Tag: #KidsDeserveIt

Fill in the blank-with wisdom

Wednesday offers time to think of wisdom we can share. What things do you think about?

To be a good leader, you need to____________________.

If there is one thing to remember, it is_________________.

Children need to______________.

Today is the best time to________________.

What fill-in-the-blank could you create to help generate thoughts and conversation? I know as teachers, we have asked students to complete fill-in-the-blank questions and consider them to be recall information on tests. What if we present them in different ways to spark conversations and discuss them in different ways?

I am a big fan of student-led conferencing, which I have stated before in other posts. I also believe in strong partnerships with families and communities. The more we can invest in the quality of services and support for our children, the more robust the foundation will be as they grow.

Are we asking families any fill-in-the-blank questions that could generate quality conversations to build on? We ask students- What do they want to be when they grow up? Why not ask parents- What would you want your child to be when they grow up? I know when I have asked this question of students, I will get responses of professional football or basketball player. I had a parent tell me the same thing about their child. (I have to say to you, I do not recruit for professional teams, but I did not see the talent.) You do not want to shatter dreams or discourage hope for others. After all, I wanted to be a Rockett when I was younger, taking dance lessons. My dream was shattered when I found out they had a height requirement; it had nothing to do with talent. This is my story so that I can tell it this way.

Dreams are wonderful to have! I have pointed out in other posts the need for children to have life experiences, have opportunities to explore outside their comfort zones, and learn about things they do not know on a day-to-day basis. The influences in a child’s life help them discover more about what they are interested in, passionate about, and areas of strength. If they only experience what is around them, they are limited to what they think, know, and understand. The same goes for their family. This is why it is essential to expand what we do to embrace school, home, and community working together.

Tell your story

Our school has a strong partnership with___________________? This helps all students _________________? We love __________________about our school. If we all_____________together_________________will happen.

Nourishing Teaching and Learning-Today, Tomorrow and Always

The purpose of education seems to have different meanings when you ask other groups. If we look through the political accountability lens, the goal is to increase standards and raise requirements for test scores to reflect passing levels. Students may see education as just going to school, following the rules, and turning in their assignments. Families look at it as a way for their children to build a solid foundation to prepare for college and careers.

As we look at Teaching and Learning, we will discover more of how our teachers build lessons daily to empower students for today, tomorrow, and all of the days following. Many aspects of teaching and learning support all of the needs of learners.

Students begin learning the first day they enter a classroom. Each day they are present, they must know and take the learning with them. Students need to understand and value the teaching they are doing. This foundational learning from today carries to the skill building of tomorrow. This promotes the growth required to progress.

Each lesson taught must build on what students already know and guide them to the next level of learning. The purpose of this teaching is to help students feel the growth with their knowledge. To understand the engagement and ability in their influence around them as they continue to embrace learning. Our teachers and education system provide a precise direction grade level by grade level.

It is not just about building blocks for a foundation and following a blueprint of construction as we connect the levels of learning. As teachers, we nourish our students ultimately. The whole child is provided with needs to promote enrichment, physical wellness, promoting a moral compass, and overall conditions for well-being.

I hope as I lead others, they will always gain the knowledge and practice: “Education is something we do with children, not to them. We need to nourish our children with the gift of enriched education, physical wellness, promotion of a moral compass, and always engage in ways to think in the abstract while finding better ways to do things. Our job in education is not to teach children how to think, but to provide opportunities to think, ask questions and consider solutions.”~Yoho

Monday Matters!

What Matters?

In education, we measure, collect data, and report on students’ performance at grade levels. However, what matters in the big picture of learning? Accountability of the test scores reported on the school, district, and the teacher in the evaluation process plays an important role. Teachers are asked to set growth goals; schools do the same, and districts are told to keep up. So what matters to student achievement?

“In reality, it is through classroom assessment that attitudes, skills, knowledge, and thinking are fostered, nurtured, and accelerated-or stifled.”

-Hynes

For the last decades, the measurement of what mattered to the standardized test scores did not equal the results in the overall learning capacity. These measurements lead to increased test scores in areas but without increased learning. Students could memorize information but not apply skills. Students need to have a clear understanding of the content and the skills. The instruction and measurement must have a balance between content and skills.

