Monday, December 16, 2013

Why All Kids need YOU!

As an educator or a parent or a grandparent or even a friend you can have a special impact in the life of a child.  We many times take it for granted the fact that we have the opportunity to make a difference. Each and every kid deserves the chance to SHINE!  Each kid deserves a chance to be their best and have someone believe in them.  BE THAT PERSON.  

Many people spend their day complaining about things that are out of their control many times.  They complain about other things such as politics, money, and what they don't have.  Is this you?  If it is then STOP.  Be the best for your kids.  If you are an educator you have to leave your problems at the door and be the best teacher, coach or leader you can be. 

All of us have our problems.  All of us have issues that we deal with each and every day of our life.  We have to rise above them if we want our kids to become great people.  They need our best each and every day.

As a parent how do you want your kids to act?  How hard do you want them to work in school?  Don't you want them to not make the same mistakes that you made? Do you want them to appreciate what they have and not be mad because they don't have?  I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old and it is so hard to get them to be thankful for what they have.  It is so important to me for them to understand that they are so blessed to have what they have-a bed to sleep in, warm clothes to wear, etc.  

The easiest way to show kids how to act, how to be a better person is to Be There for them.  Model how you want them to act.  As a baby all kids learn from their surroundings-mimicking what others are doing-Surprise, It doesn't change as they get older!  

All kids need you.  They need me.  They need a friend, someone who cares for them.  As we get closer to the end of the first semester and move towards the Christmas season, Remember that all kids need you.  They need you to be their rock, support and role model.  Are you up to the challenge?

Here are 10 great ways to be THE Role Model for your child..

You are your children's most important example. They learn by observing you, even when you don't know it. Here are 10 ways to be a great role model.
(1) Share your values with your children.
Don't assume your children know your family's values about drug use and other subjects. Talk about these topics often. Offer guidance to teach your children other important values such as being honest, reliable, and responsible.
(2) Demonstrate your own sense of self-respect and self-esteem.Take good care of yourself by following a healthful diet, exercising regularly, and making time for relaxation. You'll provide valuable behaviors for your children to imitate.
(3) Show that you value your independence.
Let your children know by your words and your actions that you don't have to "follow the crowd" but prefer to make your own decisions.
(4) Set a good example when using medications.Be cautious about how you use prescription drugs and even over-the-counter medicines. Show that you can deal with mild pain or tension without turning to medications. Instruct your child never to take any medication without your permission.
(5). If you drink alcohol, demonstrate responsibility.Use alcohol in moderation and avoid using excuses for drinking, like having a rough day. How you use alcohol will influence your children. They will tend to have the same drinking habits you do when they become adults. Never allow children to mix drinks or serve them to guests, and never serve alcohol to children, not even beer or wine.
(6) Model the traits you wish to cultivate in your child. 
Show respect, friendliness, honesty, kindness, and tolerance. Do things for other people without expecting a reward. Express thanks and offer compliments. Above all, treat your children the way you expect other people to treat you.
(7) Share your successes and failures with your children.Perhaps you're trying to lose weight, quit smoking or adopt a healthier lifestyle. When you're making an effort to change your own behavior, talk about it openly with your children. It's OK to let them know when you've failed or fallen short of a goal and it may make it easier for them to tell you when they've made a mistake. You're also conveying an important message: Change isn't easy and mistakes are opportunities for learning.
(8) Show that you love and value each member of your family.Let your children know that spending time together is something you look forward to. Make plans ahead of time to do special things such as going to a movie or museum. Also enjoy spur-of-the-moment activities -- going out for ice cream or taking a walk after a rainstorm.
(9) Discuss how the media portray alcohol, tobacco and drugs.Talk with your children about images and messages conveyed by television, music, movies, billboards, and other media that glamorize alcohol and other drugs. Let them know what you think and guide them in recognizing the other side of what appears to be glamorous.
(10) Take a genuine interest in your children's school and your community.Support school and community programs that benefit children. Give your time as a volunteer. Attend functions to show your children you're interested in their activities. When your time is limited, make an effort to keep in touch with other parents to share ideas about how adults can set good examples for our children.

- See more at:

Have a Safe and Blessed Holidays

Happy Finals Week!

- Jarred 


                         BLHS News

Wednesday--Green 1, 2, 3 Finals

Thursday--Gold 1, 2, 3, Finals

Friday--Green 4, Gold 4
  School is out at 11:15.  All Bus Riders will have to ride the bus at the normal time.  They will be in the library until 2:45 if they need to ride the bus.  

January 3rd is Teacher workday

First day back of 2nd Semester-January 6th, 2014

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Let Parents Parent(and Study Tips also!)

