Two Things That Won’t Bite: The Internet and Buddy the Dog.


It’s 2009. Can’t we all just get along?

Google tells me the internet was invented in the 1940’s (by the military, not you Al Gore). Although it wasn’t used much until universities began transmitting information between campuses in the late 60’s.

Isn’t it about time that school districts made friends with it? 40 years later and we are still running scared.

Educators should be leading the fight to have open access to the internet in schools. Instead it seems like we are attempting to limit it.He Can't Really Use the Laptop... He Doesn't Have Thumbs.

High school students have been cruising the web their entire lives (granted, they may have started on a dial up connection… but that counts… although barely).

Far too many schools still limit access to students (and in some cases staff).

Why?

We continue to believe the only way for students to learn from the internet is to use it as an electronic encyclopedia.

If we would unblock content what’s the worst thing that could happen?

Are administrators, teachers, and technology people still worried about losing their jobs if a student is caught looking at inappropriate sites (and trust me the key is catching them… because they’re already looking).

Are we afraid students are going to see something they shouldn’t? Will students discover something they haven’t already seen (at home… on the very same internet)?

Do we worry about students wasting time in class? Shouldn’t teachers be making sure they use their time wisely in the classroom or computer lab?

As educators are we just being lazy? Is it easier to block content than take the steps necessary to control it?

What scares us?

I certainly don’t know.

Nobody does.

Consequently, we just keep going down the same path where we limit our students’ ability to use the greatest invention since the bicycle (you have to admit, riding a bike had to be pretty cool in the beginning… no feeding it, no cleaning up after it…).

Why do we insist on keeping the internet caged up like an animal?

I treat my 4-legged friend better.

Buddy the Dog (formerly owned by my evil spawn until she got tired of walking him) doesn’t bite.

He’s more of a lover. And a napper.

His worst personality trait is he might oversleep and miss his next nap. Consequently, we allow him to have complete access to the yard when we are gone.

We don’t limit him. All day long he wanders the yard and sleeps. Sleeps and wanders.

Mainly sleeps, I think (although the soon to be working Buddy the Dog Cam will show us for sure).

We don’t put him in a cage because he “might” find a little trouble.

I feel the same about the internet.

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A Free Trip to Miami. Thanks AASA.


I’m going to Miami, but I’m sure you already figured that out.

In mid-October I will be taking my first official business trip (I’m such a big boy).

Did I mention it’s to Miami?Miami... Here I Come!

For those of you that don’t teach geography… that’s in Florida. Where it’s warm.

Did I mention it’s a free trip?

The mere thought of rubbing elbows with Crockett and Tubbs (80’s reference) is almost more excitement than I can handle.

I’m not sure how many miles it is to Miami but I know it’s a long way from hall duty.

The American Association of School Administrators have invited me to be a small part of a focus group about the development of a school leadership simulation online program (I say a small part because in case they read this… I want to lessen expectations to the point that if I string together a halfway intelligent sentence, they will consider my participation a success).

I’m not sure what a “school leadership simulation program” is, but I would rather be confused in Miami than have everything under control on hallway duty.

Did I mention this trip is free?

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, what in the world is the AASA thinking?

It was one thing to publish my little blog in The School Administrator Magazine, but picking up my expenses is another thing (can anyone say $14 M & M’s from the hotel mini-bar?).

Let’s think about this. They are flying me to Miami to ask my opinion. They could have gotten the very same “Barely Thought Out Almost Boarding on a Complete Lack of Knowledge Opinion” from me if they had just asked.

I do have a cell phone.

Or they could have Skyped me.

Or possibly emailed.

But whatever. I’m willing to do my part. I’m willing to take one for the team.

So, I am stepping up to the plate and flying to Miami (by myself, which is a first… did I mention what a big boy I am?).

And did I happen to mention the trip is free?

Note from wife: I feel the need to point out that his first plane trip was just 4 years ago when we flew to NECC in San Diego. He has never flown alone and while he is claiming to be a “big boy”, I am feeling a little like a nervous mother. If you see a lost 40-something angry bald man in a suit roaming through the Atlanta airport, will you please contact me?

