Tuesday, July 30, 2013

She's Got High Hopes!

Tomorrow the students come. I always get excited and can NEVER fall asleep easily! I put myself to bed with hopes and dreams for the year ahead. I have high hopes for tomorrow!







Here is what I will need:
  • My Fancy Nancy dress
  • My pretty pink boa
  • My dolly Monica
  • My box of cereal
  • My snack
  • My take home folder
  • My superpowers cape
My poor coworker (pray for her now) is being subjected to my first day of first grade jitters just like the first graders might have, since this is my very first year in first grade core classes since beginning my journey in 1994. 


I packed a gigantic fluffy heart because I love people.
(Yes Ms. Horst, we want to show compassion to one another this year!)

I have my box of cereal to eat at school in homeroom.
(No Ms. Horst, please eat a good breakfast at home or make sure you come early enough to eat a great breakfast in the cafeteria!)

I have my very healthy snack ready to go!
(Yes Ms. Horst, please bring with  you a healthy snack each day!)

I have picked out the very best dress with my pink boa.
(No Ms. Horst, you don't need to come in your fancy clothes to school because we do have recess you know!)

I have my take home folder.
(Yes Ms. Horst, you will want to use the take home folder as one of the systems of communication between your parents and the school.)

I have packed my very special dolly I got when I was five and she has been with me since then, Monica.
(No Ms. Horst, remember to leave your toys at home. We have great classroom activities and games here. Your special things will be waiting for you when you get home.)

I packed my golden ruler. It is going to measure things!
(Well Ms Horst, that reminds me of the golden rule which is to treat others like you would like to be treated.)

Finally, I have my superpowers cape. I don't know everything and I don't pretend to but my super power is learning, so I'll be okay! 
(Yes Ms. Horst, we are all here to learn amazing things together this year!)

I am pledging to be a purple cow in a field of brown cows and I am glad that my coworkers, both who have read Teach Like A Pirate, are coming along with me for the adventure! 




"This is life we've been given made to be lived out, so la la la, live outloud!"  SCC--Live Outloud

Yeah, its pretty much going to be the best year EVER!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

What Is Your Mission?

Tomorrow morning I will wake up to start my year after all these years of teaching since 1994, as a first grade teacher! Like any student going back to school, I too have hopes and dreams.   I am ready for tomorrow. My check list for open house is pretty complete except for a date with the copy machine. 

But above all, I realize that if I have no vision and no mission I will be aimless in my journey. Here is what I believe in every core of my being. 



www.business2community.com 


This is my philosophy of education:

YOU MATTER! You have a genius in you that is unique and special to you! I celebrate that! I will teach in a way that promotes growth through play and learning. 

This is my mission statement: 

I as a professional educator recognize that each child is an one-in-a-million, never-seen-before individual, that all children are creative and that all children can succeed. 

Therefore, I will respect the individual needs of children for whom I have the sacred honor of working with which includes but is not limited to the following: fostering a caring and creative environment as well as emphasizing the social, emotional, physical, intellectual development of each child. 

I believe that each child has a genius and a passion special to them. I also believe that passion with compassion creates world changers. 

I believe that great things can accomplished through cooperation between school, community, parents, and students. 

I believe you matter!


www.goldensealenterprises.com
I want to thank my amazing PLN for all the insight and continuing to point me NORTH in this adventure that I call teaching! We are better together! As  you get ready to start your school year in a few weeks, I wish you peace and joy! 

Pirate on my friends. Pirate on!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