One of my goals as a leader when I am dealing with discipline is to always let the parents know what is going on.  As a parent myself I want to be informed about my child when they are misbehaving, not getting the information or not being friendly with other kids or teachers.  I want the opportunity to be a parent.  I realize that as an educator many times we spend more time with kids than their parents do, but they are still influenced most by what they see at home from their parents.
Always give the parents the opportunity to be parents!

Another goal of mine this year has been better parent and community communication.  I have worked extensively in this blog to help with that.  Constant communication home to parents can help in many ways: 1. Back to letting parents be parents 2. Strengthen the trust between teacher and parent  3. Allows the teacher to really use the parent as a support in the education of their child.  

Always, always, always communicate with parents.  Make sure however there are positive comments also.  I can't tell you how cool it is as a leader to make a positive phone call home and hear a parent almost burst into tears because they are so proud of their child.  

Many educators become frustrated because of lack of support and trust they get from home from parents.  Many times it can all be avoided with communication.
                  Our teachers at BLHS have worked hard this year to improve communication with parents and keeping them updated on what the kids are doing.  Making them aware of upcoming tests, missing assignments, etc.  I feel so lucky to work with such a great group of educators.--Please thank them for what they do!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving break-Christmas is almost here!


Dates to remember

BLHS Finals
December 18,19, 20th- schedule to come!

Here are a few tips to help your student study for his/her Finals:

Great link:
Article by Holly Ashworth

Having trouble getting serious about studying for a test?  These high school study tips will get you in the right mindset to get prepped for your final exams, or just for your average, everyday quiz.

1. Study Alone

Unless you've got a couple of friends who are super-serious about getting down to business, stay away from group study sessions because they tend to get off-topic pretty quickly. Save the social time till after you've handed in your test.

2. Create Your Perfect Study Area

The place where you study should be quiet, comfortable and free from distractions.  Go to your room, close the door and kill as many distractions as possible - like music, television, and even the internet and your phone.  If you don't have your own room that you can sneak away to, consider studying at the library instead.

3. Get it All Out

Your study materials, that is. Before you dig in, make sure you have all your books, notes, study guides and writing utensils in front of you. Don't give yourself another excuse to get up and rummage around.

4. Turn Your Notes into Flash Cards

Now that you've got all your notes in front of you, open up a pack of index cards.  As you read through the important facts, rewrite them in Q&A form on the cards.  For instance:  to study historical facts, write the historical fact on one side of the card and the key details on the other side.  To study geometry formulas, right the name of the formula on one side and the formula itself on the other side.

5. Snack Healthy While You Study

If you want to stay sharp while you study, stay away from junk food.  Instead, snack on studying-friendly foods like dark leafy greens, whole grains, peanut butter, milk and seafood.  Feeling sluggish?  Caffeine or energy drinks won't help you in the long run.  Get your energy boost instead by eating a banana or an apple.

6. Narrow it Down

If you try to study every single thing your teacher's ever said, you'll go crazy. Instead, focus on the most important topics. If you're not sure what those are, read the study guide (if there is one), or ask your classmates. Once you've nailed down the important stuff, if there's still time left before the test, you can move onto the finer details.

7. Take a Break

Your brain can only take so much hard work at one time. For every hour that you study, take about 15 minutes to do something mindless, like taking a walk, listening to music or playing a computer game. (You can even take a 15-minute nap, if you're confident you can wake yourself up at the end of it.) It'll keep your stress level down and give your brain a chance to let all that information sink in.

8. Put Yourself to the Test

Once you've got your set of flash cards, test yourself with them.  If you don't trust yourself not to cheat, give the cards to your parents and have them test you.  Don't stop till you've made it through the whole stack without any mistakes.  And be sure to bring your flash cards to school with you on the day of the test:  you'll be amazed at how much more you can retain if you run through the cards right before your teacher hands out the test packet.
9. Get Some Sleep
You might be tempted to pull an all-nighter, but if you do, you'll only be hurting your chances of getting an A.  Get a full 8 hours of sleep so your brain is in good shape on test day. 

10. Study All Semester Long

It's tempting to hold off on studying till the last minute, especially if you tell yourself that anything you try to memorize earlier on won't really stay in your brain.  That's not true.  Take some time throughout the semester to review all of your notes and re-read important passages in your text book.  It might seem tediou

Friday, November 22, 2013

Why Twitter = Awesomeness

As a leader it is so important to be a lead learner.  The title of my blog is Reflecting to Learn.  Reflection is important, but learning is so much more.  Continuous reading, studying, watching and tweeting??  Tweeting??  Yes, I will say it, Twitter=Awesome.

