Literacy Superhero…Away!!!!!

Photo by Dean Shareski

I love being on this side of teaching. Don’t get me wrong. I miss my English and reading classes at the middle school, but now I get to work with all of the staff and students on every campus. Being able to see our brilliant teachers and their students expand their technology use and enjoy it makes it even better.

But I also get to network with some really great minds outside of White Oak. One of those great minds resides only a few hours west of us in Burleson ISD. Kim Estes has gone above and beyond what many people would do outside of their every day jobs in helping us. I will expand on her work with our ePortfolios after I finish the monument to her in my office, though. 😉

As I was reading through her newly redesigned blog, I found what every tech-loving, literacy teacher dreams about: a course outline complete with 6+1 Traits standards (our ISD uses New Jersey Writing, but they are basically the same) seamlessly meshed with technology integration where the curriculum is driving the technology. She created the outline, and then she found tools that supported the work.

Kim, you are a jewel to share this with everyone. I honor you by reposting it below with credit to you for the hard work it took. Thank you for being so generous in so many ways to us. Everyone who uses any part of this: I would appreciate it if you would leave a comment below to let Kim know what a valuable resource this truly is for us.

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What does it take to be on the Texas SBOE? I’ll let you decide.

So you think you know who is running Texas education, huh? Well, take this little quiz provided by Texas Monthly to see just how knowledgeable you are about the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE). When you are finished, do me a favor. Come back here and leave me a comment and let me know which thing(s) surprised you the most.  Then register to vote in the upcoming SBOE elections after you find the right person to represent you/us.  Then consider visiting this place:

UPDATE 9/23/08: In the comments below, Scott Laleman asked about who made up the candidates in the races. I am listing them here with the incumbent named first:

District 2 – Mary Helen Berlanga (D) vs. Peter H. Johnston (R)
District 7 – David Bradley (R) vs. Laura Ewing (D)
District 13 – Mavis B. Knight (D) vs. Cindy Werner (R)
District 14 – Gail Lowe (R) vs. Edra Bogle (D)


District 6 – Terri Leo (R)
District 8 – Barbara Cargill (R)
District 11 – Pat Hardy (R)

Find information on registering to vote, click HERE.

My good friend and fellow education advocate, Brock Gregg, has written an article each of the last two months about just this situation. Take a look at them:

Never Make an English Teacher Mad

The Seven Dirtiest Words: Educators who show up at the polls

This is good stuff from a man is who well respected around the Capitol by all participants in the process.

UPDATE 12/04/08 – Yep. She’s on the state board. Who elects these people?

Do you have the time?

I am re-posting below a blog post from my good friend Dean Shareski entitled “Do you have time for beauty.” I think where we are headed with our in-district training in Capturing Kids’ Hearts falls right in line with what is at the heart of Dean’s writing. I shortened my blog post title because the crux of the training our staff has undergone is taking the time out to get to know each of the kids as individuals.  The post below and the video inside of it hit home in that respect.

Dean Shareski and Scott Floyd hosting Teachers Teaching Teachers from NECC 2008 in San Antonio, TX

I have profound respect for Dean. Sitting with him in San Antonio discussing education and learning is one of the highlights of my personal learning.  It is great to have someone like him to turn to and learn from.  Thank you, my friend, for letting me re-post this thoughtful piece of writing you have shared.


HE EMERGED FROM THE METRO AT THE L’ENFANT PLAZA STATION AND POSITIONED HIMSELF AGAINST A WALL BESIDE A TRASH BASKET. By most measures, he was nondescript: a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money, swiveled it to face pedestrian traffic, and began to play.

The rest of the story goes on to reveal that world renowned violinist Joshua Bell performed on a priceless Stradivarius as hundreds passed by barely noticing. While his concerts command prices over $100 a seat, he made $32 in just under an hour.  The article details this experiment and offers some interesting ideas into human psychology.

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(link to video here)

For me it reminds me that so much of life is hidden in plain sight and too often we aren’t paying attention.

Each passerby had a quick choice to make, one familiar to commuters in any urban area where the occasional street performer is part of the cityscape: Do you stop and listen? Do you hurry past with a blend of guilt and irritation, aware of your cupidity but annoyed by the unbidden demand on your time and your wallet? Do you throw in a buck, just to be polite? Does your decision change if he’s really bad? What if he’s really good? Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn’t you? What’s the moral mathematics of the moment?

School is beginning for many. Fall is often a start up for many organizations. There will be to do’s, deadlines and pressures. But hopefully we’ll have time to notice really great things that happen everyday. If you’re involved in education I’m guessing there are a few Josh Bell’s in your building.

I hope you’ll make time for beauty. I know I need to. That’s my sermon for today. Stay well.


Note from Scott: My only edit to Dean’s post above was to use the video from instead of YouTube since YouTube is filtered in our district.