Featured Post

Bestest PE Teacher

 What it is:  Our PE teacher just started a blog of her own!  The blog is called Bestest PE Teacher, her hope is that it will be a place to start a conversation with teachers, students, and parents about physical education in schools, reminisce about PE memories, and advice for parents and students. ...

Read More

Acting on hindsight #edchat

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, Classroom Management, professional development | Posted on 13-01-2014

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

I hate that we have to do trainings like this.  I really do. It breaks my heart that within 15 minutes of Anastasis 3 major school shootings have taken place.  I hate that I know what it is like to wait on the outside. That I know intimately how it breaks families when their child is the one.  That I also know what it is like to worry about kids I’ve known since they were 5. It doesn’t get easier.

I also hate that we have to do fire drills. The reality of why we have to do those drills makes me sad. That a fire drill exists because there were some who died in a fire is equally sad. Yet we do them regularly.  I can’t remember a time when I actually heard of a child dying in a school fire, but I’m sure it has happened.  So we run drills. 6 times every year.  We practice getting out of the building safe so that, heaven forbid, if a fire ever happened, evacuating would feel second nature.  We would all know what to do.

No matter how many times we train, when tragedy strikes it feels different. Time slows down and, at the same time, goes impossibly fast. Decisions matter. This is when we fall back on all of the training and hope that our muscles remember what their job is. We work hard to be calm for kids.  We know implicitly that we will do anything to keep our kids safe.

I was in a neighboring high school during the Columbine school shooting. This was the first time that I remember ever being in “Lock down.”  My algebra 2 teacher quickly locked the classroom door.  We turned out the lights.  We stayed out of site from the door and were asked to be totally silent.  Later we would turn on the TV (cable in the classroom was new), and watch as friends poured out of the high school down the street.  We would keep lists of those we saw so that we could tell each other who we knew was accounted for.  Afterward I would hear stories from those inside about how it went. Some hid in closets. Some under tables. All waited. In some cases that waiting led to friends dying under the neighboring table. Hindsight is always 20/20.  Now we know how quickly it was all over inside the school. Now we look at the number of law enforcement on the outside of the school with all of their armor and weapons and wonder why they sat and waited SO long on the outside. Now we wonder why those who could evacuate stayed where they were and waited…even knowing that there was a gunman in the building. Hindsight is hard. There is so much to do differently.

But we don’t really.  15 years later and little has changed about how we respond to danger. A shooter in the building and we tell teachers and students to stay put and wait.

Now I have my own school.  Anastasis Academy.  It is incumbent on me to use that hindsight to prepare differently.  I know how this goes. I still hate that it is necessary. It still gives me that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that somehow by preparing, we would be inviting trouble. I guess this is the same reason people don’t like writing wills.  That superstition that if they don’t do it- nothing can happen because they won’t be ready.  The real world doesn’t wait for us to be ready.

Social Media has done a lot of great things for me professionally.  It pushed me to start a school.  Most recently, a connection I first made online, led to a friendship.  @laurascheer isn’t an educator.  We started talking on Twitter because she has kids of her own. She is interested in education as a parent. Then we realized we live within 5 minutes of each other and met.  Laura introduced me to a client of hers, @taconeconsulting.  I had no idea a company like Tac One existed.

Being in charge of a school is hard. It is hard to balance what you know about kids, with what you know about the world, and what you know about liability.  But I’ve seen school shootings up close. I know how they go.  I had a hard time doing lock down the way that every other school does lock down. I guess I was waiting for permission to trust my instincts.  After the Arapahoe shooting, Laura messaged me and asked if we would be interested in having Tac One Consulting come out and train us.
I immediately accepted (despite the irrational “jinx” alarm in my mind).  On Saturday all Anastasis staff went through Tac One’s Beyond Lockdown Training. I’m so glad that we did!  Joe helped us see that this is no different from preparing for a fire. The hope is always that all the training will go without a test. But, in the instance that you need it, you have it.

The team teaches what I’ve always suspected should be the case: if your students are able to get out of the building (where all the law enforcement is…or will soon be…hanging out) do it. Evacuation is the best case scenario, NOT sitting and waiting the way many of us have been told to do for 15 years. Tac One even taught us how to evacuate so that we do so in a safe, smart way.

