Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Spirit of the Tribe - A Call to Leaders

Since our very first methods courses of our undergraduate studies, educators have been encouraged to spend time reflecting on our instructional lessons. Whether in our first year of teaching or as a seasoned veteran, that charge holds true each day we are in front of our students and our colleagues.

In order to reflect upon our instruction we have to not only find time to do so but we also have to be committed to its value and be critical of our own teaching. Both of which are difficult for any one individual.

With the directions we are pulled each day, and all that needs to be accomplished to be the teacher that embraces teaching to its fullest, it is imperative that we still use reflection to assess our own practices.

This reflection, the kind that is true and at times uncomfortable, will take us from being "good" teachers and leaders, to "great" teachers and leaders. We will have looked into that mirror and had crucial conversations about what worked, and what did not.  And by doing so, others will benefit from time well spent.

For many, blogging has been a great tool for reflection. Recently I was asked to join a colleague, Jennifer Hogan, who I met through Twitter, to take an even deeper look at the craft which I have chosen, school administration, with the hope of improving my own work when supporting my teachers. She, along with a handful of others, intend to commit ourselves to monthly posts on our websites and then comment on each others posts to offer that essential feedback to assist with the growth that we seek. This "Tribe" will be comprised of people like yourself. People that take the time and effort to truly dissect the work they do. We want to move from being good at what we do to being great at what we do. We also know, it can't be done alone.

Check out Jennifer's blog here to read even more: The Compelled Educator

Care to join us on this journey? If so, complete the link below and send us some basic information to get things started!

Join the Tribe!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blogging. Keep it Simple.

(courtesy of
There are 1000 things to write about. Finding the exact words can sometimes escape me. I am OK with that, sort of.

Maybe it's not as much about the topic but more about the uninterrupted time to gather my thoughts and get them onto paper. Something to consider, I guess.

I often find myself sifting through Seth's Blog. And, as maybe you do the same, wonder how easily he gets his ideas from his head, to the keyboard and then to us, his readers.  And on top of that, we eat it up, "worship" it, tweet it and live by it. And, Mr. Godin, we should. It is great stuff that makes us each better at what we do, whatever that might be. He makes us think, ponder, reflect and modify. 

So as I sit here on this beautiful Friday afternoon in Concord, North Carolina, I stumble over what prolific blog I could write about. What could I add to the blogging world in attempt to shape the minds of a few people who happen upon my site, Fueling-Education. Do I have anything to offer? 

Overall, I would like to think I do and therefore I will continue to write, to share, to blog. I will pledge to myself to keep it simple in the hopes that some of the most simplest ideas can spawn some of the most greatest of ideas from others. 

And, the next time you have writers block, take a stroll through the blogs of your colleagues and maybe you will find some motivation, find inspiration and get your mind thinking like Mr. Godin.

Here are some great bloggers that I learn from:

and of course:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Make it Count


There is only one today. 

Can't be re-done, no do-overs, no second chances at this one moment in time.

I recently sent out a message to my followers via Twitter: 

My motivation for this message was spawned by the passing of a great man. A man that devoted his life to teaching others. He embraced every quality in the human spirit and took every moment of every day to share with others his passion, his knowledge and his love of life. He was an educator, a veteran, a husband and a provider. He gave of himself and treated each child, each person, each member of society with care and compassion that can not be rivaled. 

In all my years of knowing this man he lived with this very question at the forefront of his morning routine. He knew that he only had one shot at each day. He appreciated life. He valued and respected the moment. Like others that you may know he never took a breath for granted, ever. This passion was at his most inner core.

So as you go through your days, weeks, months and year(s), keep in mind that there is only one chance to make it count. You have today to leave an impression that will last forever.

Will you do just that? I offer you that challenge today.

In memory of Ford Weyrick.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

5 Things Every Father Should Teach Their Son

It goes without saying the role that our parents play in how we grow to become parents ourselves is an influence greater then any other. With that, it is often said that how a father raises his son will have the greatest factor on how that young man will act as an adult, and as a father himself, in the future.

If you have, or had, a father that is (or was) instrumental in your development into the man you are today, you have been blessed. Not all young children, and not all young men, have that reassurance and the lessons to fall back on. Fortunately for me, I did. And, without hesitation or reservation I can say that it is these five "lessons" that I was taught by my father (with help from my mother, of course) that has shaped me into the dad I am to my children.

They are:

Be Fair - life isn't but that is not an excuse. Regardless of the circumstance, play the "game" by the rules and all will work itself out.

Be Patient - we all make mistakes, we are supposed to. Make those mistakes teachable moments and grow from them.

Be Resilient - there will be times when you feel defeated, and at times you will be just that. If you can weather the storm, smooth water will be just the other side.

Be Persistent - many times in our young lives we are told "No" and with good reason. However with each "No" comes new opportunity. Find it.

Be Kind - be so in every sense of the word whether through friendship, in passing or if fortunate enough, love. Be humane and follow the Golden Rule. Always.

This list, your list, will have 100 more lessons learned from a father that impacted your life. These are the five that I am most grateful for on this day, Father's Day.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Blended Learning and Beyond

As educators we never stop growing as instructional leaders. We keep expanding our knowledge and look for innovative ways to reach our students each day. We embrace best practice and share what we have learned through collaboration on the various social media platforms such as twitter and Voxer. As you start to think about what lies ahead for the upcoming school year be thinking about the following topics that could impact your teaching, and learning, in your classroom come August.

