Garage Teaching vol. 5: T-plus 6 Days

Apollo 17 Life off December 7, 1972

Being born in 1966 I was a little boy who was fascinated with space, rockets, and the Apollo missions. Some of my earliest memories are from the Apollo missions. I remember the Apollo 17 night lift off. My parents woke me up to watch that event. When I watch clips of the Apollo rockets, the Space Shuttle, or the SpaceX rockets leave for space, I am always amazed at how slow the rockets look as they leave the launch pad. Yet, you hear a commentator, or read later, that the rocket was moving much faster by the time it reached the top of the launch tower. Something that looks so slow, yet is moving so fast. Its all about perspectives. The first six days of the school year have had the same paradox. They seem to be moving slowly, but they are moving much faster than they seem. The amount of “data” I have collected, and things I have learned, is much greater than I would have expected. Its been difficult, but like most things in life, “you are always better after the struggle.”

I am getting to know my students bit by bit. Communicating with them through assignments has been helpful. I’ve had a student offer to help me with technology, share their love for One Direction and Harry Styles, and understand some of their dreams and goals. The primary difference this year is the communication vehicle. Traditionally, it has been conversations in passing periods, before school, lunch, or those small times we carve out during class. In a remote setting it may come from an assignment comment, a Zoom hello or goodbye, or from a student who shows up early to a class. Getting to know them is challenging, but definitely not impossible. Teachers have to work in different ways. Our past way simply don’t exist in a remote setting. Perspective change must lead to adjustments.

The biggest adjustment has been class flow. I’ve been having a difficult time with Zoom, and having students enter the correct link. Here is the positive. The kids and their families have been understanding and patient. I’ve been upfront with the hurdles, which I think is making a difference. I was talking with a student after class on Friday. She began laughing as I was talking about how excited I was for institute day on Monday, Sept. 14th. I was using a bit of sarcasm. When I asked her what was funny, she told me that her mom, also at the table, heard what I said and busted up laughing. She told me her mom finds me personable. I don’t think there is a better word I would like to have a parent use for me this year. We are in this together, and the better our relationship, the more successful we will be.

All things considered, the first six days have been better than expected. All systems are go, and we are ready for the next stage to kick in. The moon may be a far way off, not to mention re-entry, but our course is set and everything looks good.

Garage Teaching vol. 4: It Twas the Night Before..

I can’t think of a summer where I have put in this many hours preparing for the first day, week, and month of school. To be honest, I think I have a 65% chance of succeeding tomorrow. There are so many “what if’s” to make the best plans go off track in about 5 seconds. I have two choices. One, stress all night, get little sleep, and be mentally less than sharp tomorrow. Two, be content with what I have done, get some sleep, and be ready to adjust when class starts tomorrow. When I look at it that way, the choice is easy.

I am happy with everything I have ready. My opening slide deck is not boring, I hope, and will add some fun and personality. The get to know each other task, “30 Seconds of Me” is planned. I even have my finished sample ready to give student a framework. https://www.wevideo.com/view/1816093692 My digital grade book and Google Classroom sites are all set to go. But……

All that “stuff” does not mean much if I don’t pause and remind myself to just be me. I want to plan, but not over plan. I want to be polished, but not robotic. I need to be myself above all else. Students need authenticity in their lives. The last thing they need is a teacher who is fake. There is already enough fake in our society.

The first day is all about setting the tone for the year. This year must be about community. Instilling the fact that we are all in this together for the student’s benefit. A community that has no bias, prejudice, or judgement. A community that allows, and encourages, students to be who they truly are. A community that takes all these many different pieces, and uses them for the betterment of everyone. Ok, that may sound Hallmarky, but it is what is driving me. There is too much divide in our country. My classroom community is important. We will not be divided.

The past few months have been stressful. This afternoon the Indian Prairie Education Foundation ( @ipef204 ) tweeted out a parody of the “The Night Before Christmas.” It made me laugh, and broke my stress. It was just what I needed on this night before the most important day of the school year. And to all a good night.

Garage Teaching vol. 3: The Tree Mindset

What is this year really about, content or growth? Content is great, but in this unique time we need to make sure our teaching grows student’s minds, dreams, and self-worth. Also, our teaching needs to reach every student in a meaningful way for them. Achievement of student growth means a focus on Social Emotional Learning and Equity. In order to reach every student in a meaningful way, the focus needs to be on Social Emotional Learning and Equity.

