Category Archives: Personal

2013 in Review

So how am I going to use this 2013 in Review blog report?…As motivation to reenergize my blogging  habits in 2014.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 22 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


2011 in Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Proud Parents!

As parents, we try hard to make our children kind, thoughtful people – and so far it looks like we’re succeeding. Below is an article from our local paper. They did all of this completely on their own. We couldn’t be more proud of them.

Highland Elementary School students wanted to send their principal to the roof.

And that is where he was on June 1 after students met their goal of raising $1,800 in one week for Relay for Life. The school’s Heart of Highland teams raised more than $50,000 in the five years they have participated in the event through the Camp Hill Relay for Life.

Highland Elementary
Beth Ann Heesen, The Patriot-NewsFrom left: Fourth-graders Caroline Kaiser, Molly Young, Mi chael Grunden, Ellie Hyde and Caitlyn Gray helped with the Camp Hill Relay for Life.

Last year, Principal Doug Enders agreed to put his swimsuit on and get dunked when students met their fundraising goal of $1,700. It might have been nice to cool off on that hot day, but this year Enders resolved to endure rain or the blazing sun to greet kids from his “rooftop office” by the school’s entrance.

“It might not be too bad,” he said before going on the roof. “I’m always looking for that killer suntan.” Students and staff enjoyed laughing at Enders, but their greatest aim was to help those battling cancer.

“I want to do relay so I can save a life,” said fourth-grader Caitlyn Gray of Lower Allen Township. She and classmate Ellie Hyde, also of Lower Allen Township, sold bookmarks out of their driveways and raised more than $400.

“We have gigantic signs we hold up by the street,” Hyde said, adding that her neighborhood has a “gigantic yard sale” coming up and that her family might sell her baby brother’s old toys, car seat and potty chair to raise funds. Gray plans to sell coffee, cookies and muffins.

Other students held lemonade stands, emptied their piggy banks, and asked for donations instead of birthday gifts.

“They have ingenious ways of raising money,” said Ruth Hoffman, the fourth-grade teacher who founded and coordinates Heart of Highland. “We have the best kids in the world.”

Enders said he is proud of his students’ participation. “It’s not about how much money we raise,” he said. “It’s about developing empathy and being involved.”

And, he said before going up, working on a rooftop does have its benefits.

“It might be a good day — not as many interruptions,” he said.

PD Doesn’t Have to Stop When Summer Starts

During this past summer, Clif Mims put out a challenge for individuals to participate in some summer professional development and set some personal learning goals. I knew I had some plans to complete some individual learning over the summer, so I decided to participate and challenge myself to ensure I completed what I aimed to do. Here is a recap of the goals I set for myself:


  1. Read Disrupting Class by Clayton Christensen – I did finish this book over the summer and it was outstanding. It’s even more interesting to me now during this national discussion occurring right now about the need for systemic change in the U.S. education system. Christensen stresses that a student-centric model is what we need for real reform to take place. I strongly recommend this read!
  2. Successfully host a Google workshop for teachers in my school district – One of the requirements from the Google Teacher Academy I attended was to share what I learned and help others see how Google can help them and their students in the classroom. I am proud to say that another integration teacher in my school district and I successfully proved a full-day training session on as many things Google as we could cover. We were able to share Google Apps for Ed, Google Search, Google Earth, and Google Mobile.
  3. Successfully complete my summer grad course (LS529) – first summer course I’ve ever taken. – I was a little nervous about this course because it was my first summer course ever, and it was a Library Science course which is out of my comfort zone. I am happy to report that I survived, I earned an “A”, and I learned!

Thank you Clif for putting out the challenge. My summer was more professionally productive than I would have imagined. Summer is a great time for teachers to relax and recharge. And teachers need that time for sure. But it can also be a time for stress-free and relaxed reading. Please share what goals or PD you completed this past summer or something you’d like to accomplish during this school year.

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Block Facebook?…Why?

Let’s say a district decided to block Facebook for teachers when it had been open in previous years. And let’s say that the district discouraged any administrator from even having a Facebook account…period!
If this were the case…I have a few thoughts and questions.

1. Why the decision to block it now? Too many people wasting district time being on Facebook during school hours? Then I suggest you block Twitter, YouTube, Google, and ESPN for that matter. While you’re at it, lock the faculty room, do away with coffee and the newspaper too. Be sure to ban talking to your colleague across the hall about your weekend, upcoming plans, or how the kids are doing. Facebook is no more a distraction from the workday than any of these others.

