Thursday, June 25, 2015

State of the Blog - The Last 100 Posts (1,800 and Counting)

Hello, LYS Nation.  This is the 1,800th post to the column, so as is our tradition, we will review our progress. 

First, the review

The 1st post was on Monday, February 16, 2009.

The 100th post was on April 14, 2009.

The 200th post was on June 10, 2009

The 300th post was on September 2, 2009

The 400th post was on December 16, 2009

The 500th post was on April 7, 2010

The 600th post was on August 2, 2010

The 700th post was on December 17, 2010

The 800th post was on May 17, 2011

The 900th post was on October 5, 2011

The 1,000th post was on March 7, 2012

The 1,100th post was on August 24, 2012

The 1,200th post was on February 1, 2013

The 1,300th  post was on June 5, 2013

The 1,400th post was on October 30, 2013

The 1,500th post was on April 7, 2014

The 1,600th post was on, September 18, 2014

The 1,700th post was on, February 20, 2015

The 1,800th post is today, June 25, 2015

The top 15 posts, in terms of distribution, have been:
1.     Your Best STAAR Preparation Plan – Section 2 (3/6/2014)
2.     Your Best STAAR Preparation Plan – Section 1 (3/5/2014)
3.     Student Test Taking Anxiety is 99% on Us (3/12/2014)
4.     Campus Security Checklist (12/18/2012)
5.     Be the Best Me in the Classroom (11/14/2014)
6.     Closing the Lesson – It’s All About the Plan (10/22/2014)
7.     New From the Lead Your School Lab... The Fundamental 5 Classroom App (8/26/2014)
8.     A Reader Writes... Lesson Framing – Part 1 (10/11/2013)
9.     A Reader Asks... HS Math Lesson Frames (2/19/2014)
10.  Your 6-step STAAR Preparation Strategy (12/14/2012)
11.  A Principal Asks... Should We Frame a Test (11/6/2013)
12.  Make the Last Month Count (4/25/2015)
13.  A Reader Asks... Lesson Framing (3/18/2014)
14.  Dr. Rich Allen Writes... The Room Set-up Matters (8/20/2014)
15.  Sometimes It Pays to Play the Game (6/26/2013)

There are now international readers and e-mail subscribers, with the following 45 countries represented: 

Australia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Venezuela

A little blatant self-promotion

First, if you like the blog and you haven’t signed up for the e-mail subscription, please do so.  I find that it’s easier to write to people than it is to write to web hits.

Second, if you like the blog and find it useful, tell three other people.  This blog is a much more powerful resource for school improvement when it is a dialogue.

Third, if you have not sent in a comment yet, please do so.  Education research points out that the act of critical writing actually makes the learner smarter.  Let the blog assist you in sharpening your saw.

Finally

Thank you so much for reading and responding.  This network, which started out as a way for just a handful of principals to stay connected has turned into a small nation of board members, central office administrators, campus leaders, and teachers who are focused on redefining what students are capable of.  Who knows what we will discuss in the next 100 posts.

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: NAESP National Conference; Illinois ASCD Fall Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Exactly How Many Guns Do We Need

We continue to arm ourselves and we continue to kill each other with greater ease and efficiency.

It sickens me to hear the comments that if only the good people at a church service were armed that maybe the armed racist, terrorist would not have shot them all down.

Perhaps we should reflect on the fact that it is more difficult to vote than purchase a gun.  And of those two rights, one is infinitely more important that the other.

And the idea that it is an armed citizenry that keeps our government in check requires a paranoid suspension of reason.  To believe that the only thing that separates the volunteer American Military and our duly elected representatives from enslaving us is one’s own personal arsenal is ludicrous.

At some point, we must stand down and ask ourselves how many guns do we need and who should have them? 

Consider... You can’t legally yell “fire” in a crowded movie house. So there are limits to free speech.

Consider... You can’t vote without meeting predetermined requirements. So there are limits to suffrage.

I don’t know about you, but knowing that there are more requirements for a person to legally drive a car than there are to own and carry a gun doesn’t make me feel safer or more free.  And I say this as a long time gun owner and hunter.

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: NAESP National Conference; Illinois ASCD Fall Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Trappings of a Traitorous History

Once again we have another national tragedy.  Good people gunned down in a terroristic attack.  If this had been done by a foreign entity, we would be united in our uproar for our government and our leaders to do something. But as is the case in the vast majority of the attacks on our people in our country, it has been done by one of us.  But instead of an uproar, we wring our hands, wipe our tears and say, “Well what can we do?”

And we allow our “leaders” to bend themselves into pretzels so they can appear distraught while supporting positions that continue to enflame and arm the hate of those committed to terrorizing the groups they marginalize.  At what point is enough... enough?

Enough so reasonable men and women stand up and tell the haters, their leaders and their followers that their views are wrong.  For example, take the banner of proud Southern Heritage, the Confederate Battle Flag.  We are told that this flag does not represent hate and oppression.  We are told that this flag simply represents an honored tradition of free thought, freedom and independence.

Except I am a Southern White Male. And try as I may, I don’t see that.  I don’t see that at all.  The vast majority of people that I observe who proudly display the confederate battle flag seem to be staking out territory. Communicating visually that the “wrong” people aren’t welcome, while saying “it’s all about loving freedom.” Sort of like the tense, ready to attack pit bull that is wagging its tail.

And as a Southern White Male, let me review the proud history of the flag.  It was flown by a group of traitors to the United States of America; who were aligned to those who owned and traded slaves; who subsequently lost the war.  So to paraphrase, the confederate battle flag was the banner of loser traitors aligned with slavers.  It may be part of our history, but not a part to be proud of.