To teach with intentional SEL and Equity, I need to take the mindset of a large old tree. A large old tree has many branches that are full of leaves, flowers, and fruit. An old tree is also a place of food, shelter, or refuge for many living things. It does not matter if the living thing is a bird, squirrel, insect, or human. A tree welcomes all things to use its branches and fruit in the best way possible for them. That is my mindset. Give my students a place to grow that is tailored to them. I need to reflect often. Am I extending my branches so all my students can grow in my shade? Am I producing opportunities for all of my students to tap into what they need from me to grow?

Now the difficult part of the equation. How do I do those things in a virtual world? I need to start the year with my students knowing what is important to me…them! I need to be intentional with how I want this virtual classroom to be shared. Together we will build a shared learning space. A place where ALL students and teachers have a role in our group success. A place where we all learn from, and with, each other.

Taking time early in the year to get to know my students, and for them to get to know me, is key. Develop relationships and build community, through sharing our walks. My students need to know who I am. I need to know who they are. The first assignment of the year is going to be “30 Seconds of Me!” In this activity students will have thirty seconds o fWeVideo, or other platform, to give me as much insight into who they are as they can. It can be multiple images, a couple short videos, or a mix of both. I will use that information to make my interactions with my students more personable. They can use the information to learn about one another. Thirty seconds to build our community. It can be done!

A tree has many purposes, but a tree is used in many ways within its ecosystem. The more this tree knows my students likes, fears, and aspirations, the more students can use all the purposes I can offer to them. The more of me my students use, the more they will grow. The more my students grow, the more they will have a positive effect on each other. An equitable classroom is one where everyone learns from everyone. We all have a role and a purpose. We are all relevant to each other. We all matter.

A tree has no control over what uses its features, and does not care who is using its provisions. I need to make sure my branches reach all my students. I need to let them know this is a safe place for them to learn. I need to let them know that in our shared learning space we can learn in our individual ways, and still act as one community. I can control my attitude and focus. That attitude and focus must make our shared learning space a place we all want to learn in. That attitude and focus must make our shared learning space a place where we all can learn in. I am up to that challenge. Are you?

Garage Teaching vol. 2: To Be, or Not to Be? That is the Question.

Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “To be, or not to be? That is the question.”

Many teachers this summer are thinking, “To teach in person, or not to teach in person? That is the question.”

How do teachers feel about returning? I have felt safe in front of my students for the first 28 years and 7 months of my career. The last three months of the 2019-20 year changed that narrative. The thought of resuming full open schools is scary. I want to believe that all of my students, and their families, will take precautions. What if they don’t? What if they are on the other side of the argument? Who is right? Who is misguided? The one thing I think we can agree upon is that it is 2020 and there is a pandemic. Everything else is up for debate.

Who do we listen to? The differing points of view of Covid-19, its severity, transmission, and impact are mind numbing. The CDC alters its recommendations about as often as there is a full moon. Every few weeks there are changes that impact the physical and mental preparation of educators. Here is, I think, the latest guide from the Centers for Disease Control. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/prepare-safe-return.html I have little doubt that parts of this will change. The change will not occur because of conspiracy theories, or what is happening on November 3rd. We are dealing with a virus that we are still learning about. The science, its understanding and application of Covid-19, is evolving. The evolution of the virus impacts the information and who we listen to.

Is the risk real? I want to go back to face to face teaching. However, like so many educators there are exigent circumstances that make that desire worrisome. I have three Covid-19 risk factors, and I am over 50. Those circumstances are real. Those circumstances could lead me, or many like me, to die or have our quality of life drastically changed forever. Those circumstances are largely out of my control. Even if I took every safety protocol I could become infected with Covid-19. That is the part of the discussion people don’t understand. I can do everything suggested, but if one person makes a mistake in their daily practice, I could become a statistic.

Who do we trust? Let’s circle back to Hamlet. “To be, or not to be? That is the question” I understand the role of education in our nation’s economy. I want our country to have a healthy economy. I don’t want the economy to become healthy at the expense of the health and life, of students, teachers, administrators, or support staff. In my opinion the push to open schools is an economic push. It comes down to priorities. What is more important, life or money? I don’t trust local, state, or national leaders to make that determination. Do you?

