The title of this blog may be a lie.
I really have no idea because I’ve never ran a marathon.
26.2 miles seems like a long way.
I know when I’m in the city if a restaurant is over 5 blocks away, I take a cab. Or I don’t go.
It has never ever occurred to me that I should run to the restaurant. And it’s only 5 blocks (although city blocks seem rather long).
So the thought of running over 26 miles seems insane to me.
But the thought of running a half marathon seems like sheer genius.
Waste my winter weekends traipsing around the ice and snow covered streets of small town America.
And then the big moment arrives.
Time to run with 20,000 like-minded completely insane people.
People who wear trash bags as jackets.
People who use porta potties like oxygen (anyone who uses a porta potty has completely lost their marbles… or REALLY has to go).
People who get sick along side the road during the race.
People who collapse from the heat.
People who double-over with leg cramps and scream like they are giving birth.
Runners are an odd group.
And I’m not too embarrassed to say I’m one of them.
I just don’t know why.
- Author: Michael Smith
- Published: Apr 16th, 2013
- Category: Administrators, Evil Spawn/Daughter, Theories
When I was a kid, Sundays could be boring.
You slept a littler later.
You went to Sunday school and church (tried your best not to sleep there).
You ate lunch.
Maybe watched a game on TV (of course, this was before there were a thousand games on television at all hours of the day and night…. so you had a choice of one).
Took a nap.
Sunday afternoon stretched in to Sunday evening and they both seemed to last forever.
Now, Sundays fly by. Before I know what’s happened it’s Monday and the start of another work week.
Saturdays are no better. They are spent getting everything done in advance of Sunday so when it arrives I can be completely busy on the last day of the weekend.
Or is it the first day of the week? I don’t even know because they all run together.
The world has gotten busy.
Some might say too busy.
Being bored used to be a terrible feeling.
Now it might be kind of nice.
Instead of making you watch a projector slideshow of my trip to Washington (old school reference), I thought I would just share my thoughts about my experience at Discovery Headquarters.
First, I love a free trip. I’m not sure which I love more – the free or the trip. Combine them and I’m in heaven (if you are reading this and in charge of giving away free trips, please keep me in mind).
If you recall and I’m almost positive you don’t, I was invited by Discovery about this time last year to take part in a forum on digital textbooks (I’m told it’s the wave of the future).
The way this works is Discovery pays your expenses for two days and then they own you. Sort of like a college athletic scholarship except there aren’t coaches from Discovery screaming at you.
Their purpose is to learn the thoughts and ideas of people who may one day implement digital textbooks (or techbooks) in their school districts.
My purpose was to be helpful but most of all to learn something.
This is harder than it sounds. Think about all the workshops, webinars, speeches, curriculum groups, etc. we’ve all sat through. More times than not we all leave these experiences dumber and angrier than when we walked in.
Going to Discovery is just the opposite of this type of experience. These people are so happy with their jobs it’s almost creepy.
It is hard to be around them and not take something positive away from the experience
When the forum was over, I felt much smarter. I’m sure I’m not, but the feeling is nice.
I would like to feel taller, but that’s a different blog.
Participating in an event like this at Discovery is fun for several reasons. The biggest for me is I’m not in charge. And it’s nice to be part of a group where you don’t hold any responsibility (other than being there on time and eating Georgetown Cupcakes).
It’s also nice to be asked questions instead of being the one asking. Plus, anytime you find yourself in a situation where everyone else in the room is smarter, you should take advantage of it.
For two days, we were quizzed by the good folks of Discovery Education on a variety of topics. The main one being what a digital math techbook should look like.
I’m often asked my thoughts about buying textbooks, but no one has ever asked me to help design a very preliminary version of one.
I guess I can check this task off my bucket list.
When Discovery comes out with their Math Techbook, I’m sure I won’t recognize it. It will likely not look anything like the one our group came up with, but that’s okay.
We were there when they started. And that’s pretty cool.
- Author: Michael Smith
- Published: Apr 7th, 2013
- Category: Evil Spawn/Daughter, Marriage/Queen, Technology
The Evil Spawn just turned 12.
She’s a nerd and I use this term with respect.
She’s a great nerd (she prefers geek).
For her birthday, she wanted a QR code cake and a QR coded scavenger hunt that led her and her friends all over town.
They went to all of her old haunts. From her first babysitter to the dentist’s office where she lost her first tooth.
The clues led them to the grocery store where they had to figure out how much money we have spent on Buddy the Dog’s food in the last four years.
