Head U Gator News

March 22, 2015

Don't forget the power that you have...

I read this and couldn't wait to share. Especially at this time of year, when we often feel a little defeated by what we see as a lack of progress, this was a great reminder of the power you have. WG


How Creative Teachers Make Beauty Out Of Chaos

Teachers hold the children of this planet in the palms of their hands. Their jobs are multifaceted and vital for the children they teach.


There are very few routine days in the classroom. Teachers learn easily that plans go awry quickly for a million different reasons. The really extraordinary creative teachers learn to handle the chaos of the world, the educational system and their classrooms with the grace of a gifted dancer. They make teaching look easy. They are the ones who know at some level that great teaching is an art that takes timing, hard work, compassion, great observation and communication skills. They must use their creative talents as they engage their students at all levels.


The clear vision of what a child could be and what their hidden talents are is a vital component to authentic teaching and true education. Factory education does not meet the needs of children or teachers. In the classroom one size does not fit all. This dilemma has plagued education ever since we gave up the one-room schoolhouse. A creative teacher is much like a master director of an orchestra bringing many different instruments and musicians together in harmony. It takes wisdom, patience, kindness and vision.


Every day, the context changes. New technology, new priorities, new pressures. Somehow, creative teachers can squint a little, see what matters, and make it beautiful.


In 1975, Patricia Rose Upczak started a highly successful integrated program for learning disabled adolescents in Boulder, Colorado. She loved her job and taught for 23 years. She is now pursuing a full-time writing career, which includes teaching workshops at schools, conferences, and offering three to five day retreats for teachers and writers in the Rocky Mountains. Currently she is involved with an amazing conference, The International Conference of Creativity, Thinking & Education taking place April 18th & 19th, 2015. Please go to happyteacherhappystudents.com for all the details.

How Creative Teachers Make Beauty Out Of Chaos; The Opportunities For Creativity In Your Teaching

The post The Opportunities For Creativity In Your Teaching appeared first on TeachThought.

Great Gators

Thanks to everyone who has nominated Great Gators. I love reading the paragraphs and seeing what our students have done. If you have someone who has done something nice or been outstanding in any way, please think about nominating them for this award.
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Fascinating observation -math

If you teach math to any age student, I hope you'll look carefully at the following pictures:
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What's the big deal?

Here's the observation I made. This was the work of a kindergarten student who is very bright, and has been working in math lab all year. She has worked on equivalency problems, and does problems where one side has to equal the other. However, these sets of problems:

__ = 8 + 8


18 = __ + 9


14 = __ + 3


__ = 11 + 2


completely threw her. She could NOT solve the problems unless she put the = sign on the "right" side of the equation!


It just reinforced to me how important it is for us to continue to work on the concept of the equal sign NOT meaning "this is the answer" but rather both sides are the same. Whenever you are working on equations, please spend equal time (!) writing the equations in other ways so that students get that concept. It will make their understanding of Algebra so much easier if they can get that fundamental understanding early on.

Sherlock Visits

Many of you have already recorded and shared your visits. Some of you may have visited others and just not left a note and checked yourself off. I'm going to wait until next week and then contact you individually as a reminder.


I know that some of you are still resistant to the idea, or you doubt that there is really a point. The research is consistent and powerful: schools that are collegial are more effective. This is one way that I can create a structure for collegiality, although it is certainly not the only way.

Learning from others....

When I shared in the Friday newsletter that we would not only be 1:1 next year but students would be able to take home their iPads, the technologist at Cannon emailed and shared how excited she was. She has a child here at Glenhope, and really believes that allowing the students to use the devices all the time is a great advantage. She offered to facilitate opportunities for the Cannon teachers to talk with us about things they have learned that will help as we prepare for next year. I have sent her a couple of dates and will let you know as soon as we find an agreeable day so you can plan to go over with us. It makes good sense for us to learn from what they discovered!

Small group minutes

Only 4 people remembered to enter their small group minutes Friday. I completely understand that we've gotten out of the routine for a lot of things with the recent disruptions! Please do that this afternoon or tomorrow as soon as you can. Thank you!

This week:

Monday- Third grade will travel to the Dallas World Aquarium.

Math Lab @2:45 Monday. We have a much smaller group signed up for this round (only about 25 students)

CEC @3:15 Monday.

Tuesday- GTU

no WG for morning

Whitley's birthday

Wednesday- I'm here! No district meeting this week.

Thursday afternoon we will host a meeting of the Champions group. This is a group made of one representative from each school. Each month they discuss one aspect of the district in detail, which allows them to learn more about the "big picture" of the district. Heidi is our rep this year, and Virginia was last year. I assume we'll need someone for next year, so if you're interested, let me know.

Friday- LWP and Gatorville. Please go to the google drive document and put the number of Spirit sticks you need so I can get them to you.