Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Importance of Being Visible #KidsDeserveIt

When adults make school fun, we tear down walls - We build connections -  We make people smile - We make people want to work harder for the organization - We build leaders in both kids and adults!



Get out there and be visible, be fun, your community wants to connect with you!



Just the act of “being seen” can make dramatic change.  Far too often we’ve heard from teacher after teacher say things like “I never know when my principal is on campus” or “My admin only comes in my room when I’m being evaluated”.

When did this happen?  When did this become the “norm” for education?

We believe it’s time to change that.  We believe that it is extremely important for principals to be visible and engaged with their students and staff every single day.

How can you do that?  Here’s some of our favorite ways to stay visible….

  • Stop by each classroom at least once per day
  • Read to classes on a regular basis
  • Serve morning/afternoon car duty
  • Be spontaneous, raise some eyebrows, make everyone smile
  • Serve lunch duty
  • Go play at recess, all-time quarterback and kickball are two favorites
  • Attend PE/Music/Art class
  • Run the mile in PE with kids - if we’re asking them to run, you should as well
  • Stand in the hallways during class changes
  • Give high-fives
  • Give fist bumps
  • Sit on the carpet during circle time, get on their level
  • Make positive phone calls home

There are so many ways that administrators can choose to be present.  But the fact of the matter is, it’s still a choice.  A choice we have to make.

Do you want to move your school? Do you want to innovate and spark creativity? What’s your plan? Where are you going?

You can’t know where you need to go, unless you know where you already are. Feel the pulse of your school and set the tone!

You can’t build relationships if you’re not present. You can’t connect with students from your office.  If you’re not involved. If you don’t know the students’ and staff members names.

Be the point guard, put the ball in motion, make plays happen, lead your team!

What are your top ten ways to be visible for kids?



So take the time today to make yourself more visible, to get more involved. Because it really can make all the difference, and our Kids Deserve It.

And don’t forget to share your stories. Use the hashtag #KidsDeserveIt to share how you’re connecting, and inspiring others with creative ideas! You can also follow @KidsDeserveIt to continue connecting with us and subscribe to our Remind class with this link! You can also connect with us on Voxer! Our voxer handles are techninjatodd and awelcome

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Is Education Irrelevant? A challenge from @ErikWahl #KidsDeserveIt

We really wanted to allow several voices on our blog to help challenge, encourage, and instigate conversation.  Our first guest blogger is Erik Wahl.  Erik is a graffiti artist and best selling author from California.  We met Erik when he keynoted the NAESP conference last month.  Erik was the driving force behind us starting Kids Deserve It, and when looking at guest bloggers we threw out the idea of asking Erik.  Well, Erik said yes!!!  Here's Erick's third, and final, post for Kids Deserve It! Enjoy!

The other day I found a list of the 25 most in-demand skills for today’s workers. Among them, after statistical analysis and data mining: “middlewear” and integration software. Algorithm design. Web architecture and development framework. User interface design. Middlewear? I don’t even know what that is, and I bet nobody else did 20 years ago. But apparently, it’s a thing. A lucrative thing.

What the above skills have in common is that they require not only solid math, design and computer skills, but also creativity. Here’s what worries me: As our nation becomes further dependent on technology, that our nation’s schools, bound by arcane, “one size fits none”  testing standards, aren’t preparing the students to write, to design, to think on the wild side. Educators must, by law, provide specific “accountability” and meet certain testing standards. 

I have great empathy for teachers and principals, who are basically doing their jobs with one hand behind their backs, blindfolded, expecting to spin plates amid pillaged budgets and toxic politics. We know there’s limited time to get the core curricula down: Of course students need to read, write and understand science, or they won’t be able to move about in the world. And of course, all teachers are open to more creativity in their classrooms.  Every teacher I’ve ever spoken to says there’s just not enough time in the day to get everything done.

And still, consider these statistics, collected by the Broad Foundation:
  • Two out of three eighth-graders aren’t proficient in reading.
  • Seventy-five percent of students are not proficient in civics.
  • For African-American and Hispanic students across the country, dropout rates are close to 40 percent, compared to the national average of 27 percent.
  • After World War II, the United States had the No. 1 high school graduation rate in the world. Today, we have dropped to No. 22 among 27 industrialized nations. 
  • American students rank 25th in math, 17th in science and 14th in reading compared to students in 27 industrialized countries.


Here’s the challenge: HOW DO WE NOT JUST SIMPLY EDUCATE OUR KIDS, BUT RATHER IGNITE A PASSION, CURIOSITY AND FASCINATION TO SOLVE TOMORROWS CHALLENGES.

