We start my new classroom in 3,2,1…

I am all about a dramatic outside presentation of a serious learning environment. I want everyone to feel that giving anything less than their best in my room isn’t going to go over very well. It’s not intimidating, but it has to be a situation where everyone knows what to expect and that I believe they an measure up. I want the entrance of my classroom to Pop and Amaze. That being said I am going to pare down my interior classroom design. There’s a good reason, too. Harvey Specter would.

Many of you know that I am an avid “Suits” fan. It’s a smart, fun show. Lots of thought go into each character, their wardrobe, heck even their offices. There’s a reason Harvey’s office looks like it does. It’s meant to display a full and complete control of his environment. There isn’t a lot of wasted space. The art that’s there is meant to continue the theme that Harvey has his stuff together. So what if Harvey had a classroom? I don’t know, but I plan to give it my best shot this week.

Yes, I know Harvey Specter isn’t real. However, the attitude and control of situation he projects is real in deed. What if he had a classroom. What would it look like?

Rather than focus heavily on deluging my classroom with creative ideas. I think I’m going to keep it very simple, focus on function and usefulness of my design and finally present an attitude of “getting stuff done” throughout my room. There are going to be some “busy” spots. The overall thought of the room is Reading can be found everywhere.

What would Harvey’s classroom look like? Can I draw any ideas from this office? I think so.

I am going to add to my room through out the year. How it looks on Day 1 will be a finished project. However, how it looks on Day 21 will be added and improved. I have some great things that won’t be done in a week.

Pictures should be ready by Tuesday.

How’s your classroom coming along?

2nd Whitaker Park Crawl

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Let’s get this party started

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Our neighborhood Park. It’s not much. I believe my HOA is in the process of replacing the playground in stages so the 1st stage is the swings. We gave it 2 bowties.

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We enjoy this park deeply. Not just because of the name. It’s neat and has a huge shade covering the playground. Lots for all ages of kids.  4.5 bowties.

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I’m not all about this park. It’s not anything special. It’s spread out so I’m sure a lot of kids can play. We give it 2.5 bowties.

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Shade and space make this a great church playground. Never been here on Sunday, but I’m sure the kids enjoy it. 4.5 bowties.

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This is a neat Park. It’s. Not very special, but it’s shaded and gets 3 bowties.

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This is huge park. If you saw my video on this park last year, you know that I like this park. Add to it the comedy of Trina being chased by a bee and you know why I give it 5 bowties.

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Never been here before, but this is a fantastic playground.  It has a sectioned off little kids playground and a bigger kid area. Everything is neat and well maintained. 4.5 bowties

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A great spacious Park. Well maintained play equipment and a huge field for a game of kickball. 4 bowties

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A nice, quiet Park near our gym. Nothing special, but I’m sure very few people know it’s here. No geo tagging. 3 bowties.

There was a new Park we found. It’s in a community. We saw it and jumped out of the car. Very small and. Entirely to close to houses.  2 bowties

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The day was all worth it.

We gave bowties based on a very scientific measure of (Fun x pleading to stay x sweat beads x the number of times I had to look for you/good laughs cause a bee chased Trina. )

 

Just a few more days left to this wonderful summer break. Matter of fact I may stop by my school tomorrow just to breathe in some germs so I’ll be immune some Day 1.

No goals left behind

I like this time of year, December-February. I enjoy planning, thinking and setting goals for the year. I always set aside time during this season to just think, dream and plan. 5 out of 7 years I set and accomplish the goals I set. This year I'm going BIG. I'm going to accomplish 100% of my goals. And, I'm not going to set only 2 goals so I can get it done. I have 9 good, strong, SMART, life changing goals set out with a plan to get each of them done. There are 2 elusive goals, however that have evaded me for YEARS. This year the year I turn 40 I will see them accomplished. No goals left behind. Here we go. Want to know what my goals are for 2014? Just watch…you'll see them soon enough. 

Here's my plan. I will share my goals at the end of January. 

1. Research my goals. I like to know what I'm getting myself into. I'm not GREAT at research, but I'm pretty good. 

2. I Decided that either I'm going to obsess over this or not. If I'm not going to obsess over it, then I'm not going to do it. 

3. Reduce the picture. Small bite sized pieces, daily steps, weekly steps, monthly steps you get the point. 

4. Make it public. I chose to blog about it. You can ask me questions about my goals. I'll gladly share where I am. 

5. Seek accountability. I LOVE to surround myself with people doing stuff. I want them to intentionally and unintentionally prod me on. 

6. I now expect it to be hard, but along with the struggle I expect, seek, look for the strength to get this thing done! 

7. Encourage and seek encouragement. 

8. Visualize the goal completion. I spend a little time daily thinking what it will be like to be as fit as I can at 40, to be debt free, to make my job the career I never hat to work at ever again, to be a multi book author. I like the picture now I need do it so you can see it, too.  

