Monday, May 30, 2016

Beyonce, and Recreation

When Misa and I were talking about a teacher she has and what makes her so "blah," she said, "There's just nothing special about her that makes her a real person ... She's just, uh, someone who tells us what to do." 

In that moment, I was reminded that there are no short cuts to student buy-in. In fact, I'm 100% confident that one sure way to cultivate success comes from the power of stories -- stories we tell ourselves can and do critically shape who we are. If Misa is going to see that teacher as a great leader, that teacher needs to cultivate a GREAT story, especially before helping others cultivate their own.  Which is why the last two weeks have been all about Beyonce -- particularly, "Formation," -- man, she tells a great story in that song. My students were schooled in media influences through critical analysis and interpretation of Formation. Over time, they got it - not all of it, but they are different now than they were two weeks ago. Ask anyone of them if, prior to our analysis of Beyonce as a storyteller, if they knew the meaning of "slay" and the line "okay ladies now let's get in formation" and they would admit that they loved those lines because of its catchy tune and beat, only. The point of all this is that kids need to see beyond their star struck cultural icons. They have a need for context, and according to Misa and John-Pio, they really do respect teachers who not only tell their stories, but who embody stories. 

Sooooo, write down your stories and tell 'em too. 

Hope y'all had a great weekend! Here's  how ours went down -- Brittingham boats is open which means lots of paddleboardiing, kayaking and canoeing - that place is like our summer home. I did as much running in the wee hours as I did climbing, and Misa and I got out for a sweet bike ride today. John-Pio broke his toe but man, that hasn't stopped that boy -- I hope if I ever break anything, I'm as calm and cashz about it as he's been. The weekend vibe was mostly active with a ton of unplanned hours throughout the day. Enjoy the pictures and the week!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Testing and Nature

Five days of standardized testing down, no more to go - at least in my classroom. When a student said, "Ms. Naputi, I actually liked the test. I tried hard and the way you and Ms. Page set it up, it made me want to try, plus it was more serious." Sheesh. He was right though. I was well-prepped with detailed proctoring directions, and I conveyed the seriousness of the test the way I was instructed. Perhaps it was all the practicing, the pre-announcements that we'd be collecting cell phones and taking down virtually all the learning posters on the wall, and it was very important they arrived on time every day -- perhaps those things set the serious tone. Anyway, standardized testing for the 2015-16 school year is done and I'm done examining test items over the shoulders of my students. What I'm not done with though is facing the realities that the abundance of standardized testing interferes with core instruction, not to mention creating robotic-like sentiments that do nothing to support or test out the learning that comes from everyday challenging and relevant curriculum that can be reported to state officials. Well anyway, Misa and John-Pio were unfazed by MAP testing (they took it) and indifferent to the WI Forward exam (they didn't take it), and pretty psyched for the ABC countdown (18 days). Stay tuned for an article about a controversial piece of the WI Forward exam and MMSD's policy, probably coming out and quoting Brad, tomorrow. 

Hope everyone took a nature walk this weekend. Misa and John-Pio brought their good friends up to Devils Lake and 
Parfreys Glen for lots of hiking, rock hounding, and laughing.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Advice for Parents, Climbing, and Feeling the Love

The Woods
Two bad things happened in the past few weeks when two different parents cursed out Ms. Matson and me, and another publicly offended me in-passing while walking down my school hallway.  One parent was reacting to the fact that her kid told a lie and was called on it, and the other parent's reaction was a roundabout emotional outburst of school policy. Anyway, I won't rehash it all (it's not worth it) but it's a good checkpoint to offer some advice to parents:

Believe 50% of what your child says until you check it out with the teacher and then ask yourself: What is a reasonable response? How will my response benefit my kids growth in the long run? What is driving my response?

Sometimes it's their perception ...
Remember: Reflecting before reacting is always an option. Always. I could not imagine responding to even half of the  perceptions made by Misa and John-Pio. I'd be blowing down the school with foolishness, and worse, undermining my own kids ability and skills to problem solve and discern for themselves how to work or push through situations that are part of any dynamic environment. 

So even though the last few weeks cast a lil darkness, I am reminded of my values and that my values always trump rules and it's okay to hang up, pass the mic, or walk right past an unreasonable parent. 

Alright. Out with the bad. Here's what's good -- Ms. Matson's back for the last 24 or so days after coaxing her out of retirement to help save my sanity, theater productions are over, and spring flag football is back. 

Got big love from the fam for Mothers Day

instagram post :)

and Stacey and I went climbing this morning. Here are some pics of the day ...

mandatory cafe


always the lake

Stacey did it right her first time on bark biter

snapchat primer

and the pad of course!