Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Welcome Reception: My Oakland Experience

It is always nice to come back to OU and see prospective students. I chose Oakland University (OU), because I was looking for a top tier education at an affordable price with scholarship opportunities. OU’s education program has an excellent reputation for training aspiring teachers. Many of the teachers who inspired me at Lamphere High School earned their degree from OU. I wanted to become a teacher in order to return the favor and help students. OU seemed like a perfect fit for me.

After my first tour of the campus, I knew that I wanted to go to school here. I loved the campus layout and the nature. I was born in Royal Oak and raised in Madison Heights. Many of my high school friends were planning on attending OU. I wanted to stay in this area. I had a good job with connections here. I wanted the experience of living on-campus while remaining close to my family and friends. I wanted the best of both worlds. Besides, Oakland County has plenty of entertainment options both on- and off-campus, and Detroit is about a 30 minute drive from campus.

I became connected at OU by getting involved with intramural sports, working out on-campus, and playing club soccer. Sports were my passion in high school, and I wanted to continue this part of my life. 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 and my involvement at the Recreation Center. I did not start living on-campus until employment opportunities became available.  After my first year of classes, I became an Orientation Group Leader (OGL) with Admissions, Resident Assistant (RA) with Housing, and Peer Mentor with the Center for Multicultural Initiatives in order to help new students feel connected to OU. All were rewarding experiences.  

I also explored 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. 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. While in New Zealand, I taught 4th/5th grade at Sunnyvale Primary School. I even taught swim lessons.

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 my younger brother prepare for his job search. 

The Alumni Association has helped me to remain engaged with OU and the surrounding community. I still go to almost every home OU home basketball game. I am an ambassador, and this is part of the reason why I am here speaking to you today. I am a member of the Young Alumni Leadership Committee. It has been amazing being an involved member of the OU community. I remember coming to this event with my parents about ten years ago. I was nervous about going to college. I still remember walking into my first college class. It was a rhetoric course taught by Professor Lamphear. Ironic.      

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 just recently volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. This 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, 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. The required field placements and internships provided me with work experience that helped me make decisions about my future career. I learned that I wanted to teach middle school science, not kindergarten. The study habits I developed as an undergraduate helped me with success in graduate school. I just recently graduated with my masters.  

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. It is essential for me to be curious and open-minded in order to reach every student. It can be extremely difficult. Every student arrives into my classroom at different levels, and I have to figure out ways to differentiate instruction making learning accessible to them.

My goal and purpose is to improve schools. OU also prepared me to be a leader. I was a graduate of their Leadership Institute through the Center of Student Activities. The intensive leadership training that I received at OU has helped me with becoming a highly effective teacher. I continue to be a leader by presenting to colleagues at conferences. I often use the resources that were provided to me as a student at OU in my own classroom presentations.

Everyone likes to give his or her own advice. Here is some advice or tips I believe will be helpful to an incoming freshmen or transfer considering OU.

Get involved with the Alumni Association and Career Services before graduating. They offer numerous opportunities for networking which can help with internship or job placement.

Talk to the academic advisors. Take some time and think about your major. Research.

Be friendly, make new friends, and have an active social life. College is an amazing opportunity. Be open to diversity. Have fun.

Stay in touch with old friends, parents, and family. They are your support networks.

Enjoy the surrounding area! Michigan is an amazing state.   

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Closing the "Attitude Gap": How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success

Attitude Matters! Young people are not realizing the power of education. 

What is the "Attitude Gap"? It is the gap between those students who have the will to strive for academic excellence and those who do not. 

The classroom climate and culture matter when it comes to closing the attitude gap. Teachers need to create an environment and mood where students feel that they belong. 

Teachers must believe in their students in order to build that positive relationship. It is essential to show students compassion.

Teachers need to create instructional lessons that our relevant to the lives of their students. For more information, please visit Principal Baruti Kafele's website by clicking here

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Michigan Kids Can

Going to the doctor's office and taking medicine when needed is part of life. Our informational literacy class had a discussion on their favorite ways to get moving in order to have an active and healthy lifestyle.  

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

Students 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. 

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. 

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. 

Calling All Michigan Kids: Enter this year's #MIKidsCan Contest. Click the link here

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

We Are Lamphere

The math, reading, and writing skills I developed as a student in The Lamphere Schools has allowed me to become a successful teacher. Playing sports and being involved in student government taught me valuable life lessons on teamwork, time management, and responsibility. Lamphere helped me get to where I am today by providing me with an exceptional education. 