Garage Teaching vol. 1: I Have Learned So Much, but Know So Little

The 2020-21 school year is fast approaching. The unknown lurks. In some ways I am looking forward to the unknowns that are just around the corner. In some ways I am terrified about the unknowns. I will be starting the year remote teaching, the same way I ended last school year. I know it will be different than spring. I will have more district and state guidance. I have a better idea of what it means to teach in a remote setting. I am more confident in my skills. I am also less confident with my remote teaching skills. Since March 2020, I have learned so much, but know so little.

This blog series is called Garage Teaching. I have turned half of my garage into a video studio. My garage is my new classroom. I never thought I would ever say that! I am setting out to chronicle this year of teaching. It will be full of successes and failures, laughter and sadness, energy and exhaustion. 2020-21 will be a year like no other.

I have so many questions in my head. What is the best way to get to know my students? How will I keep track of their needs through a computer screen? How am I going to build their trust? How will we collaborate? How will positive relationships be formed? Will my students even get to know me? What are the expectations of parents? How in the hell am I going to be evaluated? How am I going have my students experience science phenomenon? How will I handle the illness of a student? How will I support a student if they lose a close family member? What will I do if I get sick? My wife is going back to face-to-face teaching. How are we going to keep our home “clean?” I could go on for a while. So many things to think about, process, and put in place in thirty days.

This is year thirty of my career. I have learned so much, but know so little. One thing is for sure. At the end of this year I will probably still say, “I have learned so much, but know so little.”

The Ferris Bueller Philosophy: Stop and Look Around

One of my favorite movies is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” For those of you who have never seen it…well, you are missing out. In a recent chat I used a GIF and the hashtag #FerrisBuellerPhilosophy to make a point  After the chat I came up with, and tweeted, ten GIFs from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” that could be used as educational philosophy. I have decided to blog about those ten philosophies. I hope you enjoy the start of this series as we look at the benefit of stopping and looking around.

gf1RenVe94eys.gif

If you are in education you a well aware of the fast pace of the 21st century classroom. It is by far one of the biggest changes I’ve seen over my career. Teacher and students now accomplish more, in less time, and still have time to do a little bit more! It is simply the culture of education. However, this increased pace can have a negative impact on the culture of the classroom. In a hyper-speed world it is important to stop and look around a little bit.  Here is what stopping and looking can do for you as a teacher.

Stopping and looking around as a teacher allows you to sense the needs of your students. Lets face it, kids are complex. When we go too fast we will miss those quiet, subliminal signs that students give us that convey their needs. It would be so much easier if students came and told us what they need. That is just not how kids, especially adolescents, behave. Teachers need to be in tune with their students.   We need to try to read our students, and develop that relationship that will help them grow as a student and as a person.  Relationships are best developed when we stop, look around, listen, and get to know our kids.  Think about the relationship Ferris had with his principal Mr. Ed Rooney.  I don’t think that Mr. Rooney noticed much about Ferris, other than he annoyed him tremendously.  Was Ed going too fast, and worrying about the wrong stuff, that he missed what Ferris was really trying to show him?  Are you going too fast and missing what your students are trying to show you?  Stop, look and grasp what your students are showing you about themselves.  The last person I want to be like is Principal Ed Rooney.

Stopping and looking around as a teacher also develops patience that is need inside the classroom.  If we could all agree on one thing it may be that patience is something that is fundamentally lost in much of our profession.  Yes, some are patient, but as a group those days are fading away if not already gone.  We can recoup that feeling in our classroom by working on our patience.  Let’s examine wait time as an example. Where do you fall in how much time you give students to answer?  I had a wait time of under 3 seconds not that long ago.  I was rushing my students and their thinking.  Now, I have no problem waiting 5, 10, even 15 seconds, or more, before I push my students for an answer, or re-phrase a question.  Yes, at times my class is filled with that awkward silence, but my students have grown to know that I am a patient teacher that is going to give them the think time they need.  Patience is best developed when we stop and look around a bit.

Finally, stopping and looking around gives us the opportunity to take in what is around us.  As teachers I feel we get so caught up in things that we do not appreciate what is around us.  Ferris defiantly wants Cameron to stop and smell the roses on their day off. How often do you take a moment and smell the roses that are blooming all around you?  What do you remember the most from a day in the classroom, the discovery or kindness of a student, or that brief moment where a student or the class was not engaged or on task?  Teachers can be our own worst enemy when we focus on the negative around us and we don’t take the time to stop, look and marvel at the wonderful things our students are doing! In class I like to pull back and just watch and listen to my students as they work a science problem.  When I hear that conversation that is incredible, or see a model that shows growth I appreciate the struggle that it took us to get there together.  I challenge you to take five minutes of tomorrow after school and just think about the positive things that went on in your shared learning space that day.  I bet you will be thinking for more than five minutes.  Ferris had it right, if we don’t stop and look we are going to miss it.  Don’t miss it!

