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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Email vs. Face Time

Though I love the notion of email to communicate nothings beats face time with staff. This year my staff completed a staff by the numbers activity to share with the community, which was fun facts about us. One staff member's number was 4,321 which was the number of emails they have gotten from their principal over the past two years. I'm really hoping I haven't hit that number. I have asked for proof, so I'll let you know if that is accurate. So in an effort not to be just an emailing principal, I've been trying to incorporate face to face conversation with my staff this year at least on a weekly basis. I've only been successful these last two weeks, which is embarrassing to say the least but it's a start. This can simply be stopping by the room before the day begins to see how things are going. I can find out if their are issues or concerns that need to be addressed also. I've always tried to visit the classrooms regularly to see the learning going on not as an evaluation just to see the kids in action. I rarely get the opportunity to talk with the staff though, because they are busy teaching. The last few weeks it has been great to touch base with them, solve some problems, and find out what's going on in their world. As evaluations begin and more of my time is taken by the daily building operations, I'll keep you posted on my progress throughout the year. I'm hopeful there will be much more positive to report about these interactions.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Staff Twitter

I'm hoping to learn more about twitter through our building twitter account. I began at the end of last year with staff, but only a few took advantage of the site. With 60+ teachers in the building and many weeks when they don't even see each other, my goal was for them to see each other through twitter.
The first challenge is the various levels of knowledge typical of a classroom environment. What do teachers do; provide differentiated instruction. I'm blessed to have a twitter guru on staff who is willing to provide that instruction. We will offer trainings to get more involved, though already this year more staff has joined in the tweeting. A wonderful side effect of this is the teachers are now tweeting out to parents also. This makes the building twitter a lot easier to manage now, which is an added bonus. If you would like to follow our progress as we learn and explore with twitter as a staff follow us @mesteaching
Please comment our how you staff utilizes twitter.

First Post: Reflection & About Me

I'm going to try this and see if it will help me become the best version of myself (@MatthewFKelly) through reflection. I really struggle with finding the time to read, research and share to become a better wife, mother and educator. Sometimes it feels like I'm blindly going through my to do list and not really gaining ground on how I impact others in my life. My posts will mainly be my reflections of my life whether about my family or myself as an educator.
I begin with my family journey first, so you know a little more about me. I complete this as I sit in the new fourth floor expansion to the Liberty Campus at Cincinnati Children's Hospital ( Though if you read the report they have fallen to #4 in GI care. When we began our journey with them they were #3. We are still very lucky they are a short 15 minute drive from our house, because their care is outstanding. My daughter was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease before her 5th grade school year. Though that was shocking news at the time the first four years of her disease were uneventful except for the routine blood work episodes and the struggle to learn how to swallow pills. I had to remind myself often that I wasn't walking in her shoes. Having allergies my whole life taking pills and getting weekly shots didn't seem to be such a big deal. She did not feel the same.
The last four years were not so uneventful. Her eighth grade year began the first flare. She lost weight and we had our first overnight visits to the hospital. In the beginning you try to learn everything about the disease and the drugs and all the serious risks and side effects. You end up having to trust your doctors. She had to move to a more serious drug strategy and eventually had surgery to remove twelve inches of her colon. She's a trooper though because the hospital stay was supposed to be 7-10 days and we checked in Sunday, had surgery Monday and checked out Friday. She even headed to the soccer field the Saturday after to support her team. We now have Remicade infusions every six weeks, which is why I'm sitting at the hospital on Labor Day. This is her senior year of high school and we don't want her to miss out on anything. She plays soccer, so we have to work around schedules. I will occasionally share more about our journey with Crohn's, because it's a part of our daily living and I feel like I've learned a little along the way that may help someone.