Tuesday, November 29, 2016

OU Giving Tuesday Story

Giving Tuesday is an international day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals and communities to encourage philanthropy and celebrate generosity worldwide. More than 30,000 organizations in 68 countries take part in this special day.

John and Marie Pino donated finances to support a scholarship that helped me concentrate on my academics. Oakland University (OU) provides a top tier education at an affordable price with scholarship opportunities.

Donors, such as John and Marie, make this possible. Their donation made a difference to me.

The Pino’s encouraged me to explore my curiosities and celebrated my successes. They cared about me.

They inspired me to be my best and live my life to the fullest. OU was the perfect fit for me.

I wanted the experience of living on-campus while remaining close to my family and friends. I wanted the best of both worlds. 

Dawn Aubry made an incredible difference in my life. She encouraged me to make connections at OU by getting involved with intramural sports, working out on-campus, and playing club soccer.

Dawn also encouraged me to explore my diverse range of interests including stand-up comedy, history, technology, and environmental issues by attending multiple programs on-campus. I have seen numerous comedians and celebrities speak at OU including Ben Carson, Lisa Ling, and Robert Kennedy. 

OU eventually became my home away from home. I commuted my first year, but I always seemed to be on-campus. 

I met many people through attending on-campus events, such as the Meadowbrook Ball, and my involvement at the Recreation Center. I did not start living on-campus until employment opportunities became available.  

My favorite OU memory is living in the on-campus residence halls and having fun with friends. We enjoyed working out at the recreation center and playing sports. 

These experiences opened many doors for me and introduced me to resources such as Career Services and the Alumni Association. I developed a greater appreciation for OU and their devotion to student success both in and outside the classroom. 

I attended a study abroad informational session as a sophomore. Learning about various cultures became a passion, and I eventually traveled to New Zealand during my last semester. 

My prideful accomplishment is completing my internship in New Zealand and sharing that experience with my students. 

There were many resources and people that were helpful to my academic career. The Career Services Consultants helped me develop my interview skills at workshops and network with professionals in the education industry. 

Besides sponsoring numerous career fairs, they also assisted with my job search by editing my cover letter and resume. Now, I am able to help others prepare for their job search. 

The Alumni Association has helped me to remain engaged with OU and the surrounding community. I still go to almost every OU home basketball game. 

My college experiences shaped my life starting with choosing a major that interested me, building a circle of new friends, and meeting people of various cultures. I still keep in touch with my college friends. 

During college, I gave countless hours to community service. I recently volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross, and Relay for Life. 

Community service was an excellent way to meet new people and broaden my horizons. It often complemented what I was learning in my courses. 

When I graduated from the OU’s School of Education and Human Services (SEHS) in 2008, I felt knowledgeable and ready to have a positive impact on future students.

My college experience also changed my life by providing me with numerous resources and people who helped me be successful. There were so many people here that shared their life experiences and had an impression on me. 

OU prepared me for my career by promoting the importance of being curious and open-minded. I am interested in almost everything. 

It is my duty to provide an education to every child that walks into my classroom. I have to be able to relate to my students in order to make them feel welcomed. 

Every student arrives into my classroom at different levels, and I have to figure out ways to differentiate instruction making learning accessible to them.

Today, please consider making a donation to the Golden Grizzlies Spirit Award.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Family + Food + Football = Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for my family, friends, and colleagues. I am thankful for opportunities to meet new people, travel, and explore ideas. 

I am thankful for the ability to keep in touch with my past including the many people who have had an impact on my life. I am thankful for the students who inspire me on a daily basis.

My most memorable Thanksgiving was at my Grandpa's house. We spent quality time together going on a walk, playing cards and board games, and watching the Detroit Lions. 

Another memorable Thanksgiving was going to downtown Detroit to run in the 10K Turkey Trot and watch the parade.

Thanksgiving is more than a wonderful meal with turkey, potatoes, and stuffing. It is about the people and relationships that have been nurtured throughout the years. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Michigan Kids Can Move and "Bag the Junk"

Celebrate physical fitness and sports. We must spread the word about the importance and benefits of eating healthy and physical activity. 

Students seem to understand the importance of "watching what they eat". They are aware of the importance of eating healthy and following the food pyramid. 

Eating healthy, going to the doctor's office, and taking medicine when needed is part of life. Our literacy class had a "Genius Hour" discussion on the successes of getting healthy food options at our school and their favorite ways to get moving in order to have an active lifestyle.

Students need three meals every day to keep them strong and energized. These meals must include fruits and vegetables. 

Students agreed that eating at home more often is a good way to stay healthier. People tend to eat unhealthier when eating at a restaurant. 

Our school provides students with healthy food options within vending machines, cafeteria lines, our school store, and fundraisers. Even though students do not always like the idea that they cannot buy candy for a snack or soda pop, they have adapted to healthier food options such as fruit and water. 

Students enjoy the wholegrain Bosco cheese sticks, protein-filled chicken nuggets, and a salad bar filled with vegetables. However, they do complain at times that the gluten-free pizza tastes like terrible cardboard and sometimes the fruit is rotten.  

According to Blue Cross Blue Shield, nearly one in three children are overweight across the country, and Michigan has the 18th highest obesity rate in the U.S. Unhealthy kids are more likely to become unhealthy adults. 

Students need the expert recommended 60 minutes of exercise and physical activity per day. This can include swimming, riding bikes, jumping on a trampoline, walking around the block, and other outdoor activities.  