Learning is a cycle that must be continued throughout life.  When you are improving you are getting worse.  As educators we must take every day by the horns and soak in all we can.   Learning from other people can be the most powerful.  Meaningful conversations that are intentional.  Networking-Who is in your professional learning network?(PLN)

Building a professional learning network can take alot of time.  Going to conferences, sending emails, also many times it may involve taking classes and spending lots of money.  All those instances are great for connecting to individuals that share the same passion or have similar/different ideas.  Twitter is free and you don't have to leave your couch to get professional development.  Example-There was a time in June where I was sitting on my couch in my front room in my sweatpants and at the same time I was attending the Missouri State Ed. Conference.  One of my PLN friends was tweeting from the conference everything that was happening-How awesome is that!  I have learned so much from Twitter and have made so many life long friends--My PLN challenges me, supports me, and questions me.

The most important part about my PLN is that they are my positive people.  Many times I will get an email or a tweet from one of them that just brightens my day.  There are challenges out there and will continue to be-Surround yourself with positive people.

So take a few minutes-sign up for a Twitter account-and start Tweeting.  #PLN #education #positivepeople  #ifyoudontknowwhatahashtagisthatsok .  For educators there are numerous chats each and every night that I have learned so much from.

*Bonus-If your kids have Twitter you can follow them-We must learn and know what our kids are doing


Next Week is Thanksgiving Break

--Remember to be thankful for those things that you have and give to those that are less fortunate!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Soft Skills at Home

Does your child know how to properly greet an adult?  Do they know how to sit in an interview and be appropriate?  Do they make eye contact when they are speaking to someone?  Can they work as a team and get along with fellow co-workers or classmates?  Are they able to communicate their beliefs, thoughts and disagreements in an appropriate manner? 

We have to as a school, parent, and community begin to teach our children soft skills.  Many adults in our society today lack the proper communication and problem thinking skills to compete in the job market.  Our students of today don't know how to advocate and stand up for themselves.  
We have to begin to develop curriculum and strategies to help kids learn those skills to interview, work as a team player and communicate-They need all of these to be able to develop relationships not only in the workforce but in their personal life.

How many times these days do we see kids instead of go talking to someone just text them?  How much easier is it to just send an email rather than pick up a phone and call someone?  I am 100% for using technology and communication thru technology is important and vital, but the skills it takes to pick up the phone and call someone is still important.  

Below I have pasted some comments from an article written by Larry Buhl from Yahoo.  It was posted on, which is a highly regarded search engine for jobs.

You'll likely see these "soft skills" popping up in job descriptions, next to demands for technical qualifications. Employment experts agree that tech skills may get you an interview, but these soft skills will get you the job -- and help you keep it:
Communication Skills

This doesn't mean you have to be a brilliant orator or writer. It does mean you have to express yourself well, whether it's writing a coherent memo, persuading others with a presentation or just being able to calmly explain to a team member what you need.
Teamwork and Collaboration
Employers want employees who play well with others -- who can effectively work as part of a team. "That means sometimes being a leader, sometimes being a good follower, monitoring the progress, meeting deadlines and working with others across the organization to achieve a common goal," says Lynne Sarikas, the MBA Career Center Director at Northeastern University.
This is especially important for more-seasoned professionals to demonstrate, to counter the (often erroneous) opinion that older workers are too set in their ways. "To succeed in most organizations, you need to have a passion for learning and the ability to continue to grow and stretch your skills to adapt to the changing needs of the organization," Sarikas says. "On your resume, on your cover letter and in your interview, explain the ways you've continued to learn and grow throughout your career."
Problem Solving
Be prepared for the "how did you solve a problem?" interview question with several examples, advises Ann Spoor, managing director of Cave Creek Partners. "Think of specific examples where you solved a tough business problem or participated in the solution. Be able to explain what you did, how you approached the problem, how you involved others and what the outcome was -- in real, measurable results."
Critical Observation
It's not enough to be able to collect data and manipulate it. You must also be able to analyze and interpret it. What story does the data tell? What questions are raised? Are there different ways to interpret the data? "Instead of handing your boss a spreadsheet, give them a business summary and highlight the key areas for attention, and suggest possible next steps," Sarikas advises.
Conflict Resolution
The ability to persuade, negotiate and resolve conflicts is crucial if you plan to move up. "You need to have the skill to develop mutually beneficial relationships in the organization so you can influence and persuade people," Sarikas says. "You need to be able to negotiate win-win solutions to serve the best interests of the company and the individuals involved."

I think that all of us can do our part in teaching our children these soft skills.  When your daughter whines the next time you are in the store do you break down and buy her what she wants?  When your son can figure out how to tie his shoes, do you just go buy him velcro?  When your 17 year old child is in a fight at school, do you dive in in rescue him or do you teach him conflict resolution?  Is this how you really want your children to grow up?

