Monthly Archives: May 2013

Some Advice for Teachers…from some wise 5th graders


Before my 5th graders move on to middle school, they’ve shared some of their expertise in their Advice Columns. Here are some tips for teachers.

  1. What I want in a good teacher is one that is nice, but isn’t totally lame and just lets you do whatever so you don’t learn anything.
  2.  I want a teacher that will still teach you so much and have a good time while doing it.
  3. You need to be funny.
  4. Make sure everyone is in a group and no one is left out.
  5. Try to collaborate with another class/school on a project.
  6. If there is a natural disaster, don’t freak out. Instead try to help out and start a fundraiser with your students.
  7. Be the kindest you can be.
  8. Don’t assume what a kid might say and ask, but listen to them.
  9. Try to help the world.
  10. Get kids involved.  Try to do as many projects as you can.
  11. Get attached to your students. Make them feel welcome and happy to be in your class.
  12. Try KidBlog. It is a safe and easy way to blog with other kids on a kid safe website where you can track your kids’ writing.
  13. Don’t always be so serious.
  14. Trust me, I learned all this the hard way. I started the year by asking my teacher everything, instead of just doing what I need to do. She sure changed that. If you still can’t take charge of your own life by middle school the only thing I have to tell you is: good luck.
  15. I want a teacher that can take charge when they need to. But not a teacher that yells at you all the time just because she wants to.
  16. Make sure that you wear cute outfits all of the time.  It not only makes you look better, but I think helps.
  17. Be a good combo of stern, nice, taking control, and teaching. I think that is the best kind of teacher to be like.
  18. When you have a sub, assign (within reason) fun things to do! DO not assign a boring thing just because a sub is there. It is like when I babysit. If I am boring or if their mom tells me to do boring stuff, then you have a big job to make it fun, but you will pull it off!
  19. It is not right to think that you know what is right for your students. The kids probably know what is good for them. I think you should know that the students know what is in their mind.
  20. Encouragement is one thing and Toughness is something else. I think that you should encourage the kids to think.
  21. Let us figure out things on our own so we get more responsible.
  22. Have a little fun with us.
  23. Do a lot of global projects.
  24. Think outside of the box when you are teaching.
  25. Look for a fun way to teach things.
  26. If you are a nice teacher who reprimands when needed and has fun with teaching and is fun to kids when you teach, then you are golden.

From Helplessness to Power


Taking the step from shock and sadness toward helping can prevent a disaster from inadvertently becoming entertainment. There’s no power in freaking out…the power here lies in action….whatever that looks like to any given person. Involving students in helping can be a powerful way to help them deal with a disaster.   There are many ways to help…letters, praying, fundraising, and donating are a few. Our student council is running a last-minute fundraiser before school ends. It’s tricky with only a few busy days left of school, but the message is worth it.  Click the link below to find organizations that are involved in the effort to help.

Click here to find ways to help.


Through the Eyes of an Eagle, by Grade 2

I just have to share this amazing video by our partner school, Mr. Matt McGuire’s Grade 2 class at Kingsclear Consolidated School in New Brunswick, Canada. This song was written, performed and recorded by the class as a culmination of our Eagle Eye to the World Project. It will make your day!

Leadership Focused on Climate Control from the Inside Out

flowering desert

From a teacher’s perspective, Ken Robinson’s words in his latest TED talk, How to Escape Education’s Death Valley, are obvious. So why are our education systems often going in the opposite direction? It is because as a system, we are looking at education from the outside in. If we as educational leaders (legislators, policy makers, school boards, administrators) continue to look from the outside in, we will move farther away from what we all want.

The answer lies in shifting the perspective: taking the lens from the observer (outside)…and moving it into the classroom (inside). From there we have possibilities for meaningful investment in terms of time, attention and focus. That investment has the ability to unleash the power of richly educated, motivated, and prepared citizens that go out into our world to create, innovate, and individually bloom in the way only they can.

By changing the perspective, we can reduce the high margin of waste that we tolerate. That waste appears in the form of remedial intervention funding, incarceration costs, alternative schooling, drop-out rates, violence and instability…not to mention the enormous tolerance of waste that we have for the graying down of our population by allowing standardized test scores to dictate the wellbeing of schools. Should all schools, districts, locations…all of them, no matter what their complicating or propelling factors are…should they all really shoot for the middle and call it good? If we shift the focus to inside and look out…and embody and provide district cultures and teacher training that equip and empower educators to create rich classroom environments that in turn inspire and empower students…and shift away from systems that look from the outside in and focus on command and control, we can begin to create the change we all want.

To our policy/directive makers at every level… regularly spend time in the classroom. Pay attention to the conversation among educators online on Twitter, in webinars, on blogs…it is all spelled out and in action all over the country. Work to embody those cultures that stimulate and invest in continual learning on every level.

This process has already begun. Look at what Steve Hargadon, Ben Curran, Neal Wetherbee, Julie Lindsay, Vicki Davis, Lucy Gray, and hundreds of other educators, not to mention all  of the classroom teachers that are changing building culture by example ….the list could go on and on with professionally generous educators working out-loud from the inside out. This is a major shift in the past 5-10 years. Major…all from inside. When that is valued as the powerful process it is, and is harnessed by ‘those who decide’, I believe that we will see that a lot of the groundwork and foundation building has been done.

“The real role of leadership in education, and I think it’s true at the national level, the state level, at the school level… is not and should not be command and control. The real role of leadership is climate control. Praising a climate of possibility. If you do that, people will rise to it and achieve things that that you completely did not anticipate and couldn’t have expected.

There’s a wonderful quote from Benjamin Franklin. There are three sorts of people in the world, those who are immovable: the people who don’t get it…they don’t want to get it, and they aren’t going to learn about it. There are people who are movable: people who see the need for change and are prepared to listen to it, and there are people who move: people who make things happen, and if we can encourage more people… that will be a movement, and if the movement is strong enough that’s in the best sense of the word, a revolution. And that’s what we need.”

Ken Robinsons’ entire talk here.