Friday, February 26, 2016

The Braden Bin - 2/26/16

What I am watching:  

  • A few weeks ago, I posted a video from El Dorado High School in El Dorado, AR.  The video is titled "Students react to being called important".  It hit home like a ton of bricks.  I watched it and shared it with my staff smack dab in the middle of a highly emotional week for me.  I was able to share the video during a staff meeting but wasn't really able to say anything afterwords due to man tears.  Luckily, one of our counselors, Ms. Carreno and our 5th grade team leader, Ms. Wisler had my back.  
  • We wondered what it would be like if we did this with elementary aged students.  Would they get it?  Would they understand what we were telling them?  Turns out, they got it.  Turns out, they understood.  Without further ado (if you haven't watched it already), here is Barron's edition of Students react to being called important!  

Website I frequent:  Wonderopolis 

  • This is kind of a hold on from my days in the classroom.  Wonderopolis - somebody poses something they "wonder" about and the people of Wonderopolis do their best to explain it.  
  • I love how they highlight and define important vocabulary words.  I also love how every article they write comes with a video to act as an attention grabber.  On top of all that, there is the option to listen to the article and follow along as it is read for you!  
  • Wonderopolis was used as a station in my classroom.  The students could use the "wonder of the day" or pick any wonder they wondered about!  We would usually follow up the reading of a wonder with a 3-2-1 writing activity:  3 things the student learned from their wonder, 2 things that they found interesting and wanted to learn more about and 1 question they still had about the material.  
  • Anybody else use Wonderopolis?  Would love to know how you use it!  
  • I think this is one of the more important articles I've read this year.  It really does a nice job of resetting expectations and realities of Growth Mindset research and practices.  It's kind of an educational buzzword and far too often educational buzzwords come and go.  Carol Dweck is going to make sure this particular buzzword is here to stay.  
What I'm reading (bonus):   Greg Popovich broke down what he looks for in players, and it was an inspiring life lesson. 

  • I am fascinated in learning what great leaders believe to be the "secret formula" to their success as a leader.  Far too often, unless you have access that most people don't, you never really know what it was that made that person tick.  Thanks Pop for giving us common folk a little insight!  

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Braden Bin - 2/19/16

Quote I'm Pondering:  

“We spend the first year of a child's life teaching it to walk and talk and the rest of its life to shut up and sit down. There's something wrong there.” - Neil deGrasse Tyson

  • I'm doing a fun little thing on Voxer with some of my AP bros.  I just said, AP bros.  #DealWithIt.  One of us presents a topic and we all say a word to describe it and give a brief reason why we chose that word.  If any of you watch PTI on ESPN they do a segment called "What's the Word".  
  • So, what word would you chose to "describe" that quote?
  • My word:  Conformity - Of course we have to teach our children how to follow the law and be contributing members of society.  I think we try to mold them and conform them into something that children just aren't.  Maybe some are happy to conform, and that's fine, but what about those that aren't?  I've seen too many "nonconformist" children that have a hard time being told to shut up and sit down.  I was one of them.  

What I'm thinking about:  
  • Pediatric cancer is something very near and dear to my heart.  My three year old daughter, Avery, has been battling the terrible disease for over a year now.  Three major surgeries and ten cycles of chemotherapy and we have yet to beat it.  Don't worry though, we are #StillFighting. 
  • Well, pediatric cancer struck close to home again.  A little girl I know, who has battled and beat leukemia once already, found out last week, that it has come back.  She is currently in the hospital receiving treatment and the family and doctors are hopeful it can and will be beat again.  So far the cancer is responding nicely to  therapy.  
  • When I first found out about Avery having cancer, I met this little girl whom I was told, beat cancer.  This girl became a beacon of hope for me and I made a point to check in on her every day.  I built a relationship with the family.  Even though we don't speak the same verbal language, we do have one language in common and that is being a parent of a child fighting cancer.  My heart broke into smaller pieces when I found out this news.  Don't get me wrong, she is still a beacon of hope for me.  She has seen thing thing before, she has beaten it, and she will beat it again.  
  • It's not fair.  For kids like my daughter and the little girl I know.  For children like #KickItKenzie and #TeamRaleigh  and #RallyForRhyan and #LilyLaRue and all the other warriors fighting #PediatricCancer, it's Simply. Not. Fair.  
  • Consider checking out St. Baldrick's Foundation to see how you can help some of the leading pediatric doctors find new and improved treatments and maybe even a cure for pediatric cancer.  According to recent news they tweeted this week, they have reached $4M in donations for pediatric cancer research!  
  • If you want to know more about my Avery's fight, check out #OwlsForAvery.  
Jam I'm jamming to:
  • As I am writing this blog, Hard Sun by Eddie Vedder came on Pandora.  
  • One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite movies made from my favorite book of all time!  
  • Seriously, the book is life changing.  
Totally and completely unnecessary purchase I am considering making:  
  • I haven't thought about Air Jordan shoes since I was a wee lad.  
Prom circa 2001
  • The Air Jordan brand recently celebrated their 30th anniversary so, naturally and deservedly so, they are getting a lot of publicity from really important news outlets such as ESPN and stuff.  I happen to be an avid ESPN consumer.  I also happen to like shoes.  And now, dag nabbit, I happen to want a pair of Air Jordans!  Nice job ESPN, Nike, and Air Jordan, nice job.  You got me with your article Ranking every Air Jordan Sneaker, 1 - XX9.  
  • I grew up about an hour away from Chicago and when I was at quite an impressionable age, the Bulls were winning championship after championship after championship and Michael Jordan was the man.  Every kid wanted a pair of Air Jordans.  I actually was lucky enough to get a pair when I was in middle school.    

