Skip to main content

Posts

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 wasted...as they wor…
Recent posts

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 building…

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 few o…

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 you...it 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, leading th…

Our School, Our Story

Stories. We all have them. We all like to hear them. Some of us like to read them. And in today's society, we ALL love to see them. Capturing the pulse of a high school is no easy feat. Sharing it with the world in an engaging way....even harder. While the purpose of this blog is to share the awesome things happening at Neuquqa Valley High School, I recently started to consider how we could reach a bigger audience: the students. Whether they admit it or not, students are curious about what is happening around the building. They are also excited to share what they are doing, learning, and feeling with others. How do they typically do this? Yes, you're right.....social media. Specifically, Snapchat and Instagram. They spend half of their day snapping pictures and videos of themselves while spending the other half looking at what others are sharing. In our collaborative, digital world, we all love to see others' stories, and social media makes this easy and fun.

In February,…

Creative Learning and Fun

Sometimes, our students need opportunities to be creative and do something different in class. Yes, we all know this and work tirelessly to differentiate instruction to engage our students, but I am hoping some of the examples below will spark an idea or motivate you to try something new and creative in your class. During my classroom observations this week, I witnessed a few different activities that asked the students to apply what they were learning or going to learn to some sort of creative activity. Each class had the same result: student energy and engagement. Here is a snapshot of this fun in the classroom:

It was first period on Monday, but the students in Mr. Farrar's MATH class were still up to the challenge of trying something new. Mr. Farrar asked the students to use Adobe Spark to create a poster connected to their current unit while starting the class with a good 'ol fashioned carousel activity. Students worked in groups and moved around the room to complete vari…

Life Lessons

Before this week, I never noticed how much of our instruction centers on life skills that will help our students lead strong, healthy, motivated, and proud lives. Yes, the content does creep in, and most times, it is our lesson's main event, but if you really pay attention to the commentary provided by our teachers as they teach this content and facilitate student learning, it is pretty cool how much of what we say teaches a valuable lesson for the future. 
After a few weeks off, I was excited to continue observing my students this week. And let me tell you, I left each class feeling excited about what I observed and eager to debrief with my students. As mentioned above, each class I visited moved beyond the content; instead, I witnessed instruction, advice, support, collaboration, critical thinking, student creation, implementation of various strategies, and development of student skills that are not only essential for the classroom but also for real-life and future experiences …