We at BLHS are working hard to incorporate these skills into each and every classroom.  When I talk to students, the most important thing I talk to them about is communication. You can't assume anything.  
Talk to your kids at home about the necessary skills needed to be successful in the workplace.  As of right now, many of them are still missing it.  

Follow me on Twitter- @jfuhrman3932

Upcoming dates for BLHS

Fri-Nov. 22nd- Meet the Bobcats-Winter Sports
Wed. 27th, 28th, and 29th--Thanksgiving Break(Remember what you are thankful for and have a great holiday!)

Here are a couple other articles regarding soft skills:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thank your Teachers

Have I ever told you that the teachers I work with are awesome!?  Have you as a parent, student or educator ever thanked a teacher for what they do?  Many times when we graduate we go off to college or work and don't think twice about high school. Its not until years down the road we look back and see what that one, two or three teachers did for us when we were in school.

At Basehor-Linwood High School we have a group of outstanding teachers.  All of them work countless hours to see that they help each children learn.  They plan lessons, grade papers, build curriculum and spend countless hours working with our students to ensure success. Our teachers that we have don't always get the credit they deserve.  We as leaders, students and parents ask so much of them without even knowing it.  Think about that teacher that inspired you.  Did they teach you how to measure angles, read about Romeo and Juliet or that there really was a 2nd gunman on the Grassy Knoll?  Or did they teach you how to have respect, critically think and problem solve?

I remember a teacher that I had in middle school.  The one that inspired me to be an educator.  Mr. Spangler was my middle school English and Social Studies teacher.  I honestly don't remember much about English and Social Studies, but I do remember how much he cared about me.  I remember how hard he worked to come up with lessons to keep me engaged and how he showed up years later at a family function still showing his support.  He taught me how to respect other people and hard work.  I had teachers in high school and college who pushed me and challenged me more than I had ever been pushed.  At times I didn't like them, but now I appreciate them more than ever!

Take a few moments in the next couple weeks and Thank a teacher.  Thank them for the work they do with your child.  The teachers at BLHS work hard at building relationships and they put themselves out on a limb for our students.  Trust me-It's an awesome group that we work with and I would put them up against any group anywhere.  So from the bottom of my heart-Thank you to all teachers and I hope that all of you take a minute to say thank you also!



Next Week in Bobcat Land!

November 11th--No School-Inservice/Collaboration for the teachers

November 14th-17th-  SHREK the Musical
Make sure you contact the BLHS for reserved seating tickets 913-724-2266

November 11th-15th  "Dead Week" Before Winter Sports Practice Starts

November 18th- Winter Sports Practice Starts

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why Every Child deserves to Read!

My daughter told me tonight as we finished reading a story that she knew how to read.  I looked at her and said, "Not quite yet, but before too long you will be able to read."  She was insistent that she had read downstairs at some point.
We as a family had made it a point to read to our kids every night.  Kennadi is 4 and she sometimes seems like she can read as well as she can recite many of the books we have word for word.  Now I realize that as she gets into Kindergarten and 1st grade she will hopefully begin putting sounds together and learning phonics while beginning to learn how to read.  I am so excited to see and hear the day when she begins reading and she can read me the book instead of me reading it to her.  I know it will get tougher and we will have times when she will be frustrated, but it hopefully, eventually will lead to the magical tool of reading.

Reading is the most important tool we can give to our youth of today as they go out into the real world.  I understand that soft skills are important and people skills, but reading is something that kids and adults can get places with.  Here is a great blog that I found that talks about the 10 reasons for kids to read and it really makes sense if you look closely enough.  Reading can improve concentration, vocabulary and imagination-Who wouldn't want that?

In our schools today we focus on many things-Technology, test scores, evaluations, science experiments, character education, etc.  Don't twist my words around, ALL of these are important and they all make a difference when teaching a child. Reading is something however that I think every child deserves.  EVERY CHILD deserves to read!  Every child deserves the opportunity to learn and learning is reading.

So take a minute tonight regardless of how old your kids are(high school, elementary, middle school) or for goodness sakes look at your self and read!  Put your phones, computers, iPads away and read to your kids, read a good book and see how the imagination flows.

Thanks for reading


Other Items to check out in Bobcat Land

Twitter Feeds
-If you tweet follow these people for any info from Bobcat Country
@blhsathletics, @blhsnews, @sherryreeves19, @jfuhrman3932

Also I wanted to introduce our new Tech Director for the district, Lisa Lund you can follow her on Twitter  also:


If you are interested in learning more about the district initiative of MTSS Reading, please contact your child's school to ask questions.  You can also check out this website as it talks about how Kansas has adapted it.

