Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tis the Season

Mark Twain has been quoted as saying, “Sing like no one’s listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching, and live like it’s heaven on earth.”

I remember seeing an upscale condominium community in Hilton Head advertised as “Heaven on Earth”.

I googled “Heaven on Earth” and got the lyrics of a Britney Spears song of obsession.

I remember a wise person once respond to the disappointments of our spiritual journey with the comment we need to remember that this isn’t heaven.

No, we haven’t been promised heaven on earth. But can we experience it?

For much of my life I've always believed that heaven will come because of my religious beliefs. But as I grow older and gain more clarity of who I am and what my purpose is in this life, I have come to realize that I can contribute in bringing heaven here to earth; at least to someone. When one of my children at school need to be loved because they are scared because of things that may have happened that night before at home. When my kids at school need a wink or a smile from me just to know that everythings going to be OK. Those gestures can help bring heaven to earth for someone, if only for a moment. I can share my belief in God in the way I live my life and treat others.

No, we can’t talk about the heaven on earth that is yet ahead without saying more than we know and infinitely less than what is to come. But of this we can be confident. Being in the presence of “God with us” as he lives among his people on earth, won’t be less than the best we have ever imagined… and will be “better by far”… than anything we’ve ever known…

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Christmas List

So I’m supposed to now come up with a Christmas List for my mother. Thanksgiving just ended! Slow down time!

Below is a list of what I’m asking for this Christmas.

They were awesome back in the day. These are the newer outfitted ones. I still want to be the blue ranger when I grow up!

I Love them! I want to name him Albert!

I need, ok... WANT a MacBook so I can work in my lazy chair.

No list would be complete without wanting...Peace on Earth!

Why Teaching needs to change...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Flitting with Fractions

Learningmedia.co.nz has 8 interactive resources for students that include science, literacy, and math topics. The one I’d like to highlight is Flitting with Fractions. Flitting with Fractions is a great way to show students how fractions work. You will be asked a question, such as “Catch all of the butterflies with long legs.” Then, simply drag the correct butterflies to the top of the jar and release them. Close the lid, then enter the correct numerator and denominator by touching the numbers. You can then check your answer and move to the next problem. Check it out.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I read (?) the news today...Oh Boy!

Just a quick post to share this concept video from Sports Illustrated...

More evidence that the way we interact with “text” is changing. To combine and paraphrase something I’ve heard a few folks in the blogosphere says:

We need to stop paper training our students. We should spend less time training our students how to use paper, and more time helping them use digital tools to interact in meaningful and productive ways with the media forms of the day.

Also reminds me that using technology is additive - no one is suggesting that words don't matter, that what we traditionally think of as "writing" is no longer important, but that the very nature of composition is more complex now, and that our instruction, our pedagogy, our learning spaces need to reflect that.

Writing, composing written pieces is no longer exclusively a solitary activity. And we need to expand our definition of composition beyond only text and beyond only a specific medium (book, research paper, academic journal, etc.).

"Text" is changing. Is your classroom?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Google Goggles

Google Goggles is now in beta in Google Labs and available on certain brand name phones.

The product looks to be a huge leap forward in the field of visual search — by which I mean, you point a camera at something and Google figures out what it is.

Here’s a little video explanation.

I should have thought of this!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More cool websites!

Kerpoof: This website turns your kids into true cartoon artists. Doodle, create a movie, build your own greeting card or draw a comic strip using predesigned elements in this free multimedia software.

Jigsaw Planet: Create jigsaw puzzles. Fun!

Google Books: Google Books is a good resource today. Soon it will be phenomenal. As their collection grows Google Books will become an invaluable classroom tool. That said, even now you can:
* word search books and then cross reference to your very own paper copy.
* read books on line.
* create your own personal library.
* read a section of a book you want to buy.
* find a quote from a book you read years ago.

Teachers Domain: Teachers' Domain is an extensive library of free digital media resources produced by public television, designed for classroom use and professional development.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

2010-2011 School Calendar Survey

Please give us your input regarding the calendar for the 2010-2011 school year. Simply click the following link: 2010-2011 School Calendar Survey

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall Festival Survey

I need your help in making a few plans for next years Fall Festival at Sutton. Simply click here: Fall Festival Survey

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Just me and my dad!

Red Ribbon Week at Sutton

Red Ribbon Week was such an AWESOME week at Sutton! Thanks to everyone for making it such a special week for our kids! Below are two videos of the week. The first is a video made specially for our kids from members of the Key Club at Owensboro High School.

Here is a show of our kids throughout the week!

Monday, November 2, 2009


A parent stopped me today and we discussed how awesome our school system is. She reminded me of the OPS Fine Arts Festival a few years back. It was a special moment for me as I was able to perform with the kids and my nephew was in the performance as well. Check out a good memory...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What kids can do....amazing!