Here is a link to help with figuring the trip details from our little town in IL to Miami FL. I not only love and use this site regularly, but my company RecessTEC is demoing its use for all classrooms (don’t be afraid to visit us at www.RecessTEC.com as I have time on my hands since I don’t have to make dinner for PrincipalsPage when he is in Florida).

http://www.wolframalpha.com – Type Tuscola, Illinois to Miami, Florida.

How far is from your town to Miami?

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I’m Old. And Evidently, Fat.


In the last few days it has come to my attention that being old has nothing to do with age.

At least that’s what I want to believe as I shuffle towards another birthday (I can hardly wait for the day when I can drive a Rascal Scooter through the aisles of Wal-mart).

How old am I?I Might Be Old and Fat, but I Could Cover Some Ground on a Rascal Scooter.

I almost hate to say it out loud. I will soon be having my second 21st birthday.

When I was a kid someone celebrating (or in my case barely acknowledging) their 42nd birthday was old. And near death. That’s if they weren’t already dead.

At the very least, they were a sad pathetic drooling shell of their former youthful self.

But how things change.

Now a 50th, 60th, or even an 80th birthday doesn’t seem that bad to me. In fact if I’m lucky enough to make it that far, I will feel like I’ve beat the system.

Life is like playing cards. High card wins. Which means another birthday always trumps death.

When you work at a school, I’ve found that students think everyone is old. To them there are young teachers (under 25 and not married) and the old teachers (the rest of us).

I like children. I really do. Except the ones who ask “How old are you?” and as soon as I answer, they scream…

“You’re OLD!”

My first thought is quiet down, people can hear you. At least the younger teachers can hear you… the older ones are mostly deaf.

Then I curse them (but as a good administrator, always under my breath… let that be a lesson to the brand new administrators… never curse out loud).

Students think they have their whole lives ahead of them.

And they do (again, I curse the ones who are soon to replace me)

In their minds the only thing I have ahead of me is a nursing home, a bedpan, and the sweet relief of death (no more Sunday nights!!!… wait, that might be a bad thing).

I’m not here to badmouth nursing homes, but I’m not a big fan. The only thing worse to me than living (?) my remaining years in a home is sporting an adult diaper while I’m there.

I don’t care how much money you have, or your life’s status… an oversized diaper is not a good look.

Even with the impending pressure of living out my few good remaining years in a home, I have taken the time to come up with a theory (yes, another one… bare with me, I’m old).

I don’t think age has anything to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I think it has more to do with how current you stay.

To back up my theory, I have enlisted Dr. Oz (if he’s good enough for Oprah… he’s good enough for me).

I took the Real Age test. And found out I’m not 42, I’m 30.8.

Bad news is I could have snuck back into my 20’s if I weren’t so fat. They say it’s hard to lose weight once you’re 30.8 years old and I’m starting to believe them.

But that is a small fat little bump in the road.

The nice part is you don’t have to be your chronological age.

I think this is equally true for teachers and administrators.

If you stay current, I think you have a chance to be younger at school than you really are.

This is wonderful for both you and your students. While you may still be old in their eyes, you may not be as old.

So get out there and don’t be afraid of the email machines, the mysterious internet, those crazy blogs, and other technology advances.

You are only as old as you feel and act.

Although, if you are like me you will probably stay just as fat.

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Teach Your Kid How to Lose.


We need to stop.

Far too many of us spend way too much time teaching our kids to be “winners”? (for the record… I’m a big fan of the “air quotes”).

Everyone likes a winner, but I’m not everyone. I like losers.

As parents, we spend hours teaching our kids how to win. I’m starting to think we have it backwards.

I think we need to teach them how to lose.Life Was So Simple... And Then I Lost.

Winners are put on a pedestal, but I think losers are the ones who deserve our admiration.

This wasn’t the case when I was kid (back in the early 1800’s). I didn’t really have any interest in losing.