Transferring knowledge to other areas requires students to have a high-level understanding of the skills and content to apply in various contexts. In measuring this level of expertise, it moves beyond multiple-choice and short answer questions. Students will need to demonstrate through problem-solving, analyzing data to conclude, matching learning to a rubric with other anchor papers, or testing a hypothesis.

The critical solution as a takeaway is this: The meaning, purpose, and values students see in what they are learning will play the most significant role in the retention of learning, motivation to use the teaching, and the interest to continue to learn.

I had written before about excellent teachers who were the best storytellers to hook students into learning and those who were so creative! I believe in students being in charge of their knowledge as they lead themselves in goal setting and explaining where they are regarding the learning standards journey. Student lead conferences are the very best as students take charge of presenting their progress.

As you hold conversations with your team on what matters keep these questions in mind:

  • What steps do you need to take to align learning measurement tools and practices in your classroom? School? District?
  • Making these changes would impact students how?
  • What measurements do you have in place? Do you utilize all of them, and how? Do some measure the same thing? Do you have too many, not enough, or not the correct measurements?

Keep in mind the title of the post. What Matters! Student Achievement is the purpose of education. Along with achievement are learning, discovering, asking, inquiry, and stretching minds. It is in finding the love of learning. In addition, it is the character, hopes, inspiration, relationships, understanding of acceptance, dealing with difficulty, mistakes, overcoming trauma, and so much more that matters. Life is complicated, and unfortunately, it starts young with all of its trials. Know your children, families, staff, and community. There are supports for what matters! If you need help finding them let me know. We will be the solution daily for what matters.

Forward Teaching, Self-Paced Learning

Covid-19 placed all of us in the circumstances we did not expect. The approaches to recovery look different in the realms of the business, industrial, and education worlds. Education is faced with an overwhelming challenge to help students at an even more comprehensive range of learning levels than they have ever met before. The approach of plowing ahead expecting students to keep up is not going to work. Now is an excellent time to create flexibility that allows students to progress at a pace that supports their learning. One speed does not fit all, but individual pacing avoids students being left behind or held back. When students can learn at a rate that matches their readiness, they almost always are more successful. I understand, some students may not be exposed to as much content, but learning is much better than mere exposure. The problem we face is the loss of learning time. The solution is to provide an individual learning pace to acquire the foundational learning needed to continue to succeed in the progression of knowledge.

My philosophy of education remains the same as it has always been. Education is something we do with children, not to them. We can choose to be part of the problem or the solution; the choice is always ours to make as students, families, educators, and communities. The learner is not passive. Therefore it has always been my belief they should be in control of their learning. I need to explain this more deeply. provide guidance, curriculum, standards, and expectations. If learners can deeply learn what they are taught, they will be more successful. We need to provide the essentials in our priorities of skills. Our children need to understand how to learn, what interests them in education, apply knowledge to everyday life, and establish goals.

It is an excellent time to consider how students can become more fully engaged in and committed to their learning. Traditionally, schools have relied on compliance as a key driver of student learning and performance. Compliance has worked for some students; it has not been for too many learners. In a remote learning setting, compliance is a low-leverage strategy. We control far too few variables to force compliance. We need to nurture the skills and habits necessary to succeed in a learning environment where learners are co-investors in the teaching and learning process.

The stakes are high as we continue living with the pandemic. It is not time to lower standards but to look at our strategies to help with learning.

Measuring Meaningfulness

I constantly measure the meaningfulness of the messages I send, the information I share, and how I impact those who choose to read my posts. I intend to always help with driving solution-focused thinking and increasing the positives we share in day-to-day interactions.

One thing missing is an opportunity for others to share what they would like me to focus on to help them in what they are doing. I want to pause and organize this blog to work for those who need it to work for them. My idea is to dedicate each day to a particular topic. Examples could be: Monday: Motivation, Inspiration, Meetings Tuesday: Teaching, Thoughts, Talking Points, Communication Wednesday: Wisdom, Wit, Things to Ponder Thursday: Takeaways, Things to Share, Activities for team building Friday: Facts, Factors, Leadership Saturday: Solutions, Strategies, Plans. Sunday: Spiritual, Social-Emotional, Mental Health

Maybe you don’t want to read something daily. What if you wanted something in one post? If this is your desire, what day would you choose to receive it, and what do you need the content to include?