As most of you know I am an extreme planner when it comes to doing what's best for our kids and for Sutton School. But I often scratch my head when I think about how to transform what we do to prepare our kids for the competitive global world and to get technology in the hands of our kids. Not because I don't think our kids are ready for it but because many of our teachers are behind the curve from what our kids are already doing with the technology. Take a look at a couple of things I found on Youtube that shows just a glimpse of the creative opportunities that exist for our children. The musician in this video is the same person.

Here the young musician is again.

As we prepare our children, we must realize that we need to provide them with the opportunity to be creative as well as the tools to bring this creativity alive. Our kids are ready to move into an age that we can only imagine. Let's get started!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Leadership Lessons

Two of the best leaders I have ever known are my mother and father. My father is a very quiet leader. He takes his time in making a decision. He is very carefully in order to make the decision that will motivate others and move his agenda in a positive direction. He is always very careful to take into consideration others in his decision making. My mother is a leader with spunk, to say the least. She is always very confident in her decisions as her experiences seem to give her a firm background in making good solid decisions. The combination of their leadership styles has strongly influenced me in my leadership roles. While my mother and father are both natural leaders it has been a role that hasn't been one hundred percent comfortable for me.

I have been very fortunate to have some very good friends who have proven to be very influential to me during my struggles with leadership. One of my oldest and dearest friends, Steve, who is a CEO for a hospital once told me a story of an experience he had. To this day that story influences my ability to lead others in my role as a Principal. It's a leadership quality that I struggled with early on but has come to learn the value and importance of it in providing the best school experience for our kids. The story was about a leader who struggled with the desire to be a popular leader rather than holding everyone accountable. His organization was very stagnant, people became satisfied with the status quo, over time people became burned out, and finally the organization failed. I've learned over time that in order to lead others towards greatness that you must be clear, concise and honest with them. I have had more than my fair share of times when my heart was racing, my palms were sweating, and I dreaded having to look someone in the eye and tell them something I knew they did not want to hear. But I have to admit that brutal honesty, challenging others, and holding them accountable to become better has caused others to become better than they ever believed they could become. Had I chosen to not leave my own comfort zone and hold others accountable, they would have never gotten on their journey to become great.

As I mentioned earlier, leadership does not come naturally for me. I still struggle with an area of leadership that frustrates me quite often. I desire harmony! My family members have been the best teachers for me with this leadership lesson. While I want harmony here at my home, Lynette challenges me to think outside the box, Jessica teaches me to look at various perspectives, and Alex teaches me to listen. Now, almost by default I've gotten better at this. Certainly I have a wife, a son, and a daughter that challenges the "harmony" at the Lyddane household, but at schools I have all chiefs and no Indians. So I am challenged and we engage in conflict pretty often at Sutton Elementary School. But once again, this has caused us to reach for greatness. If we didn't challenge one another we wouldn't see the results we see in regards to student success.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Future Classroom

What should our classrooms today look like? What should our teachers instruction look like today and towards the future? It should be bold. It needs to break the mold of the old classroom. It should be flexible, creative, challenging, and complex. It needs to address a rapidly changing world filled with fantastic new problems as well as exciting new possibilities. Change is going to be a challenge for all of us. It means getting out of our comfort zone. But the truth is, a childs mind is wired differently than todays adult. Children today are comfotable with the technology revolution that is ever changing today. They are growing up in a much more diverse world that is much more complex, strongly infuenced by the media, and more globalized than ever before.

Todays kindergarten students will be retiring in the year 2067. We have no idea what the world will look like in five years much less sixty years as things are changing so quickly. How will our children respond to the challenges that we already know exist as well as the new challenges that will emerge in the future? Our students will have no choice but to respond to such issues as world famine, growing poverty, health issues, a global population explosion and other environmental and social issues. These issues lead to a need for students to be able to communicate, function and create change personally, socially, economically and politically on local, national and global levels.

Even kindergarten children can make a difference in the world by participating in real-life, real-world service learning projects. You're never too young, or too old, to make your voice heard and create change that makes the world a better place.

Emerging technologies and resulting globalization also provide unlimited possibilities for exciting new discoveries and developments such as new forms of energy, medical advances, restoration of environmentally ravaged areas, communications, and exploration into space and into the depths of the oceans. The possibilities are unlimited.

As we prepare our children for these future challenges we must be comitted to educating the “whole child”, the “whole person”, and does not limit our curriculum design to meeting testing expectations as a measure of a successful educational standard.

We can ensure that our children develop these needed skills for the future through curriculum, which is interdisciplinary, integrated with technology, and project-based. We must insist that our children are able to collaborate by being able to work in teams, that they have good critical thinking skills and can solve complex problems, that they have good oral communication skillsand writing skills, can adapt to and use various forms of technology, take on civic and global issues, and engage themsleves in service learning.

Let's work together to prepare our children for these challenges. We have the skills, the passion, and the knowhow to help our children work towards success.