2. There is constant talk regarding how we should educate students on digital citizenship, their digital footprint, and responsible usage of the Internet and social networking. So why do we choose not to educate the adults who are supposed to teach these ideals to students? Instead of educating the teachers, we just block the site! All that does is force them to figure out a way around the filter such as mobile devices and 3rd party applications. Why not show them some examples of positive and negative interactions and what benefits or consequences may result. We should practice what we preach.

3. If there are individuals abusing privileges or not following responsible use policies, then address the individual! This is something I’ve watched occur most of my professional career at every level. Why do we punish an entire staff for the actions of a few? I would never give my entire class detention because 2 kids were in the back goofing off.

4. If this hypothetical district’s concern is inappropriate or negative postings about the school or district as a whole, then why would they discourage administrative presence on Facebook? I’m inclined to believe that if there was an administrative presence out there on Facebook, then teachers may be less likely to post anything negative because they know their administrator/s are “out there”. This online existence by administration presents a real possibility they may see what teachers are posting. I think that may be called transparency. And if there is a recurring issue, I have to refer you back to #3.

5. Finally, I believe the only message this sends is that we trust you with kids but not the Internet.

That is all…for now. Please feel free to tell me if I’m off base or offer another perspective. Thanks for stopping by!

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Professional Development Meme 2010

Spell with Flickr -

A couple of weeks ago, Clif Mims posted a professional development challenge for the summer months. His goals were to encourage goal setting and inspire learning to continue over the summer months. I’ve never participated in a meme before, but I thought this was a good one to try since I do have some goals for this summer. So here are the guidelines set by Clif for this meme:


Summer can be a great time for professional development. It is an opportunity to learn more about a topic, read a particular work or the works of a particular author, beef up an existing unit of instruction, advance one’s technical skills, work on that advanced degree or certification, pick up a new hobby, and finish many of the other items on our ever-growing To Do Lists. Let’s make Summer 2010 a time when we actually get to accomplish a few of those things and enjoy the thrill of marking them off our lists.

The Rules

NOTE: You do NOT have to wait to be tagged to participate in this meme.

  1. Pick 1-3 professional development goals and commit to achieving them this summer.
  2. For the purposes of this activity the end of summer will be Labor Day (09/06/2010).
  3. Post the above directions along with your 1-3 goals on your blog.
  4. Link back/trackback to
  5. Use the following tag/ keyword/ category on your post: pdmeme2010.
  6. Tag 5 or more bloggers to participate in the meme.
  7. Achieve your goals and “develop professionally.”
  8. Commit to sharing your results on your blog during early or mid-September.

So here we go…

My goals:

  1. Read Disrupting Class by Clayton Christensen
  2. Successfully host a Google workshop for teachers in my school district
  3. Successfully complete my summer grad course (LS529) – first summer course I’ve ever taken

I Tag:

Jimbo Lamb

Michelle Krill

Chris Champion

Kristen Hokanson

Jim Gates

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Let me tell you about my best friend. As we all know, best friends have many qualities we value and respect. After all, those qualities are exactly why they become your best friend! A true best friend in your life is a rare commodity for sure. They are hard to find, but when you find one they are a true blessing.

My best friend is an absolute riot! In fact, I’d go so far as to say she is a real hoot. She knows precisely when and how to blast off a joke. She is a master of using just the right insertion of a sarcastic remark, lightening the mood is a breeze for her, and she can always relieve an awkward situation. Her sense of humor is the best…the best I tell you.

My best friend is super pretty! My best friend is beautiful. My best friend is gorgeous. My best friend is classic. My best friend is classy. My best friend has beautiful green eyes. My best friend can do her hair any way and it looks incredible. My best friend smells extraordinary.

My best friend has taught me a tremendous amount over the last 13 years. I have learned how to truly be thoughtful of others. She has taught me that loyalty is of paramount importance with your family and in any quality relationship. I am now much more patient, sympathetic, and a stronger man having known and learned from her.

So let’s review the qualities of this best friend: funny, super pretty, beautiful, gorgeous, classic, classy, thoughtful, loyal, patient, sympathetic, and makes me a stronger man. She is also a wonderful mother to her three children. There isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for them. WOW! It’s incredible to imagine that I am best friends with this person. It’s even more amazing that I married her 10 years ago today! Happy Anniversary, my dear! Thank you and I love you!