An Article In Isanti County News, July 23, 2013

School for All Seasons introduces STEAM for learning

It’s in school that children dream about being a part of something revolutionary like discovering an invention or becoming a renowned artist.
School for All Seasons is introducing STEAM, a new concept for educating students that aims to equip students with practical problem-solving skills and that is fostered through integrated learning. STEAM is designed to provide children with learning that is founded on passion, fun and engagement and is focused on building more well-rounded students.
“There are eight different kinds of ‘smarts,’ and when you incorporate STEAM into your classroom, you are allowing students to flourish in whatever way they are created to flourish based on their passions and (how they are) more smart in one way than another … and I think self-esteem building in that regard,” first-grade teacher Kimberly Horst said.
STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math, will be introduced when the school starts July 31. The model will also be incorporated at Isanti Middle School when the regular school session begins Sept. 3.
The inspiration for School for All Seasons to switch to the STEAM model came from a desire to cultivate the commitment and passion that education needs to inspire students. It is not about replacing teaching, but about making it fun and incorporating it differently to cater to the 21st century learner by building technology around content.
“I think what the STEAM does is you take the disciplinaries we have and you integrate them so flawlessly that a student might not know they are studying science in a reading class,” Horst said.
Placing an emphasis on community is also something STEAM does.
Using community features and resources like city parks, the Rum River and other accessible features like the school’s garden for out-of-class learning will help to instill students with an appreciation for the community around them and also help to provide hands-on learning experiences within the natural environment.
The model also encourages new ideas for learning from community members and is open to volunteers who can help to expose children to new learning experiences.
“When you can have the buy-in that these children are everybody’s children, then that’s when the change will come and that’s when you will see true growth and responsibility for one another,” Horst said.
One way in which the staff will be using STEAM is to educate students on what it means to be a good digital citizen.
STEAM enables teachers to address important questions of today’s technology world, like what it means to leave a digital footprint and what proper, responsible technology use looks like.
An immediate dialogue for issues like plagiarism and cyberbullying will enable teachers to help students make an application to their education, personal lives and careers.
Another opportunity STEAM will provide to School for All Seasons students is 90 minutes of exploratories for three days at the end of each trimester.
Exploratories are referred to as passion learning opportunities, where students pick a passion of their teachers to explore in an attempt to discover their own interests and passions.
Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will come together during the exploratories. The opportunities will provide out-of-textbook learning in areas like Spanish culture or the history and skill of quilting, for example.
“I think most teachers dream about actually having a classroom where they can do that and that we are not so committed and bound to the testing, but rather bring that testing in to teach the kids the problem-solving skills to take that test, and you can do it in many different ways and it doesn’t have to be out of a textbook,” School for All Seasons first-grade teacher Irene Gotfredson said.
“We have always had a lot of parent involvement, and now we are pulling in our communities,” Horst added.
The school leadership and staff are looking forward to STEAM’s foundation year and have big dreams for the future of the education concept.
“Taking a leap of faith and being a risk-taker is about being a change-maker,” Horst added.

An Article In My Town Paper The County Star July 23rd, 2013

School For All Seasons starts new initiative

When 250 students head back to School For All Seasons on July 31 after a six-week break, there will be more than just excited teachers to greet them.
The school, part of the Cambridge-Isanti school district, is starting a new learning initiative called S.T.E.A.M. – science, technology, environment, arts and mathematics.
Similar initiatives use the “E” in the name for engineering, but SFAS felt with the Rum River and school garden, that environment would be a great asset to the program.
But that’s not the only difference.
“One difference with the S.T.E.A.M. model is the ‘A’ – the arts,” said Kimberly Hurd Horst, teacher at SFAS. “And we do not want to forget our arts. There are kids who deeply, deeply learn through arts.”
S.T.E.A.M. will create and evolve educational programs to include a multidisciplinary oriented classroom to foster imagination. 
“What’s really exciting about the STEAM model is that it’s all-encompassing,” said Horst. 
“What steam does is it has the possibility for such enrichment. It’s blended together smoothly and seamlessly with so many other things – learning about science in reading class, learning about ancient math history in math class.”
The initiative will help with creating 21st century learners with an emphasis on technology. Teachers, who all have an iPad, two computers in their room and a computer lab for each grade level, will have more availability for technology to be used.
Teachers will be able to combine teaching with how students are already learning and ask, “what technology will be used best to add to the lesson plan.”
S.T.E.A.M also helps students find a way to approach a topic like science in a way that they learn best.
Teachers can take those “scary” subjects and really help children learn about them in a unique way that helps them succeed. And that’s right in line with a philosophy at SFAS – nurturing the seeds of learning while recognizing that individual child and their needs.
“We know the kids come in with a desire to be excellent,” Horst said, “but we’re not good at everything, so let’s work on it together. plant the seeds and keep watering those seeds of learning.”
Part of the initiative includes exploratory passion time. The goal is for students to eventually lead their own passion time, but for now, the teachers will bring some of their passions to the students. 
“When students realize adults have passions about something,” Horst said, “it allows them to say to themselves, ‘what am I passionate about?’”
Horst will teach children about one of her favorite things  – the Latin culture. Children will be introduced to Latin food, dancing and history. 
Some other teachers will share the love of quilting. Students will learn about the history of quilting during the Civil War and work on creating their own quilt. 
Other teachers will tackle subjects heavier in mathematics and technology. 
The exploratory program will be 9 days each school year split into 3 consecutive days per trimester. During that time, students will meet for half-an-hour a day learning about the various passions. 
There will not be a set curriculum for the passion topics.
“There’s a lot of safety behind a curriculum,” Horst said. “(The passion topics go) where your heart is going to take you in that moment – and that’s going to incorporate all these different S.T.E.A.M. ideas.”
Teachers at SFAS have high expectations for their students and for the new program, but don’t want to jump in too fast. 
“This whole S.T.E.A.M. program is a baby step,” Horst explained. “When you are new at something, it’s good to have big dreams and big visions as to where you are going to go, but it’s also okay to take baby steps into that so you can make good choices and learn along the way.”
Just like S.T.E.A.M. allows for students to think critically and do a lot of analyzing and applying, they hope to do the same with the program.
Teachers and administration want to build a strong foundation and then ask, “What can we add on top of that?”

