Sunday, December 4, 2016

Don't Ask Me for My Kids' Test Scores...


Don't ask me for my kids standardized test scores.

Because I don't know.

I don't care.

My kids are more than a test score. Yes, I use data from formative assessments and other data points that help me understand what I need to adjust for each kid, the best I can. But I don't really care about a test that treats every kid the same and expects them to master the same content at the same time and demonstrate it in the same way.

That has got to sound crazy to someone other than me.

Ask me for my kids' names.

Ask me who's a poet.

Ask me who's a writer.

Ask me who's a programmer. A mathematician. A musician. An artist.

Ask me how my kids are going to change the world.

Ask me who works well with others. Ask me who's scared to go home. Ask me who's hungry. Ask me who takes care of their siblings. Ask me who's dealing with things that a 12-yr-old shouldn't have to deal with.

Don't ask me for their test score. I don't know. I don't care.

I care about my kids. Not their numbers.

Thanks for reading

I'm on Twitter @YourKidsTeacher

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Refrigerator Privileges and Twitter


It might be an overstatement to say that everything that has come my way professionally can be traced back to Twitter, but it's close. I like to joke that without this 140 character limit platform, I wouldn't have any friends or any original ideas. Of course this isn't entirely true, but my Twitter timeline is a place where I've been inspired countless times over the last several years.

I have come to trust Twitter's space and those that I've interacted with. I've said for as long as I can remember that I'm on Twitter for the relationships, not the numbers. On Twitter, I get to surround myself with friends.

The people that I follow, help me imagine, challenge my thinking, and reinforce my purpose. They are people who think big. Dreamers. They are people who think and act differently. Rebels and revolutionaries. The people who I follow are willing to share their successes and failures. People who make me a better educator.

I owe the same to people who have chosen to follow me.

My previous post talked about putting the power of Twitter in student's hands.  It's not just just the virtual interactions, 140 character can lead to real friendships. Twitter is the 'real' world and can lead to real friendships.

For the past couple of Februarys I've made my way to Centennial CO to attend 5-Sigma Educon held at the remarkable Anastasis Academy. The first year I was the recipient of their 'noob' effort in which Kelly and Michelle crowdfunded my registration and flight costs. I'm still terribly grateful. They're good people. The second year of 5-Sigma, I convinced my district to send me as part of my TOY PD. Both years I stayed at Chez Baldwin, Michelle and her husband Jon's home.

I had 'talked' to Michelle for years on Twitter before our first face-to-face interaction at ISTE in Atlanta, but when we first met it was like reuniting with a long time friend.

When Michelle picked me up at the Denver airport, yeah she's nice, we spent the trip just talking about cats, kids, and my amazing ability to hold an open cup of coffee without spilling a drop. When we arrived I met Paco and Diego (their Chihuahuas) and was made to feel instantly at home. When I made it to my room, Michelle had laid out an internet access and password password card, water, and the candy that my late Mom always gave me at Christmas. Something a friend would do. Not a 'virtual' or 'Twitter' friend, a friend.

The next few days were filled with learning and great conversations. (If you haven't ever been able to attend a 5-Sigma Educon, I highly recommend checking into it.) On the third morning I woke up a little early and made my way downstairs to the kitchen and made myself some coffee, toasted a bagel, and opened the refrigerator to try and find some creme cheese.

It didn't occur to me until after I was eating my smeared bagel that I realized that a relationship that started with 140 characters had resulted in 'fridge privileges'.

Twitter is not about the numbers, not about the followers or who's following you. It's about the relationships, the inspiration those relationships can provide, and the comfort level you'll have in trying to find the knife drawer.

Thanks for reading.

I'm on Twitter @YourKidsTeacher