Sunday, December 19, 2010

Great Expectations...

I was fortunate enough to be selected as an opinion columnist this year for the Dallas Morning News. It has been a great exercise in writing and editing. My first column was on the fallacies in the movie "Waiting for Superman." This time i wrote about something near and dear to me, expectations of ourselves and students. I really believe that having high expectations is vital to student achievement. I have seen any number of examples where setting high goals led to unimaginable student achievements. Too often we sell students (and sell ourselves!) short on what is possible. We put up our own roadblocks to success. We say the kids are too young, not experienced enough or we've just never tried to do it that way before. Kids will believe they can do anything if we let them. The way they perceive accomplishment depends on how we value what they do. We need to promote excellence and lead the there. Great adults are not necessarily the ones who scored well on state tests; they are the ones that found out early on that they were capable of accomplishment in all that they do. They were given the tools and guidance to believe in themselves and what they were doing no matter what facet of life they were engaged in. We are not in the test passing business, we are creating people. That is the higher calling.
Here is the link to my editorial. Feel free to add stories or comment! DALLAS MORNING NEWS

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Love my Librarian Award

I just returned from New York where I was presented with one of only ten "I Love my Librarian" awards. This honor is sponsored by the ALA, The New York Times, and Carnegie Corporation. It was a $5,000 prize. What a great evening it was! It was so nice to meet librarians from different parts of the country. We all have different jobs but ultimately the same goals. New York at Christmastime was beautiful and my wife and I turned it into a mini vacation as well. Thanks to all the sponsors for recognizing the work my teachers, students and I are doing. What a great life when you recieve an award like this doing something you love!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

Right before Thanksgiving we performed the musical "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" with our 5th and 6th graders. You have to understand, despite this show's cartoon title it can be a difficult show to do. It was originally on Broadway in the 1960's and young voices sometimes have a difficult time with the music. Our kids don't have a performing arts program in our school district so my wife and I are providing that opportunity. Most of the kids we have do not have performing experience but they do have great desire and drive to try something new. I love the look on their faces when we spark some new idea in their head and open their eyes to an opportunity they had never seen before. Despite a shorter rehearsal schedule than we would have liked and logistic porblems involving scheduling 25 kids, 3 schools and administrators, we did a pretty god job getting it together. I thought the kids were amazing and we were rewarded by an audience of nearly 300 in a two day run. This is in a town of 4,000 and a district of 1300. Not to shabby for good ol' Charlie Brown!