Dates to Remember

Sat, Nov. 2nd-State Cross Country in Wamego--Congratulations to our X-Country team!

Mon. Nov. 11th--No School.   Inservice and Collaboration for Teachers

Nov. 14th-17th  HS Musical  "Shrek"

Fri., Nov. 22nd - Meet the Bobcats for Winter Sports

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Look, Listen and Love

Every day is special.  Realize that.  Take a minute to Recognize that you only have so many days on the earth to make a difference.

Each day we have the opportunity to look a person in the eye, listen to what they have to say and love on them in any and every way possible.  Why so many times as educators, friends, parents, etc., do we walk right by?  Why do we look, but don't listen?


See what walks in front of you.  Put away your iPhone for a few minutes, set down your iPad and just look at what is around you.  As an educator, what types of kids walk in our halls?  What is the look on their faces when they walk in the building?  What can you tell by looking at your teachers in the mornings and seeing the worn, tired faces or the excited, nervous look.  Parents, take a minute to look at your kids when they leave in the mornings.  Invest in your kids more than you invest in yourself.  

Here's a great article about Paying attention to your child.  IT is vital that we do that each and every day. Not just our children, but people around us.  LOOK each day how you can help another person. There is a reason that that someone was put into your life-Don't miss an opportunity to make a difference.


There are people who can look.  They can see the problem, but refuse to act on it.  They Look and then turn away.  They see the kid in the hallway without a friend.  They see the person on the street who has been fired from three jobs, lost their house and now has nothing.  They see the child-homeless, no food, yet they continue to walk on and refuse to listen to those things that are calling them.
One of Steven Covey's 7 Habits is Listening.  He understood the fact that people don't listen.  They even sometimes hear the screams, call-outs, but often turn a deaf ear.

Kids and adults want to be understood.  They want to be heard.  Listening doesn't mean that you can walk in their shoes, it doesn't mean that you can tell them that you understand what they are going through.  It can be used in its most essential form-just plain listening.  Kids talk and sometimes want us to just listen.  Don't give them advice, other times they want advice.  If you are listening you will find the answer.
LISTEN each day to that person that needs your help.  LISTEN to those that are excited about things.  Sometimes they just need a person to LISTEN.

3) Love

People often mis-use the word Love.  They don't understand what Love really is.  Love is not necessarily an emotion.  It is not necessarily an action.  It's not necessarily a feeling.  Love doesn't have to mean a sexual thing.  It doesn't have to mean that you want to form a relationship with a person.  Love can be simply saying hi to someone as you pass them in the street.  It can be as simple as shaking hands to greet another person.  Love is being with your kids without a bunch of distractions and talking to them about their day, dreams, and thoughts.  Love is patting a co-worker on the back when they have done a good job.  Love can even be throwing a few dollars to the person that is homeless standing on the corner.
The quote above, "Where there is love, there is life." is so true.  As educators we should love all our kids.  By doing this it means we treat them with respect, honor, and support them.  It also means we may have to discipline them, hold them accountable and push them to be the best they can be.  As a lead learner I want all kids to feel safe and supported when they are at school.
LOVE each day with a passion.  Treat everybody with respect.  The more you LOVE the more life you can influence.



Monday, October 14, 2013

Be a child- Every Day!

Every day is different.  Every person is different.  Every child is different.

As I reflect back on the week that was I think a lot about my own children.  What are they thinking? Are they happy? Am I teaching them the difference between right and wrong? Are they growing up to be good kids, friends, Christians, brothers, sisters, etc.? I look at my job as a parent and realize that I have one of the best jobs and one of the toughest jobs!
As an administrator/leader many times we are asked to do both parent and lead.  We really get to see kids at their best and in other instances we get to see kids at their worst.  As I talked about before in a prior post, there are many faces that we as leaders wear during the day.  Not only leaders, but teachers can also wear many hats-It is important to recognize this. One face that I haven't mentioned before, but think might be the most important is the face of a child.

It is so refreshing to look at my own kids and think about what it must be like to be a kid again.  There are no worries, learning is a constant and all you have to worry about is to eat and grow.  The innocence of a Child.  It is so important for each of us every day to Be a Child.  Take a few minutes to look at the flowers, smell the air and smile.  When we smile others will smile--Greet everyone with a smile tomorrow and see the reactions you will get.  Look your enemy in the eye and smile!  Take a minute during your day to realize how lucky you are to be working with kids every day and seeing them grow right before you eyes.

Be a Child if even for a minute every day and see how much it will change you view on the day.  I know that every minute that I get to see my own kids grow and play is precious.  I look at different kids in the hallways whether they are freshman or seniors and get goosebumps when I see how they mature and grow each and every day and that I may have had some influence on them in a positive way.