Snow Days, Cookies, and a Fireplace…

Monday: No school, snow day…only about 6 inches snow.

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Wednesday & Thursday: No school, polar vortex…-24º with -55º wind chill.

chicago

As a teacher I really do not like snow days.  They just take away a beautiful June day.  Would I rather sit in the house because my lungs will freeze solid if I venture outside for 30 seconds, or spend the day at the zoo or someplace else with my family?  I’ll be honest.  This set of snow/cold days I would have to say with my family, inside, sitting around the fireplace, binge watching Netflix, and eating freshly baked cookies.  Here are a couple reasons why.

  1. Life is too short! Although I like to think that my kids will always be young, they are getting older.  I am holding at 46, but my kids, no matter how hard I try, are growing up.  I have enjoyed the day with my wife and daughter, home from college for a couple days, binge watching shows.  I have also enjoyed watching my youngest son play with his dog.  I love my job, but nothing can take the place of time with family.  This fact is often lost on teachers.  We see our class as an extension of our family.  Feeling that way is not bad, actually its a good philosophy. It is a philosophy, however, that needs parameters. Your immediate family should never take a back seat to your classroom family.  I have been guilty, often, of flipping my philosophy.  Focus on career is important, but not at the expense of family.  I will do some work over the next day or so, but I am going to soak up as much of my family as I can.  My wife and children are the pulse that beats my heart.  Life is too short to forget the importance of the ones you love.  My job today has been to keep the fire in the fireplace going.  As I’ve done this I’ve watched my wife and daughter bake cookies and just enjoy each other’s company.  The cookies taste just a little bit better today. cookies
  2. My student need me ready! Let’s be honest IT’S WINTER!  Little sun and warmth can get a person a bit…cantankerous. Even though winter break is less than a month removed, January is difficult.  January, with the weather and how it makes people feel can just be heavy and cause a dull ache that does not seem to go away. Sometimes the best remedy to that dull ache behind your eyes is a snow day! If you are not a teacher I probably just offended you. I know, I know, we get breaks and summers off.  How can I even bring up the idea of an extra day being what I need.  Remember in the first point I said that our class is often an extension of our family?  In my house that means that I carry the hearts and minds of 130 extra children on my mind.  My wife is a social worker at an elementary school.  She spent a good part of her Tuesday ensuring that every student in her building had a proper winter coat, hat, and gloves before they left school Tuesday.  I am proud to say that every child under her watch left warm and safe yesterday.  When I include my wife in the picture there is at least another 250 children that are part of our extended family.  Those 400 plus children need us at our best, and watching a fire in the fireplace can be just what I need to get me in the mindset I need to be to help each student in some way the next time we interact.  Most of the afternoon the fire I’m in charge of has had a single high flame in the middle.  This, to me, represents the individuality of our profession. I may teach 130 students, but at some point each child may need me to focus on just them.  It may be in a greeting, working one to one on homework, or helping them through a crisis.  They need a teacher who is ready to be what ever they need.  I am more ready for that responsibility after some time by the fire.  fireplace

Thank you Winter Storm “Whatever” and the polar vortex.  You have given me a few days to appreciate my family, and prepare to be the best “me” I can be for my students.

 

Train, Trust, and Get Out of the Way!

Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not stray from it.”

This is one of the most well know verses from the Bible.  It is known in both religious and secular circles.  It speaks to parents, guardians, and teachers directly.  Those twenty-one words also give direction, comfort, and hope to those of us who raise, or work with children.

This morning I signed consent for my 17 year old son to enlist in the Army.  The pen I used is the image above, and its one that I will treasure forever.  To me it signifies the efforts made in raising Jake, and the trust that I have in him, and others, to see him through this next era in his life.  Through this whole college, military declaration process I learn a few things about being a dad and a teacher.  You could say those words are synonyms because those two roles have a lot in common.  Especially the words train and trust, and the phrase get out of the way.