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Experience EdcampHome

There is a word we Minnesotans like to say a lot (dontchaknow) which is UFFDA! It means sensory overload among other things like exhaustion!

Uffda describes experiencing edcampHome today!

It was a glorious day of amazing PD provided for us in a revolutionary manner!


From my Facebook feed you would find this.  Yes, I was just a bit excited! Ok, very excited. After hearing of all these stories of edcamp experiences I was glad to be able to participate in one! This one! This one was everything that edcamps are known for, their organic learning..but this one was all techy and this one was GLOBAL.  It was groundbreaking awesomeness.




I was marveled at how the organizers of this, David Theriault, Karl Lindgren-Streicher, Kelly Kermode, Shawn White showed us all in real time what collaboration looks like at the highest level!  I kept their feed on live at the beginning and at various times throughout so that I could know what to do and when.

I am full of admiration for them! I am sure it was not easy! Great things require lots of work. They did work hard with websites, getting the word out, logistics...etc.

And then the day came! Today!



It was a fantastic wonderfully organized day!
With tweets flying by so fast.


I liked how we all rally together at times like this. Educators are an excellent brotherhood to belong to. We authentically celebrate the process of learning. No one question is a bad question. Everyone is here to push each other forward so that we can be the best educator out there in our professions, all for the sake of the students that we have.


Was I scared to jump in, this being my first edcamp and for pete's sake, having it be all techy? Was I ready for the big show? Did I have big enough ear-gear? Yes, it was very scary. I think if many of us were honest we would say, that it was a big techy fear factor. But we did it together.

I liked what my friend  @joykirr tweeted out:

It is a quote from @AngelaMaiers

"When you feel discomfort, start telling yourself this:


  • I am learning.
  • I am stretching myself.
  • My brain is getting smarter.
  • This is soooo good for me.
  • Growth cannot happen without discomfort.
  • My brain gets stronger every time I challenge it."



Isn't that beautiful? That should be in every classroom! You can not move forward and stay in status quo and if you choose to stay in status quo, you will not see change.

This has been an intensive summer of learning. What I have learned in the past four months of Twitter PLN and everything that has happened because of it, surpasses everything I ever learned in 20 years of teaching. I am glad I was able to witness this today.

If you follow this link, it will lead you to a collection of GHOs today...for your own at home learning pleasure!  So go and grab your favorite drink and snack and settle in for some #eduawesmomness!
edcamphome.org/july13/session-1/

edcamphome.org/july13/session-2/

YOU MATTER

What if Hellen Keller had not had a teacher who believed that she mattered? Where would we be today?

As we all know, the tragedy of her 19th month could have left her in the "dark" in more ways then one were it not for parents who cared  so much so about giving her a chance that they sought out Alexander Graham Bell in Washington D.C.  He was an activist in deaf education. At that time, Mr. Bell recommended to them the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston. At that school, there was a recent graduate of the school, Anne Sullivan, was met and offered the position of tutor. In March, 1887, Anne to live with the Kellers.



www.whitezine.com 

The rest is as they always say is "history."

Helen spent a life in helping others.

She was invited to be a spokesperson for the AFB organization for which she traveled a great deal by giving speeches and raising funds for those who are also blind.


Now, an organization known as Helen Keller International is also a non-profit organization that is dedicated to preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition. Just as Hellen Keller traveled world wide, they work worldwide as they are good soldiers in the fight of  the root causes and consequences of blindness.  They also work on malnutrition issues and seek to establish affordable health care. 


These words of Helen Keller, are beautiful. They fit in with my profession as well as my core believes about my role in the world.  

“The welfare of each is bound up in the welfare of all.”