If for some reason we can’t get out of the building, we were taught how to secure our classrooms.  Joe walked us through each room and helped us think through what could be used to do this. Visualizing what is available puts your mind at ease. You have a plan, you aren’t left sitting in the dark. We also learned about various guns. What they look like, how they work, what the bullets and magazines look like. If you come upon a hallway with discarded magazines, you now have a better idea of what you are dealing with. Knowledge is power. We were taught how to disarm a shooter in a “safe” manner (not sure this is ever safe).  We took turns practicing this on Tac One’s bad guy, John.  We learned how to more safely navigate halls, how to fight back if it all goes poorly, etc.

I’ll say it again, I pray that I will NEVER need any of this knowledge. But I also hope I will never need fire drill knowledge. I also hope I will never have to put our tornado drill to the test.  I will continue to run our staff through ALL of these drills and trainings because I haven’t figured out how to predict the future or how to prevent bad things from happening.

I am beyond thankful for Tac One’s training not only from a tactical standpoint, but also for the reminder of the truly incredible people I’ve surrounded myself with. This was a great reminder of the trust that I have in my staff. If I ever need someone to have my back, I’m glad that they are around!

capitalizing on hindsight

School administrators- I encourage you to take a good look at your lock down procedures. Are you doing the same things that have been done for the past 15 years? Even with all we know about how this goes?

Teachers- You are the first line of defense. Protecting kids falls on your shoulders. If your school has a tired lock down policy, encourage them to look at a training like Tac One offers.

Parents- Know what your child’s school does to keep your kids safe. If there is room to grow, push. This is important. Pray that it never happens, but don’t make assumptions that it won’t ever happen to your child’s school.

It is up to us to protect that which is most precious. I want to know that I’ve taken every possible measure to do that.  Before Laura pointed me to Joe at Tac One, I didn’t know such a training was available to schools. It is.  Check it out.

Thank you Joe at @taconeconsulting and @laurascheer very much appreciated!

Beyond Lockdown: Invitation for #Colorado educators to join for FREE

Posted by admin | Posted in General | Posted on 02-01-2014

Tags: , , , , , ,

1

I’ve been radio silent in the blogging world since the shooting at Arapahoe high school. It hurts. I hate that this has happened again. I hate that the waiting to hear from former students felt so familiar. I ache that all kids live in a world where school isn’t always a safe place. The week before the shooting at Arapahoe, the kids at Anastasis were creating bracelets, paper airplanes, and a video for the Sandy Hook community and I wrote this post on our school blog.

It’s hard to write about new technology finds and educational tools when you ache for your community, when lives have been forever altered and two families have to learn how to exist differently. Despite the pain and sadness, there is also a time of healing. I’ve been incredibly proud of the Arapahoe community who IS warrior strong. The Colorado community has once again rallied and has come with an outpouring of love, support for one another, and healing together.

One of my friends on Twitter, @LauraScheer, contacted me following the shooting at Arapahoe, and extended an amazing gift through a friend of hers.  A private “Beyond Lockdown” training for the Anastasis staff and 15 of our Colorado friends.  TAC ONE consulting is providing their “Beyond Lockdown” training course for free.  This training has been designed to help prepare school faculty with an aggressive response to an active gunman. During this course, we will learn to: understand the “active shooter” and identify active shooter incidents/trends, identify current mainstream practices and shortfalls, acquire basic understanding of firearms, understand new aggressive action plans, and receive training and recommendations.

The class is being held on Saturday Jan. 11, 2014 from 12:30-4:30 in Centennial.  We want to invite 15 of our Colorado teaching friends to join us for FREE.  If you are interested, please contact me in the comments below OR on Twitter @ktenkely and I will get you complete details.  This training is typically costly, this is an amazing gift from TAC Consulting trainer Joe Deedon!

It makes me sad that we live in a world where this type of training is becoming a necessity. I’m thankful for people like Laura and Joe who make it available in a time of need and prepare us accordingly. I hope that you won’t assume that this could never happen at your school.  I hope our Colorado friends will take us up on this offer. I pray that none of us will ever need to put this training to use.

If you are so inclined: adventures in humbleness

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, professional development, Teacher Resources | Posted on 08-04-2013

Tags: , , , , ,

0


I am honored and humbled to have been nominated for a Bammy award for Education Commentator/Blogger.  This blog started out as a way for me to keep track of the incredible education tools and resources that I came across.  Since 2007, it has become SO much more.  It has become a source of inspiration (because I met all of YOU incredible people!), it has become a timeline of my own educational journey, it was the match that started a school, it has become a place where I reflect.

