Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The 5 most important words

I need a drink now?
The weekend is finally here?

Actually... no.  What would you say are the five most important words?  At first I thought this was an open-ended question but it was quickly answered by the speaker at the Cardinal Stritch graduation ceremony this past weekend in Milwaukee.  Please, thank you, I'm sorry.  Ha.  These kids are graduating college with the same rules or guidelines they learned in kindergarten!  All I Really Need to to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten?  Bases, covered. 

By using please, you are showing that you cannot do everything yourself.  You need help from others to succeed.  Thank you shows others you appreciate them and their efforts.  I'm sorry.  Pretty self-explanitory.  We're all human and we all mistakes, but we learn from them and grow.  Edison once said, "I have not failed, I've simply found 10,000 ways that do not work."  When we screw up, it's important to reflect on the error and keep moving.  Just keep swimming. 

What would you say are the next 5 most important words?  Why?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Music of my heart

What’s the music inside you?
Lame, right?  I mean c’mon, this question made me think of the Nsync song about the music of the heart but after I finished singing the song in my head (and humming out loud), I began to consider the real message.  What’s your passion?  Remember that expression about doing something you love and never working a day in your life?  That’s what we’re talking about!  What’s the one thing you love to do and would do even if no one was paying you?  For me, I thought about the environments of early childhood classrooms.  I would LOVE the chance to rearrange, repurpose, and redecorate early childhood classrooms.  It’s one of my passions!  I often do it with classroom teachers while visiting and just begin making simple suggestions and before you know it the entire room has changed and the behavior problems that once were the center of every team meeting have disappeared and now we can focus on the actual learning.  That’s my education music.  I also have some scrapbook music in there as well; I could spend an entire day scrapbooking without batting an eye.  And blogging… it’s no secret that I love to blog and even if no one else reads it, to me it’s a simple way to document my growth.  An online journal, if you will, that helps me in my journey of reflection.
What’s the music inside you?  Go ahead, sing the NSync song, and then answer the question.  ;)

Monday, May 16, 2011

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I attended a graduation ceremony this weekend for my lovely cousin who completed her studies to become a teacher (Go Emily!) and in the moment, the speech shared by the keynote felt trite and way. too. long. 

But after letting that speech and the sentiments marinate for a bit, I feel the speech was not only appropriate, but quite 'catchy.'  The gist of the speech left the audience with three questions to consider in life.  Seems little cheesy at the get-go but after hearing the message, I truly think this man had the message of reflection in mind with his speech & I sat in the US Cellular Arena in Milwaukee, WI with a light bulb above my pretty little head. 

This week I’ll be sharing the questions with you and seeking your thoughts…

What do you want to be when you grow up?For me this question hit home because my dear friend Megan and I have been asking each other this question for the past two years and as scary as it can be, I’m not sure I know the answer yet.  When I was a child, I wanted to be a teacher.  When I was in college, I wanted to be a teacher.  Then I became a teacher and saw the opportunity to affect more than just 20 children with my knowledge and passion.  I dove into a position as the mentor for our teachers and have enjoyed the challenge so greatly that I now wonder how to make an even bigger impact.  It’s important that we keep growing, keep pushing ourselves and find the tasks that require us to do something greater than we ever imagined we could.  It’s easy to settle into the comfortable and put ourselves on auto-pilot; but imagine what you could be missing!  Don’t settle for ordinary. 

So, the obvious next question here is simple.  What do you want to be when you grow up?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bribery and Teachers

Let me begin this post by sharing the challenge set out before the teachers at the beginning of our Spring season for the assessment cycle...

The classroom with the most observations entered into the GOLD system will win a semi-fabulous prize.

The season ends tomorrow and I began to graph the trends of documentation collection for the entire year and have realized that yes, I need to award the teacher who collected the most data, but I also need to recognize the outstanding efforts of one of our infant teachers.  I bet you're wondering, Why is she so special?

For the fall season, this particular teacher collected no observations.  Considering our assessment tool is observation-based, you can imagine the sense of alarm I experienced after completing the fall cycle.  Winter?  Winter brought us 1 observation from that classroom.  Sigh.  Now I also need to recognize that during the past few months, this teacher has been dealing with some incredible turnover and poor work ethic of partner teachers.  Spring.  C'mon Spring, bring us something good!  No whammys, no whammys, big money.... STOP!  Spring brought us... drumroll please... ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY EIGHT observations.  WHAT?!  Who is this new woman and how did this happen?  I could not be prouder of her work & the work she has done with her new teaching partner, who has been working hard to collect observations and create documentation panels, etc.  I have been smothering these teachers with love in celebration!  They were, in fact, blushing.


Is mine!!!

P.S.  In case you're wondering, the winner this season had 289 observations collected for Spring Cycle.  SERIOUSLY?!  My teachers are kind of amazing!