In fact, my first 4 years of youth baseball resulted in 4 undefeated championship seasons (if my memory hasn’t failed me… again).

Yes, that’s right. 4 seasons. 4 championships.

At that point in my life I was pretty sure I had it figured out. While I felt badly (a little) for the other teams we were crushing… actually, never mind… I didn’t feel badly at all.

What I felt was “I’m a Baseball God and You Losers are My Subjects and Should Bow Before Me.”

Some might take this as cockiness… and they would be correct.

As you can see, I had put little thought into the fact that I had teammates.

In my mind it was me and all me.

Life was good.

Show up. Go to practice. Win every game. Collect trophy. See you next year. Thanks for coming everybody and don’t forget to tip your waitress!

I’m not going to lie. It was sweet.

I was living the dream. At least as much of a dream that an 11 year old can live.

Things were going along quite nicely until year 5. Then we had a problem.

We didn’t win (notice when we won… all me… when we lost it was all “we”).

I don’t remember the exact details, but I wasn’t prepared to lose. Losing is what the other kids and teams did.

I’ve tried to erase the exact details from my mind, but I’m sure there was crying involved.

And possibly the sad attempt at trying to catch my breath while talking and trying to nonchalantly wipe the tears out of my eyes.

Turns out winning is easy. Losing is hard.

Especially when you’re not prepared for it.

Losing isn’t nice. It sneaks up and punches you right in the throat (maybe that’s what caused the man tears…).

This disastrous year 5 mega loss has haunted me for over 30 years. It has also resulted in my theory that we need to prepare our kids for losing not winning.

Winning is pretty self-explanatory. Not a lot of preparation goes into being a successful winner.

Losing is far more complicated.

And takes practice.

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100 Subscribers. I’m Speechless.


I lied. I’m not really speechless.

But I was telling the truth about the PrincipalsPage.com Blog getting it’s 100th subscriber.

What does this mean?On This Grand Occasion, Each and Every Subscriber Will Not Be Receiving a Crisp $100 Bill.

Almost absolutely nothing.

But in the smaller sense of things, it does mean 100 people are proud owners of a new PrincipalsPage.com Blog in their email inbox just as soon as I post it.

It also means that there is a huge celebration going on here at PrincipalsPage Corporate Headquarters (we will try to keep it down because it is a school night…).

I (all of us here at headquarters) like to think that each subscriber immediately stops whatever they are doing and puts their entire focus into reading the blog, but that’s probably not true (my best hope is at least 6 of the 100 don’t immediately delete the blog and curse at me for clogging up their email inbox).

But it is an honor to know 100 people think enough of what happens in this space to subscribe to it.

So to everyone who subscribes… Thank You.

And to everyone who hasn’t subscribed… you still have time to join and while you will never be in my Top 100 Favorite Subscribers… Top 200 isn’t bad.

So thank you (especially to those 6 people who haven’t deleted this particular Blog).

To learn more about Subscribing to the PrincipalsPage.com Blog… CLICK HERE.

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Camping?


Snoopy Makes Camping Look Fun.  Of Course, This is a Cartoon.I just don’t get it.

My goal has always been to have a better quality of life, not one that’s worse.

So why do people camp?

To me it seems like detention for adults?

I’m confused why people (wife, mil, and evil spawn this weekend) head outdoors to sleep, eat, and use public showers.

These are the same people who get bit by the one mosquito that is within 60 miles of our house.

So what do they do? The head straight into the woods where there are bugs as big as cats.

Thanks, but no thanks.

I have certain rules in my life that I’m not willing to bend. One is not to use a campground shower because
I prefer to bathe without shoes.

It’s like campers are going out of their way to insult cavemen.

How happy would Carl the CaveGuy be if he was given the opportunity to spend a weekend watching football in a house with central air? I can almost hear him grunting with excitement.

Actually forget the AC. What about running water and flushing toilets?

Even Buddy the Dog knows that napping on his recliner in the garage is good, but sleeping indoors on a bed is great.

Think about that.

