Above and Beyond: My Responsibility as Principal

boys at recess

Teacher, “Recess time!” Students, “Yeh!” Teacher, “Let’s play some football!” Students, “I wanna be on your team!” Teacher, “I’ll be the all-time quarterback, punter, and ref.” Students, “Yeh!” Teacher, “Ready. Set. Hike.” Students, “I’m open! I’m open! Throw it to me! Throw it to me!” Recess is one of the best parts about elementary school […]

Snow Day? Shovel Your Way Out


It is 5:30 AM on a weekday during the winter and the phone rings. That can only mean one thing, SNOW DAY! I have to admit, at that moment, I do not feel like the 15 year veteran, sixth grade teacher I am, but rather, I feel like one of my sixth grade students. I […]

So What’s the Difference?

best year ever

This is my 15th year of teaching, and this is by far and away my favorite year to date. It is not that I haven’t enjoyed my other years, but this year is standing out already as a special year. I have been thinking a lot of what is making this year my favorite year, […]

Did You Send Out the Invites?


Do you send out invites to your parties, or do you just hope people hear about them through word of mouth and just show up? Unless you still live at a college frat house, chances are you send out invites. The invitations are an important part to any successful party. Without them, people don’t know […]

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A picture is worth a thousand words

Teacher: No, no, no, no. Like this. Student: I got it. I got it. Teacher: No, not like that. Like this. Now do you have it? Student: Yeah, I got it now. Teacher: No, no, no, no, no. Look, like this. Got it? Student: Oh yeah. Now I get it. Teacher: Good. Now try it […]

Home Visits Are Not Just for Preschool

door knocker

As the principal at a rural high school several years ago I often wrestled with the notion of partnering with parents at this level. How could I engage families? So many freshmen entered without a clue as to how to be successful. Most of my parents did not have an understanding of how involved to […]

The Conversations in Faculty Rooms


About a week ago, George Couros (@gcouros) published a blog post, “The Policies in Your Head.” More or less, the piece calls upon a specific experience George had with a teacher/district to illustrate how progress can be hampered when teachers convince themselves an outdated policy is still in place. So, here are my thoughts based […]

When All Else Fails


Do you ever feel as a leader that what you are doing just isn’t good enough, that if you only could do more then it would all be better. There are days you question your calling and wonder if you have it in you to continue. It is in those moments that great reflection and […]

Two Real-World Skills: Criticism and Communication

stencil.twitter post 31

Today I sat with small groups of kindergartner. We were playing a game to practice sight words. As I played the game and reviewed the words with each small group, I ask: “Why are we learning these sight words?” Several times I got blank looks. A few said, “So we can read them.” Or “We […]

What Does Your Classroom Say?


During this Spring Break, I’ve been thinking about that kidney-shaped table in the back of my room. Designed to accommodate one teacher in the main groove and up to six students around the outside, that table has been in my classroom since the first day I taught fifth grade fifteen years ago. Truth be told, […]

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