Monday, September 5, 2016

Closing Remarks, Conscious Mindset Radio 08/28/16

"The mass of our citizens may be divided into two classes -- the laboring and the learned. The laboring will need the first grade of education to qualify them for their pursuits and duties; the learned will need it as a foundation for further acquirements." --Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1814. ME 19:213

   Early in American history, public education was split into two tracks for the purposes of creating two distinct classes of citizens: industrial workers and cooperate leaders. Although many leaders in the field will deny the continuation of tracking students, the structures are still seen in schools- the investments in sports programs, G/T and Magnet programs, specialized schools, and the underfunded, under performing schools and extra-curricular programs.

For parents and educators, first and foremost, dig deep and dream. Dream and visualize for the benefit, gain and survival of your children. Dream a magnificent future for your progeny and set the expectations that support your visions. Then roll up your sleeves and work. Provide your students with the information and materials necessary to reach your visions, encourage them through the learning curves and struggles that come with acquiring new skill sets. Challenge their teachers to invest in their learning- show up at every opportunity available and pop-up unannounced to show you are concerned about your investment/s.


Never forget the public schools are not here to develop (all) our children into strong, intelligent, self-sufficient individuals- they're hear to produce an obedient labor force. Therefore it's your duty to inspire and fortify your children before school, then check and correct the lies and distortions in your own house after-school. Empower them through images and sounds, smells and emotional connections that awaken their inner genius and spark their resilience and scholarship.

**Note: I encourage all parents to have their children tested for Accelerated Learning Programs, Gifted and Talented, Magnet Schools and Honors programs. These are the programs designated for the children tracked into 'Cooperate Leaders.' Also, involve them in after-school extra-curricular programs whether the ones the school provides or community-related. These are opportunities for social interactions and leadership development.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, Interview

Last Sunday, August 28, Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu come onto my radio show for a brief interview. As one of my co-hosts always says, #Winning! In past blogs I referenced his contributions to the scholarship of educating Black children, so getting him on the phone was major. Of course I took notes:

  • Dr. Kunjufu referenced a study (Name Unknown) that showed the racial academic achievement gaps closed for Black children when homeschooled.
  • Principes for Parents and Educators to best 'Guide Genius'-
    • Higher Expectations
    • Greater Time on Task
    • Cooperative Collaborations
    • Single-Gender Classrooms
Dr. Kunufu only gave us 20 minutes so we weren't able to really pick his brain. The tidbits he provided is a starting point. I will include some of his media for further reference:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Another School Year! (Another chance to get this blog thing right! )

I will spare the apologies. I wont even bother explaining my lapse in writing. Its 2016 and Im near fully acculturated into the world wide web, so as only fit for a millennial I will simply- #causelife. Im working on me and discipling my ofttimes flighty Artist, left-brain leaning tendencies to multi-task and work in spirals. Im back on this blog because its another year and another group of fresh-faced students reluctantly awaiting to be ignited and awakened to the wonders of learning.

Ah, what a difference a day makes. This summer for the first time I found myself thinking I was beginning to gain some mastery at teaching. Atleast teaching Pre-K. Ive also found a small piece of peace with both my grade level and my organization. My Superintendent and my Program Director are terrific human beings who believe in the good they are bringing into the lives of the families and communities we serve and they were able to empower me with the same mission. We work with one of the most precious and delicate populations during their most critical developmental period of life. The fact that most don't understand the long-lasting effects of information uploaded into the young learners brain is both up to early childhood professionals to remedy, and it is not our 'fight' to change peoples perceptions. I will no longer allow others to belittle the importance of my teaching role, nor will I internalize their ignorant perceptions. Just as Calculus is important and necessary, so is early education. Especially for the disenfranchised economic classes that statistically neglect to invest in their children during the first 5 years. Instead young children are babied and not challenged and therefore set-up to be left-behind by those more informed.

Whew! Got that off my chest..... Now, to look ahead. This year I have a foster child on ADHD medication.  I was chosen to serve him his pill everyday after lunch. Stay tuned for more details..... Ive had some super active children, none of which i would recommend for medication. Dietary changes, environmental changes and home guidance changes? Absolutely. Medicine? Not so much... Im not a doctor nor am I a parent of a child with a behavioral 'disability'... Im an educator and an Unschooler. So my opinions are coming from that space.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Review: R.T. Garcia Early Education Winter Conference

This weekend I attended the R.T. Garcia Early Childhood Winter Conference. Glad I requested to attend because it was time well spent. This is my fourth year attending the event and each year the overall quality of presentations increases. The number of participants is also increasing, resulting in many of the sessions quickly filling to capacity. To ensure I get what I need my typical modus operandi is to first obtain the online schedule and break-out sessions information for review of the various offerings. Then I identify my particular needs based on whats available. The last step in my preparation is two-fold: Firstly I choose 2-3 sessions per time slot that align with my needs. Secondly I research the presenter or the organization represented that is leading the workshop so I can have a more informed introduction to the information to be presented. This tidbit of data is also useful for networking.
In past conferences my intentions were focused on learning popular methods for introducing students to STEM, developmentally appropriate lessons for teaching emergent literacy, and classroom management techniques for students with special needs. Ive gained valuable information and many applicable techniques to use in my classroom. That stated, this weekend's quest was different. Rather than racing to beat the crowds filling into the curriculum-based classrooms, I went in search of instructional technology.
The first session was supposed to cover incorporating technology into the curriculum with the use of tablets and literacy apps. Sounds interesting right? Well, due to low numbers (2 participants) that session was cancelled... The second session was presented by two college professors involved in a master's training program for teachers wanting certification in instructional technology... Cancelled for low participation. This worked in my favor however, allowing for a lengthy conversation about their program and the differences between Ph.D and Ed. D. The last session wasn't cancelled thankfully. The presenter's powerpoint about the concerns of young children over-indulging on video games, smartphones, and tablets was insightful. Her research has sparked my own investigations into the data concerning the pruning of the brain occurring in children exposed to large doses media devices.
Overall I left with options for grad school, information about current brain research and methods for encouraging hyper-stimulated children to perform better in the classroom. My experiences with the R.T. Garcia Early Childhood Winter Conference has yet to disappoint. *Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Searching for a support group- Undercover Un-School Teachers in Public Schools