A dog with a brain the size of a golf ball has figured out that the concept of camping isn’t the best way to live.

I don’t understand why you would want to trade living in your own house for hanging out in a cramped camper in the middle of the woods.

Most campers are small. Really small. So small you would rather sit in a lawn chair next to the fire.

This isn’t good because it leads to you smelling like a cigarette.

Then if you get tired of smelling like tobacco you have no choice but to put on your shoes and take a shower (again, not good… not good at all).

I’m also not a big fan of my kitchen table and bed being the same piece of furniture.

Call me crazy, but where I sleep and where I eat should be very distinct spaces.

I have no interest in moving the salt shaker so I have a place to put my pillow.

Don’t even get me started on the mini-fridge. That was cool in college, but now I prefer my refrigerators come with more than one ice tray.

Maybe they find camping calming.

Maybe they enjoy the peace and quiet.

Maybe they like the break from their regular routine.

Maybe I should keep my mouth shut because I get all of these when they go camping.

I’m not saying who benefits more when they camp, but at least one of us took a shower in bare feet this weekend.

And as a special bonus, I slept in my own bed… not on the kitchen table.

There is one good thing about camping: smores. If you are not familiar with the delicacy that is the smore here is a quote from the movie The Sandlot:

Ham Porter: Hey, you want a s’more?
Smalls: Some more of what?
Ham Porter: No, do you want a s’more?
Smalls: I haven’t had anything yet… so how can I have some more of nothing?
Ham Porter: You’re killing me, Smalls! These are s’mores stuff. Okay, pay attention. First you take the graham. You stick the chocolate on the graham. Then, you roast the mallow. When the mallow’s flaming, you stick it on the chocolate. Then you cover it with the other end. Then, you stuff.

If you haven’t seen The Sandlot… run… don’t walk to the video store. Or Netflix… whatever (I just about forgot it’s 2009).

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PrincipalsPage… A Top 20 Blog? Is This a Joke?


Scholastic... You Better Not Be Messing With Me.The PrincipalsPage.com Blog has been named a Top 20 Teacher Blog by Scholastic Instructor Magazine.

While this is quite an honor it does go against everything I believe in and hold sacred. The original plan was… write a blog… nobody reads it… and everyone is happy.

Now it’s Top 20? Are the suits at Scholastic.com messing with me?

Maybe it’s a mistake. Maybe they mean Top 20,000.

Maybe they will email me in a couple of days and tell me they were joking. That would really help to alleviate the pressure of writing (?) a Top 20 Blog.

I’m so confused.

Ahh… who am I kidding. Pressure is working at school. Slopping down a blog is a vacation.

If you would like to visit the Scholastic website (because you don’t believe me) click HERE.

If you are lazy and willing to take my word for it… just read the article below (notice I copied and pasted because I’m lazy…)

You might as well enjoy the other blogs… seeing that you’ve already wasted 5 minutes reading my shameless self-promotion.

______________________________________________________

September/October Issue of Scholastic's Intstructor Magazine.Scholastic’s Instructor Magazine (September/October issue… on a newstand near you).

Below are 20 blogs that have taught us a few things, made us laugh, made us cry, and reminded us that we are not alone in this sometimes stress-inducing, always awe-inspiring profession.

1. Best for Hands-on Activities
Mrs. Cassidy’s Classroom Blog

The lowdown: Canadian first-grade teacher Kathy Cassidy invites readers into the classroom to interact with students and her dynamic lessons.

Why We Love It: Besides sharing fun ideas like making fairy-tale characters out of clay, Cassidy lets us witness her students’ learning firsthand by posting lots of videos and photographs. And another bonus: We get to learn from Cassidy’s many guest speakers, too!

Why She Loves Blogging: “My favorite thing about blogging,” says Cassidy, “is that the students literally have a worldwide audience. They see themselves as writers because people can and do read and comment on their work.”

2. Best News From the Trenches
TEACHFOR.US

The lowdown: Teach for America teachers share the ins and outs of the sometimes controversial program.

