Seeing any progress yet? The class is getting used to having an afternoon in this alternative space as we actively create and build our projects for the World's Fair 2.0.
When we watched our Positive Behavior Conversation video, last week, we just had to try an experiment of our own. The video is called Street Compliments. In it, people encountered a booth with a microphone sitting next to a giant pair of headphones. They were invited to give each other compliments - something we are not use to doing in real life.
Boy and girls, tall and small, participated in the same activity, calling each other out to sit on the hot seat and be showered with kind words before trading places and repaying kindness for kindness. It is very sweet to listen to such expressions.
The current decoration should last through the rest of the school year - especially as we move much of our attention. State MAP testing comes in May, so to accommodate our learning and testing, the active lessons will now be located in "the annex" area in the hallway outside the gymnasium.
"The greater danger for most of us
lies not in setting our aim too high
and falling short;
but in setting our aim too low,
and achieving our mark."
Drop a pebble in the water: just a splash, and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Spreading, spreading from the center, flowing on out to the sea.
And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.
Drop a pebble in the water: in a minute you forget,
But there’s little waves a-flowing, and there’s ripples circling yet,
And those little waves a-flowing to a great big wave have grown;
You’ve disturbed a mighty river just by dropping in a stone.
Drop an unkind word, or careless: in a minute it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on.
They keep spreading, spreading, spreading from the center as they go,
And there is no way to stop them, once you’ve started them to flow.
Drop a word of cheer and kindness: just a flash and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on,
Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave
Till you wouldn’t believe the volume of the one kind word you gave.
Drop a word of cheer and kindness: in a minute you forget;
But there’s gladness still a-swelling, and there’s joy a-circling yet,
And you’ve rolled a wave of comfort whose sweet music can be heard
Over miles and miles of water just by dropping one kind word.
–James William Foley
In addition to the dark rides, the class will also collaborate to make a couple of Coller Roasters (built for slow motion), as well as a couple of puzzles of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and a giant K'Nex Ferris wheel to mimic the one that was relocated to Forest Park in St. Louis during the famous World's Fair of 1904.
Missouri Southern State University Instructor Amber Mintert, representing our partnership with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, introduced herself to the class, yesterday. She also introduced the concept of American art to tell a story. Following her first presentation and based upon one of the art pieces she shared, students were able to make their own art, based on their own attributes and interests. Dr. Mintert will return to spend an hour with our class each day this week.
April 19, 1995. Twenty-six years from today.
Twenty-six years ago, a young man named McVeigh parked his rented moving truck on the street behind the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Inside the truck, a bomb would soon detonate and change the lives of countless people.
One hundred sixty-eight people dead.
I taught second graders just four miles away. We heard the explosion. We felt the concussion. We experienced the emotions.
Confusion. Fear. Confusion. Twenty-six years ago.
I will relay my story - my personal experiences with the 1995 terrorist attack - today. My experience with being the one responsible for leading the school into a red alert, locking the outside doors. My wife's experience of holding the one-year-old who was famously photographed in the firefighter's arms. My grandmother's experience of panic, thinking "they" were "blowing up Oklahoma City".
It is a history that needs to be remembered, studied, and learned from - one evil act counteracted by hundreds of thousands of generous responses in return. This, like Joplin's response to the tornado, eight years ago, was a defining moment - a moment when we found out who we were. In Oklahoma City, they call that response "The Oklahoma Standard".
We will look at my pictures of the Oklahoma City National Memorial, today. I'll take our fourth graders inside one of the best museums I've ever experienced. And next week, the folks at the memorial have offered us a free virtual tour.
If you can’t be the pine on the top of the hill,
Be a scrub in the valley – but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a bush, be a bit of the grass,
And some highway happier make.
If you can’t be a muskie, then just be a bass,
But the liveliest bass in the lake.
From Now I Can Fly!
By Jane McWhorter
© 2008, Andy Andrews. Used by Permission. Originally posted at andyandrews.com/blog.
In February 1519, Hernando Cortez set sail on the final leg of a voyage that was to take him from Cuba, a stopover, to the shores of the Yucatan. He commanded 11 ships, with more than 500 soldiers, 100 sailors, and 16 horses, bound for Mexico to take the world’s richest treasure. The precious jewels, gold, silver, and sculptures sheltered on this limestone peninsula had been hoarded by the same army for 600 years.
The quest for these riches began several years before in Spain. Cortez, already a wealthy man, had heard about the treasure. For centuries people had tried to take it, to no avail. But ambitious Cortez knew that he could take it—if he had the right kind of help. He decided to get more people involved. He wanted to build an army that could accomplish something that one man could not. So Cortez began to travel around Spain to talk to people and build a dream in them. Since he was already rich and successful in their eyes, as he told them of the bountiful treasure that was theirs for the taking, they believed him.
Oh, other people had tried, he told them. Columbus, Vasquez, DeSoto, Vespucci-all had gone to Mexico seeking the fortune. And all were ordinary people, just like those Cortez was trying to persuade.
“They are just like us,” he said to his listeners. “If they can do it, we can! And we will succeed!” This got them excited.