Physical activity can support better learning, attendance, and behavior in school. According to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, only one in three students are active everyday. 

Students also stay active and healthy by playing sports such as volleyball, football, hockey, soccer, baseball, and basketball. Many students play on school, recreational or travel teams. 

Students enjoy sharing their experiences and often make connections with their classmates. Many students dance at a studio, participate in karate, or do gymnastics after school. 

Enter the latest #MIKidsCan Contest. Click the link here

We must also be aware of the affects of eating disorders. 50%  of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression. 

25% of college-aged women engage in purging as a weight-management technique. In the United States, 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder. 

Use this toolkit for ideas to implement at home and school.

My mantra: I am capable. Live Healthy, eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and avoid drugs. 

I decided to exercise everyday for both my mental, social, and physical health. My streak is at least three years. 

I mainly jog, walk, and/or bike for at least 30 minutes a day usually in the evening. I look at exercise as a daily motivational routine such as eating, bathing, and relaxing. 

It is a key ingredient to a well-balanced life. 

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Teachability Instagram Takeover

I teach 7th grade science in Michigan. It was exciting to take over Teachability's Instagram channel for the week. I shared my favorite things about teaching and our story of education at the classroom level. This is a photo of our 6th hour class. 

This is Blake, Sal, and Prekton working on a STEM focused activity. Science experiments are an effective way to engage students. 

These are our classroom bulletin boards.

Our sporting events increase student and staff morale.

Our staff recognizes the prideful accomplishments of students and school community service with awards. 

Blended Learning: Education tools used for digital integration and fun games in the classroom.

Our parent/teacher conferences are essential for the communication of student progress. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

National Fellowship Honor

It is an honor to have been selected to participate in an organization dedicated to speaking out about public education and sharing best practices to improve it.

I have been a math and science teacher since 2008 at Chippewa Valley’s Iroquois Middle School. I was recently named a fellow for the America Achieves’ Michigan Educator Voice Fellowship.

In that capacity, I will join 100 other educators across Michigan to develop skills that will impact students locally and statewide.

I am honored to work with incredible educators (who) are committed to transforming education for themselves and students.

This fellowship will not only equip me to be a better educator in my classroom, but it will help me advocate for improved funding for teacher training in education policy discussions at the state level.

The Michigan Educator Voice Fellowship is a branch of the national America Achieves Teacher and Principal Fellowship.

According to the organization’s Website, the fellowship “empowers outstanding teachers and principals to elevate their voices in public conversations about teaching and learning, to assume leadership roles in their schools and communities and to influence education policies at the local, state, and national levels, including the implementation of college- and career-ready standards. By including educators in the policy-making process, the fellowship elevates the public’s perception of the education profession.”

As participants, fellows deliver their message about public education through such avenues as letters and columns to local newspapers; testifying in committee hearings; and making presentations to civic organizations.

I have had opinion pieces published in The Macomb Daily, The Oakland Press and the Detroit Free Press.

“Participants in the fellowship interact with colleagues and community leaders in ways that will serve everybody –- most importantly, students -– for years to come,” said Donna Rummel, state manager for the Michigan Educator Voice Fellowship. "We are thrilled to welcome Mike as a fellow in this prestigious program.”

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

An Open Letter to Michigan Lawmakers

We can no longer ignore the importance of education to Michigan’s future. It is an investment that will pay dividends in the future.

According to Lou Glazer, President of Michigan Future, Inc., “Michigan universities bring in one billion dollars annually of federal funds and employ thousands of knowledge workers. Places where new knowledge is being created have a big edge in being the places where new technologies are commercialized.”

Michigan has the potential to be a leader in emerging markets, including technology, alternative energy, health care, and education. We have citizens who are experts in these areas – or who are willing to learn new skills to become experts. Our education institutions need adequate funding to make this happen.

In a global, knowledge-based economy, every student graduating from high school needs to attend a vocational school, community college, or university to be successful. An education must be affordable; if it is not, many will be unable to get the education needed to prepare for a job in a growing industry.

The survival of Michigan businesses depends on a diverse and educated workforce. We do not want Michigan to fall behind the rest of the United States because our residents cannot afford an education. 

According to Thomas Haas, president of Grand Valley State University, “Michigan’s public universities are engines of job creation. Our universities create the next generation of teachers, engineers, nurses, doctors, researchers, inventors, and community leaders.”

There are ways to offset at least some of the costs associated with such investments. Students who receive scholarships and other forms of financial aid, for example, could be required to give back to the community through volunteer work. They could teach senior citizens or unemployed workers technology skills, provide fitness classes and nutrition workshops in their communities, tutor K-12 students to boost graduation rates, or help maintain our “Pure Michigan” ecosystems.

Michigan needs to invest in education to create an innovative workforce. This innovative workforce will bring economic prosperity back to Michigan. An investment in education now will secure the well being of future generations.   

According to the Michigan Education Association - Political Action Committee (MEA-PAC), public education is under attack due to evaluation, privatization, right-to-work, cyber and charter schools. To rebuild Michigan’s middle class, we must rebuild our public schools. 

Instead, $1 billion has been taken from our children’s classrooms to pay for a $1.8 billion tax break for big corporations, including those that outsource our jobs. Macomb county public school students have lost more than $200 million in the last four years. 

Meanwhile, there has been an expansion in for-profit charter and cyber schools without ensuring accountability. Stand up for public education and support our local schools.