Friday, October 23, 2009

Curiosity in the classroom

Read another blog on my PLN and two interesting questions came up. First, how much excitement is there in your classroom? In elementary excitement may sometimes be disguised as activity, but how excited are your students to take part in the learning activity. In middle and high school my guess is that some teachers discount that students need to be excited about learning but that's where they are wrong. A student who is excited about learning will be a successful learner.
Second, is there something in your classroom that piques curiosity? It doesn't even have to be related to the subject matter but just as above and excitement, a curious learner is a successful learner.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Since I'm teaching a leadership class to seniors this year I thought I'd post about some of the discussions we've had in the past several weeks.
It's interesting most of the students are focused with completing tasks and not with moving into a leadership position. They understand the strategies but are comfortable to sit on the so called "sidelines" instead of "getting in the game".
There needs to be a project of some sort to inspire or at least put them in a position where they would have to lead but so far my creativity hasn't been able to produce one.
The end of course reflection by the students produced interesting feedback also. The wiki and the blog were popular with the usual suspects note taking and tests being the least favorite. My second class and third classes have been more engaged but we still aren't to the point where I believe we've reached true understanding.

The second rotation through will be interesting to see if they retained any of the core knowledge from the first semester.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I'm presenting at the National I CAN seminar on Monday, the 13th. My presentation will deal with " what great teachers do differently."
This is what I've found from a variety of sources, readings and conversations within my PLN.
Great teachers:
Have a high level of expectations for their students but also for themselves.
Of course it's easy to have high expectations, even the ineffective teacher can expect their students to be engaged and pay attention when the material may be boring and irrelevant or expect students to behave despite being treated with disrespect. The great teacher is also an effective teacher. They focus on themselves and their performance. They don't play the "if" game. If we only had better discipline, if their parents supported us, if they had better teachers last year.
Demonstrate an aura of positivity and set the tone for their classes.
Positive attitudes are contagious. Great teachers realize negativity doesn't solve the problems and in some cases actually adds to the problem. They want to be part of the solution.
Believe that all students can learn.
Great teachers build relationships with their students. When students arrive on Day 1 we have their respect(for the most part.) What a tremendous gift we have been given. Great teachers utilize this gift in their teaching. They establish relationship respect with the students. Their students know the teachers are there for them when needed and that the teachers are on their side. It is cool to care.
Deliver effective instruction using varied instructional techniques and have a high level of engagement in their classes.
The key word here is varied. Many teachers fall into the rut of "this worked 20 years ago it will work today." Times have changed. We changed centuries a while back and it's important our teaching methodology reflects the 21st century.
Recognize the individual differences between students and plan accordingly.
Great teachers differentiate instruction and assessments. They realize that students learn differently and plan for multiple assessments to evaluate understanding.
Model what it means to be an educated person.
Great teachers read, write , create and are willing to try new things. They realize learning a new skill is difficult and they place themselves in this learning cycle often.
Examine their practice on a regular basis and incorporate new methods in their teaching.
Great teachers seek to deepen their knowledge and expand their repertoire of skills. They are not satisfied with the "same old, same old routine." This also means they are comfortable with technology in the classroom. Given the realities of our modern age and the demands of our children's future in the 21st century, is it really alright to allow teachers to not use technology in their instruction? Our tools have changed. Web 2.0 technology is here and great teachers are comfortable utilizing it.
Collaborate with others to improve student learning.
Great teachers collaborate with others. We may teach with our doors closed but we cannot be an island isolated from the world of education.
Are active members in a PLN.
Great teachers don't just rely on their peer teachers across the hall, they seek out others world wide, always looking for better ways to educate their students.
Who's in your network?
See my links and blog list on the right.

