Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Let's Get It Started!

Wow! What an amazing first session! Many, many thanks to Jean Kilpatrick-Ruebner and Jenny Bredemeier for all their help, planning, and leadership!

Our very large group started out with introductions and a brief description of what we wanted to gain from these meetings:

Our Take-Aways (in no particular order - sorry if I missed yours!)
  • New ideas, 
  • Invigoration, 
  • Relax, 
  • Have fun, 
  • Recharge, 
  • Collegiality, 
  • Learn about the Ron Clark Academy, 
  • Warm fuzzies, 
  • Positivity (Is that a word? Well, it is now!) , 
  • Absorb ideas to become more effective, 
  • Inspiration, 
  • Personal growth, 
  • Reflection, 
  • Reignite passion for teaching, 
  • Gather energy

We went through the basic "administrivia" paperwork that is required for such activities. Next we developed a sign-up for group facilitation & treats. I was VERY IMPRESSED with how quickly the "Facilitators" columns filled up! We'll work out treats and what-not later. THANK YOU ALL for getting in there and helping out! 

Our focus this evening was on the first 2 chapters of Crash Course: Chemistry and Magic. Some of the important lessons we learned from these 2 chapters included:
  • Relationship-building is essential - With both students AND with teachers. 
  • Look for ways to inject your personality into classroom activities, AND look for ways to encourage kids to express their personalities (appropriately) into their work & activities, too!
  • NO FEAR! Try new things, ask questions, explore... 
  • Teach respect for both school and others through daily activities.
  • Teach the expectations, reinforce and reteach. Soon these will become second nature, both for kids and for teachers. 
  • Home visits are a great way to establish a foundation for a positive relationship. 
  • It is harder to build relationships as students get older. Shorter-term classes are also a challenge. For middle school kids, know your sports - it helps.
  • Consistency works! Focus on the positives!
  • Every child wants to be seen. Make sure every child in your classroom is seen and recognized as a person as some point. 
  • Some kids respond to hugs. Some respond to a positive message via Chromebook. Find what kids respond to by trying! NO FEAR!
Our next meeting is Wednesday, February 4, 2015. Molly Kleine, Jenny Bredemeier, and Orinda Benbow will lead our session. Orinda and Christinel Cain will provide snacks. As always, we'll meet in the Board Room at Lincoln Education Center from 4-5PM. Committee Pay and Professional Development Hours are available, and all are welcome!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Welcome to the Dream Big Book Club!

The Dream Big Book Club is beginning Wednesday, January 21 from 4-5:00 at the Board Office.  We will be discussing Kim Bearden's book, Crash Course - The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me.

A schedule of meetings is found at right. For the first session, we'd like you to have read the preface, the introduction, and chapters 1 & 2, Chemistry and Magic.  If you'd like to do the "homework" at the end of each chapter, feel free, but it will NOT be a requirement for the book club members. We want this to be fun and stress free for all of us!

BIG NEWS! Thanks in part to a NEA Learning and Leadership grant, attendance at these hour-long meetings will be paid at committee stipend rate!

Contact Jean Kilpatrick-Ruebner or Matt Jacobson if you'd like to attend! All are welcome - at least until we run out of chairs - but we'd like to know how many to plan for so we bring enough snacks!

We hope to see you soon!