They even visited their 2nd grade teacher where they had to recall the order of the planets from their very first big school project and recite them to her in order (funny what they forget).
They had a blast even though they have evidently forgotten everything they learned in 2nd grade.
It’s good to have a school technology coordinator as a mom.
Go ahead, scan the cake with your reader. It works.
- Author: Michael Smith
- Published: Apr 2nd, 2013
- Category: Blog, Buddy the Dog, Evil Spawn/Daughter, Marriage/Queen
I can tell you this, I haven’t been blogging.
I was hacked. Not mad, hacked.
As in my blog was hacked (I think you probably get it by now).
Fixing something like this took me longer than I imagined.
So, since January 21, I haven’t written a thing. Other than about a bazillion Twitter tweets.
And I launched my own website at www.michaelsmithsupt.com.
And lucky for me, school seems to keep me busy.
The break from blogging was good. I must admit, not having to come up with the next topic has been kind of nice.
Although, I have felt a little guitly. I never wanted to become the person who just stops blogging without an explanation.
So during my time off I’ve tried to stay productive. I’ve updated the cartoon on the blog (actually, I have people for this).
The Evil Spawn and Buddy the Dog continue to grow up right before my eyes.
Weirdly, my wife and I never age. Not sure how that works, but I know if you pay your cartoon guy enough everything seems to fall into place.
So I’m back. Hopefully, with interesting stories about my school year, family, and soon the highlights of my trip to Washington D.C. (Thank you Discovery Education).
I do appreciate all of the people who continued to check in and read the blog even without anything new.
I question your taste in blogs, but I do thank you.
I don’t blog for money (obviously).
Ocassionally, I will blog for a free t-shirt, but that’s not the case here.
A few weeks ago, I was approached about an area rug for an elementary classroom.
As luck would have it, I had both a classroom and a need for a rug.
This is where the good people a KidCarpet.com came along.
They provided a great rug for one of our preschool classrooms.
Please keep in mind I can’t be bought (unless it’s a free t-shirt), so when I say this is a wonderful product you can believe me.
If you find yourself and your school needing a rug or any of their products, check out KidCarpet.com.
You won’t be disappointed.
When you visit their site use the coupon code PrincipalsPage. It is for $20 off and is good until August 31, 2013.
I miss our old world.
It’s the never ending education topic.
I think we need testing, but probably not to the extent the government is shoving down our throats (and normally our government does a GREAT job!).
One day, it will be readjusted and we will test students just the right amount for their indivdual progress and goals.
Sadly, we aren’t there yet.
Everyone complains about the amount of stress testing puts on students and teachers.
Don’t even get me started on the billions of dollars being made by faceless companies who are part of the testing process.
It’s BIG business. Really BIG.
Then there is the little secret no one ever acknowledges. The intregal part of testing that is left unspoken.
Teachers are powerful.
Without them, there’s no testing.
When teachers in individual schools or states decide they’ve had enough testing, we will see a change.
Can you imagine if teachers refused to test?
Up to this point, they have been very compliant. Teachers usually are.
But one day, I think they may decide as a group they’ve had enough.
If that happens, things will change. And change very quickly.
Educators hate mandated testing.
Hate. Hate. Hate it.
It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard (for those of you younger than 35… chalkboards were used to write on and deliver notes to students before your fancy whiteboards and SMARTBoards came along).
Yet, I think schools perform at a higher level because of testing (not a popular position, I know).
That being said, I disagree with many of the decisions by the people (politicians) who have put testing in place.
The truth is people perform better when they are evaluated.
I don’t like it. You don’t like it. Nobody likes it.
I’ve never met anyone who said "Yeah, it’s time for my evaluation. Sweet!"
I can’t say testing has made students smarter, but I think it’s made teachers and administrators more accountable.
I also think it’s a mortal lock that everyone involved, from politicians to testing companies, has benefited more than kids from all this "testing business".
Don’t kid yourself, it’s big business. Really big.
Those who demand more testing also seem to believe scores are a reflection of student intelligence. Higher Scores = Better Teachers and Smarter Students.
I don’t buy this.
As educators, we face challenges that can’t be tested.
I think the number one challenge for education and educators in this country is poverty.
My late father-in-law used to say he could drive through any community and tell you their test scores. He called it his "Garage Door Theory".
More garage doors equaled higher test scores.
Communites with large houses with three car garages did better than communities with smaller houses and fewer garages.
Maybe his theory was a bit simplistic. Or maybe he was more correct than most of us want to believe.