After the seminar, I will post discussion points we talked about.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Observations from the beach

I've just completed my annual unwind and recharge at the beach and I must say there are several things that hit me since the last time I was there.
First, more than likely due to the different hats I wore this past year and also the uncharted waters of new administration, I noticed it took me longer to unwind than usual. Normally I'm into the mode by the 3rd day but this time it was later in the week before I achieved that true Toes in Sand mentality.
Secondly, the beach is a wonderful place for noticing colors especially the different shades of red, white and brown. Have we not heard about sunscreen? The water was clear as you would expect staying at Crystal beach on the Emerald coast.
Lastly, it seemed as if everywhere I turned there were tattoos and I stay at what would be considered a family beach. Maybe it's those temporary ones but I couldn't help but wonder how many of these people wore suits and ties to work. I guess it's a way of letting loose and unwinding while they're at the beach.
The beach holds different meanings and purposes for everyone but for me it has always been a time to unwind, reflect and begin the planning process for the coming year. To that end it was mission accomplished.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Life Lessons from a High School Senior

The following is a guest post from Tattnall Square Senior, Ashley Clay, editor of the Tattnall Blue and Gold, and recent winner of the Macon Telegraph’s prestigious Golden Eagle Award for Excellence in Journalism.

I started elementary School at Tattnall Square Academy in Kindergarten and now that I’m days away from graduation Mr. Kosater wanted me to share some of my life lessons with you.

A- Always follow the rules. I’ve always been a rule follower. Elementary school taught me that life has rules, and you simply have to follow them. When others are breaking the rules, it makes it harder to follow them, but you have to stand your ground, and do what you know is right. Elementary school, like life, is all about the mistakes you make and the lessons you learn. I have found out the consequences of breaking rules and the rewards of following them.

B- Believe. I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was in the second grade, and I am committed to keeping my promise to Him to live each day in His honor and glory. Through the countless chapel services I have sat through in my 12 years at Tattnall, I have never ceased to be moved by God’s work at Tattnall. Even as a little girl sitting in the bleachers of the gym during chapel, I can remember feeling God tugging at my heart and the inspiration I received to go through the rest of my day. I will forever be blessed that I had the opportunity to hear God’s word each week of my elementary, middle, and high school years.

C- Care for yourself and others. In kindergarten, you couldn’t let everyone steal your crayons, but you also had to be willing to share. As the co-editor of the school newspaper, I have put this kindergarten lesson into practice. You have to know when to stand up for yourself and when to share your advice with others. Elementary school taught me how to deal with tough situations. Everyone couldn’t be the mom when we played house, so we had to compromise and take turns. Life is all about how you deal with situations, compromising, and sometimes waiting for your turn.

Ashley plans to attend Georgia Southern University and major in Elementary Education.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The world is flat

Just another instance of the world we live in becoming flat.
You've heard me talk about calling the help desk for a computer problem and talking to someone in the Philippines, well here is another example closer to home. Sunday morning early is usually reserved for reading the paper while drinking a vanilla latte'. This morning my paper wasn't here so I called the circulation desk to report it. When I finally was able to talk to a person they filed my complaint and credited my account. I knew the man had a foreign accent so I asked him where he was and he replied " the Philippines."
Amazing, we live 20 minutes from Macon and when I don't receive a paper I report it to someone in the Philippines. Definitely a case of outsourcing the job somewhere for less money but the key fact is that we're all connected. We need to make sure our students can deal with all this connectivity. We can't shy away thinking it will go away, if anything there are higher levels of connectivity that I'm sure we'll experience in the future.
Get ready, the world is becoming flatter by the minute.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Why Not?

Forgive me for borrowing from television commercials but it makes sense as a different approach to the same old same old approach.I've always been a believer of the Bobby Kennedy quote,
" There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"
Where is it written that the old way of schooling is the best way? Have you seen this Kaplan commercial? Very apropos as far as embracing a new methodology.
Can we please ask ourselves these questions as precursors to our decision making. Why not? We can't be timid when it comes to thinking outside of the box in the effective education of our students.

Mr. Gerry Kosater

There are two paths you can choose but there's always time to change the one you choose