The skills in demand today require a great amount of creative thinking and original problem solving. Tomorrow’s billionaires are going to be the ones who anticipate market needs before anyone else does, and invent a way to create demand. The very future of America depends on innovation. Witness three OF THE  most valuable brands in the world: Apple, Microsoft and Google. What do they all have in common? Nobody told Bill Gates to make a computer that would go in every home. Nobody told Steve Jobs they wanted a small device that could hold thousands of songs, pictures, movies AND make phone calls. Nobody told Sergey Brin and Larry Page that one day people would be starving for information on the Internet. These innovators told the world what it wanted before the world even knew, disrupting markets, industries and practiced processes along the way. In short, they all knew how to think. ORVILLE WRIGHT NEVER GOT A PILOTS LICENSE.

How can students become relevant in this crowded, competitive and sometimes heartless world? How can collaborating with others—perhaps around the globe, via SOCIAL MEDIA AND cloud technology—become second nature? HOW DO WE MOVE THEM to effectively, efficiently, and elegantly solve problems? How do we instill such a love of learning and discovery that they’ll keep up that passion for the rest of their lives, and apply it to their own careers, art and relationships? 

Here’s something to ponder: Why are video games, Snapchat and YouTube so much more compelling to kids than history, science and math by a most ALARMING margin? 

Because those ACTIVITIES  are FASCINATING. We know that there are many teachers, in schools rich and poor, urban and rural, who are bringing the elements of innovation into their classrooms, despite the forces at work against them.  But for everyone else, how do we roll out creative classrooms to scale, so it touches every child in every part of our country? How do we create a major educational and cultural shift?

What if we revolutionized learning so much that it was infinitely more entertaining than the myriad distractions? What if we richly rewarded curiosity? WHAT IF WE AFFIRMED DIFFERENTIATION OVER STANDARDIZATION. What if we replaced tests with games? What if we blew open everything we thought we knew and started counting backwards—from what a happy, creative, successful person in the world needs from the system to become that way? 

You might be thinking, “Hey, who’s this guy, he’s not a teacher or an administrator. He’s an artist. I don’t come to his job and tell him to add more red.” 

But here’s why we’re alike. We all die without innovation. We all care deeply about America’s students and what it means for our future. I’m the father of three sons, boys who have been, and are, products of the system. 


I ask you, humbly, what are the things educational professionals can do today, and every day, to move it forward? What works for you? How will we cultivate the next generation of geniuses? I want to know. TWEET ME YOUR IDEAS @erikwahl and @KidsDeserveIt.  or leave your ideas in the comment section to share with others. Our Kids Deserve It.



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I Am Concerned for Our Children via @ErikWahl #KidsDeserveIt

We really wanted to allow several voices on our blog to help challenge, encourage, and instigate conversation.  Our first guest blogger is Erik Wahl.  Erik is a graffiti artist and best selling author from California.  We met Erik when he keynoted the NAESP conference last month.  Erik was the driving force behind us starting Kids Deserve It, and when looking at guest bloggers we threw out the idea of asking Erik.  Well, Erik said yes!!!  And Erik actually wrote us THREE blog posts that we’ll be sharing over the next few weeks. Here’s the second one!

I have a confession to make. I am CONCERNED for our children.


It's not because of the many ugly, dangerous things we see on the news or hear about

on the radio. It's because of what I am watching happen right here, right now - at the

schools we send our children to every single day.


We should all be concerned. Those of us who have spent time in the education field

know what I'm talking about. In the name of "academic excellence," we are fighting the

wrong battles and losing the war for their future. We're setting them up to fail, because

we have failed to adapt.


I'm a parent. I speak about this issue with passion because I love my children. I want

them to succeed and grow into the best possible version of themselves that they can

become. But “the real world” has already changed - and the sand is very quickly slipping

away from us. Kids are memorizing vocabulary words and math formulas in a world

where memorization is no longer relevant. We're forcing our own children into

obsolescence.


The rate of change in the tech world is accelerating at an exponential rate. And we think

we're keeping up with it. We do. We think that buying new iPads ... committing to STEM

programs ... Pay for Performance, No Child Left Behind, and standardized testing will

push them to be the best they can be. And yet - it does not matter how operationally

efficient you are if you execute the wrong strategy.


Academic excellence: what does that even mean any more? High test scores? Average

test scores? Mediocre test scores? Barely finishing high school? Finishing college with a

mound of old world data and suffocating debt and a degree that is already obsolete?

Really, in a world that has changed, what does it mean?


The raw speed of change has accelerated. As our academic rigor increases, its real world

relevancy decreases. Pure and simple. We’ve created an industrial factory education

system that has built brain robots, not thinkers. We're pushing our children through

with little forethought about the end game. What happens when they reach the other

side of this production line?


The word education comes from the latin root 'educere’ - to mold or to draw out - to

sculpt and grow the individual into the best possible version of themselves. Yet

ironically, right now, we are merely boxing our children in. We are standardizing -

regulating - ruining. We are systematically squelched the best, most creative and

compelling parts of who they were meant to be.