Train through my lens means mentor.  There are all sorts of books, and blogs, about parenting and teaching.  I like to simplify things.  For the past seventeen years I have mentored my son.  For the past twenty-seven years I have mentored three student teachers, and a few thousand students.  I have tried to show Jake, and all the others, a way to live and learn.  It is not the best way, not by a long shot, nor is it the easiest.  I have been wrong more times that I even know, but at the end I am still that mentor.  That person who is standing on the sidelines quietly cheering my children and students to push themselves to greater things.  If I measure myself as a parent I don’t think I would grade out too well.  I have made plenty of mistakes, even today.  Those mistakes have had a learning impact.  They have shown my son, and my students, that to err is human and to forgive divine.  That errors don’t define you, but they leave scars that remind us of how lucky we are to have loved and have been loved.  I want to add something to the first sentence; train through my lens means mentor with love.  If we as parents and teachers strive for that, even the not so great can lead to pretty good.   That also makes the pretty good mentoring moments spectacular.

Trust through my lens means to give up control.  I can’t be the same dad to Jake at seventeen that I was to him at seven.  He has changed, I have changed, our relationship has changed.  I have to trust our relationship, that the lessons we learned together will serve him well.  I have to trust that the people he will develop relationships with will have his best interests in their hearts and minds.  I have to trust that if life gets difficult he will return to the mentor who will always love him.  As a dad I have to give up control of my children and trust that the new people they surround themselves with will be their compass for the future.  The same can be said for a teacher.  I have to trust the relationship that my students and I have developed, that the lessons learned together will serve them well in their future.  I have to trust that the new teachers in my students lives will take that baton and continue the relay of life.  I have to trust that when life for my students becomes difficult they will fall back on the mentoring we went through together.  Trust is a very difficult thing, but it is the right thing to give our children and our students.

Get out of the way through my lens means don’t interfere, but be ready to help.  I’ve heard my son say, “you are smothering me!”  There is a season for that, but once your child has set out on their path smothering can be counter productive.  Get out of the way, let them live their life, let them make their choices, let them develop their independence, but be ready to go back and support them through the good and the bad times.  Get out of the way does not mean disappear, it means to go back to that mentor that is quietly cheering on the sidelines.  That person who is dependable and unshakable in their love for their child.   The same can be said of a teacher.  I’ve heard students say, “why do you care so much?” There is a season for that, but when your students have taken control of their academic life don’t be counter productive.  Don’t get in the way of their independence.  Get out of the way does not mean you stop caring, you just care a little bit quieter.  Every child needs that adult that is always in their corner.

I don’t know what Jake’s future will hold for him.  I have to believe that our time together was meaningful, that the life lessons will forever help him.  I have to trust that I have done all that I can do, and that now he is the one who can do for himself.  I have to get out of the way, continue to love and quietly cheer from the sidelines.

I don’t know how long I have in the classroom.  It could be weeks, or it could be years.  I have to believe that my time with students has had meaning, that the life lessons will forever help them.  I have to trust that I did all I could do for my students, but now is the time for me to trust in their future.  I have to get out of the way, and continue to quietly cheer from the sidelines.

Leap of Faith

I am a movie junkie. I can get “Shawshanked” by many movies, especially any of the Indiana Jones movies…ok, except the Crystal Skull, a man has limits. One of my all-time favorite Indiana Jones scenes comes in The Last Crusade. Indy has to go through three trials to get The Holy Grail and save his father’s life. The last trial he faces is a huge chasm. There is no way he can jump the gap, so he takes a step, a leap of faith.  Indy’s leap of faith paid off. He lands on a bridge that he could not see, and now can go to the chalice room. Science educators are facing that chasm with the pedagogy shift NGSS requires. All educators are looking at a similar chasm as the teaching landscape changes.  Are you ready to take that leap of faith? After taking that leap, I realized it was the best leap I could have taken for my students.

My leap of faith was simple, yet complicated.  Education has moved from content based to process based.  My process of teaching needed a change. I needed to shift the hierarchy in my class from content to process; teacher driven to student driven.  I had a philosophy of, “I want to hear you as students, but I am still in complete control.” This past fall I moved to a classroom philosophy of,  “This is not my classroom, it is our shared learning space.” In the past I acted like there was balance, but in reality, I was in complete control.  Teachers teach, students learn was the norm. I needed to be intentional with how I shared our learning space. My leap of faith in making my students co-owners of the classroom only took a few small changes.  My leap was set in motion by three simple steps.

Before I could leap, I had to let go of my ego.  I found myself in a teacher trap…thinking it was more about me.  I was working for improvement in myself, not working for giving my students an improved classroom experience.  That may sound the same, but there are miles between the two. I had to stop focusing on how I looked and sounded as a teacher, and focus on providing my students with a student driven environment. I had to accept my limitations as part of me.  I still worked on them, but I didn’t let them get the best of me. I had to get over my pity party and just be the relationship based teacher I was each day. Ego can be a damaging thing to the growth of an educator. I just let that go.