But all this was because she had a teacher who told her YOU MATTER. 

Be that teacher! You can change the course of history with believing those two simple words for every student in your classroom.  Touch their heart. Touch their mind

Below is rare footage of the elaborate way that Anne Sullivan taught so that her student could learn. Friends, it is just so beautiful!  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hope and Passion



Yesterday our county newspaper Isanti County News came to interview myself and my coworker Mrs. Gotfredson. We were the media spokespersons representing our school regarding changes that our school is making this coming year. At the end of the interview, the reporter commented that she had not seen so much hope and passion in a long time in a teachers. It will be out in next week's county paper and in the country living area here, we all still read the paper! I hope parents will see the hope and passion as well! That is what it is all about hope and passion. It carries over to all elements of my practice both as a teacher and of course, as a parent.

www.mansfield.edu

Hope by definition means a feeling of expectation. It is a noun and also a verb. It is my case, it is an action of my heart and of my mind. I rest safely in hope. It goes with waiting and anticipating some form of the unknown. I have always liked this verse from Romans 15:13

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” 

In C.S. Lewis work, Mere Christianity he said the following,


“We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.” 

Hope is essential in continuing to live!  Hope is also essential for continuing to teach. Hope changes me. Hope changes how I teach. There are so many things that are happening in schools right now that one can see the “BAD” before they see the “GOOD”. There is so much good happening in schools. One of my goals this coming year is to fix my eyes on the good and draw that out! Magnify the good and not the bad. I try very hard to not let things get me down regarding work and I don't want negativity to affect how I teach. I have hope. I have hope in each student that crosses the threshold of the school. I will continue to have that hope as this new, fresh school year approaches. I pray to God that I can see the student as God created them.

favim.com 
One thing that seized my heart in the movie Freedom Writers is when Miss Gruwell said to her student, “I can see you. I see you and you are NOT failing.”

 Years later, as in Friday, July 12, 2013 Malala Yousafzai said this to the United Nations, “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can save the world.” 

Malala is such a brave young woman who has hope in spite of the heart of darkness that was shown to her. Hope rises in her and it rises in me like cream rises to the top of the fresh cows milk. Hope is sweet. Hope moves us on top of our troubles.

The other thing that life is about is passion. By definition, passion means a strong and barely controllable emotion. It also means a state or an outburst of such emotion. Passion is also what moves us forward when the things of this world, life or profession just want to drag us down. The passion that God has for us is astounding. I love the lyrics of the song “Furious” by Jeremy Riddle;

“His love is deep, His love is wide and it covers us. His love is fierce, his love is strong and it's furious. His love is sweet, His love is wild And it's waking hearts to life!” 

The passion of the cross never fades from my soul. That is what it is all about. Deep. Strong. Barely controllable. Passion is beautiful.


www.edutopia.org 
Passion also moves me forward in my profession. I love what I do. It is what moves me to see the heart of the child. To see their strengths. To waken up the heart of the child. To move them forward in their learning. To open their hearts to passion and compassion. It is what allows me to see students not as a data score, but as a learner with various gifts and talents manifested in different intelligences.

Passion for teaching is what allows me value the organic process of learning for each individual student to create authentic learning. Passion for teaching is what calls me to understand that to reach the mind of the child, first I need to touch their heart and let them know that they matter. Passion driven teaching is what kept me in my profession for so long without being bored after 20 years.

Passion driven teaching allows me to cultivate new ideas for my students, it allows me to see the value of passion time in school or genius hour or 20% time. I am excited for how we are going to move forward with that in a small way this year at my school with our exploratory options for students. Hopefully, next school year, not this, we will be able to include a student driven exploratory. This year, we are focusing on teachers and their passions and bringing them directly to the classroom. Mine will be about my heritage studying Latin food, dance and culture. Mrs Gotfredson's will be about quilting and its rich history, art and students will be able to design a quilt. At the end of our first trimester, we will have a hoedown to show the parents examples of our passion driven education outside of the common core. It is very exciting.

Passion is what allows me to create a great learning area in spite of limitations. This year, I am nestled in a second grade room teaching first graders while a coworker teaches second graders. This is not a situation for the feeble-hearted. This is a situation for the strong who are not shaken and are not moved. It is a mindset that is based on the decision that passion can happen anywhere. Learning can happen anywhere. I am glad that my administrator believes in me so much and in my coworker as well that we are competent to do this task that is set out before us. That doesn't mean that there are not kinks in the plan, it means that with my passion driven philosophy of education and that of my coworker, Mrs. Roberts, we will be able to create a wonderful room for our learners!
www.opencolleges.edu.au


That same theme of passion and hope carried over to books I read over the summer. In the book by Ayers, To Teach, the Journey of a Teacher it was clear that without his passion for his profession and his hope that he could be a change maker, he would have quit teaching! It was those two things and the all encompassing elements of them that in the darkest days kept the light in him shining. I liked his quote toward the end of the book (p 165).

