Rolling the Dice — Flipping a Staff Conversation

So, I am going kick it to the next level. While I give my agenda out at least a week in advance to review, comment, and collaborate. Next week, I’m going to roll out a “flipped version” of the mandatory turnkey state assessment training. With the help of Jeff BradBurry (@TeacherCast), I was able to create a screencast using a freebie microphone, my presentation (I used Keynote) and QuickTime to record the screencast.

I am seeking feedback on it – please tweet me any comments.

‘Having Your Cake & Eating It Too’ – the perfect character ed opportunity

Yes, I’ve seen the movie ‘Mean Girls’.  Yes, I’ve watched a few times. Yes, I can think of some of the times when I was in high school and these scenarios ran across my plate.

Somewhat grown up at this point, and spending almost my entire career in a public school setting, I never thought I would come across someone who had teachers being the ‘mean girls’.

So, who doesn’t love cake?

During faculty meetings in a colleague’s school, its’ typical to have some cake and throw a couple of bucks towards a gift when celebrating a wedding or babies.  Normally averaging about once a year, this year, it’s around six. That’s a lot of cake and cash.

An ’emergency meeting’ was had to discuss this school-wide crisis, as decisions had to be made if they were proceeding with all of the cakes. Or so that’s what many THOUGHT they were voting on.  It turns out that the meeting was to voice objections to having cake and giving a card – because a faction does not like the person.


I heard this, paused, and asked again, “wait… say this again?”

This follow-up meeting was after the fact it was voted on to have one for this person.  A select few proceeded to ‘rally the troops’, and make a case.

“Well, the person doesn’t like me so why should I contribute?”, quipped one teacher.

Said another, “The person will take pictures and tweet it out.  I don’t want to give anyone the impression that we like this person.”

Another teacher said, “You just get tired of fighting.  Everyone just gives in.  That, and not everyone is voting.  Many don’t want to get sucked into this black hole, and quite frankly, I can’t blame them. ”

One teacher said to another, “You’re probably going to get him a card.  If you do, don’t sign my name, and certainly don’t sign it from all of us.”

What ever happened to the notion of “If you don’t want to contribute, don’t sign the card?” Why not let other go ahead and have their cake? And eat their cake?  Can you really not have a cake OR eat it? phew!

Furthermore, who has the time in the day to be stewing over something so minimal as this? When I was teaching, I hardly had time to use the bathroom. And why would you waste all of that energy into something like a cake & card? My opinion – – they are probably deflecting so that others aren’t paying attention to what they are, or are not, doing. Anyway…

The staff meeting was purposely moved so those party logistics could be provided.  The person walked into the meeting thinking there was cake and all the typical hooplah, and nothing was there.  The person was thrown off, but carried on.

As a Superintendent, I can’t even fathom this. How can a group of teachers, charged with educating students in academics and character, be so petty and so, well, ‘mean girlish?’

The allegedly are the same faction of folks who aren’t willing to stay after school for school related stuff (unless paid) but will stay after to discuss who gets a cake and a card?


I can only imagine how amazing of a Staff it would be if they did.

In their current position, two books for that staff come to mind are:

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Click here for book review of Todd Whitaker’s book “Shifting the Monkey”.  Todd’s book goes into the depths of what ‘monkeys’ are (problems & problematic people) and how to deal with them. It’s totally worth scooping up online or reserving in the library.


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Click here for a book review of Dave Burgess’s book “Teach Like A Pirate”  Dave’s book is magic.  It’s just a fantastic compilation of what educators can to to be great and what superb educators can do to tweak to the educational peaks of awesomeness.

Of course, no book is the magic bean, but it’s a start on getting to the right path.  That being said, you don’t know what you don’t know. Maybe such behaviors are jus ingrained in a building over years of neglect? I don’t want to go down that path that they did; nobody should be putting that amount of effort into something so petty.

What screams out to me is so many teachable moments from this.  So many types of character education opportunities can arise from this.  If this incident really happened, and the teachers saw this happening to a student (i.e. having a birthday party and then uninviting), I believe most would pounce on the opportunity to delve into a variety of conversations that circulate around being good people.

As I finish this post on MLK day, I wonder what such a leader would think of this.  A champion of education, I believe Dr. King would be reminding those why they are in education in the first place.

So on this day, have some cake.  In fact, have cake everyday.  That’s what the gym in for 🙂


Makeshift Apple VR headset: How to use Google Cardboard with an iPhone (Video)

I just got mine today and I’m addicted. I can’t wait for our learners to make them from scraps here in school!

“I have an idea” – My First Month as an Administrator

Nice job, Erin. Onward!!

Murphy's Musings Image credit:

My first month as an Assistant Principal went by in a whirlwind. So much so, that we are pushing month two as I wrap up this post. I have spent a great deal of my time visiting classrooms and finding the pulse of the building. I feel fortunate to work with passionate, dedicated educators. Our building thrives with a plethora of after-school activities and rich traditions. Our head principal (@principalmkelly) is dedicated to promoting student voice. During week one, he made my first mission to get our building makerspace up and running (I have been working closely with our librarian/media specialist, @mollymagro, to make this happen  – more on that later). Simply, I feel very lucky.

The number one thing I have learned: “I have an idea,” takes on a whole new meaning.

My previous teaching partner (@jenharding55) and I loved the phrase “I…

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Teachers – The 10 Stages of Twitter

I think this is pretty spot-on.

Learning and Innovation


Stage 1

Sign up to twitter following persuasion/pestering by colleagues. Follow Stephen Fry, a famous sportsman/popstar and a news channel. Read a few tweets, don’t understand what the fuss is about and mock anyone who uses twitter.

Stage 2

Overhear colleagues chatting about twitter and a great article they found. Promise to give it a go again and follow two or three recommendations. Find articles interesting and wonder how to get more. Nervously ask colleagues for help/who to follow and start to visit timeline a couple of times a week.

Stage 3

Think about posting first tweet. In an act of tremendous bravery write: ‘My first tweet, wondering what this twitter thing is all about?’ Sit waiting for a response – feel unloved.

Stage 4

Upon realising you have no followers ask colleagues how to get them? Watch ‘how to’ video on youtube and receive follows from a few…

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Post-it Note Purpose

This is fantastic! Onward!!

Pollyanna Writer


Today is January 3, which means only one thing: I’m three days into a new year and still motivated to reach the goals I set for 2015. Yay me!

Like many people, I’ve been caught in the trap of making too many goals or hanging hope on abstract wishes that never quite see the light of attainment. Have you found yourself in this place as well? Pull up a chair. Let’s compare stories as we crumple the paper of unfulfilled resolutions and start anew.

By the way, you only get one Post-it note for 2015.


That’s right. One Post-it note. For all your goals. No, you may not cheat with the extra large notepad. If you can’t fit all your goals on a 3×3″ piece of paper, you have too many goals and will get to the end of 2015 feeling like a failure. I say this with complete honesty…

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