Friday Thoughts— December 9, 2016

The Teacher Report Card

In an episode of the Better Leaders, Better Schools podcast titled “Learning by Doing," Daniel Bauer interviews Don Wettrick, the Innovation Coordinator at Noblesville High School (which is just outside of Indianapolis, IN). For the past few years, Don has been teaching a nontraditional class modeled after Google’s Genius Hour and has written a book about his experiences.

The interview is full of great ideas such as best practices for an innovative classroom, student project ideas, obstacles to expect from the traditional education paradigm, and great books and resources all educators should check out. My biggest takeaway, though, is that at least twice a year, Don has his students grade him. One of the questions he includes on his semester final is

“What am I doing wrong?"

and his students are brutally honest and he wants them to be. He says, “By the end of the semester, they know that they’re not working for me— I’m working for them. And when I’m not serving my customer base correctly, I want to know. And I actually like criticism because I know it’s aimed to make me better."

Because next week is semester tests, this idea really hit home for me and perhaps it does for you as well.

What if we all asked our students
to grade how we’re doing?

Educational author and speaker (and former school principal) Todd Whitaker offers these teacher report card suggestions in his book The Ten-Minute Inservice:
  • Does my teacher care about me as a person?
  • Does my teacher hold me accountable for my actions?
  • Does my teacher do his/her best to make class interesting?
  • Does my teacher help me when I am struggling?
  • Is this class interesting? If not, what could my teacher do to make this class more interesting?
  • Does my teacher allow me to actively participate in lessons?
  • Does my teacher treat me with respect?
  • Do I feel successful in this class? If not, what could my teacher do to help me become more successful?
  • Does my teacher enjoy teaching?
  • Is my teacher a good role model for me?
  • One thing I really like about this class is ___________________.
  • One thing I do not like about this class is __________________.
  • If I could change one thing about this class, it would be _________________.

If you’re brave enough, I’d like to encourage you to get some feedback from students, to invite criticism, and to find ways to make next semester better. Feel free to use some or all of the questions above or create your own. But let me offer this warning: students will be brutally honest (but really that’s the only kind of feedback worth listening to!).

I’ll go first and ask you to provide me with some feedback.


(click image to respond)


Shout-Outs
  • On Monday, Mike and Becky Harris led our 6th grade students through a traditional Jewish passover ceremony. For many of our students (and even teachers) it was a first-time experience and certainly one that will be remembered. A shout-out goes to Tamara Hodges for arranging the ceremony, and thanks to Tori Beach for providing her room.


  • "A Christmas Carol— The Musical" is in the books, and what an awesome show it was! I’m so proud of our faculty and students for the countless hours they invested in the production. A HUUUUGGGEEE shoutout goes to both Jenna Thomas for directing the play and to Doug Killgore for being Scrooge. Also, a big thanks goes to Angie Diles for her work with the costumes and Chelsea Baber for helping with the set and artwork. Also deserving of shout-outs for their numerous hours of work are Chad Tappe, Tori Beach, James Wilhite, Ian Thomas, and to the monks.

  • We successfully made it through another day of winter sports/club picture day. Kristy Quattlebaum did an outstanding job getting all of our students through the process and we finished ahead of schedule. A big thanks to her and for everyone’s cooperation throughout the day.

  • Sunday's Mustang Christmas is going to be great thanks to the planning and work done by Kathy Holland, Jan Penrod, and Danny Sullivan. I’m excited that so many of our seniors have signed up to go and that our other students have brought their gifts. The best part, it’s for the Father! Awesome job.

  • Over the past couple of weeks, our middle school English, math, science, and history classes have all been using our recent Aspire interim data to drive instruction. This week, Miranda Johnson experimented with our Chromebooks and an Aspire Classroom test (which we haven’t used before). The lesson went great, and according to her post-assessment, students did begin to understand and utilize the reading strategies taught in class. In Zac Stewart’s Arkansas History class, students worked on reading comprehension skills using an article on the Arkansans’ involvement in World War I. I’m looking forward to seeing many different ways we can use the Aspire data to help drive our instruction.


  • This was a busy week for students and field trips/athletic trips, and thanks to Kevin Lloyd, the buses were ready to go. Just this week, Jason Gates took a group of students to UAMS, Jenna Thomas took the Drama Club to The Rep, and today Jimmy Teigen and Kassandra Allison will be taking a majority of our 6th graders to see The Nutcracker. These are awesome learning opportunities for our students, and I’m glad we’re able to offer them.

  • Our newest club— The Chess Club— is off to a great start thanks to Ian Thomas! Students are really excited to be part of the club, and Mr. Thomas has done a great job teaching them and getting them involved. Next time the club meets, be sure to stop by the library— you’ll be impressed.

Upcoming Events
  • Today— 6th Grade (48 students) to see “The Nutcracker" at Robinson Theater (8:45-2:00)
  • Monday, Dec. 12
    • HS Choir Christmas Tour (all day)
    • Behavioral Therapist Scott Loye's Special Presentation— “Raising Children in Today’s World" (7:00 PM)
  • Tuesday, Dec. 13
    • Track Attack/Dodgeball Tournament (click here for adjusted bell schedule)
    • Behavioral Therapist Scott Loye's Special Presentation— “Raising Children in Today’s World" (7:00 PM)

Responsibilities for Next Week
Week A
  • Cafeteria AM— C. Sherrill
  • Cafeteria PM— M. Leverett
  • Parking Lot AM— M. Johnson
  • Parking Lot PM— C. Baber
  • HS Lunch— J. Gates & K. Holland
  • MS Lunch— T. Beach, T. Hodges, & C. Morse
  • Chapel— E. Schramm
  • Detention— J. Thomas


Resources Worth Checking Out

This will make you think!

(click image to read article)


Check out these video stories from I Like Giving

(click image to view videos)


Check out these giving stories on from I Like Giving

(click image to read stories or to submit your own giving story)


I Like Giving author Brad Formsma Sermon at Mariners Church

(click image to watch or listen)



Upcoming Free Goal-Setting Webinar from Michael Hyatt

(click image to view details and register for one of the six free live sessions)


Book Recommendation

I love this book! Click here to read my highlighted text passages and key takeaways.

"Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God."- Bob Pierce