Monday, January 28, 2013

Building Community

Leadership Lions at Morningside

We had a parent new to our Morningside community visit one of the first days of school, wanting to understand the local culture. Our conversations lead a curvy path that eventually uncovered a forgotten park that had been promised to our local communities. During our discussion phone numbers were exchanged and ideas tossed around, “How could we revive the park?”
A few hours passed, I couldn’t get the crazy thought out of my head “Our students could impact the community and bring the park here” but how?
A team was formed a “Leadership Team” of ten students spanning each grade level. The students volunteered time and under the guidance of Mrs. Debra Taylor the students were asked to present to the city council. The Student’s presentation went perfectly and impressed the city council. A few months have passed our Leadership Team was asked to present to the Bond Advisory Council for the city. Again the students were stellar in their performance.
The “Leadership Team” at Morningside consisting of students from first through fifth grade has accomplished their goal. The Students raised enough awareness the Bond Advisory Council has placed Morningside Park into the bond package that will be presented to the voters of New Braunfels, Texas. Congratulations students, now it will be in the voter’s hands.

Morningside Elementary Mission Statement--Morningside Elementary is committed to providing a safe and positive student-centered learning environment created in partnership with family, school and community and for the purpose of encouraging the academic and social success of our students. Together we foster lifelong learning, responsibility, ownership, and respect for all, while upholding high expectations and excellence.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

When is a reward truly a reward?

While speaking with a colleague the other day I came to a startling revelation. Rewards are only rewards if the recipient views it as a reward. Explanation Follows:
We have a phenomenal teacher that takes our students on exorbitant journeys of academia. The classroom management is normally wonderful, I routinely take any visitor to our campus past this class. Students are discussing academics with a neighbor, creative expressions encompass the room. I was taking a stroll through the hallways and came upon my colleague and sparked up a chat.
During our discussion we uncovered the primary grade students hadn't come to an understanding that the reward systems that were in place in this class were just that rewards. The students had come to expect the atmosphere and culture as a right.
The intermediate grade students for the large majority have great respect for the wonderful classroom climate and culture bestowed upon them.
I believe we as adults must remember what we view as a reward system may not carry the same lens for our younger cliental.

Keep teaching,reaching, and loving

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Getting Ready

Excited the school year is coming back around. We have had excellent training days with Thinking Maps for Leadership. Next week kicks off Content Specific Math and Science sandwiched between is 3 days of Trainer of Trainer. Whew we are pursuing to become "Masters of the Maps" at Morningside Elementary.

Kevin Howell

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer is near.

As I prepare for the Summer of 2012 I am looking at my summer reading list. I had the opportunity to finish 8 titles over Winter Break:
Drew Bree's Coming Back Stronger by Chris Fabry
The Daily FIve by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser
Leaders of Learning DuFour and Marzano
Building Leadership Capacity in Schools by Linda Lambert
Bringing out the Best in Teachers by Blase and Kirby
Rebound Rules "Rick Pitino" by Pat Forde
Transforming School Culture by Anthony Muhammad
Notebook Connections by Aimee Buckner

I relish the time to read and model for my own children the importance for literature in our daily lives.

I plan to read:
The Strategic Teacher
Teaching with Poverty in Mind
Teach like your hairs on fire
Good to Great
One of the Daniel Pink titles.

If you have any suggestions or would like to share your planned reading list please post. I relish the opportunity to gather opinions on books and topics others cherish.

Howell Out

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sweeping into May

April has come and gone, we are looking the end of our Glorious School year in the face.

We are preparing some exciting times here at Morningside. Field day will be here on the 18th. We are offering parents to come eat with their child similar to our Thanksgiving Feast. Price is $3.00 and we are asking you to RSVP by the 9th of May.

As many in our community know we are a Dual Language campus. Parents that attended the informational meetings that were mandatory for interested incoming Kindergarteners the due date for applications is the 11th of May.

A few of our 5th graders are gearing up for a Battle of the Books day within our district. Our team has worked hard in preparation and I am sure they will make us proud with their efforts.

We are hosting one more Coffee or Tea with the Principal and comments meeting on May 10th at       7:45 a.m. We look forward to seeing many parents there. Morningside is searching for innovative ways to keep students engaged in the reading process this summer.

Thank you for involving yourself in our greatest commodity. "Our Children"

Howell Out

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Attendance Focus

As a campus we have been focusing on school attendance. Our teachers are very creative and this usage of Bridge and Flow Maps has caught my eye. We are attempting to guide them towards intrinsic motivation for attendance. The usage of these maps are encouraging students to hold classmates and themselves accountable for attendance.

I would like for others to post on actions their campuses are taking in an Attendance Focus manner.

Great Job Ms. Allen utilizing your creativity.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Busy Week

Mondays are always busy with excited students returning from weekends. I began the day like most any other, administrative tasks completed quickly and headed out to classrooms. We are hosting Coffee with the Principal on Wednesday morning and my agenda contains a slot to explain Thinking Maps and uses on our campus. I walked looking for examples and decided to take a few pictures for those that may not make the morning invite. My goal is to demonstrate the usefulness and ease Maps can be used in all subjects.

The Tree Map for Physical States of matter is posted as an Anchor Chart for students to refer throughout the unit or lesson.

 The Circle Map here is turned into an opportunity for students to apply what they already know of the word from prior knowledge and deepen the understanding of newly acquired vocabulary

 The above Brace Map displays the whole to part and used her to demonstrate Prime Factorization of Exponents. The Double Bubble Map below demonstrates similarities and differences in the attributes of  given numbers.
Our whole campus uses the Thinking Map tools and strategies in our daily instruction. I have shown in earlier posts Flow Maps used in kindergarten through third grade in Art classes. The pictures above are all from 5th grade classrooms. We believe the use of these maps allows for immediate differentiation and learner centered instruction. A quick review of Marzano's Classroom Instruction that Works will demonstrate the strategies flow well with the maps such as: Identifying Similarities and Differences- Non linguistic Representations to name a couple.

Morninside Elementary will be hosting Thinking Maps Trainings in July and October. If interested contact through twitter and I can send you some information.

Howell Out