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Good 'Ol Fashioned Teaching

Over the past few weeks, my mind has been flooded with thoughts regarding flexible delivery of instruction. I'm not sure my definition of it works for everyone, as I would argue it has different meanings to different people. With the addition of blended and online courses, more and more educators have been intrigued by how to use time and space in order to individualize instruction and empower students. Luckily, in my role, I have the opportunity to collaborate with teachers who are actually teaching blended and online courses. So, when meeting with a group of our blended teachers, we developed a working  definition of flexible delivery of instruction: Creating a culture for empowering students to take ownership of their learning. If you've been following this blog over the past two years, this definition stands behind all that I believe to be true about good teaching. As teachers, we must create learning opportunities for students to create, critically think, collaborate, co
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Engage, Explore, and Extend

One week ago, our staff participated in our first School Improvement Day of the year. With the chaos that the start of the year brings, it was a really wonderful day to slow down, engage with our colleagues, explore new ideas, and extend our knowledge. Various staff members took the lead, and just like we encourage our staff to offer in their classrooms, teachers had choice when it came to how they wanted to spend their time. By the end of the day, the energy was still high and many teachers shared excitement for what they saw, heard, and learned from their colleagues in the building. Anytime you can get teachers together talking, sharing, and learning - life is GOOD. I am excited to share our agenda for the day, some takeaways from the different sessions, and some of the feedback we received from our staff. As I mentioned earlier, a majority of the day centered on ENGAGING with colleagues, EXPLORING new ideas, and EXTENDING their knowledge. After brainstorming different ideas duri

A Story Worth Telling

And here we are again. Another summer has come and gone, and we are back into the swing of things so quickly that it feels like we never left. As with any new school year, teachers came back excited to meet our students and ready to put our energy and passion into creating memorable learning experiences. As I stepped into a new role this year, I gained an entirely new perspective about what is needed to start the school year strong, create a collaborative and motivating environment for our staff, and create a sense of a community for our students in a building so big. Every day I see something, hear something, and/or learn something new that continues to help me make sense of why this place is so special.  As I began to brainstorm for my first blog post of the year, I couldn't help but think about all of the wonderful staff and students who I've witnessed contribute to our awesome school environment over the past few weeks. Even though I am a mix of emotions as I learn

No-Phone Friday

Happy Friday, my friends! As the weeks wind down and we gear up for summer break, many of us teachers are trying to keep our students engaged and motivated. Not an easy task. Not only are they extremely eager for a break, but they are also very, very distracted. Distracted by normal high school issues - relationships, events, homework, and so forth - and distracted by their #BFFs, the little devices that tend to dictate and publicize their every move: their cell phones. If you're like me, you have probably seen an increase in cell phone usage in the classroom. In addition, I have more and more students trying to keep their headphones in during class. It is getting out of control....and don't forget, I am a fan of technology. But I am not a fan of it when it distracts students and keeps them from being present in various situations. In addition, I was finding that the time I was giving students to complete their work in my class was wasted...just completely they

2-4-6-8...Who Do We Appreciate?

My goal with this blog has always been to share out the awesome things happening at Neuqua Valley High School. Every classroom I visit, teacher I talk to, meeting I attend, student I observe...I write it here in order to document why this place is so special. As I'm sure you're aware, it is Teacher Appreciation Week, and we have been celebrating our wonderful staff all week long. As the week comes to a close, I want to share some of my reflections about this week, when we celebrate educators all over the world who work diligently to make a difference in their students' lives. This year, our school provided an option for students, staff, and parents to share their appreciation with staff members at the building. There were a few options, but the most popular option - by far - was for students, parents, and staff to send a nice note to a staff member that would go directly to their inbox. I am excited to share that over 1,100 emails were sent to staff members in our build

Keeping Up with the Wildcats

Wow. There is a lot going on at Neuqua Valley High School. So many awesome, different things day after day. It has been a few weeks since I've updated my blog, and I must admit that it is due to all of these awesome Neuqua events and happenings that take up the day. If you read Our School, Our Story , you know that we have revived the @Neuquavalley Instagram page, and I have been sharing our school's daily stories with the public...over 800 people to date. Boomshakalaka. This new project is so much fun, and that is due to the fact that there is so much to share about our special building. As I continue to capture and share our story, the same thought continues to cross my mind: WOW...there is so much going on here! Some of my family members and friends who are not students, staff, or parents in the Neuqua community also follow the page, and this is their first comment to me when we discuss the happenings on the Gram. Don't believe me? Well...let's take a look at a fe

Mic Drop

Throughout this school year, I have shared the Neuqua Valley Collaborative Learning Team's journey to engage, empower, and inspire. In October, I blogged about our team's work over the past few years and our plans for collaboration by observing horizontally to experience what our students do on a daily basis. Click here to view that post for more info. In November, I highlighted the team's work after members observed various classes and shared how we reflected, hypothesized, and planned for future work. Click  here  to read more. Today, I am excited to share how the team used what we learned to lead our staff at this week's School Improvement Day. Let me tell was awesome and a total #EDUwin. Here's the story... In January, the Collaborative Learning Team regrouped in order to get prepared for our future leadership role at the spring SIP day. You see, back in September when I met with our administrators to discuss our team's work for the year, leadi