Showing posts from 2017

All In

Over the past few weeks I have been learning about culture, climate, engagement, teamwork, and leadership in a variety of texts, articles, podcasts, and blog posts. As I continued to read, listen, and reflect, I kept asking myself what separates the great teams and organizations from the rest.

There have been many books written by authors who have a lot more experience and research than me and are quite a bit more articulate on this topic; however, within this post, I am going to explain what I believe separates the best from everyone else.

Plain and simple, the best schools, districts, teams, companies, and organizations have created and operate within an "all in" culture. In places like this, everyone from the teachers, custodians, secretaries, administrators, food service workers, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, school counselors, instructional coaches, and anyone who serves the school feels valued and clearly understands that what they say and do matters every minute of …

Watch and Learn

Earlier in the week I spent some time walking through classrooms checking out the excellent instructional practices taking place within our school. I made my way to a third grade classroom where the teacher was leading a mini-lesson with her students in Writer's Workshop. They were focused on ways to improve their opinion pieces or persuasive essays, as they have been called in the past. Specifically, the students were told when they make a claim or state an opinion within their writing, they must be able to defend it with factual evidence. Typically, when I pop into classrooms, I spend about five minutes watching and visiting with students to get a feel of the learning taking place. However, I was drawn in and could not wait to hear what the student discussion was going to sound like and how this would impact their writing, so I hung around for an extended period of time.

The students broke into groups and were instructed to share their opinions with each other before starting th…

They Need Us More than Ever

The embedded podcast above features a conversation that I had with Greg Deutmeyer and Jenny Hillebrand; it takes a deeper look at the content within this post. I hope you enjoy it.

I am going to say what's been on my mind for the past 4 months.  After listening to the debates, watching the political events leading up to the election, and the first week in office, I am deeply worried about what the future holds for us.  More importantly, I am worried about the behavior being modeled to my seven and four year-old boys by the so-called leaders at the highest level.

As educators, we work extremely hard to develop a variety of academic skills whether we are providing direct instruction, project based learning, or facilitating a discussion about a current event. The academic content that we teach kids is extremely important and should never be underestimated; however, what matters most to me are the critical life skills that will serve our students for many years to come.

Thomas Hoerr o…