Don't forget to BE A CHILD tomorrow!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Failure is not a dirty word!

What does it mean to fail?  Does it mean you are a loser?  If you fail, do you ever recover? What about second chances? If a student fails a test do they get do-overs? 

Check out this video and would you call this guy a failure?

Why is a Major League Baseball player hitting .300 considered an All-Star? Doesn't that mean they "Fail" 7 out of 10 times they are at the plate?

Many times in Education we look at the word Failure differently than we do in the real world.  We as educators want kids to do well, be successful, and be a good addition to society.  We work hard each day to help kids understand Math, English, History and Chemistry.  We as Teachers many times strive to have all our kids passing classes and getting "A's" on all of our tests.  As administrators we incorporate strategies to help teachers teach the best they can and hold them accountable to a student doing well.

What do we do when a kid flunks a test?  What do we do when a kid fails a test?  Do they get a second chance to re-take?  What does it really mean?  Was there other factors to consider?

When looking at the word Failure we need to re-evaluate what it really means.  We look at the word Failure and we think immediately of someone that doesn't work hard, is not intelligent, and will never get anywhere in life.  Really???????    Can't failure, failing and to fail be a good thing?

As parents sometimes we need to let our kids fail.  They will in their life have a time when they fail-if you don't let them experience that when they are young-they won't know how to respond.  As teachers it is ok to let your kids fail sometimes, as long as they are given a chance to recover and master the content you want them to get.

Failure is not a dirty word!  When looking at different ways to change the meaning how about this acronym-Failing Always Involves Learning.  Learning from the mistakes you have made and how to do it better the second time! Another one could be Finding Answers Involves Learning.  Using creativity to come up with answers-even though you may fail once or twice-is OK.

Here are a couple of great articles to read about Failing in School and how parents should let their kids fail sometimes, but be there to teach them how to respond to the failure.

Benefits of letting Kids fail
Why Parents Should Let Kids Fail

Thanks to my wonderful PLN friends on #edleadchat for getting me thinking about the words Fail, Failure, Failing and what those different words mean.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Parents-Talk to your Kids!

This summer I had a goal of trying to improve my professional knowledge and continuing to increase my professional learning network.  Twitter has been an awesome resource for me and throughout the past couple months I have learned more from conversations on Twitter than I have in the past 5 years combined.  Many of my favorite chats, #ksed, #iaedchat, #aledchat, #edchat, #arkedchat are all great conversations and the things I have learned from each of those have been awesome!  This past week I was fortunate to be involved in #edleadchat and the topic was Balance.  How do you balance work, family and your personal life.  Many times as an adult we get wrapped up in all that we are doing at work, what are our problems, what so and so is doing or not doing we forget that our children exist too.  I many times find myself at home constantly checking my phone for emails, twitter updates, etc, and at times I have to stop myself and think-What am I missing out on?  I have 2 young children and a wife at home that need my attention also.  Kassi, my wife, works out of the home and she stays with my 2 beautiful children, Kennadi-4 and Maxxwell who is 2.  We sometimes forget about them.  

One of the most important things you can do as a parent is talk to you kids.  Not by email.  Not by text message, facebook, or twitter.  I mean really talk to your kids.  Make time each night to sit down and discuss things with your children.  Don't just ask them how their day was, because many times you get the answer of-Fine.  This should not be the end of the conversation.  Below is a great article I found written by a social worker(Kate R.) from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

10 things each Parent should talk to their kid about

Over my 13 years working as a school social worker (wow, that makes me feel a little bit old!) and my 9 years as a parent, I have come up with a list of 10 things that all parents really need to talk about with their kids. Yes, there are probably more than 10 conversations you need to have with your child over the course of their lifetime, but these are the biggies. Some of these topics will be a one-time thing, but many of them should be more on-going. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Believe in Yourself

Self confidence might be the most important factor in life success and overall happiness. And no, I am not talking about the overconfident trash-talking kid (or coworker!) that we all know and love. Kids need to be able to recognize their talents and positive qualities. They need your help to discover these things. Take the time to tell them how proud you are. Point out their positive qualities. Tell them that you believe in them. This will help them to explore, take risks, and find success.

2. Appreciate What you Have

Whether you are super wealthy or barely getting by, it is important to remind your kids to be grateful for what they have. My husband does a great job of pointing out the little things to our kids all the time. Warm pajamas, healthy food, bikes, great teachers, helpful neighbors, the ability to walk: all of these things are so easy to take for granted. Help your kids notice the little things. Having an attitude of gratitude is contagious and makes you appreciate the little things.