I attended the Bammy Awards last year as a blogger.  I’m excited that there is a movement in education to honor the incredible things that happen in education every day.  I’m excited for the public voice and recognition this award ceremony provides for educators everywhere.  I’m thrilled that there is a way for us to tell each other that what we do every day matters.

If you are so inclined, I would love your votes.  The votes aren’t really what matters though, what matters is that we support each other every day.  Thank you for the ways you have, and continue to support me!  I couldn’t do what I do without you.  Truly, you have NO idea how you all keep me going some days! I am forever indebted to you!

If you are new to the Bammy Awards, you can read more about them below:

Silence is no longer an option.

The relentless national criticism of America’s public schools that is driving the negative public perception of education is leading to a decrease in public confidence and support. This is seen in demands to reduce funding, drives for privatization, highstakes standardized testing  and decreasing influence of frontline educators in the policies that impact you every day.  This is true despite the great work and best efforts of the millions who actually work inside education.

Dilligently working with kids in isolation, while quietly believing that humility is the best posture for educators just assures that  the negative public perception will continue.  To change public perception the voices of educators must be amplified. The stories of what’s right in American education must be told and you can start right now by acknowledging your nomination for a Bammy Award.

Be part of the solution.

“The depth of discouragement among educators in the trenches is at an all-time high and cannot be overstated,” said former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch in a recent BAM Radio interview.

This was backed up by Gail Connelly, executive director at the National Association of Elementary School Principals, who said, “I have never seen anything like it in 30 years.”

Educators are being intensely scrutinized, but not as intensely recognized for the great work being done. Together we can change this.

A Bammy Award nomination  is meaningful recognition that matters. 

Bammy nominations are made by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International, comprised of very accomplished, respected and recognized education leaders. The aggregate achievements and contributions of the Academy’s members makes recognition by this group a substantive and unparalleled honor to be highly valued, coveted and respected across the education community and beyond.

Your nomination means that you have made enough of a difference in education that you have caught the attention of a member of the Academy and are a leader in the field yourself. You help bring positive recognition to the education  field, yourself and your organization by spreading the word.

 

You can Vote Here

Nominations for the amazing educators you know can be Made Here

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Geography, Inquiry, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 17-12-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

What it is: Today Anastasis students were lucky enough to visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.  It was a truly fantastic experience (if you ever find yourself in Colorado, it is worth a visit! Open free everyday!).  The center has some fantastic interactive exhibits, much like what you find at Exploratorium in California.  In addition to the physical location, the National Center for Atmospheric Research has some wonderful online games, activities and resources for the classroom.

In the Interactives and Simulations for weather, climate and atmospheric science section you will find:

  • A virtual laboratory for creating a weather balloon.
  • A simple virtual climate model.
  • The build a tree dendrochronology activity where students can explore past climates.
  • Compare IPCC scenarios interactive where students forecast carbon dioxide levels.
  • The climate sensitivity calculator.
  • The Earth’s Energy balance virtual lab.
  • Compare solar eclipse photos activity.
  • Solar eclipse memory
  • Sun-earth connections memory
  •  Clouds memory
  • Atmospheric chemistry memory
 In the classroom activities section, you will find:
  • Paleoclimates and Pollen where students can study pollen.
  • Model a moving glacier where students make a model of a glacier and create an experiment to study movement.
  • Glaciers then and now where students study pictures of glaciers taken in the 1900’s and compare them to pictures of the glaciers today.
  • The systems game where students observe a system.
  • Looking into surface Albedo where students inquire into how color affects the way that the sun interacts with Earth’s surface.
  • Feeling the heat where students investigate which parts of their school yard have a higher temperature.
  • CO2 How much do you spew where students analyze energy consumption.
  • The nitrogen cycle game where students play the role of nitrogen atoms traveling through the nitrogen cycle.
  • The water cycle 0-18 and ice cores where students look at proxy data to determine past climate.
In addition to the fantastic activities on the site, students can learn more about the sun and space weather, weather, atmosphere and climate on the NCAR website.

How to integrate the National Center for Atmospheric Research into the classroom: If you are studying weather, climate or atmospheric research with your students this is a must stop site.  It is FULL of great activities, virtual labs and easy-to read and understand information.  Really, take a few minutes to dig in.  Today, when we visited we got to explore some of these virtual labs and games first hand.  Our students watched a short video introducing them to NCAR and what scientists do there.  Next we entered into a classroom where the fun began!