 “Goodbye to schooling that's arid, dry, self -referencing and self satisfied. Goodbye to teaching as a theory of the mundane, a trivial pursuit of the obvious. Welcome to an approach that is overflowing with life, crackling with the surprising and contradictory harmonies of love, stunning in its hope for a better future.” 

As I close, I will reflect on my strengths and the passion and hope that dwells within me regarding them. Here are my top strengths from the exercise and book Teaching With Your Strengths by Rosanne Lieveld, Jo Ann Miller and Jennifer Robison. They are:

  • Adaptablity
  • Belief
  • Connectedness
  • Includer
  • Learner
  • Positivity
  • Woo

There is no way I can be the person that I am nor the lead learner that I am without them. I believe that these strengths were put in me from my conception by the Almighty Father and it is my task on Earth with the time that I have to cultivate these strengths. That was a good book! It reminded me of the fact that God has placed in us gifts and talents and that they are all unique! They are all special. I matter to the Kingdom of God and to the world he made. My skill set and the talents and gifts there of are given to me as a right fit for my profession. They are also given to me to give God the glory.

Now, as a public school teacher, I cannot go about preaching on this. However I recognize this same truth in my students that I have had over the many, many years. They come with skills and talents given to them by God. My profession asks me to cultivate them, to bring them out! To show the students how to use them to the best of their ability. That is what God asks of me. That is what teaching is all about.

pristineturkus.blogspot.com 
It is a little known fact at that I also wanted to be a nurse and a nun up until the age of 5. The dream of being a nurse died with my disgust of blood. The dream of being a nun started with Maria Von Trapp and died when I realized that one could not marry. The dream of being a teacher, an educator lived on since that time. In less than a decade, I will turn 50. I remember when 50 was old, yet I think it is only now that I am becoming what the Lord wanted me to be, a tall strong tree. As my favorite song by Evie Karlsson from the 1970's called The Tree Song, goes on to say:

“I've got roots growing down to the water. I've got leaves growing up to the sunshine and the fruit that I bear is a sign of life in me. I am shade from the hot summer sundown. I am nest for the birds of the heaven. I'm becoming what the Lord of trees has meant me to be. A strong young tree.” 

 Hope and passion. It is all that I have that moves me forward in life, it is what I can give to students in my circle of influence. I give it freely.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Following The Road Signs


Have you read Make Way For Ducklings recently? It is such a precious book. It is about  these baby ducks and the parents of the ducklings just trying to find the best place to raise them and the encounters with helpful or not helpful people along the way.  By the end of the book, they find themselves safe and sound on an island in a park.

I would like to suggest that life is a mirror of this book. We spend a great deal of time trying to find the best fit, the best place to live, the best way to learn and the best people to love. We too encounter some amazing people along the journey like the duck family did. We also encounter some people who like the cars in the book, would not stop to help and don't give us the time of day.

Onward we go in life like this for a season. Sometimes, the season lasts forever. The calendar flips and years go by and you begin to wonder what the journey is all about. Until one day, you spy an island like the duck family did and you know that here, who you are as a person will be kept safe and sound.  Not an island of isolation, but as in the book, an island where the world is all around  you and you can see it and interact with it, yet be completely safe.


I want to paint for you a picture this little island of respite that I have found after 20 years of teaching numerous positions, thousands of students, several classroom swaps, moving to schools and  encountering administration changes.  I can't a paint this picture for you without several road signs that have brought me to this point over the course of a few years to the present.

The first road sign was knowing deep in my heart for whatever reason that it was the season to go to grad school. Raising two kids on my own on a limited budget of no money but tons of hopes and dreams is not easy and there never seemed to be the right time. One day, in the beginning of March of 2013, I woke up. It was almost like awakening from a coma. It was the right time. I knew it and it could not be denied.  Thankfully I was admitted back into Bethel University which I had attended for undergraduate work.  This was not a small
step. This was stepping out in faith. Frankly, I am very anxiously excited because I don't know where it is going to lead, but it will lead somewhere! I recently shared with a friend one of my favorite verses about how God is working in our lives. It comes from Samuel 3:11 I found this verse when my divorce from my daughter's dad about did me in and I wondered what was God up to. Well, even in the quiet over and over, I was reminded verse after verse in the Bible that he is up to something. We don't know what it is, but it is going to be awesome. This was the first road sign. “Move ahead Kimberly, I am up to something.” I will trust this road sign.