Be the solution daily is for you. I want to thank all of my followers and those who have invested their time. Starting today, I will take a two-week break while I gather information on the direction of this blog.

Keep being the solution daily for all as we serve others in making the world better one day at a time.

Let’s take a StoryWalk

Teachers, if you do not know about StoryWalks, please take a look at the following article! I love it! As a 5th grade teacher, we did many different things to engage readers, but this is the best idea ever!

I can see how you can utilize this as a fun family night activity! So many things you can do. The author of the attached article “walks” you through creating, selecting, and organizing a StoryWalk. I can see the creation of mystery walks during fall. We can make a fun StoryWalk about our school, community, or state. How about science? A StoryWalk through a human cell?

I have worked with some very creative teachers and administrators who could, I know, do amazing things with StoryWalks. If you do one, please, please share with me. I would love it! Happy to share with others and brag on you! This seems so incredible to me.

I am looking forward to seeing your StoryWalks! If I can help you with ideas, send me an email at Yohobren@gmail.com.

https://www.edutopia.org/article/fun-way-engage-students-minds-and-bodies-books

The Message

U.S. Students Show no improvements in Math, Reading, Science.

When did that headline message appear? The news may not read the same, but it clearly states the facts. Our students have not and are continuing to not perform at a high level compared to other countries. You can find these headlines from 2013 to the present time.

In December, 2013, Greg Palkot reported American high school students slip in global education rankings.

“Overall, according to the U.S. Department of Education, American students rankings in math have slipped from 24th to 29th compared to the last test in 2010. In science, they’ve gone from 19th to 22nd, and from 10th to 20th in reading.” “When the last study was released, Education Secretary Duncan said it was a “wake-up call for education administrators.”

Yes, I was part of the administration during this time. As I say to my students, “You can be part of the problem or part of the solution.” I can look back at all of the efforts and things I know we worked hard to do right. I also know we could always do better. In the end, I know many schools were just like us.

Everyone focuses on the problems or “root causes” of these headlines. However, it is when we change our mindsets we can see solutions. The first thing people want to do is throw money at the problem. Money is not the issue when you look at all of the countries. We spend more per student than any other country.

Our next choice when we focus on problems is placing blame. It is poverty, diversity issues, high levels of immigration-nope the other countries have these attributes as well.

U.S. Students show no improvements in Math, Reading, Science on International Exam December 3, 2019, U.S. News by Lauren Camera The most troubling among the results was that an international performance gap in education is widening.

Washington Post also ran an article (I have provided the link to the article) written by Moriah Balingit and Andrew Van Dam

Can we stop what we are currently doing in the headlines with education? The message being sent is not the focus of what is needed for the success of our children. I have some additional headlines and things to consider for another day. As a country, what do we want for our children as they prepare for a global working world? Read about the thoughts of how U.S. students are not as engaged, motivated, or had the endurance.

What are your thoughts on education?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/us-students-continue-to-lag-behind-peers-in-east-asia-and-europe-in-reading-math-and-science-exams-show/2019/12/02/e9e3b37c-153d-11ea-9110-3b34ce1d92b1_story.html

Helping others focus on solutions

Be the solution daily isn’t something I decided one day sounded good; it is a daily practice I have used professionally and personally for decades. It is my hope to help and guide others into this practice for success.

Where we place, our focus is crucial for our success. It seems we are quick to point out a problem, mistake and place blame. Have you had a finger pointed at you?

When our focus is on the problem, anger shadows the thinking. Your mind can only give it’s full attention to one thing at a time. Negative thoughts overtake you when your focus is the problem.

Solution-focused turns back control to help you positively resolve troubles. By looking for solutions in every situation, problems will disappear and happiness returns.

Now this sounds a little like one of what my granddaughter calls, “cheesy stuff.” However, when following the guidelines it really is how it works.

Helping others focus on solutions begins with mindsets. Focusing on solutions creates a very different climate and culture. The thinking, actions, and behaviors will change.