I need a support group- 'Undercover Un-School Teachers in Public Schools'. Seriously. I really need the support of others because every day it gets more difficult to meld my personal ideology regarding how children thrive and grow within the classroom. Ugh. Teaching in a public school insists upon strict classroom management, limited opportunities for creativity in exchange for catering lessons to the state-directed learning goals, formal high-stakes assessments and tons of stress. Again ugh. So now Im in my emotions because I realize I am slowly becoming a servant of the machine. (If you are unsure of what machine Im referring to, or puzzled about my angle- refer to earlier posts to better understand the philosophy of Guiding Genius.)

In a perfect world, I would have the choice of creating my own curriculum, daily schedule and management techniques. My student numbers would be low. My children's parents and I would form alliances to work together in supporting our young geniuses towards achieving their individual excellences. Alas, this world is far from perfect. I am not in the position to leave the workforce and the monthly payments in exchange for my labor. Therefore the trade-off is I teach for the machine. And the machine has its own agenda and methodology for how it prepares its product. Consequently I find myself syphoning minutes from the daily schedule to lead group mediations in attempts to find my Zin when my 20 students develop a mean case of cabin fever but it's not my designated 'outside time' yet. We close the door and turn up the stereo then dance and wiggle away the boredom when the curriculum calls for activities that seem good in theory but are not relevant nor engaging (nor developmentally appropriate) to the demographic of my students. And lots of journaling and daydreaming about creating a/n (un)school that identifies the student's strengths and talents and focuses on those, rather than the general survey method Im currently employed to sell.

I wonder if such a support group exists on I can't possibly be the only one dealing with this buyer's remise.

*Check this link out: This was suggested while on searching for clever ways to enhance my lesson plans. As you might be able to derive from my lament above, the post reminded me of the importance of 'old school'/'true school'. And now Im questioning my existence. (Dramatic much?)

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Teaching is tough. Those folks thinking this profession is easy are ignorantly wrong. Unfortunate for us, too many don't understand the challenges teachers creatively maneuver daily. Those same too many vote against teacher raises and therefore not only are we over-worked, we are also grossly underpaid. We teach anyways. Are we crazy? Yes. From my field research I can positively say really good teachers are a sliding scale of coo-coo. It is a necessary personality trait to be successful in the classroom... I wear my crazy proudly.

The crazy Im suggesting looks a lot like this:

 Students are teaming up and testing their limits by refusing to settle themselves down for instructions. Teacher repeatedly asks, "Put your notebooks away and join me on the carpet." Request ignored. Limit testing continues with chatter and wandering around the room. The teacher is quickly losing control of the classroom. In steps Crazy... Teacher walks to the Word Wall where the alphabets and vocabulary words are colorfully displayed and begins to whisper to the letter 'H'. She then places her ear near the letter and nods her head. She laughs hysterically then shrugs her shoulders while looking at the students beginning to notice her acting oddly. She continues to listen to the wall and giggle. The she whispers each student's names while pointing at them; as if she is telling the wall some secret about each one named. A hush begins to fall over the classroom as children are taking notice. One by one they place their journals on the shelf as they come to sit on the carpet. Their eyes are locked, watching their crazy teacher talk to the Wall. She then spontaneously belts out the sing-along, "Happy Birthday!" The children laugh and some sing-along. The teacher shares with her little people that the letter 'H' had a birthday and wanted everyone to participate. Again they sing, this time as a class with shared purpose. She now has their attention and is able to introduce her planned lesson.

#Skills. It takes unconventional thinking to reach students of 2016. We can no longer smack their knuckles with rulers when they are 'disobedient'. Nor can we shame them into submission. It's common practice to help build their self-concepts by refraining from intimidation tactics such as dunce caps, setting them outside the classroom in 'time-out' and low-brow, clenched teeth threats. Thus leaving the antiquated, tried-and-trusted disciplinary tools of our youth back in the same dusty resource rooms with the overhead projectors.

So what's left? Bribing and Crazy. Majority of us don't get paid enough to splurge on Spiderman and Frozen paraphernalia so........ #craycray. Everyday I leave my 'cool' in the truck and put on the whole armor of wacky. And my creative, rambunctious, autonomous, growing geniuses expect nothing less from me. Im crazy and they only push so hard... we have an understanding. Crazy love.

Guiding Genius ES Meets 2016

Its been over a year since I last updated this blog. Not that I haven't thought about writing and posting. Not that I don't have plenty to share. Just, time. And energy. Awesome teachers give it all we got. And then Ive used my reserves to raise my daughter and have a small portion of social life... I think those are my best excuses. Now that's out of the way....