That's a beautiful pair of shoes, #AmIright?
  • I don't want a pair like that.  I think I'm going to struggle rockin' a pair of J's,  so I'm not even going to try with those.  Start small, a wise man once said.  You eat an elephant one bite at a time.  What that has to do with this, I don't know.  
  • My question to you - Can a 32 year old Assistant Principal, with more grey  than brown hair, who goes to bed before the 9 o'clock news, pull off wearing a pair of J's?

What I'm watching:
  • I'm watching this because who doesn't want to know how wallpaper was made in 1968?  
  • Kids, pay attention to your teachers or you could end up on Wheel of Fortune and think a) Paris is a country and b) Venice is located there.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Braden Bin

What I'm watching:  Students react to being called important 

  • Thanks to @K1counselor for sharing this on Twitter!
  • It really is a powerful video.  It shows how the words we chose to use each and every interaction with our students really are impactful, both negatively and (hopefully) positively.  
  • We will be trying our hand at this in the upcoming weeks.  I hope to have a video to show soon!  
Website that has caught my attention:
  • Again, thank you @K1counselor for sharing this website with me!  
  • From the website:  "When people choose to accept that they matter and that their actions count, lives and learning change, and the world changes."  
  • I couldn't agree more!  
What I am reading:  Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • I am really just getting into this book but I dig what I see so far.  
  • It peaked my interest because one of my favorite movies, Apocalypse Now, was "adopted" from this book.  I put adopted in parenthesis because Heart of Darkness takes place on the Congo River in Africa and deals with the ivory trade in the late 1800's while Apocalypse Now takes place in Vietnam during the Vietnam war.  From what I've heard, the central theme is the same and the message one can gain is consistent throughout both book and movie.  I cannot wait to dive into this some more this weekend!  
Song I am jamming to:  
  • @GCouros posted the following on twitter yesterday.

  • Mine was Drops of Jupiter by Train.  How could a high school graduation song be any better than that?  Feel free to find George on Twitter, if you don't already follow him (what are you thinking?) and add your high school graduation song.  Or, feel free to leave it in the comments on this blog!  
What I learned this week:
  • Maybe I should have said, "What was reaffirmed this week."  Either way, it was made evident (again) that we are in the business of relationships.  We all know that NOTHING can be done in the classroom without intentionally building relationships with your students.  Some of us take a week at the beginning of the year to just work on building relationships because we know that before content and curriculum comes love and trust.  Folks, this is the most rewarding job in the world.  Teaching transcends the traditional definition of "job" and is more of a lifestyle.  They mean a lot to us.  The future means a lot to us.  This is ok.  Sometimes we feel great from those relationships and sometimes we carry some of the pain from what our students are going through with us.  It's always worth it.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Braden Bin

Welcome to the second installment of The Braden Bin, formerly known as Friday Finds.  Yep, week two and the name has already changed.  For those that know me know that it is likely to change a few dozen more times.  Just the way I am.  I'm comfortable with it.

(Haha, by the way, I actually changed the title AGAIN, while writing this blog.  It was Ben's Bin.  Oh me oh my.)

Music I'm Jamming To:  Coming Home by Leon Bridges

  • A blast from the past out of Ft. Worth,Texas.  That's right, not Detroit in the '60s...Ft. Worth, Texas - 2016.  Most of you probably have heard of him already but if you haven't, I'd suggest getting on the bandwagon now.  This guy is amazing and is only going to gain more popularity.  I cannot wait for his next album to come out.
  • If you are into Vinyl, I strongly suggest picking this one up.  
  • Bonus:  Lisa Sawyer by Leon Bridges

What I'm watching:  German Coast Guard - what are you sinking about...

  • Did you LOL?  I know I LOL'd when I first saw this.  Nay, I LOL everytime I see it.  
  • This video reminds me of the importance of clarifying my message when I am interacting with people.  Not everybody has the same background experiences, tone, language, etc. which means that you can have the most kind natured message that can easily get lost in translation if you do not take into account who you are relaying your message to and how you are relaying it.
  • The message is important but it's going to go over like a lead balloon if the delivery isn't on point.  (See origin of lead balloon at the end of this post!)

What I'm reading:  The Scientific Method is a Myth 

  • I first heard this the other day while at the principal meeting for our district from the elementary science coordinator.  It almost made me mad.  Ok, it made me mad.  Somewhere, deep down in my non scientific soul, I thought the Scientific Method was what drove innovation since the invention of the wheel.  The reason people live longer.  The driving force for all of those homemade volcanoes.  Turns out, the Scientific Method, as we know it, is a myth and it all makes sense!  

What I'm learning about:  Restorative Discipline

  • I know it's easy to say this and said far too often by people who are afraid of change, but this is something we already do a lot of at my school.  I think it's why the culture is so amazing between the staff and students.  However, I only know the very tip of the iceberg that is Restorative Discipline.  
  •  and myself () will be exploring this topic over the next few months.  We hope we can utilize it in our day to day.  
What I'm thinking about:
  • I've always been fascinated with word and phrase origins.  I heard three this week that I've always used but only now took the time to find out their true meaning.
  • In an email to a staff member, I said, "This should be right up your wheelhouse!" Where does "wheelhouse" come from?  
    • The wheelhouse is the pilot house on a boat.  They are small spaces with great visibility where the captain is always in control and is prepared to face any situations he/she may encounter while in a sail (in a sail?).  So, naturally, if something is in ones "wheelhouse" he/she has total control over it.  Is comfortable with it and an expert at it.  BOOM!
  • Yesterday I listened to a nurse speak about lice.  She called the eggs of a lice a "Nit" and then mentioned the word "picking" in the same sentence.  Nitpicking.  Nitpicking is the act of finding fault in something.  The origin of the phrase is explained here.  
  • Origin of the phrase, "go over like a lead balloon".

UPDATE:  My mobile office is being utilized and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!