Why We Love It: Whether you want TFA dirt (like how tough the boot-camp training really is) or warm fuzzies (like one blogger’s quest to get her student to love books by reading with her nightly over the phone), you’ll find the goods in this collection of blogs from TFA corps members working all over the country.

3. Best Student Teacher Blog
Docere Est Discere

The lowdown: Galen “Mr. B.” Broaddus discusses his journey toward becoming a teacher.

Why We Love It: From tips for up-and-coming student teachers to his own reflections on his process, Mr. B. reminds us how far we have come. Perfect for those days when we’re feeling just a bit jaded.

Why He Loves Blogging: Broaddus enjoys the feedback. “Knowing that there are other teachers (or teacher candidates) out there who are working the front lines and having the same concerns that I have had is comforting, and we work through them together,” he says.

4. Best for Art Teachers (or Other Happy Finger-Painters!)
The Teaching Palette

The lowdown: Teachers Hillary Andrlik and Theresa McGee cover useful resources (like the best iPhone apps for art teachers), classroom-management techniques, and art-worthy news.

Why We Love It: With arts programs always under threat, it’s nice to feel like there’s an online home for people who value the importance of watercolor and oil paints.

Why They Love Blogging: Both McGee and Andrlik enjoy the opportunity to connect with teachers nationally and internationally. Says McGee, “Art education has a unique set of challenges,
and blogging has created an online forum to share ideas.” Adds Andrlik, “Our readers often give us new insight on a topic or provide a fresh perspective based on their unique experience.”

5. Best for Tech Wannabes Creating Lifelong Learners
needleworkspictures.com

The lowdown: Tech wiz Mathew Needleman provides quick tips on
integrating tech into the classroom.

Why We Love It:: Needleman skips the jargon and explains how to incorporate iPhones in the classroom, clarifies podcast copyright laws, and discusses making digital movies, putting even the technologically challenged at ease.

6. Best Forward-Thinking Tech Blog
Integrating Tech

The lowdown: Pennsylvania teacher Scott Snyder is always ahead of the technological curve.

Why We Love It: Who would have thought texting, Tweeting, and chat rooms made for good lessons? Snyder uses all of these, plus Skype and Chatzy, to conduct discussions in the classroom.

7. Best Special-Ed Blog
Digital Anthology

The lowdown: Award-winning special-education teacher Maria Angala posts daily lessons and classroom videos.

Why We Love It:: There’s no hard-core pedagogy here—other than that determination can make all successful—but we get to see the kids’ creativity at work. And if you want something more theory-based, Angala keeps another blog at teachersol.blogspot.com.

Why She Loves Blogging: Says Angala, “Our social workers read the blog to understand my students’ inner feelings.”

8. Best for Super Science Ideas
science fix

The lowdown: Middle school science teacher Darren Fix entertains with science lessons and experiments.

Why We Love It:: Watch his Mr. Wizard––style experiments—like using a jellyfish to learn genetic engineering.

Why He Loves Blogging: Says Fix, “Posting stimulates my creativity and leads to new ideas. It’s a positive experience in a profession that unfortunately dwells on the negative too much.”

9. Best Superintendent Straight Talk
PrincipalsPage.com Blog

The lowdown: Illinois superintendent Michael Smith chronicles his days.

Why We Love It: Smith’s blog discusses everything from Ferris Bueller to teaching conferences to a surefire way for President Obama to fix education.

Why He Loves Blogging: Says Smith, “It allows a small-town superintendent to be involved in national or worldwide discussions on education issues.”

10. Best for Kid Book Reviews
A Year of Reading

The lowdown: Teachers Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee Hahn review new children’s books.

Why We Love It:: The reviews are always teacher-focused, pinpointing possible readers as well as how a book might be used in the classroom.

Why They Love Blogging: Says Sibberson, “The writing helps
us stay current on books and with teaching.”

11. Best Student-Written Blog
Youth Voices

The lowdown: Students and their teachers participate in a “colossal ongoing discussion about everything” via podcasts, videos, and blogs.

