Posted in education

The First Day Jitters

Teachers love teaching

This morning I stopped at my campus to help out any teachers who might need that last minute word of encouragement to get ready for Monday. The campus was buzzing with teachers who were getting ready. Teachers who, until a few days ago were not able to get into their classrooms.

Do you think they’ll like the room? Do I have enough books in my library? Should I change the lighting?

My heart was warmed. Today is Saturday. Nobody was disgruntled, they were thinking about the students. Their students! They were hoping to make the perfect first impression!

This is why I love being an educator!

Love your children – show them they matter! After that, the rest is easy!

Happy 2019 – 2020 School Year

~ Doris

Posted in education

Bout of Books

Bout of Books

This year I am taking part in the 26th Bout of Books! I’m so excited and I can’t believe how long I’ve been doing this! If you would like to join me details are below. I like the timing of this BoutofBooks because it happens at the time of year when taking care of myself is at an all time low. This way I dedicate time daily to read and have the reflective time I need when the school year starts! Join me – it is fun and you get to read great books along the way!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 19th and runs through Sunday, August 25th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 26 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.

Posted in education

Motivating Young Adolescents

“Carrots and sticks won’t make middle schoolers learn.” ~ Rick Wormeli


I’ve recently been introduced to the work of Rick Wormeli.  I first met him on a district professional learning day.  After listening to him speak I purchased the book, Fair Isn’t Always Equal.

If you have not read any of this gentleman’s work, please do so.  You may not agree with all he has to say, but I promise you that he will challenge your thinking.

Recently I read his article on Motivating Young Adolescents  (published on the ASCD website) with the leadership team at one of my campuses.   This article is based on the principle that we need to rethink how to motivate our middle-grade students.

I started teaching middle-school after several years in a high school.  I knew the curriculum would be different, and I knew the cognitive level of the students would be different, but I was a little surprised and how different these 11 – 14-year-olds were then their 15 – 19-year-old counterparts.

Manipulation Vs. Motivation

I had so many AHA moments from this article, but I am always drawn back to this one idea. Are we manipulating students to control their actions, or are we motivating them as learners?

Let that sink in.

Raising innovators means we need to focus on motivating our students. Growing these curious beings and helping them find their own way in this world.

I had an professor once who asked us to find our favorite educator quote. Mine was “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” ~ William Butler Yates

Thoughts to ponder on a random Wednesday – are we doing this in our classrooms? Are we trying to pour into a bucket, or ignite a spark?

~ Doris

Posted in education

Autism Awareness


Autism is a condition that is greatly misunderstood.  As an educator, I learned very little about it while in school.  Most of what I’ve learned has been from talking to parents and attending presentations at my local University.  I’d like to think that is because I started teaching long before autism was as well known as it is now, but sadly it is my understanding from new teachers that their classes don’t focus much on educating those who might need us the most.

I also think back to the first time I had a student in my class who was labeled as “Autistic.”  Alex (not his real name) was funny, quirky, gifted and yes, autistic.  I realized I was lacking in knowledge, luckily his mom was not so she educated me.  I learned more from this one young man about life than in the multitude of forced professional learning on the subject of autism.

I decided I needed to know more about this thing called Autism.  How can I best serve the needs of this one child, and those to come later?  I’m far from being an expert, but I have a few resources that I’ve found helpful.

Autism Speaks  

Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheet


I feel fortunate to have had Alex and his mom teach me more about autism.  A subject so vastly misunderstood, yet so important to our children.

I know there are many of you who read my blog who are probably experts.  What resources have you used to learn more about how to best serve our students who are autistic?  Please leave any resources in the comments to help us all learn together.



Posted in education, technology

#ETCoaches Book Study




Today the weather is super cold and miserable here is The Texas Gulf Coast.  John is busy working on getting things ready for our tax accountant, I, on the other hand, am bundled up with hot chocolate and a book!

Guess who is having a better day?!

I started reading the book Learning First, Technology Second by Liz Kolb.  This is part of a book study, hosted by ISTE, with Ed Tech Coaches around the world.  I have loved the ISTE book studies I’ve taken part of in the past as I get such a global perspective.  It is also one of the reasons I love the ISTE conference!

Today is day two of our “slow chat” on Twitter.  Essentially we have one question a day to answer.  I love that because it allows me time to think about my reading.

As I started the book yesterday, one thing really resonated with me.  As an educator, we talk a great deal about “framework.”  In #edtech we discuss SAMR, TPACK and TIM Frameworks.  All have some validity to them, but they didn’t hit the mark of the learning comes first.  Kolb introduces us to her thoughts on the Triple E Framework.

In my mind, this framework makes a great deal of sense to the educator because it closely resembles a Universal Design for Learning.  As we move forward to help personalize learning for students; giving them a variety of ways to learn and to express their learning, #EdTech coaches have to follow suit with a variety of possibilities, not just one way of doing things.


Triple E Framework
from Learning First, Technology Second


The tool must always match the goal, not the other way around!



from Learning First, Technology Second


I’ll post some of my thoughts and link to some of the quotes that resonate with me along the way.  If you are taking part in the study, then I look forward to learning with you.

If you are part of this book study with me, what are your goals?