We think we are helping them, we do. We hold fundraisers to build new computer labs,

and iPads and overpriced textbooks, all the while knowing they will be outdated before

our check is even cashed. We pat ourselves on the back because we've given our kids

the best track spikes to run. And yet - the game has changed. Their spikes are tearing up

the court.


We need to find ways to not just educate our kids, but to ignite their passion for lifelong

learning. We need to teach children how to adapt, fill them with a quest to be

constantly curious and to challenge the status quo.


We have no way to predict the future. The only thing we can do - should do - is equip

our kids with skills to adapt to the uncertainty of this changing world. We need to help

them become comfortable with being uncomfortable. We need to teach them to be

curious about the world. And even more importantly, we have to teach them in such an

inspired way that Xbox, Snapchat and reality TV are not even on their radar. We need to

invite them to challenge us - and themselves. To invent. To improve. To inspire.


THIS is the test worth taking. THIS is the test we cannot afford to fail. Our Kids Deserve It.


And don’t forget to share your stories.  Use the hashtag #KidsDeserveIt to share how you’re connecting, and inspiring others with creative ideas! You can also follow @KidsDeserveIt to continue connecting with us and subscribe to our Remind class with this link!  You can also connect with us on Voxer!  Our voxer handles are techninjatodd and awelcome

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tweets of the Week recap #KidsDeserveIt

A large component of KidsDeserveIt are quotes from educators that we've crowdsourced from friends, colleagues and other amazing people we know. If you have a Tweetable quote that you'd like us to consider sharing on our @kidsdeserveit Twitter account, please fill out the form below!

Our most popular Tweets from the week are below, enjoy!




























Sunday, July 19, 2015

Guest post - The Discipline of Creativity #KidsDeserveIt

We really wanted to allow several voices on our blog to help challenge, encourage, and instigate conversation.  Our first guest blogger is Erik Wahl.  Erik is a graffiti artist and best selling author from California.  We met Erik when he keynoted the NAESP conference last month.  Erik was the driving force behind us starting Kids Deserve It, and when looking at guest bloggers we threw out the idea of asking Erik.  Well, Erik said yes!!!  And Erik actually wrote us THREE blog posts that we’ll be sharing over the next few weeks. Here’s the first!



Remember to connect with Erik on Twitter, Facebook, his Website or on Amazon where you can buy his bestselling book!

In my book UNthink, I researched and wrote about framework of innovation and how to unlock our mind to unleash our natural creative genius. A good portion of the book was strategically focused on how to tackle the process of dreaming up a new idea. I have shared far less about the lonely work I do to bring ideas into action. - Innovation into actionable substance. - My personal dogged approach to grinding through resistance to discover unchartered territory.

I have found some of my greatest creative breakthroughs occur when…… (are you ready for this)…… I am laser focused and militaristically disciplined.

The paradox of creativity is that structure creates freedom. I am a naturally creative spirit who has built my business with extreme orderliness and attention to detail. The strength of this structure gives me greater confidence and freedom to create.

In studying the masters;
- Beethoven sat down everyday at daybreak, regardless of season, and composed until 3:00pm.
- Kafka started writing at 11:30pm each night.
- Mozart taught lessons by day and composed only in the evenings.
- Picasso ate lunch each day with his family in silence and only allowed visitors one day per week.
- Mark Twain awoke at 5:30 am, ate a hearty breakfast, and wrote until 5:00 pm.

When fanatical discipline is combined with empirical creativity, the challenges of mental fatigue and mind-blocks are no match in the pursuit of excellence.

The only things these individuals have in common is the rigidity of their daily routines, carving out the pockets of quietude to listen to their inner creative voice.

Until you and I build up the capacity to focus like the masters, let us begin by adhering to the cheeky mindset of Peter De Vries…..“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.”

As parents and teachers,  I think it is imperative to apply the same principals of disciplined structure to keep creativity alive in the classroom. Dream. Create. Inspire. Execute. Creativity with out actionable substance is like river without banks.     

Below are two more amazing videos from Erik!
Erik Wahl sizzle reel!

And don’t forget to share your stories.  Use the hashtag #KidsDeserveIt to share how you’re connecting, and inspiring others with creative ideas! You can also follow @KidsDeserveIt to continue connecting with us and subscribe to our Remind class with this link!  You can also connect with us on Voxer!  Our voxer handles are techninjatodd and awelcome

Friday, July 17, 2015

We Don't Have Schools For Jobs #KidsDeserveIt

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This is the tweet that started it all.  This was the foundation for Kids Deserve It.  When talking about what inspired us and what we wanted to do in education, this quote came about.  And both of us agreed that no matter what we want, or how we want to change education, the kids are number one.  Every decision must center around what’s best for them.