“The LORD said to Samuel, "Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of 
everyone who hears it will tingle.”

The second road sign was joining Twitter and discovering an amazing PLN network of people who are passionate educators. They come from all walks of life, and a variety of places in the world and subject matter and levels of leadership. I have covered this extensively in several blog posts prior to this as well as I
have referred to my Twitter PLN in several writings for my grad class. I just sent a lovely note to some of the ladies in my PLN. In a way I sent it to all of them, I just can't put in everyone's name, but all could see it. It was a poster that says the following quote by e.e. cummings,

 “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” 

I bet he didn't capitalize it. Isn't that an amazing quote? These friends, mentors and members of my PLN have in the past four months given me the courage to become who I really am. There is so much encouragement, so much mentorship, so much affirmation that I can't contain my thankfulness. I am with like minded, passion driven educators and leaders. I am so glad I didn't miss this road sign.


The third road sign was a combination of reviewing the work from Howard Gardner for my class and applying it to a conference I had taken with Margaret Koch where I became aware of the multiple intelligences. She gave as well as Gardner gave affirmation to my spirit for what I already knew. It is important for students to know that they are smart, and understand how God made them smart so that they can be smart and become world changers.

This holistic learning belief  is important to me because so often there are have been people in my life and there are people in the lives of my students to make them feel as if they are not smart and that their ideas don't matter.  I learned from her how to speak against that belief for the sake of not only myself but my children and my students.  This road sign was just a confirmation on my heart to make sure that I am assisting in building up the next generation not tearing them down. It was a revolutionary road sign.

The final road sign I have come across that assures me that I am on the right path was the book Teach With Your Strengths: How Great Teachers Inspire Their Students by Liesveld and Miller. I had never heard of the book, nor did the names ring a bell. What an amazing book!  There I learned which strengths I flourish in. It was a strong top eight! However, my core five signature themes were the following:


  • Belief
  • Connectedness
  • Learner
  • Passion 
  • Woo


I saw how all these themes have been the foundation of my educational practice since I started teaching stuffed animals to sing.  They are a God given strength and because of that, I have cultivated them over the years I have spent in education not as purposefully in the past as I am now though.

You know, road signs are important to follow! They lead us to a destination that we long to get to.  Even when you may not know what that destination holds.

From fanpop.com
This reminds me of the destination in store for the caterpillar.  Hanging upside down with guts turning into mush, I bet it is wondering what God is up to, what this whole cocoon and darkness thing is all about, but it is changing it into something glorious. Even in the seed waiting to pop out from the depths of the soil to come into the light and drink from the sun and rain, I bet it is wondering what God is up to. I believe like this when we work with students. God is up to something in their life. He is in mine. He is in yours. I LOVE it!


In Psalm 139:13-16 (The Message) it says:

"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously 
made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know 
every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was 
sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow 
from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, 
The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day." 

Island in Make Way For Ducklings
Like the butterfly in the cocoon or the seed in the soil, the students we have are in a state of becoming. They are worth more than a data score, though that is important.  I encourage you that if you look just at  the data score, you will miss the glory that God wants you to see, the heart, soul and strengths of the child and how he shaped them! Tap that, and you'll close the achievement gap!

I have appreciated my journey as a teacher so far! I am glad to have found the road signs to make it to my island right now where I can see how so many things fit together, not just for me and my profession but for the sake of the students and the glory of God. 

PS: I am also okay with God moving in life and kicking me off my island to discover what he wants to reveal to me. He has the right to disrupt my world and my life for his glory and again, I'll look for the road signs to follow his direction. All I want to be is the hands and feet of Jesus. I will go where he sends me.


A Book Review of TEACH LIKE A PIRATE Author Dave Burgess

This is my project for my grad school class at Bethel University as I am pursuing a Masters in K-12 Education. The project was to do a book review on a research-based book that motivates and challenges me to grow personally and professionally. I decided to select Mr. Dave Burgess' book Teach Like A Pirate.  I used the format of Haiku Deck. Then I saved the slides I made to @30hands. Finally from that I saved it to my camera roll and uploaded it to You Tube.