The Cardinal Way

Sharing and Learning at Southport Middle School

Student Success is a Team Effort!

IN THE MIDDLE OF IT - Blogging, It's Not For Me (Pt. 4)

I have spent the last three weeks writing about why you should start blogging. In my past three posts, I addressed three of the reasons I hear often from people about why blogging is not for them: I am not a good writer, I don’t have anything important to say, and I don’t know what to write about. To wrap up my April blogging series I will attempt to tackle- maybe the most difficult challenge we face: TIME.

As I mentioned in my last two posts, it was my hope to use this month to explain why these “excuses” are actually the reasons you need to start a blog.

Time is a struggle for us all. Busy schedules rule our lives. We spend a great deal of time at work, have family commitments, and somewhere in all of the madness try to build in time for selfull activities. Regardless of how you divide it, there just does not seem to be enough time in the day to make it all happen. I am writing this post during a week that brings state standardized testing, interviews, along with many other job responsibilities, and this doesn’t even begin to mention all of the family obligations that are on the docket as well. This is a week, as I am sure most you can sympathize, where I could use a few more hours in a day to fit it all in and make it all work. It is a struggle to find balance and to not let busyness reign. The more busyness I have found in my life, I have realized, as Steven Covey would say, I must find a way to put “first things first.” To find balance in the midst of chaos, we must all learn to prioritize what is really important in our lives and then schedule the time to make these priorities happen.

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As I have shared in the past, making a weekly commitment to blogging has been an impractical journey but has shifted my thinking in many ways. But, none of this would have happened if I had not prioritized the time to reflect, think, and write. Notice, I did not mention, that I create time, or find time, to reflect, think, and write. Time is the one factor that is the same for all of us. We all live in the same 24 hour day. There is no time to be created or found. There are only priorities to help us make decisions on how to most positively use the time we have allotted.

I often hear people say, “I don’t have time to do _____.” What you are really saying is, “I don’t find _____ enough of a priority to make it happen.” And to be honest, there is nothing wrong with that. We cannot do everything, but we always seem to create the space to do the things we find most important. If reading is important; you find time to read. If you love watching movies; you find time to go to the theater. If your family is valued; you carve out time from a busy schedule to spend quality time with them. In our classrooms, if we believe it is important to recognize students, create authentic learning activities, or improve our own instructional craft; we find time to make those things happen. I truly believe we make time for what is really important. If you don’t currently make time for something, then I would challenge you to realize that it is not something you really find important. Certainly, you may feel the idea of it is important, but if you never take action and carve out some time -- you don’t value it. This blog and the learning it creates for me is important, so regardless of the week I am having, I find time to think, reflect, and write. We are all busy, not one of us has enough time, but we can always create the space to do what we value! The question is: Are your values in the right place?

I encourage you to make a list of what you value, and then make a list of things you did today. Do your lists align? Are you prioritizing time for what you say really matters? If so, outstanding! If not, what needs to go? What are you spending your time doing that does not matter, and could easily be replaced by something that does? Schedule your priorities! Create space to read for a few minutes before bed instead of sitting in front of the television. Take 5 minutes before you leave work to sit still and reflect on your day. Schedule a few minutes each day to journal about the things that went well throughout the course of the day. The last three things that I mentioned… those are the start of your blog. Read, reflect, write -- then have the courage to share your thoughts with the world. Start blogging!

This post wraps up my month long journey to encourage others to start blogging. I hope that over the past few weeks (or a binge reading session) you too will take the leap and begin an amazing learning journey through blogging. I am so happy and thankful I made the decision a few years ago to start blogging. It has made an amazing difference in my personal and professional life!

Keep learning; keep growing; keep sharing!

This is cross posted on my Principal's Blog

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  • Thank you to everyone for making this ISTEP week a success!
  • Thank you to Stephanie Quinlan for making the process as painless and efficient as possible and Michelle Swan for making sure everyone student had a calculator for their testing this week.
  • Thank you to everyone who helped with interviews for the Assistant Principal position last night.
  • Thank you to Shannon Leber for keeping us afloat in the main office over the past couple of days.


Week 33 Grateful Friday Challenge

There is nothing like a small positive note to make your day better, so why not do that for someone right now? Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning knows the impact that a simple note can make! Before you leave school today, write at least one handwritten note to another staff member.

Dear Peyton | Gatorade


The Big Picture


Each day we share a story of learning taking place at Southport Middle on our 180 Days of Learning Blog. Below are this week's stories of learning.

8th Grade Science

Over the past week, students in the 8th Grade Advanced Science classes have been building water rockets in class . Today students got to launch those rockets. Students revisited and applied principles of the design process . Students created two rockets and then tested a variable of their choosing to try and get the rocket to soar the highest.

Genius Projects in Cluster

Teachers are working on their “Genius Projects” after school today. Last week, teachers began a self-directed project of their choice to work through during our last professional development cycle. Using George Couros’s book “Innovator’s Mindset” as a framework, teachers have selected an innovative idea to try in their classrooms during the last six weeks of the school year. It is great to see our teachers showing their personal genius throughout these projects. The teachers at Southport Middle are second to none!

Jenny Moore

Mrs. Moores 8th grade social studies students were assigned a work challenge today. Students were given a bag filled with cotton balls and glitter. The students were charged to place only cotton balls in a separate bag, which means the students had the pain stacking task of removing ALL the glitter from the cotton balls. To make matters even worse, students were told they would only relieve points for the activity if they were 100% successful at the task. After the challenge was over, Mrs. Moore and her students made connections to factory and field work that took place in the mid to late 1800s. Students connected the futility of their task with the tough demands of working during this time era. Workers only got paid if the job was complete and jobs were difficult during this time. Students walked away with authentic feeling for what it was like to be a laborer during the 1800s.

Warren Hultman

Mr. Hultman's 8th Grade social studies students are looking at things from the perspective of Lewis and Clark by participating in a classroom expedition. Students were blindfolded and then required to move through a specific path in the classroom in groups. When completed students brainstormed challenges they faced while on their classroom expedition. Mr. Hultman and the students then made connects between these challenges and the difficulty Lewis and Clark faced traveling to the Pacific Ocean in a large group without having clear route to take in their travels.

Mike Greathouse

Mr. Greathouse's 8th grade art students are building 3D sculptures with paper. Over the past few days, students have learned how to fold paper into basic 3D shapes. Students then developed a plan for a sculpture of their choice. Students broke down the item they wanted to sculpt into the basic shapes and started folding and constructing. Students sculptures are starting to take form and look amazing!


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