3. Be Nice

While this may sound overly simple, it’s a great way to live. I love wearing my “be nice” shirt. We even have a “be nice” sign on our wall at home. It matters how you treat others. Be nice to your siblings, be nice to your friends, and be nice to your parents. If you are nice to others, they will be nice to you. How…nice!

4. Be Safe

Regardless of your stance on guns, as soon as your kids start going to other people’s houses, you need to talk to them about gun safety. Lots of people have guns in their homes and lots of people do not have them locked up. It is hard for children to understand how dangerous guns are. Tell them (more than once!) what they should do if one of their friends wants to show them a gun. Go through different “what if?” situations.
Teach them from a young age to listen to that little voice in their head. Tell them, “if something is telling you this doesn’t seem right, listen.” The same is true for alcohol, cigarettes, and a myriad of other scary and dangerous things. It is important that your kids know what is acceptable and what is not and that you will always be proud of them for doing the right thing. Make sure kids know your phone number and address!

5. Your Body Belongs to You

This one really ties in with the previous message about safety. While there are some discussions in elementary school classrooms about personal safety and good touch/bad touch, it’s not enough. Parents need to talk to kids about this, too. Both boys and girls need to understand that their bodies are private and belong to them.

6. Winning is not That Important

We live in a competitive society. And let’s be honest, everyone likes to win more than they like to lose. But winning isn’t the only point of competition. It breaks my heart to see kids in my son’s little league division (ages 9 and 10) already smashing bats on the ground, chucking gloves, and crying over a strike out or a loss. Allow your kids lose at games and competitions (yes, I know that sounds mean) and teach them how to be a good sport. Praise hard work, effort, and not throwing a fit when they lose. Oh, and be a good example yourself!

7. Stand up for What You Know is Right

Teach your child to listen to that little voice in his or her head that tells them whether something is a good idea. And teach them to stick up for others who are being mistreated. One of my proudest mom moments was when my 5-year-old daughter saw some kids being mean to her friend at the park and she marched right over to them, said, “You leave my friend alone!” and took her friend over to another part of the playground. Do the right thing. Always.

8. Choose Good Friends

This is a tough one. Once your kids enter elementary school, they start to navigate the surprisingly tricky social world of childhood friendships. I encourage my kids to have a lot of different friends. While having a best friend sounds like a great idea, it’s really not when kids are young. Being completely wrapped up in one individual isn’t very healthy. If your child has a friend who they are getting into trouble with, try to get them to understand how that might not be good for them. The more you can talk your kids through those situations (rather than telling them who they should and should not be friends with), the better off they will be in the long run (hopefully!).

9. Be Creative, Go Outside, Get Dirty

It sickens me to hear how many hours kids spend in front screens. Video games have become a full time job for so many. While I enjoy playing the Wii as much as anyone (though my husband said I am about to be cut off because of my language when I play Mario Kart!), have limits. Take a family walk or a bike ride. Have a picnic at the park. Let your kids play in the mud. Plant a garden. Go catch frogs. Finger paint. You get the idea. Again, you have to set a good example for this.

10. Do What You Can to Make Things Better in the World

While you shouldn’t expect your kids to be raising thousands of dollars for charity or volunteering every weekend, it’s never too early to plant the seed of doing good in the world. If you give your kids allowance, have them save part of it in a giving jar. Offer to help a neighbor pull weeds. Pay it forward at the drive thru. Stop to help someone who has dropped something. Again, when your kids see you doing good for others, they will do the same.

One big thing that I got out of the #edleadchat was someone talked about taking a day off to spend with family. Educators-could you imagine?  Take a day off?  
Parents please take these things to heart and talk to your kids.  Kids are so precious and very influential.  What they see they will do, What they hear they will say.  TALK, TALK, TALK!


Friday, September 13, 2013

Many Faces

Disciplinarian, Counselor, Friend, Co-worker, Curriculum Specialist, Communicator, Supervisor, Parent, Dad, Husband, Teacher, Mentor, Coach, Leader, Learner, Observer-Shall I keep going?

As a Lead Learner in my building I have learned one thing in my 4 years-I have become a man of many faces.  We as leaders wear different hats and many times we may have to switch hats within a meeting or as we walk into a classroom or even walk down the hall.  I have the awesome responsibility to change it when I go home too(Those are my favorite faces-Dad, Husband).

As I reflect on how many times I am torn in different directions I begin to think about how our students deal with things they do each and every day and the many faces that walk our halls.  Do you think these questions apply to our kids?  Many times we don't realize how important we are to these kids and the difference we can make in their lives.  What does it mean for that kid to see someone greet them at the door and say, "Good Morning, how are you today?"  "It's so good to have you hear today!"  What faces do you see as you walk the halls---Do you think that many of our kids are asking questions like these to themselves every day.