Why We Love It: This blog turns the typical student-teacher relationship on its head with both parties acting as equals and learning from each other.

12. Best Tell-It-Like-It-Is Blog
It’s not all flowers and sausages

The lowdown: A second-grade teacher with the pseudonym Mrs. Mimi dishes about the crazy side of teaching.

Why We Love It: Fantasies of throwing down with that colleague who –rummages through your desk? Horror field-trip moments that have carved a permanent groove in your mind? Faculty-room shenanigans that rule your day? Thanks to Mrs. Mimi, we never have to feel alone.

Why She Loves Blogging: Says Mrs. Mimi, “It’s comforting to know that I am not alone in my frustrations.”

13. Best Laugh-Out-Loud Blog
regurgitated alpha bits

The lowdown: Anonymous elementary school teacher blogs about the students she loves and the job she hates.

Why We Love It: This blog gives you totally true antics of the elementary school kind and tips you can really use: Preview “educational” videos before showing and be alert for fourth-grade make-out sessions! Perfect with a good cup of coffee, when you need to block out irritating colleagues, and when you could use a good laugh to start your day.

14. Best for Media Specialists
Techno Tuesday

The lowdown: Media specialist Cathy Nelson provides tips on incorporating library technology into lessons.

Why We Love It:: Nelson shares creative research ideas as well as humorous daily tidbits.

Why She Loves Blogging: Says Nelson, “It enhances my ability to be reflective, to see how I have learned from others.”

15. Best for Problem Solving
classroom solutions

The lowdown: Hear straight from Scholastic’s team of teacher advisors on topics ranging from reader’s workshop to discipline and organization.

Why We Love It: All of the photos and videos! Almost every post features a photo showing exactly how the teacher advisor implemented an idea in his or her classroom. You can also subscribe to the posts for just your grade level.

16. Best Substitute Secrets
Just a Substitute Teacher

The lowdown: “Mr. Homework” tells harrowing tales of the substitute kind.

Why We Love It: Let’s be honest. Sometimes we’d rather come in sick than call in a sub. Mr. Homework, however, is one of the good guys. His outlook on the sub life (e.g., “Sometimes it’s not about actually teaching anything”) makes us wish he was in our district.

17. Most Entertaining Math Blog
Hooda Math Blog

The lowdown: Math teacher Michael Edlavitch uses games to teach math.

Why We Love It: The word games may conjure images of worksheets with cutesy pics and fill-ins, but Edlavitch goes way beyond that. His arcade games with Flash—complete with worksheets teachers can print out—are reminiscent of old favorites like Pac-Man. Kids will play video games anyway, why not sneak in some learning potential?

18. Best Classroom Use of Blogs
Learning Is Messy

The lowdown: Brian Crosby discusses how he uses blogging and other technology in the classroom.

Why We Love It: Crosby’s creativity can’t help but draw us in. He has used Skype to broadcast a class visit from Christa McAuliffe’s mother and to communicate with a student who is on home instruction due to leukemia.

Why He Loves Blogging: Says Crosby, “It is the strongest resource I have experienced in 28 years of teaching.”

19. Best View of the Inner City
The Jose Vilson

The lowdown: Artist, poet, and math educator Jose Vilson gives the inner city a human face by blogging about sometimes touchy topics.

Why We Love It: Vilson does not shy away from tackling the controversial, such as his entry about the shortage of black Latino male teachers like himself. He’s passionate about changing education and exposing inner-city reality, and his passion is contagious.

20. Best Blog From Outside the Classroom
Tales From the School Bus

The lowdown: A school bus driver fills us in on the insanity that goes on before students enter the classroom every morning and after they leave.

Why We Love It: We all have to multi-task, but try keeping order and driving at the same time! This blog gives us the dirt—from failing brakes to bus “heathens” like WhinyGirl. This is a side of school we often overlook!

Thank you suits at Scholastic.

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The Sound of My Voice Makes My Ears Bleed.


I’ve come a long way in my technology knowledge in the last two years.

Of course this is an easy accomplishment if you start in a big enough hole.