An easy trap that we can fall into is the belief that teaching is about a job.  That it’s all about us.  Our rules, our instruction, our decorations, our classrooms.

Schools exist for kids.  Period.  

We have to stop acting like school is something that exists so we can have a job, and we have to start bringing more student voices into the conversation.

Often a common misconception is that because you may work with younger students, you can’t allow them to share their voices.  That isn’t true in the least bit!

Often times kids’ beliefs, wishes, and aspirations are so pure.  As we grow older as adults, a lot of the time we lose that purity of childhood thought and wonder, and it leaves us so gradually sometimes we don’t even notice that it has left.

Time after time, I’m reminded of the power of conversation.  Of allowing a child to tell me what they would design the classroom like.  How they would organize their day.  What books they want to read.  And so much more.  When we begin to open up those lines of communication we begin to tear down walls we may have not even known existed and we begin to create environments where everyone’s voice is valued.

Imagine walking into a school as a teacher, and knowing you had no say or no control over any aspect, not even the space in which you would be spending most of your day.  You’d feel locked down and controlled.  Our kids feel the same way.  We have to stop treating school like it’s a place where adults make all the decisions and kids have to just deal with it. And start treating school and our classrooms as a partnership where every voice matters.

Schools exist for kids.  And if we truly believe that, then we have no other choice but to start listening to the kids in our schools.  We need to amplify their voices and not our own.  We need to make sure we don’t fall into that mindset of “it’s just a job”.  Our kids are waiting with abaited breath to see what we’re going to come up with next.  So let’s create environments that are completely focused on THEM, because the Kids Deserve It.


And don’t forget to share your stories. Use the hashtag #KidsDeserveIt to share how you’re connecting, and inspiring others with creative ideas! You can also follow @KidsDeserveIt to continue connecting with us and subscribe to our Remind class with this link! You can also connect with us on Voxer! Our voxer handles are techninjatodd and awelcome

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tweets of the Week recap! #KidsDeserveit

KidsDeserveIt.com has been around for only one week now and we're going to be doing a weekly recap of Tweets! Thank you to everyone for the overwhelming support around KidsDeserveIt!

A large component of KidsDeserveIt are quotes from educators that we've crowdsourced from friends, colleagues and other amazing people we know. If you have a Tweetable quote that you'd like us to consider sharing on our @kidsdeserveit Twitter account, please fill out the form below!

Our most popular Tweets from the week are below, enjoy!










































Monday, July 13, 2015

What If All Schools Were Like This?! #KidsDeserveIt



What if this happened in all schools? A teacher or Principal comes with an idea, they grab their students and boom, try something new, just like that.

How about the flip side, a student comes to school with an idea for something awesome, and the teacher or Principal runs with the idea, just like that?

Why not? Isn’t that Common Core? Collaboration and Communication!

Learning doesn’t always have to be planned out or prepared for. Learning shouldn’t just be restricted to the classroom either, don’t let it stop once kids leave for the day. There are so many opportunities that we are given to have learning exist in those randomly inspired moments.

The question is, will you take the leap? Creativity is not something any of us are born with. Creativity is something that has to be worked at, practiced, and developed.

But imagine, as a child, that environment that you could walk into daily. An environment where you never knew what exciting thing was going to take place because you knew creativity ruled. You knew imagination ignited ideas. You knew that your ideas were just as valued as the adults in the building. What if each day was #geniushour and we took off the training wheels and saw how far everyone could go?!




Isn’t this the modern workforce? Does anyone go to work and not have anything spontaneous happen? Our jobs as Principals are never scripted, who goes to work and doesn’t have something unplanned happen to them every single day?

Educators truly do have the responsibility of building an environment of excitement, creativity, and value. We can’t be afraid of stepping out on a limb to try something new. Yes, sometimes the limb will break and we have to try something else, but maybe it won’t. Maybe we’ll create something totally brand new that will ignite a blaze within our school.

- Don’t wait to listen for a new idea from a student, ask them!
- Ordinary behavior breeds ordinary actions, spontaneity and creativity can make magic happen!

Our Kids Deserve us striking the match and starting a fire of something new. Something unexplored. Something unexpected. Our schools deserve it, our community deserves it, and our Kids Deserve It. 

What are you waiting for?

- Go big
- Be creative
- Chart new waters
- Take a risk
- Be more awesome than you were yesterday
- Kids Deserve It!

Do Something Nobody Expects

    

And don’t forget to share your stories. Use the hashtag #KidsDeserveIt to share how you’re connecting, and inspiring others with creative ideas! You can also follow @KidsDeserveIt to continue connecting with us and subscribe to our Remind class with this link! You can also connect with us on Voxer! Our voxer handles are techninjatodd and awelcome