How can you make a difference today?

I am only one person, with one mind, one soul, one heart.. but I have many faces.. Can you tell them apart?
Many say I have the face of an angel..strong and wise.. Look a little closer.. Can you see the devil in my eyes?
In the morning when I awake.. I look in the mirror and ask myself.. Which face shall I wear today?
For I have many faces..

Do you see a girl torn between who she is and who she wants to be?
Do you see a kid who tries their best?
A child who hides her fears, holds in all her tears?
Do you see a friend? A lover?
Do you wish to seek and discover?
Do you see the child inside?
Do you see my wild side?
Do you see me as a writer? A delighter?
Do you see me as an employee? Future interior designer?

Do you see my rage? I feel like the true me has been locked in a cage..
Can you see my confusion?  Is this life just an illiusion?
Can you see my dreams?
Can you hear my screams?

Do you see my pain? I feel as if I am standing on the outside, looking in.. afraid of what may come..
Yet still thru each trial, I hold my head up an smile.. Acknowledge my prides..
Tell myself if I can make it thru today.. tomorrow will be o’kay..

So many faces… longing for embraces..
Now open your eyes.. look at me and tell me.. Who do you see?

                             by Kathleen Ross

Each and every day we have the opportunity to brighten a day.  Take the challenge to say hi to a kid, smile at someone, hug your children, tell your spouse you appreciate them.  Take advantage because you never know when you someday may get a phone call from that student thanking you for the help you gave them.



Saturday, September 7, 2013

MTSS and Why its right for our Kids

This past week I had the opportunity to present with an outstanding group of administrators from #Basehorlinwoodschools at the Kansas MTSS(Multi-Tiered System of Supports) conference in Wichita.  The presentation was titled "What's best for our kids".  We talked about the process that we as a district had gone through and where we were at in the process.  --Special thanks to @ftwiedmann for all his guidance throughout the process.

MTSS is a system that is put in place with interventions to help students improve in a certain area. As a district we chose reading.  We looked at our scores, students, curriculum, etc and decided as a group that Reading needed to be a focus as we move forward.  At BLHS we(Building Level Team) look specifically at Vocabulary and Comprehension.  That is what was right for OUR kids.

It's sad many times to see adults that can't read.  They read something and then have no idea what they just read.  They don't understand simple vocabulary, therefore cannot put sentences/words together to make sense of what they are reading.  

The MTSS process-a complicated one--if nothing else has done one thing to the leaders in our district---It has FORCED us to take an honest reflection at ourselves and look at what's best for OUR kids.  We are not worrying about just having the highest test scores, highest ACT(don't get me wrong we put alot of focus on those) but we are looking at what the kid in the middle is scoring-Are all kids being successful?

****As a teacher each day change your view from ----I taught the kids, they should know it.          

 TO--How should I teach EVERY kid so they CAN know it!!

MTSS is a good answer and I am excited to see where it takes our kids in the future.



**Also a few other follows from Basehor Linwood School  @blhsathletics, @sherryreeves19, @dhoward32

Dates to Remember in Bobcat Land
Sept. 20-No School
     Basehor Linwood Ed Foundation Golf Tournament

Sept. 21st-ACT Test

Sept. 26th--Homecoming Parade
Sept. 27th--Homecoming vs. Lansing 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

5 phrases to say to kids every day!

Student success is the most important outcome in schools.  We want kids to be successful.  Here are 5 sayings that Kids should hear every day from us as Educators:

1. Good morning, How are you?  Greet students every morning with a smile, handshake/fistpound/or even a High Five.  We don't know how that one positive voice will effect that kid.  They may have something horrible going on at home and they know that when they come to school you will be there to care for them.

2. I'm here for you.  Please let me know how I can help you.  Students need to know that you are there for them.  They want to know that you care for them and are willing to go the extra mile for them.  Just by letting them know you are here is sometimes enough.

3.Great Job. I knew you could do it.  I bet you will be better next time.  Encourage kids.  Always be positive.  Even when you are giving out consequences you want to be positive and look at it as a growing opportunity.

4. Hey, I like your shirt/dress/new hair cut/shoes.  Recognize--Open your eyes--Again if you notice something that is important to them you have them!  Relationships!

5. _______________________ I left this blank for a reason.  Sometimes you need to close your mouth and just LISTEN!  With TV's, computers, cell phones, facebook, etc... kids don't just sit and talk with their parents as much anymore.  We almost all are guilty of it.  Just listen and you may hear something that you have been looking for.  


Have a Great Labor Day Weekend!