Today we learned about the North and South Poles.  The fine people at NCAR had made globe paddles that had the north pole on one side and the south pole on the other (glued to giant tongue depressors).  They gave the students different facts about the north and south pole and students had to hold up their paddles with the correct answers.  Next, students learned about how polar bears were equipped for the COLD temperatures.  There were tubs of ice water on the table.  Students were asked to place their hands inside the ice water.  We timed how long they lasted in the cold water.  Next, students put their hands in a “blubber” paw and tried the experiment again.  The hand inside the layer of blubber could stay in the cold for a long time with no discomfort.  These blubber paws were actually made with 2 ziplock baggies with Crisco in between the layers and duct-tape at the top of the baggies so that they were sealed together around openings where the two baggies came together.  This left a Crisco pocket that formed the paw.  Students also learned about penguins and how they find their mate in hundreds and hundreds of penguins.  Penguins have particular sounds that help alert their mate.  The penguins can distinguish between the particular sounds that each penguin makes to find their mate.  Students simulated this by each taking a film canister with an object/objects in it.  The students had to shake their canister and find their match using the sound alone.  They had a ball with this!  They also practiced transferring a styrofoam egg from one pair of feet to another without using their hands the way that the penguin does.  Our students also did the glacier matching project (listed above) where they worked in teams to match the original pictures to the new pictures.  Some of these were really challenging as the second picture had NO glacier to be seen!  The kids learned that every glacier in the world is shrinking with the exception of two glaciers in Norway.  Fascinating!

Our classroom today…can’t beat the view!

 

Touching clouds!

 

Our students got to follow the activities above with an exploration of weather, climate, and atmosphere science exhibits.  You could easily recreate the activities above and follow up with virtual simulations, videos and games.  These could be set up as centers for students to explore (the virtual centers on classroom computers).  There is SO much here that exploration of all that the NCAR site has to offer could take days.  The simulations and games would also be appropriate on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer where students can explore and interact as a whole class.  Allow students to take turns playing scientist.

Tips: While we were at NCAR, our guide, Tim, told us that NCAR was originally established in the 1960s to learn how to control the weather.  This brought up a great discussion about what could happen if humans could control the weather, and what unintended consequences might come along with that.  This would make for a great creative writing exercise or comic strip.  Our students came up with some insightful thoughts on this topic!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  NCAR in your classroom.

Learning 2.0 A Colorado Conversation

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0 | Posted on 18-01-2010

Tags: , , , , ,

3

What it is:

“Education is conversation. Conversation creates change.

The future of education does not exist in an isolated world of theory conveyed through abstract conference sessions. Instead, it exists in conversations that begin with a robust learning network that is ever-expanding and just-in-time. Learning 2.0 is not the beginning of this conversation, rather it is a stopping point; a time to talk about the visible difference that we all seek. We read. We reflect. We write. We share. We learn. Come join us for a day of conversation about learning and technology.”

logo

Learning 2.0 A Colorado Conversation is “ a conference/unconference/meetup for teachers, administrators, students, school board members, parents, community, and anyone else who is interested in education. There is NO COST for attendees to join the conversation.” Participants can attend in person or virtually.  This year Learning 2.0 takes place on Saturday, February 20 at Loveland High School.  Learning 2.0 is in it’s third year.  I attended for the first time in 2009 and throughly enjoyed the conversation, learning, and collaboration.  You can’t beat the price (free) and even luch is included (who says there is no such thing as a free lunch?!).  Sessions range from leadership, classroom practice, to professional development.  Round Table discussions end the day (I am hosting one of these).


Tips: Be sure to register for the event here and add your name to the attendee list here.  I look forward to the conversation and hope you will join us (in person or virtually).


Are you joining the conversation?

Learning 2.0 a Colorado Conversation

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 11-02-2009

Tags: , , , , ,

0

What it is:   If you live in Colorado or will be passing through on February 21st, you should definitely be taking part in Learning 2.0 a Colorado Conversation!  This is a free one day conference (yes I really said free!) that also includes a free lunch.  All that you need to do is register and be ready to talk education.  “The future of education does not exist in the isolated world of theory and abstract conference sessions. Instead, it exists in conversations. It exists in creating a robust learning network that is ever-expanding and just-in-time. Learning 2.0 is not the beginning of this conversation. It is merely a stopping point, a time to talk about the visible difference that we all seek. We read. We reflect. We write. We share. We learn. Come join us for a day of conversation about learning and technology.”  The conference is being held at Heritage High School from 9am to 3pm.  To learn more visit the wiki and register!  http://colearning.wikispaces.com/Home+2009

Leave a comment and let us know if you are going and what you thought of it!