Let’s begin with these steps:

  • Problems we face are usually self-inflicted. Would you please take a deep breath and tell yourself it is my responsibility? Then you may have issues directly impacting you, and maybe you did not have anything to do with the decision-making process. *This is when you need to begin to do some examples of problem vs. solution games. (I can help provide examples)
  • What is the desired outcome? Your vision to resolve the problem? When we begin to focus in solutions, it leaves little time for negative thinking. The only thing that matters is resolving the problem.
  • Once you know the outcome-begin the planning of getting from here to there.

Solution Mindset

We begin to think of solutions first once we are aware we cannot control the actions of others, the complex data, or the current issue before us. However, the only things we control are our actions and reactions by clarification of what we face with a focus on the importance of the solution, the negative thinking about the problem stop.

Are you interested in a Two Rule School? It changes the climate, culture and focuses on student leadership. There is so much more to this concept that leads to positive results.

Things you can do Dad

“I write books and share tips and advice; the last thing I want people to think is that I sit on my high horse and have it all figured out. The truth is, my best advice and lessons come more from my mistakes and failures than success.”-Jon Gordon

I have always been a fan of Jon Gordon and the wisdom he shares. I started with his sentiments as they are so humble and genuine. Many leaders I respect and know feel this same way. This is why they have found the success they have earned because of their authenticity.

In his reflection of being a dad this past Father’s Day, he gathered his thoughts of his lessons learned to help other dads. They are captured in his list of a few things.

Here are a few things:

  • Focus on the moment instead of what’s next.
  • Support and listen to them instead of giving advice.
  • More trust and less fear.
  • Ask what they want to do instead of telling them what they should do.
  • Focus more on happiness than success.
  • Let them figure it out instead of figuring it out for them.
  • Bring calm energy instead of tense anxious energy.

It isn’t easy to find the balance between professional and personal. Many times mothers and fathers forget to take care of themselves individually. The most crucial factor is to take care of themselves as a couple. We face many challenges, but we have many places to turn for support.


Jon Gordon believes the best things you can give to your children are:

  • Love them
  • Believe in them
  • Guide them
  • Spend time with them
  • Listen to them
  • Pray for them

Thank you for being the solution daily. Positive Leadership is what Jon Gordon can help you achieve. Being a great dad is a plan we just gave you, but you already knew!

Wednesday Wonders…

The final school bell for 2021 has rung for most of our students. Students have their final report cards but do we wonder how all of our schools did? What about education?

  • How did all of the students across our nation do in 2021?
  • How did the schools and districts do for our students?

The importance of education is essential for all of our students as we grow. The expertise to help all children is available to us. It is not found in a particular program or a defined environment. The success is found in the expertise in the experience of all of those serving children.

  • It is the data and research collected to utilize in decision making
  • Identifying strategies and procedures that worked to focus on enhancing instruction
  • Having curiosity and willingness to continue learning to enhance the quality of offerings for students
  • A reminder kids are kids no matter where they live, the color of their skin, the challenges they face, or the disabilities. Each one can, will, and wants to learn.

The key to opening the door to expertise is sharing. Opening this door is the hardest thing for educators to do. We chase shiny objects as a quick fix, the grant dollars need us to spend money on programs, there is no time for this and the list continues.

Narratives dictate the focus of what education is focusing on. Society influences what is to be focused on in education instead of what is truly needed. Education needs to remember the priority of what they do. Our children deserve our focus on the foundation of their needs not the political agenda of the day. Education is not something to play around with but a critical piece of a child’s life and everyone’s future.

Be the solution by standing up for education! I wonder if people will begin to understand how important this is today. We have no time to waste! Speaking of time, my granddaughter shared with me how many of her friends cannot tell time. She says, “they really don’t teach time anymore.” Oh, she was just finishing 7th grade. Also, they don’t teach cursive writing, but we teach time and writing at home.

Change the glasses you are looking through for a moment and see the future. If we do not raise the bar on the quality of our education our nation will fall further behind others. Be the solution daily as we support education.

What wonders do you have about education? I have more, but what are yours? There are many other wonders for me in the world and we will continue to look at them.