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Why I Left the Classroom for Administration

"So there looks like there might be an opportunity for you."

At the time when I heard this, I was literally in the middle of having my best teaching year. My sixth grade blended learning classroom was going better than I could ever have imagined. I was "teaching like a PIRATE," engaging and empowering my students, making learning relevant and meaningful to them, learning along side of my students every day, watching them get that love for learning back, and getting to know my students better than ever. And yet, a career opportunity came up that made me leave all of that.

Why I Thought Left

When I was told, "So there looks like there might be an opportunity for you," I knew it was to step in as acting elementary principal for another principal in my district who needed to take a leave of absence. I did not know how long it would be, but I knew I had to take it. Opportunities like these do not come along often, and if I wanted to take the next step in my car…
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#bekindbeincredible

#bekindbeincredible

When you get a group of talented, enthusiastic, and passionate educators together to talk about school-wide positive behavior support in the summer, great and exciting things are bound to happen. And that is exactly what occurred the other day, a few weeks before the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

I am fortunate enough to work along side these talented, enthusiastic, and passionate educators as principal, and when we sat down to discuss our goals for the year and how we would accomplish those goals, #bekindbeincredible was born.

Family Feud to Double Dare

As our school-wide positive behavior support (SWPBS) team began to plan our theme and what our kickoff assembly would be, we focused on the five pillars we have always focused on (being safe, here, accountable, responsible, and prepared), plus being kind. We discussed some ideas but wanted to ensure that we kept our ideas relevant for our learners. So we first came up with The Incredibles against another "…

Hey Google...How Can I Not Feel Exhausted at the End of a Summit?

How do you normally feel after attending an all day conference or summit? Exhausted both mentally and physically? Sluggish? Overwhelmed? Funny thing happened to myself and two of my colleagues after attending a recent all day summit at Google in Pittsburgh called "Be Internet Awesome." We weren't exhausted mentally or physically. We weren't sluggish. And we weren't overwhelmed. In fact, it was the quite the opposite. We felt refreshed, energized, and full of thought and discussion.

So how did Google do this? How did they create an all day summit that was just right and left the attendees leaving refreshed, energized, full of thought and discussion? I have been wondering this since the summit and how to take Google's format back to future faculty meetings, in-services, and other conferences/summits.

Here are my thoughts about how the Google Summit on Digital Safety & Citizenship left those in attendance feeling anything but exhausted:

Comfort

Right from the…

Instant Pot, Instant Failure

The Instant Pot I received for Christmas this past year sat for a few months before I even thought about using it. My wife would remind me frequently we had it and that I should try it (I do all the cooking in the house. She does all the laundry. Fair trade-off). When she would encourage me to use our new cooking gadget, I looked at her and our Instant Pot with a little disdain. I felt my cooking was pretty good, and besides I already had my go to Pioneer Woman dinners that couldn't be beat. So I was always a bit insulted when the Instant Pot was referenced in my house, as I felt not only was my cooking being insulted but so was the Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond.

Then one night in late January it all started to change. I came home late from work to find my wife using the Instant Pot! I have to admit, the meal she cooked was pretty good, but secretively I was a little upset. I was not about to let her one-up me with the use of the Instant Pot, so I began searching for and try…

Unfinished & Unpublished Until Now

Since January 23, 2017 up until now, I have been busier than I ever have before. New job beginning on January 23, 2017 (interim elementary principal), my wife and I celebrating the birth of our third child on January 24, 2017, back to my old job on March 13, 2017 (6th grade teacher), back to my old-new job on June 2, 2017 (being an interim elementary principal), becoming a Google for Education Certified Trainer in July 2017, starting my new-new job on January 22, 2018 (instructional technology coach), and becoming an Instant Pot believer after many failed attempts in February 2018.

Along the way I did try to keep up on my blogging, as I had several different drafts going, but I never made time to finish a lot of them. So below are my unfinished drafts, starting with the oldest to the most recent, that I feel I just need to "post" so I can start fresh and keep moving forward. At the end of each, I have added what I was trying to get across in the post.

"You're not the…

Flipping Out for Faculty Meetings

This year my classroom grew from about 25 students to about 665 students, as I made the transition from sixth grade teacher to elementary principal. It has been an exciting and enjoyable transition. It has also been interesting being on the other side of things. For example, being on the other side of faculty meetings.

September's faculty meeting I did the traditional approach. Scheduled it. Sent out an email reminder. Met with the faculty and started going over what I needed to say, offering very little time for discussion. But then I did change things up about half way through. I introduced our district's Google Expedition VR kits. I took them on a few virtual reality field trips and showed them how they could be used with any subject. Then before I knew it, it was time for the students to arrive.

As I prepared for my October faculty meeting, I thought about how I introduced the teachers to the Google Expeditions VR kits and how teachers in grades 3, 5, and 6 used those a f…

Not Just Any Summer Assignment: A VR Summer Learning Experience

This summer, I intend to go to Disney World and other parts of Florida, the Outer Banks, Ocean City, New York City, a Kansas City Royals baseball game, the Grand Canyon, the White House, a NHL Finals game, a cruise, and I plan to go to all of those places without leaving my house. How? With the Cardboard Camera app, Google Cardboard, and Google Classroom. I have given my sixth grade students one last assignment, and this assignment will run all summer long. Their assignment is to bring along their classmates on their summer vacation trips using the Cardboard Camera app, by uploading their images to Google Classroom for their classmates and myself to view on our Google Cardboards (we had a Google Cardboard make and take night in early May, so the students are really into VR now), and finally collaborating on a Google Slide (Take Us With You On Vacation). Benefits to this assignment: 1. Let's start with the obvious. It is really cool. Who doesn't want to try out VR? The students ab…