As a student in The Lamphere Schools, I learned the benefits of getting along with people from different cultures, which continues to assist me in my career, especially when I traveled to New Zealand for a Teacher Exchange Program. My passions for public speaking, fitness, and volunteering have provided inspiration for my future. 

I know Teacher Appreciation Week has past, but I still wanted to take a moment to recognize one of the many educators who had a positive influence on my life. Before retirement, Tom Davis was an exceptional health and physical education teacher at Lamphere High School in Madison Heights.

In addition to teaching full-time, he also coached the cross country and track teams. He taught his athletes techniques for cross-training and weightlifting in addition to proper nutrition.

He encouraged me to explore my curiosities, supported me with my struggles, and celebrated my successes. He cared about me, my learning, my life, and he wanted me to find happiness within myself in order for me to be capable of helping others.

Tom Davis inspired me and pushed me to be my best in the classroom and on the athletic fields. I am now trying to pay this positive influence forward to my students. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Future of Public Education: A snapshot of modern day teaching in the 21st century

Being a teacher is one of the hardest jobs one could ever love. Teachers make a difference in the lives of students, parents, colleagues, and the community. The field of education is changing for the better. 

Currently, there is a focus on Depths of Knowledge Levels 3 and 4 in order to get students to critically think and apply what they are learning. Teachers are trying to make learning rigorous and relevant. They facilitate instruction rather than always being the deliverer. The students know the learning objectives.  

Digital technology makes learning personalized, engaging, and fun for students. Emerging trends with digital technology includes Web 3.0 and Anticipatory/Artificial Intelligence. Teachers need to have the trust, passion, and drive to use digital technology in their classrooms. They must be adaptable to learn new teaching techniques in order to meet student needs.

Teachers’ focusing on career readiness is essential. New jobs today require high Lexile levels. The English-Language Arts (ELA) teachers cannot do it alone. There is a laser-like focus on literacy because high Lexile scores equates to higher scores in other subjects such as math.   

Data analyses, such as growth models, are being used in teacher evaluations. The future is common core with smarter balanced testing. Our school uses the NWEA Map assessment to test for learning and literacy. Teachers are also giving their own assessments to monitor student growth.

Teachers are also responsible for a student’s personal development. Students are taught how to behave rather than just being punished. The student/teacher relationship is critical, and the focus is on student needs.  Teachers cannot let students fail.

Issues such as poverty, student apathy, and lack of parent involvement should be considered when thinking about the future of public education. Other countries choose which kids go to school. In the United States, we allow all kids to go to a school with high expectations. This has an affect when comparing our test scores to those of other countries. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Career Exploration: Elementary Education in the 21st Century (K-8)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 (6-7:30 P.M.) 
Oakland University Macomb County

Macomb University Center
Lecture Hall B
44575 Garfield Road
Clinton Township, MI 48038

Refreshments will be served. 

Wondering what a career as an elementary school teacher would be like? Think you have what it takes? 

Whether you're seeking to complete a bachelor's degree program, or if you already have a bachelor's degree and are interested in making a career change to education, hear from an experienced panel of K-12 educators on the following: 

  • What It Means to Be an Elementary Education Teacher in the 21st Century
  • How to Become a Kindergarten or Elementary Education Teacher 
  • The Teacher Work Environment
  • Job Outlook
Guest panelists represent Oakland University's School of Education and Human Services, Van Dyke Public Schools, Chippewa Valley Public Schools, and Utica Community Schools. 

To register or learn more, including which degree best suits your needs, visit oakland.edu/pd/pathwaystoteaching.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Focus on Smart Teaching

Focus on Smart Teaching is coming up on September 20th. A modest price gets you a full day with an inspiring keynoter, engaging expert presenters, relevant presentations, and lunch, too. Laptops, flat panel, gift cards, free MACUL registration, and more will be given away.

Our keynote speaker, Brad Waid is an energetic and passionate educator who inspires educational change through technology and Augmented Reality. He is a highly sought after speaker who engages his audience with his passion, humor, mind-blowing demonstrations all while sharing the power of technology and how it can transform the way we learn, teach and lead.

SMARTTech's James Griffin will be presenting what’s new in SMART Notebook 2014 and showing some great new features available soon. Microsoft Innovative Educator Grant Zimmerman will present on Microsoft Office Online and OneDrive. 

This conference takes place on Saturday, September 20th  from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM at Chippewa Valley High School. 

Location: 18300 19 Mile Road, Clinton Township, MI 48038 

L'Anse Creuse Public Schools and Chippewa Valley Schools. 

“Shaking Up Learning” and “Southeast Michigan Smart User Conference”