Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Little" Things

While scanning my Twitter feed, I recently came across the following…
One hundred years from now, it will not matter
What kind of car I drove or what kind of clothes I wore.
All that will matter is that I made a difference
In the life of a child!
Upon seeing this quote, I immediately thought of all of the teachers who work tirelessly each day at #Cantiague Elementary. From my humble vantage point, our teachers set the bar pretty high as to what a highly effective educator looks like and have created a space where all children can thrive in some way, shape or form. But, my thoughts didn't end there... I started to think about the thousands of amazing educators who I have connected with on Twitter, Voxer, Facebook and Instragram over the last three years who have devoted themselves to one cause - doing what is in the best interest of children. I have learned so much from our #Cantiague community and from the members of my PLN that I genuinely believe that I am a better lead learner, educator, father and person because of the educators in my life (you all know who you are and I couldn't get through some days without you).

Unfortunately, the current landscape of education is plagued by negativity because of the politics that impact our daily work and the heavy handed way in which certain ideas, veiled as the silver bullets to fix all that is wrong with our schools, were introduced... high stakes testing linked to educator evaluations, the implementation of the common core standards devoid of systemic professional development for educators, the lack of voice educators have in enacting policy and the list can go on and on and on! Since most of our time is spent on data collection or preparing for high stakes tests or giving up days of learning to give said high stakes tests, I felt it was imperative to shed light on the “little” things great teachers do… the “little” things #Cantiague teachers do... the "little" things many members of my PLN do but can’t be qualified by a number or score or test…
helping a child recover from a recess issue;
coaching a child out of the backseat of the car when they don’t want to come to school;
giving the child a device at lunch so they can build their relationships with peers;
letting a child use your sleeve as a tissue when they can’t control their tears;
letting a child do their homework in the morning while others unpack because no one could help them at home the night before;
modifying anything and everything to give every child an entry point for learning;
helping a child in the bathroom after they experienced serious stomach issues;
sharing your personal life and interests to establish a connection with a disconnected child;
give up your lunch period to meet with a child or just hang out with them;

climbing up a tree to save the child who felt they had no escape but to climb 30 feet up a tree;

drive a child home because the family doesn't have a mode of transportation;

hug a child who is having a bad day;

getting to know a child's passion and interests and successfully incorporating them into the learning opportunities;

support a colleague who is going through a difficult time;

hold a crying mom's hand during a conference because of the difficult subject matter being discussed; 

showing empathy and earning trust;
You get the idea… the list goes on and on and although there are no numbers, grades or points for these daily efforts, they do not go unnoticed – I, for one, appreciate our teachers at #Cantiague and the thousands of educators in my PLN who have changed my world with all the "little" things they do. 

So, as we get ready to enter Teacher Appreciation Week, I challenge all of us to take a moment to recognize all the "little" things the educators in our spaces do because although they may not be attached to a score or number, they are the things that impact the lives of children!  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Telling Our Story At The Bammys

In case you haven't heard, Joe Sanfelippo and I will be hosting the 2015 Bammy Awards on Saturday, September 26th! Are we excited? HECK YEA! Not only does it give us another opportunity to poke fun at each other in a public forum but the Bammys are also spotlighting a focus in education that is incredibly important to us... Telling the POSITIVE stories of our schools! Having written a book on the subject and having the opportunity to discuss the topic with other amazing educators on our radio show, we are honored to be working with the Bammy Awards to put the focus where it matters most in education - on our children and all the amazing things they do! 

Check out this video, Breaking The Code of Silence, that presents a quick overview of what the Bammy Awards hope to accomplish this year...

So, we hope you will all join us this year in an effort to change the landscape of education by flooding it with all of the AMAZING and AWESOME and POSITIVE stories of schools!   

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spreading Positivity

We recently had the most awesome day at Cantiague as we celebrated Positive Post-It Day. As you may have read in a recent blog post I wrote, Positive Post-It Day was born from an idea shared by a student from another school who decided to reframe a bullying situation in a much more positive way; instead of responding with negativity, this student went the route of kindness and plastered the walls of her school with positive post-its. Well, after viewing the video it was clear that we wanted to celebrate something similar here at Cantiague and thus the idea for Positive Post-It Day was born. 

On #PositivePostItDay, our children and staff members filled the walls, doors and desks in our school with some of the most incredibly kind and positive notes (there were literally hundreds of notes all over the school) I have ever seen in my career. Additionally, each child wrote themselves a positive note celebrating something they are proud of within themselves – kindness can really spread when we recognize the positivity within ourselves! In the end, it was a pretty awesome day and I invite you all to click on the following link to check out some of the highlights from #PositivePostItDay…

The Positive Post-It Day experience was one of the proudest moments in my educational career because we celebrated everything that is good and right about education and recognized all the awesomeness of our children and the educators who are dedicated to making a difference! So, if you haven't done it yet, I suggest you try #PositiveItPostDay in your school... and maybe it doesn't just happen once a year... maybe it happens once a month because when you get notes like these (see below) you quickly become re-energized in your dedicated efforts to inspire students through dedication, compassion and positivity!