Monday, April 28, 2014

Teachers: Three more ways to drive your principal nuts...but for good reasons!

Okay ... I shared a few ways to drive your principal nuts...Each one was real. Each one was a teacher getting the kids into the lesson or excited about learning. Don't know if you liked them or not but here are three more...once again all very real...only their names have been removed ...


Scavenger Hunt

You have a scavenger hunt that ties into your lessons and requires the students to find the principal and ask her a question and her answer is recorded for the data collection.   They have to find her throughout the day and she has to sign off. Soon the principal starts feeling like she is being stalked...The principal has everyone with a walkie-talkie letting her know when the kids are seen so as to give advanced warning...Oh...no ...here come another group of kids...I wonder what their question will be?!

Writing Practice


To practice getting better at persuasive writing you have your 130 students write on the following topic and then send them to the principal. (This is not meant to be subversive.) Topic: Seniors should have special privileges. To make it even better the kids place these on post cards and mail them to the principal. The post card requires the kids to be short and concise. Mailing them is a special touch as it allows for several to arrive at one time, then trickle in, and then finally a mass delivery!


Geology is Fun!

As a geology major you have many ideas about getting the kids in your science classes to understand and want  to learn more about earth structures. You create an activity which requires the kids to dig holes on the school grounds to collect samples and then bring the samples into the classroom. They are then expected to create a method of sharing their findings with the class. The day that they dig just happened to follow a major rain storm. There is mud everywhere. You can follow the tracks and know where every student walked. The classroom has layers of mud in different areas as you forgot to think about whether the kids would need to clean off their shoes or leave their digging tools outside...you get the picture... Awesome event! The kids have fun! But the custodians are not pleased....



Friday, April 18, 2014

Teachers: Three ways to drive your principal nuts… but for good reasons!

   1. Every other Saturday you set off the alarm at the building! You always forget to get someone to get you a code …you should call someone but… you already have 15 kids waiting to get into the computer lab so that you can help them with their research projects, calculus, English papers…ok just fill in the blank. So you just unlock the door and go in… and work with the kids…hoping that whoever shows up will be lenient!

  

   2. Promise your kids that if everyone attends the extra study sessions and all pass the next exam that they will be allowed to dump a bucket of water on you (And, by the way…forgot to tell them what max size the bucket could be…oops!) during class time. They do it! You take the class outside on the day to celebrate and they show up with a garbage can filled with water…Noise!!! Laughter! Water everywhere! The principal runs down the hall slipping on the trail of water as he stares at you sopping wet….and kids smiling and laughing…He wearily asks… “Everything ok?”                                                                                        
   3.To prove to 10th graders that they need to check out sources of information before assuming that it’s correct and true…You recruit a small group of covert operatives (10th graders) to help you stage a prank.

You had run into an historical story …in 1244 the Pope announced that Easter was too late in the year so he decreed that 11 days would be removed from the calendar…there was mass hysteria…everyone wanted their 11 days back…

The team creates convincing fake newspaper clippings/stories, posters, a fake science convention and spokesperson…over three weeks of more info being leaked…it goes beyond the 10th grade…

CNN tells kids to stop calling them…adults are arguing over whether anyone would really lose 11 days or is it just semantics… One kid is upset because her birthday falls in the middle of the 11 days…will she still be able to get her license?  No real stories have been on the radio but you hear kids talking about it on the radio…yea…I heard it this morning on my way to school… (really?) The principal has the beginnings of mass hysteria…oops…didn’t mean to go that far…the covert team is ecstatic… wow…you are starting to worry …how do we get out of this?…You’re worried but also proud…you made your point just to more kids and adults than you had intended…everyone should check sources of information before assuming its correct…

Hopefully….the Principal knows you meant well…


But talk about cool opportunities for learning!

Yours and theirs!

Just remember… I didn’t suggest anything nor tell you to do these things….

It will drive him nuts, but hey...you were focused on driving the kids to do better and achieve more! 
And... you got results....
J

Monday, April 7, 2014

Senioritis? Really? Maybe its not wanting to grow up...


Dr. Miletto, "I know I'm supposed to be excited about graduating but what I also wonder...you know...about...is what will happen next? What if I can't make it? What if...? You know...None of my friends are going to the school I'm going to... I'm not sure that I want to go. Maybe I just should do what my friends are doing..."

I was always amazed at this conversation. It happened many times during my twelve years as a high school principal. At some point, especially after spring break, a student would try to see if I could answer their questions about...you know...the world after high school. Everything was becoming real. They were afraid to change. They were afraid that they would say goodbye to friends, family, familiarity, their childhood.


It reminds me of AA Milne's words in the last Winnie the Pooh book...

"Wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest a little boy and his bear will always be playing."


Kids grow up. High school graduation is probably one of the real separation events in our society for most of them. In their last semester of high school, I truly believe that one of the reasons that seniors become frustrating to adults in schools is because they do not recognize the signs. Oh, sure...some will say it is laziness. Some will accuse them of not taking life seriously. You can probably create and fill in your own commentary here....but is that what is really happening or is their Christopher Robin trying to figure out how to let go and at the same time look forward to what is new?

Anyone who knows me, could tell you that I am a huge Buzz Lightyear fan! (Yes, I do know that he is a cartoon character.) Disney/Pixar hit it big with the trilogy. I think it is actually the funniest of the three movies while also hitting the heart strings more than the others. If you saw the movie at the theaters, you could tell who the parents who had kids leave and go off to their own worlds... college and so forth...were...
They were the ones struggling to wipe the tears away as Andy gave away his toys.

Ok, Steve... so what...?!

Pay attention to the signs...Don't get angry at them...keep them focused!

Help them think about the new adventures they will have.

Remind them that social media helps them stay in touch with each other just as much as the cell phone. (No one my age had those....)

Help them balance the challenges and fears with the potential of the future...


Most of all be ready to help them talk about what is next...