I began writing (slopping) this blog in July 2007. At that time I didn’t even have a basic understanding of blogs.

And some may say I still don’t.It's a Podcast.  Or a Taped Interview.  Same Thing.

Working on the PrincipalsPage.com Blog has been interesting to say the least (and by working, I mean… I’m not sure what I mean but it’s not “work”).

The indescribable wealth, fame, the national recognition… On second thought, I have none of these. I’m not sure, but I may be getting hosed.

I barely get recognized in my own house.

While the blog hasn’t brought me money or notoriety, it has provided me with other gifts (or course I still prefer cash…).

One of the many things that has happened is I’ve picked up all sorts of useless knowledge.

Except it’s not useless.

I’ve learned a great deal about technology and different strategies I can incorporate into my day job.

From blogs, to Jing, Twitter, websites, Microsoft Office, Joomla, email tricks, public speaking… the list goes on and on.

The latest is podcasts.

My lack of knowledge about podcasts was larger than my confusion surrounding blogs (if it’s possible to know less than nothing).

I heard the term “podcast” in administrative meetings, but l didn’t have a clue what they were.

The “go-to” move of a dumbfounded school administrator is to nod politely and then move on (basically principals and superintendents are a slightly higher form of Pavlov’s Dog… or lower form… depending on your opinion).

This reaction worked for 2 solid years.

Then it happened.

Someone (Mr. Dave Solon) asked if he could interview me on a podcast.

A podcast?

For all I knew it was some sort of futuristic ride at Disneyland. So now I had two problems.

One, someone wanted to interview me. How far down the famous scale do you have to go before you get to me on the people to interview list?

I sort of felt badly for the guy. He must have asked literally millions of people before he got to me.

Secondly, I still didn’t completely understand the concept of a podcast.

Like an idiot, I agreed to do it (at this point in my career, I have decided to try anything at least once as long as it’s legal).

The truth is I’m glad I did.

As usually happens, I learned a lot (again, start in a big enough hole and you too can make big strides forward…).

I now know about podcasting. As an added bonus, I’ve learned there are people out there using them as a tool for better teaching.

While I enjoyed the interview portion (after all who likes to talk about me more than me???) it was a little disturbing to listen to the actual podcast.

I was mortified by the thought of hearing the podcast. Enough, that I put it off for several days. I finally gave in and decided to listen while riding my bike.

I figured worst case, I would sound like a complete moron (as opposed to a partial moron) … and I could simply slam my bike into a tree.

So I fired up the iPod and peddled towards the biggest oak tree in town.

Then it happened. I heard my own voice.

It was like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Why didn’t someone tell me I sound like that? Why didn’t someone tell me not to say “Um” every two seconds?

But it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. Certainly not bad enough that I felt the need to harm an innocent tree.

The good news is that once again I’ve learned something. The bad news is I now hate my own voice to the point that I want to beat myself up.

At least I now have a basic understanding of podcasts.

If you would like to learn more about technology and podcasts, please visit Mr. Solon’s website Twenty Minutes for Tech.

If you want a better understanding of why my voice makes me long for the sweet relief of death, please listen to my podcast debut (Episode 30).

And possible finale.

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School Administrators Don’t Fail to Plan, They Fail to Plan B.


School has been is session for 3 weeks. Which means a couple of things.

One, I can no longer recall this past summer. And two, I can’t envision next summer ever arriving.

Other than that, this school year has been great.

We’ve survived registration, Institute Day, Open House, the start of the football season, and the first full moon.

Since these big events are behind us, it’s time to settle into the everyday routine.

Routine is always good, but tiring.See, We're Not the Only Ones.

This became clear to me on Thursday evening. That’s when I decided to get up early Friday to exercise.

I didn’t plan to jog before work for the normal reason (exercise so I don’t have a heart attack in the hallway because it might be perceived as weakness…), but for a new reason.

I needed a nap after school on Friday.

School has been in session for over 15 days and I’m exhausted.