9. Learn from failures. If the goal is worthy of my time then failure isn't a STOP sign. It's a This ain't the way sign. 

10. Focus on 1 goal at one time. I need help on this. I tend to keep my goals in a family so I can do more than 1 in at a time cause they're related. 

11. Practice walking goal out every single day. I have to obsess about being the man God wants me to go. It has to consume my thoughts, words, actions and deeds. Then it will become easy.

12. Take responsibility for all of it. It's all mine. The success, the failures, the set backs the set ups. They are all mine. 

Lucky Number 13. Celebrate cause the journey was well worth it. 

An open letter to all “Bad Parents”

    Before I get to my letter. Have you seen the article over at Slate.  It contends that parents who send their children to private schools are bad. Wait…stop laughing. Wipe that coffee of your computer screen…she's serious.
 
    So a parent's desire (free will and choice, mind you) to offer their child an education that reflects their values shouldn't out weigh another parents desire for the same if money, ability are the only things that separate the two. Not sure where I've heard that needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few before. Let me check up on that. 

    I'm not writing this because I send my girls to a private school. As a public school teacher and a parent I find this article simply absurd. As a parent my primary concern is to provide my children with the best that I can. That may look different for every family and that's just fine with me. As a teacher I give my very best to my students and my school. However, at the end of the day my responsibility is to my kids. I have said it before and believe it in my deepest being; parents are the 1st teachers. I only strengthen what you value and teach at home. 

Here are just a few points the author is missing:
  •  Parents are responsible for their kids not everyone else's child. In the same vain where I send my kids is my business not yours. 
  •  She assumes that parents would be lined up at the local school board meeting advocating for better schools. That's not the case at all.  
  • She mistakenly assumes that they only reason schools fail is because of the educators and admin of said school or school system. Nope. You can't get race horses from mules. 
  •  Public schools get a great deal of money as it is right now. Most private schools run on a very tight budget. Yes, there is excess and over indulgence, but most are very modest. That being said why don't public school systems feel it necessary to court the private school parents who pay taxes and yet send their kids to a private school? Seems like the pressure would be on the government school rather than the parents.  
  •  A parent's values aren't being considered at all. It's more than my child learning Bible verses or this being an extension of Sunday School. For many parents religious education is a strong point of their family tradition. That's their perogative. 
  • Teachers on both sides of the argument generally want the same thing; a better future for our kids. Why not celebrate and collaborate with Private and Public schools rather than assume they're keeping all the good toys in their sand box? I'm actually trying to glean from all teachers just to get new ideas and insights. 
  • Not all private school classes are smaller or have the latest and greatest. My classroom right now has fewer kids than either of my girl's private school classes. They also have less tech than I do in my public school. 
  • I don't look sideways at my co-workers who send their children to private or to public school. I certainly don't call them noble for sending their kids to public or less noble for not. I don't ask why because it's none of my business. And I appreciate them respecting my decision the with the same care. 
  • Competition causes everyone to step their game up. I feel the pressure everyday. If I don't give my all and do my best me and my bow ties might be on the outside looking in. Every teacher who wants the best for their students knows that they have to do their best with the cards their dealt. 

    I do wonder if the author would feel the same way if the argument was centered around say, cars? Would I be a bad person because I didn't buy an American made car? Or maybe a Foreign car built in America since it supports the local economy. Seems pretty silly to me. 

Dear Bad Parents, 

    You keep doing what you feel is in the best interest for your kids. I think you're pretty cool. I'm going to keep plugging away making a difference in the life of my students. No name calling or finger wagging. I'll keep doing my best to show you that we're all in this together.

Signed, 

    Public School Teacher

    Not to call the sincerity of the author in question, but I don't believe she believes we're bad parents. I mean why else would you resort to name calling? 

Related articles

You're A Bad Parent For Not Sending Your Kids To Public School
Even if Private Schools Didn't Exist, There Would Still Be Rich Suburbs
If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person
How private schools make public schools better

102 things to do this summer

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I don't know all the back story of Little Free Libraby, but I do know the little boxes are adorable. I've seen them a couple of times and noticed one near Trina's Summer Camp. So we stopped. Trina loved the idea of getting a free book. She later suggested that we bring some books to put in the library. My mind started racing. What if we did a Free Little Library crawl. Hit up 3 or 4 of these little buddies one weekend dropping off and putting in books! Our 101 things to do this Summer list has just grown. 

Related articles

Summer Learning

Teachers will appreciate

Election day humor. Not about election day. 

Only teachers appreciate being able to take attendance, check homework folders, greet students and SERIOUSLY NEEDING TO GO to the rest room! 

Wanting to keep just about everything you find because "I can use that in my classroom".  *Teachers are secret hoards. New show on TLC I'm sure. 

That look in a student's eyes when they do finally get it. Sit down means, sit down. 

Technology in the class is good and all, but a working phone number for all parents is even better. 

I see your ream of copy paper, but if the copier doesn't work I guess I'll use it for…

No, really what did they feed you in the cafe this morning? SERIOUSLY!?

Perfect attendance is highly over rated. 

More later, but for now….go VOTE!