Just for Kicks, Just for Kennedy

It's auction season!

I have told you all before that auction was the first Kennedy event I really attended. It was 10 years ago (wow!).

What an amazing night! I was really blown away by the whole event. Being at a live auction for the first time was so exciting. I admit, I got caught up in the moment and bid on a Lake Erie Boat trip, which to this day I haven't lived down. Thankfully I didn't win--at that point, we were not at a financial place to spend over a thousand dollars on a day trip--but it sounded great at the time. (Please refer to the Friends episode when Joey buys the Mr. Beaumont. One of my favorites). I didn't win anything in the Chinese auction that year. (I do have a Gucci and Juicy Couture purse from the following two years though. On a current 7-year slump, looking for luck at the purse table next week). I also was outbid on every silent auction item. I went to the Kennedy auction and didn't "win" a single thing.

However, that night wasn…

Our Hearts, outside our body

Having a child is to "decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body" -Elizabeth Stone
Every day, I send my heart to school. They get out of the car with bookbags too big for their little bodies, winter hats already mussing up their ponytails, wearing jumpers and kneesocks. They kiss me, say goodbye and off they walk into school. 
Every day I drop them off, there isn't a time my throat doesn't catch as they close the door and I pull out of the parking lot. I should be worried if they will eat all of their lunch, or if they get along with their classmates, or if they should be more advanced in their reading level. I shouldn't worry there could be a safety incident.
Every day, my heart is across town. I can't be there; and parents at Upper Campus, you send your hearts to me. So I want you to be assured that while we can never guarantee a risk-free environment, we, the administration and faculty, are working hard to be proactive regarding…

Remember Why You Started

Exercising is hard. It's hard to find time in my day. It's hard to be motivated. I don't particularly like doing any solo exercising, like running, but trying to fit in a class, or find enough people to play a sport is harder and harder as we all become more busy with our parenting schedules. 
I happen to have a friend that is really dedicated to exercising. Her social media posts are inspiring, her habits are enviable. (Not to mention her workout gear is totally on point, you know who you are!). She posted this quote recently:

It really hit me in the feels. I know it was about getting in a workout. But it was something I needed. When things are hard, remember why you started. 
Being an educator is important, and it is important EVERY. DAY. Sometimes its grueling, with demands coming from every which way. Sometimes it is thankless. Often making a decision that is right is not always one that is politic or popular. Sometimes I make mistakes, sometimes I have to excuse mist…

One Word

Trending in early 2018 was #oneword. The idea is based on New Year's Resolutions and the highly unlikely chance that anyone follows through with their list of things to change in the new year. Instead, choose one word only, and focus on that. Just one word.

In reality, my one word could be something like... #laundry. Man, does that stuff pile up. But I only get ONE word. So laundry seems pretty ridiculous as the number one thing to focus on. After all, when all the clothes are clean, I don't think I have enough hangers to put it all away...

There were a few words that I liked, but felt a little ambiguous. Just like a joke isn't funny when you have to explain it, these words lose their meaning, or worse, take on a negative tone. For instance, I want to be #relentless. Hard-working and determined; non-stop grinding at my tasks until they are done to the best of my ability and when finished, step back and see what I can do better. Except #relentless makes me think of my kids…

It's a Chromebook Christmas!

Hi Kennedy Families!

I have had several parents contact me asking about Chromebooks as Christmas gifts and what should they be looking for in a model (whether they are purchasing themselves or writing a list to Santa). I am a BIG fan of Google Chromebooks and Google Drive. I earned my Google Certified Educator Level 1, and many of my training sessions when I worked at the Educational Service Center were based around Google Drive and the Chromebook itself as more and more schools move away from iPads and Windows machines to Chromebooks.

What is a Chromebook anyways? I often use the phrase "it's the internet in the form of a laptop." A Chromebook uses Google's Chrome OS (not Windows or Mac). It feels a lot like Windows, with the launcher in the bottom left corner and the ability to pin apps to the taskbar. You have to have a Google account (@gmail or are both Google accounts) to log into a Chromebook.

A Chromebook runs online apps-- you can't downloa…

Hashtag, Blue Pride

I remember this one day, maybe fall of 2007. I was sitting on the floor at my friend's house, reading a celebrity magazine (probably US Weekly), and saying out loud, "I don't get Twitter, what is it?" And mostly in the late 2000s, Twitter seemed to be a way for celebrities to brag about things or people to share pictures of their meals. As time went on, Twitter seemed to be everywhere. It took me until 2012 to create my first account.

So now, at my five-year Twitterversary (I may be making that word up?), I can't imagine my professional life without it. I have made networking connections on Twitter, followed the latest in educational technology trends, and have real-time conversations with hundreds of Ohio educators in  weekly "Twitter Chats." All of this is possible with our friend, the hashtag #.

So a little social media 101 for anyone that needs it (feel free to skip to the next paragraph if you are #cool and already know about hashtags): A hashtag i…

While you were away...

As a parent, I know sometimes it is a struggle for students to have the day off during the week. However, I want to assure you that our teachers at Upper Campus were hard at work on Friday, learning new things to improve our student experience at Warren John F. Kennedy. I just wanted to take a minute to show you what was going on while your student was away!

Last March, after first being hired as the principal, I spoke to many of you at our Just For KicksLive and Silent Auction. As an introduction to our "5-minute Tech Drill", asking for donations towards Chromebooks for our students, I told you how these devices can change the depth of student learning. Many thanks for your generous donations that put these devices into the hands of our students! Now it is MY turn to give you what I promised that night--a unique and positive student experience because of the addition of these devices. 

Half of the teachers' day was spent with a trainer from Nearpod, an interactive prese…