One might think I would be better off sleeping in and then exercise after school concludes on Friday afternoon.

Nope.

A quality nap is the type of long-term goal that gets me through the day. But it does need to be preplanned.

I schedule my naps so I can not only enjoy the experience, but I can enjoy the anticipation of the experience.

It kind of makes sense when you think about it (if you think about it and you are me…).

The ability to plan is a key to surviving as an administrator (notice I didn’t say succeed… just survive).

So on Friday morning, I got up bright and early at the precrack of dawn to jog. It was dark but the moon provided enough light to safely run.

I grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed out into the early morning.

It was cool and I had the streets to myself. Perfect weather.

I don’t mind saying that I was cruising along. 3 miles from the house and it seemed like I could go forever.

Then it hit me.

I’m not comfortable describing exactly what hit me, but please know it wasn’t good.

I quickly recognized that while I had put a plan in place to exercise, I didn’t have the all-important Plan B.

If you are a runner, you know that in this case Plan B stands for bathroom.

This was a problem.

So I considered my options and quickly realized I didn’t have time to put together a committee.

I was on my own. A school administrator’s worst nightmare (after all, there is safety in numbers).

I’m no math teacher but when I run 3 miles away from the house, it is roughly 3 miles back to the house.

There is an educational lesson here.

Administrators need the ability to only plan, but the skill to quickly come up with Plans B, C, and D when their first plan fails.

And it almost always does.

This happens with scheduling, curriculum, athletics, AYP, and just about everything else that is part of running a school.

In my case Plan A (exercise) was a big success. Plan B was a little trickier, but I made it home.

Barely.

Plan C was the nap. After all of my work, what could possibly go wrong with me getting a little shut eye after school on Friday.

I rushed home, changed out of my school armor (shirt and tie), turned the TV channel to golf, and snuggled in with my best buddy (Buddy the Dog… and yes we were spooning… don’t judge us… because you don’t understand our love…).

I immediately went to that place where I’m almost asleep but still awake.

Then I heard it.

It was the end of Plan C, the nap.

My evil spawn throwing open the door, tossing her book bag aside, and yelling… “You two are pathetic… who sleeps on Friday right after school?”

Apparently, not me.

Lessons to be learned: One, exercise is a good thing. Two, fiber bars are tasty and filling before an early morning run, but they are also fast acting.

Lastly and most importantly, you can never anticipate everything that might happen to derail your plans. Especially if your opponent is an 8 year old evil spawn.

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President Obama: I Need to Ask You to Watch Your Language.


Let the record show, the sun came up on the morning of September 9, 2009.

Once I heard the President was going to speak directly to kids, I wasn’t sure this would happen.

After listening to educators obsess about this speech for over two weeks, I was convinced this was the end of the world as we know it.President Obama... Using Bad Words When Kindergarten Students are Listening.

I hadn’t been this frightened about the future of humanity since 2001. That was the year the NFL had the brainstorm to pair Aerosmith and Britney Spears as their Super Bowl halftime show.

The horror.

Britney Spears on the same stage as a band with talent.

I survived that… barely. Although I must admit, my ears did bleed ever so slightly.

It took me 8 long years to get over that, and then this happens. I’m not sure how much more I can take.

The idea was borderline insane.

Barack Obama talking to our kids.

Who does he think he is?

The President of the United States?

Oh, he is? Never mind.

So begrudgingly, schools (some) allowed the President to address their students.

Just the thought of him encouraging kids to work hard, take responsibility for their education, and listen to their parents and teachers was almost more than I could handle.

He even told them to wash their hands.

In my estimation the speech was almost perfect.

Encouraging but not political. He spoke to younger students as well as to high school seniors.

He was positive while being demanding.

It was far better than I could have imagined.

Except for one thing.

Mr. President, you can’t say “stupid” when talking to kindergarten students.

While I didn’t graduate from Harvard Law School, I do know that is a curse word to almost every 5 year old. So Mr. President, if you dare take on the ever so controversial act of addressing school children in the future, please clean up your language.

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Disclaimer

While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.