“Let’s do it!” they agreed after Cortez’s persuasive speech.
Of course, a few said, “I don’t really believe there’s treasure there,” or “I don’t think it’ll work. But the majority of the people enthusiastically embraced the idea, and before long, Cortez’s ships were in place. The soldiers were in position, the sailors were prepared, and the horses were aboard. And together they set sail for Mexico and the richest treasure in the world.
But once out on the ocean, it didn’t take long for Cortez to realize he had a problem. Some who were excited before the journey, had now turned into whiners. There are always whiners.
Cries of “I shouldn’t have come,” “This isn’t what I thought it was,” and “I didn’t know we were going to have to work this hard,” began to circulate among the people. Yet Cortez persisted, in spite of them, and made it to Cuba, where he took on water, food, and supplies. After resting his men and letting the quitters get off the ship, he began the final leg of the journey, formulating an idea that had never been used before. He created a system to motivate and train his soldiers and sailors that was unheard of in the history of the military. When they landed on the shores of the Yucatan, Cortez began training, coaching, stoking them, even. He would hold “seminars” in the afternoon and “pep-rallies” at night. They were reminded constantly of all that they were about to accomplish. Cortez painted a panoramic picture of the magnificent treasure that would soon be theirs. And as they marched up and down the beach, honing their skills of warfare, they were told, “This is just one of the beautiful beaches we’ll be able to walk along when we get that treasure!”
Oh, but they were fired up! They were eager, animated, energized, and as they waited, trained, and prepared for victory, their conviction grew.
But there was one more level of commitment that Cortez wanted to take them to, and they arrived at that place on that last, historic day, as they lined up to march inland. Before they would be allowed to seize the treasure that no army had taken for 600 years, Cortez would speak to them.
They were probably expecting something like, “OK, guys, we’re gonna get out there and win today, and when we do, we are going to par-TAAAY! . . . Oh, and if it gets too tough, we’ll just meet at the oak tree and come back to the ship.” But that’s not what they heard.
As they listened, Cortez leaned in and said three simple words that changed everything: “Burn the boats.”
“Excuse me?” they must have said.
“Burn the boats,” he repeated, “because if we are going home, we are going home in their boats.” And he torched them. He burned his own boats, and by doing so, he raised their commitment level to new and astounding heights! And an amazing thing took place: they fought well! For the first time in six centuries, the wealth changed hands. Cortez’s band took that treasure. And why did they win? The answer is very simple. They had no choice! It was “take it or die”—no options. Their boats were burned.
Theirs is the attitude you must embrace in your heart and mind: you must burn your boats. What are the boats in your life that are keeping you from accomplishing what you really want? What vessels in your mind are keeping afloat the fear and doubt and frustration that hold you captive? Whatever prevents you from achieving your goals and dreams is a boat that must be burned.
Unfortunately, when the bullets start flying, we make for the boats. It’s just human nature. Doing anything else really requires a decision on our part. It’s attitude more than anything. A willingness to work without the net, to burn the bridge—or boat. What boat do you need to burn? It can only happen one way: by embracing a level of commitment that sees sacrifice as a positive thing.
So many people think of sacrifice as something that is taken away, and it’s gone forever. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sacrifices of time, money, and effort are what we give to the game. How badly do you want that final result? Are you willing to sacrifice more than anyone else? If so, then your triumphs will be consistently greater than anyone else’s. Greatness—your greatness—will always be measured by the sacrifices that you are willing to make!
So strike a match to the anchors of your past and introduce yourself to the victories of your future.
Burn the boats!
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief
that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself --
nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror
which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
In every dark hour of our national life,
a leadership of frankness and of vigor
has met with that understanding and support
of the people themselves
which is essential to victory."
(Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inaugural, 1933)
I feel kind of like I'm in a TV show, and new actors are being called in to replace some of the main characters. I remember when they did that on Bewitched and Roseanne. I remember my mom watching Days of Our Lives when I was growing up; there were a number of times when the actors were temporarily or permanently replaced. And now it's happening in real life.
A year ago, Mr. Culbertson left the classroom for retirement. He had taught for 30 years (side-by-side with me for 25). Next year, Mrs. Mouton has opted to remain in the district's virtual teaching program, and Mrs. Stagner is moving into a literacy specialist position within the school. With the need for four teachers in the fourth grade, that means we had to find three qualified candidates to round out our fourth grade team.
It's a lot more complicated than changing a tire. We needed competent people who can learn quickly and adapt to their new situations. We needed the best new teachers for our students. We needed people who could work with their team members and add to the culture of Cecil Floyd.
A year ago, we hired Miss Graham. As a new teacher, Graham has been an excellent choice. She is conscious of teaching standards as well as techniques to deal with behaviors.
Last week, Miss Graham and I joined the principal and assistant principal to meet and interview potential new fourth grade teachers. I will abstain from introducing them yet, but I think the two ladies who met our requirements will help effectively fill out our team. We are hopeful concerning the direction that two more first-year teachers offer us. It's going to be whole new world in Cecil Floyd's fourth grade, and I am excited about the possibilities we may find ourselves headed!
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