My next step was to not go it alone in the classroom.  I always thought that my management and classroom practices were in the best interest of my students.  I realized when planning for the 2017-18 school year that I was not giving my students enough voice. In preparing for this year I read “Learn Like a Pirate” by Paul Solarz.  That book gave me the strong dose of courage I needed, to make some subtle changes to make my classroom student driven. If you have not read that book, it needs to be on your reading list. I had my students develop classroom norms with me. It provided great discussion, and changed our shared learning process.  Having their voice in our procedures and routines let them know that it was our classroom. Through this simple change I validated all of my students. They now knew that their thoughts and ideas mattered. Making students feel relevant can change our learning space.

The last step was the most difficult.  I have been a firm believer that seating charts are an important part of establishing good classroom management.  I would group students by science test scores to give each group balance. I use table captains who are my communication leaders in my small groups (Captains of Communication).  This past fall, again with inspiration from “Learn Like a Pirate,” the only people I placed in a sport were my captains.  I let the students choose their spot from that point. Every two weeks we changed seats. Again students had choice, but there were some regulations to make sure that groups were being mixed as much as possible. Giving my students choice of where, and who, they sat with was terrifying to me.  It was a control issue, but as the year went on it proved to be a positive for the students and myself. Giving students control of my seating chart had profound impact on my class as the year progressed. The issues I thought I would see early, dissipated by mid-year, and my tables were stronger working machines. I may try to do something “terrifying” each year to see how it affects my classroom.    

Those three steps helped me leap into a new, and better, teaching relationship with my students.  The focus on student voice and choice was something I thought I was doing. When I really examined my teaching I realized I need to take a leap of faith and intentionally give my students their voice, and choice in my classroom.  Best thing is that there are a myriad of things I can still do in our learning space to give my students voice and choice. Glad it’s summer and I can look for new steps to take. How do you incorporate student voice and choice in your classroom?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Most Important Thing…

At 12:30 on Monday, June 4th I will have completed my 27th year in the classroom. This year has been like other through the years.  The year started with a mystery to show students that there are different ways to look at, and solve a problem.  Over the course of four units, students discovered that physics principles are directly tied into the processes of earth science.  Students learned how things move, how water shapes the world, what makes the weather change, and how the earth is changing.  Those topics are important to me as a science educator.  Those topics I can assess through formative and summative means. Those topics are not the most important thing to me as a teacher.  The most important thing to me, is something that can look different in each student I teach.

The most important thing to me as a teacher is that my students grow in their ability to think.  A student who can think can do the following:

  1. Figure out the next step
  2. Collaborate with peers
  3. Communicate ideas
  4. Listen to differing points of view
  5. Believe they will find the solution

I want my students to not get discouraged when they hit a road block.  Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.  They need to figure out the next step in the PROCESS.  How are they going to address a situation, personal and professional, that appears to be difficult?  What is that next step going to look like? What question(s) do they need to ask? Thinking requires process.

I want my students to know how to work together.  Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. They need to know there is POWER in working together.  The more we collaborate, the farther everyone can grow.  The more we collaborate, the more questions we ask, the more answers that inevitably appear.  Thinking requires collaboration.

I want my students to know how to communicate their ideas.  Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.  They need to know  that their ideas are a part of the SOLUTION.  It is through communication that we convey and revise our thinking.  Communication is part of the start, middle, and end of a process. Thinking requires communication.

I want my students to know the importance of listening to other’s ideas.  Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.  They need to know that listening VALIDATES other’s ideas.  When opinions are validated, confidence is built.  When confidence grows perseverance is a result.  Thinking requires validation.

I want my students to know that they can achieve, if they believe.  Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.  They need to know that when they believe in themselves, RESULTS will occur…eventually.  It may take some time, it may not look like what they originally thought, and it may not be the results they want.  However, one thing is for sure, the results will happen. The results will dictate student’s next move.  Thinking requires belief.

This may sound unprofessional, but it’s what I feel.  I don’t care about the content my students remember from my classroom.  What I care about is that my students are able to think differently.  With the ability to think all things are possible. The PROCESS, POWER, SOLUTIONS, VALIDATION, and RESULTS of thinking will lead the course of their future.  Thinking is more important than content.