturally, my interest was piqued. I recommend this series to anyone who is looking for a story that is a bit unbelievable, but you love the strong female teenager lead!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A thought provoking book

Today I shared some thoughts with the staff from The Schools Our Children Deserve by Alfie Kohn. While the copyright is 1999, the perspective and reflections that Kohn provides for educators is still very relevant today. We see all too often that educators get caught up on the content and standards and forget what makes each student unique. When we focus solely on content we lose the personalization of education for students. This is a difficult dance for teachers as the stakes are high and pressure unrelenting. However, if we can reach a student, make a connection, and provide them with the differentiation they need, we are more likely to enrich their educational experience.
If you have already read this book think about going back and reviewing. If you haven't, I highly recommend it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Challenge Day

This week 7th grade students participated in Challenge Day. What a powerful way to spend a day. Getting to know each other better, learning about how to stand up and be the change, and participating in team building activities to bring them closer together. A special thank you to our Challenge Day presenters Chris and Gina for delivering a wonderfully appropriate program for our young adolescents.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Visit from the Senator

Today 7th Grade students had the privilege of hearing Senator Margaret Whipple speak about her journey through public office. She delivered a very important message to the students that she says she learned early in her career. "Be prepared to lose!" Senator Whipple said she gives this advice to everyone who is looking to get into public office. While it may seem up front, what a message. She told the story of her loss in her first campaign. But then illustrated how it helped her do a much better job the next time around. What great advice. I remember the first time I was teaching a lesson - so many things I forgot to say or do with the students that I caught the second time around. I think this gives us a great idea to reflect on - when we don't get our intended outcome, how do we bounce back and do it better?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Artist in Residence

Last week, our students had the wonderful experience of working with our Artist in Residence, Dr. Monte Selby. Students were lead through the writing process to put together words and ideas which was then turned into songs. The depth and meaning of the songs is simply wonderful. You can enjoy the sounds of our young song writers at the following links.

5th Grade Song - Comforting Place
6th Grade Song - Wishes
7th Grade Song - Blindfold

I am very proud of all of the students who worked on these projects! Congrats on a job well done!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Book Discussion with my nephew

Last night I had a conversation with my nephew who is already back in school. We talked about the opening days and how things were going. We also had a conversation about the books that he was reading. He explained that reading wasn't really fun for him and that he didn't particularly enjoy the classroom library. To further his frustration, every time he went to the public library, every copy of the Wimpy Kid was either checked out or lost. He was convinced that they were never going to have that book. I asked him one easy question: "If you were reading books about football or things that you liked, you would read more of them?" And from the mouth of a 3rd grader, "Well of course!" Something for us to think about is student interest and empowerment when it comes to learning and materials. My nephew is only 8, but I think he speaks for kids everywhere - please, give me a choice and I will show greater interest. My charge to anyone who works with children, think about appropriate times and places where they can have a choice. Empowerment is a wonderful tool. I know it works on me!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

National Middle School Association Leadership Institute

This past month, a team of MEH instructional leaders had the opportunity to attend the National Middle School Association Leadership Institute in Williamsburg. Our team was able to collaborate, deliberate, and most importantly learn from other middle level educators. Mr. Dippold and I had the please of being teamed with Mr. Juan Rodriguez as our Super Team Leader. We were able to learn more about leadership and how to transform schools to meet the needs of all students. It was an exceptional experience.

The institute is designed to meet the needs of middle level leaders through responsive planning and class sessions. Furthermore, the institute is completely designed through the lens of This We Believe. Anyone who has read this blog, knows that this is perhaps one of my favorite books. I challenge anyone to read this publication and argue that anything in it is not good for young adolescents. In fact, NMSA has taken out the word school on their newest edition because they believe that their recommendations are appropriate for anyone who works or spends time around young adolescents. If you have not read this book, I encourage you to do so. It will change and enrich your perspective and thinking about young adolescents and their specific needs.