Now I don’t profess to have the ability to look into a Man’s heart and see his true self. But I do have a question for the proud advocates of a disgraced banner.  If you truly desire to honor free thought, freedom and independence, why have you chosen a symbol that communicates the exact opposite to an entire population of your American brethren?

I, for one, will no longer remain silent.  I will ask that question and press for an answer.  And I will listen to and note our “political leaders” who continue to dance around this issue. Refusing to antagonize the factions of hate while paying faint lip service to a myth of tolerance. 

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: NAESP National Conference; Illinois ASCD Fall Conference (Multiple Presentations)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Top Tweets From the Week of June 14, 2015

A number of you in the LYS Nation are now Twitter users.  If you haven’t done so yet, we want you to join us.  To let you see what you are missing, here are the Top 10 LYS Tweets from the week of June 14, 2015.

1. We pray for the day when we care as much about putting a book in the hands of our citizens as we do a gun. (By @pastors4txkids)

2. Reflecting on the year, our greatest growth came from Fundamental 5 practices and monitoring them through PowerWalks. (By @LeslieT52)

3. We need to stop pretending that we need to ban student devices from our classrooms. (By @bethstill)

4. Who are we to tell a kid they can't bring/use a tool that's going to help them learn? (By @jackson_carrie)

5. @LYSNation recommends observe often, share best practices, 15 observations and a coaching session every 3 to 6 weeks per teacher, put on the coaching dates on the calendar. (By @KimGebert)

6. Each day we say adults aren't ready for a change, is a day another group of kids miss out. Adult discomfort shouldn't equal kids losing... (By @justintarte)

7. A Murderer's Row at TASSP:
Drop the mic! (By @Stocksjd63)

8. Hire for attitude. Train for success!  Great advice. (By @vhsaldana)

9. If you want education policy that is best for Texas school children, ask our teachers. And obey them. That this isn't routine is astonishingly weird. (By @pastors4txkids)

10. Wow! The Fundamental 5, powerful stuff! Can't help but improve with this! (By @agibbsbowieprin)

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: NAESP National Conference; Illinois ASCD Fall Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Reader Asks... Your Prioritized Improvement Actions - Part 1

In response to the 7/30/2014 post, “Your Prioritized Improvement Actions,” a LYS Principal asks:

SC,

What is Girls and Boys Town?

SC Response
The first and, I believe, the best discipline management system for schools.

Their book, The Well Managed Classroom, is to discipline management what Bloom's Taxonomy is to instruction.

Every other discipline management system is a modified, and often, lesser version of their original. 

There is a code that you should listen for when discussing Girls and Boy Town. If an educator says, "We tried it and it didn't work for our school," what they are really saying is, "We didn't work at our school."

For more information, here’s a link: www.boystowntraining.org

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: Texas ASCD Summer Conference; NAESP National Conference; Illinois ASCD Fall Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Reader Asks... Why Not Feedback After 3 Minutes?

A LYS Central Office Administrator asks the following:

SC,

Why do you coach that teachers should not to receive feedback (normally) after a single observation?  Why must we wait until patterns/trends are established before providing feedback to individual teachers? This seems counter-intuitive.  Help.

SC Response
I get these questions a lot due to the fact that this practice does not align with the existing schema of most campus and district administrators.

Many campus and district administrators believe that every time they enter a classroom, they need to be evaluating that classroom. But this should not be the case.  The only time that an administrator should be evaluating the classroom (teacher) is when:

1. The observer has notified the teacher that a high stakes evaluative visit should be expected within a specific and narrow window of time.

2. The observer observes the classroom for at least 20 minutes, giving the teacher the opportunity to deliver instruction and manage the classroom using a number of effective practices.

So take PowerWalks, the system and process your district is now implementing.  PowerWalks is a formative observation tool. It has been designed for the SOLE purpose of creating game film for coaching teachers. In this endeavor, multiple observers engage in frequent observation of classrooms.  These observations are short, 3 to 5 minutes.  Now one, short classroom observation means almost nothing.  Good, bad or indifferent, it is a random wisp of time.  The purpose of the visit is to cue effective practices, provide some positive reinforcement (if warranted), and collect some objective data.

The key word is data.  One short observation represents an INVALID data sample. This is because the size of the sample size is statistically insignificant.  This is not opinion; it’s math.  Take 15 to 20 individual observations as a data sample and what the statisticians will tell you is that the sample size can be considered significant.  Which means the trends that are identified in the sample are likely to be real, instead of random occurrence.  With a real identified trend, coaching, reflection, problem solving and improvement can occur. With random occurrence, any action that is taken has only a random chance of being effective.

Now, if you are Charles Barkley, you don’t trust all this trend/statistics mumbo-jumbo. That’s OK (not really, I’m just being polite). In the real world of coaching, every coach worth his/her salt observes the player over multiple reps before making a coaching suggestion.  Whether they realize it or not, thru the observation of multiple reps they are filtering out the random from the engrained.  Then they work to replace, remediate, or leverage the engrained. 

PowerWalks is for coaching.  Until that understanding is embraced and internalized, it will always feel strange. 

Think. Work. Achieve.
Your turn...

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
  • Now at the Apple App Store: Fun 5 Timer (Fundamental 5 Delivery Tool); PowerWalks CLC (Networked Formative Observation Tool) 
  • Upcoming Presentations: Texas ASCD Summer Conference; NAESP National Conference; Illinois ASCD Fall Conference (Multiple Presentations) 
  • Follow Sean Cain and LYS on www.Twitter.com/LYSNation  and like Lead Your School on Facebook