1. Blended Learning - Depending on who you ask, it can mean a variety of things. In it's most simplest forms it is combining the learning that takes place through a brick-and-mortar facility and adding an online component. There is a great article via te@chthought with an info-graphic to answer questions you may have. Depending on where you work, Blended Learning may already be a discussion that is occurring. For schools in Ohio, follow Ohio Blended Learning on twitter for what is happening across the state. Also, here is how the conversation is coming together for the Hilliard City Schools for this coming school year with their teachers and students. 

Additional Blended Learning Resources from Te@chThought:

2. Assessment and Grading - Measuring a students retention of information is as hot of a topic as they come in today's academic landscape. With many states heading toward the PARCC we as educators need ensure we are keeping the instructional integrity of the classroom alive. Education experts such as Rick Wormeli and Ken O'Connor continue to lead the charge and share their passion for what is best for students and teachers with grading and assessments. How we assess students learning, the format in which we chose to measure that knowledge and what it is exactly that we are attempting to measure are all found within their work. It is imperative that we evaluate our assessments, our grading practices and how we hold teachers accountable for their instruction. For more, ASCD has some great resources on Standards-Based Grading here to allow you to dive even deeper into the topic.

3. Personalized Learning - As educators we have been working with the term "differentiation" for years. We know about taking each child from their starting point and working to grow them a years worth academically for the year we have them in our class according to the school calendar. Personalized Learning is at our door front. Schools across the world are having rich conversations about each student having their own pathway to success. We are now creating academic portfolios that not only assign a student their work but also have assessments that measure their knowledge in a way that best suits their learning style. Learning anytime, anyway, anywhere is at the core of personalized learning. Check out this article from The Glossary of Educational Reform for more.

Here is a great resource from Barbara Bray as she compares the various terms of Personalization, Differentiation and Individualization:

These three are just the tip of the iceberg. The list can include so much more as you gear up for the 2014/2015 school year. Topics such as the use of social media, the ongoing implementation of the Common Core and school climate just to name a few that Peter DeWitt lays out in 10 Critical Issues Facing Education.

As always, keep the learning alive and be prepared for great things to happen during your upcoming school year. Spend some time now learning and researching about what's great in the world of education and how it will impact your instructional leadership going forward.

Friday, June 6, 2014

5 Ingredients to a Successful Summer

(courtesy of
Have plans for the weeks ahead? We know the time goes fast so make sure to enjoy each moment. Here are some quick ideas, and a few links (in no particular order) as you set your summer calendar!

Read - Many of us read articles and books as they pertain to the work we do. However, in the end, make sure to read something just for fun! Pleasure reading helps sooth the soul and keeps balance to the reading we do for work. Check in with Cathy Mere or see the list at Education Closet and see what books are on the list.

Play - Whether at your child's ball game, out back with the kids in the yard or treating yourself to a trip to the golf range, make sure to get active and enjoy your time being a kid. We spend a lot of time indoors during the school year. Take advantage of your summer break and the long lazy days of summer. Need some ideas? Here you go: 50 Fun Summer Activities

Connect - We spend so much time throughout the year focused on our colleagues and our work that sometimes we forget about reaching out to others. Family or friends, make time to chat with those that you may miss connecting with during the year. Then, as the summer ends, have a plan to stay connected throughout the year.

Travel - Pack up the car, head out of town and find something for yourself and/or your family to enjoy! Over the next couple of weeks slow down and head to the beach or take a stroll through a busy downtown street fair. Make sure to visit a place you can share with others when you return to school. Vacation Ideas found here

(Ed)Camp - Because we are educators we will undoubtedly do something related to work this summer. If that's the case, then go to camp, an EdCamp! While thinking about ways to grow professionally, try to find an opportunity to learn with others in this unique PD setting. If you live in Ohio, check out EdCampILECbus! Or, go to for a camp in your part of the world! 

Follow these simple suggestions and you will be energized for the school year ahead!

Monday, June 2, 2014

You Don’t Necessarily Find Your Passion, Passions Find You.

This guest post is from Jordan Meyers. She is preparing to enter her freshman year of high school in the Hilliard City School District in Hilliard, OH. A student who leads by example, she is not only an avid writer, but also a musician and theater student. Jordan is an outstanding individual in all aspects of her day. Here are her words:
(courtesy of

One’s passion is a wondrous thing, meant to be explored and dreamt about, meant to be loved and pursued. You don’t necessarily find your passion, passions find you. One of my passions is writing. I’m writing about writing!
Okay, so maybe I don’t mean grocery lists or something, I don’t like scribbling down things we do not possess. I mean creative writing. Some people don’t like it. They don’t like the idea of work. If you love what you are doing though, you don’t consider it work.
During class, the teacher may state, “Now to do something other than essays, creative writing!”

Groans will leak from many of the student’s mouths. I just grin and get excited.

To me, writing lets me unleash my inner imagination that is trapped between the walls of my brain, and lets it soar onto the paper, letting a pencil be it’s transportation.

Writers block is no fun, when a solid barrier forms between your pencil and your imagination, not letting anything penetrate it to write a story. Now that’s annoying. However, on good days, nothing stands in the way. I will hit the ‘play’ button, watch the movie inside my mind, and let the pencil do the work! It’s fun to capture emotions within a little stroke of a word, and let stories of love, adventure, and suspense unfold. 

I plan on writing for the rest of my life, and I hope other people will find the joy that I have found in writing.