Commit Summit: Anthony Muhammad and Randy Sprick

4:30 PM Sarah Koves 1 Comments

For the past four years, I have had the privilege of attending our Intermediate School District's consortium summer institute.  We call it the Commit Summit.  Now it is an awesome conference; plus it is held at Great Wolf Lodge, so my family loves it too.

We had two speakers this year: Anthony Muhammad and Randy Sprick

Anthony Muhammad was our only speaker last year, but he provided some great continuity on the idea of school culture.  I also have one of his books, The Will to Lead, The Skill to Teach; a gift from our conference last year.  I haven't read it to be honest...what teacher has time to read books during the school year?  I had other priorities for reading last summer, but it is in my bag right now.

I received Dr. Sprick's book CHAMPS when I was a middle school teacher years ago, and I still review it from year to year because it is a great text on classroom management, and should be required reading for all management classes.  I believe his other books will be amazing reads as well.

This was one of my favorite slides from Dr. Sprick's presentation.  We have been in a state of flux at my school with cell phones.  Some teachers don't allow them at all, and some, like myself, use them in class.  Our board policy is that students can have them on their person, but they cannot use them without permission.

I imagine this printed poster-size and hanging by my door with a clip next to the level we will be using that day, so students know what the plan is.  I personally would prefer they be on the desk all the time to save the sneakiness of students.

There was a lot of talk about how Disney does things in terms of training their staff.  This led me to add several books on Disney management to my reading list.  Perhaps I could base my classroom management on their style?  They do run a successful company with millions of happy guests.

This slide struck our group because we are the EAGLES and it was a decent acrostic for success in school.

I am sorry this one is so hard to read.  This school asked students and staff the same questions and then looked at the data side-by-side.  It was interesting and an idea I would like to see our building try.

There was another interesting idea about how to handle tardies using Mr. Potato Head.  It is called tardy taters and is done by Wichita Public Schools.  Basically, each classroom had a Mr. Potato Head of their choosing (I would want a Star Wars one), every day without a tardy student earns a piece, and when the character is complete, there is a prize.  I don't know how this would work for high school students, but I love the idea of just having a Mr. Potato Head in my classroom.

There was also a fair about of talk about creating celebrations for staff, parents, and students.  I have always wanted a celebration or assembly for the students who do well on the MME exam just like we do for the football team when they make playoffs.  We usually recognize a community member and a staff member at our annual awards night.  I really like the idea of every moth a teacher is awarded a goofy trophy...perhaps another Mr. Potato Head by the teacher who received it last month.

I plan on using Dr. Sprik's checklist for teachers in my own planning for fall.  I will review it as I prepare my new one-page syllabus, which will be significant downsize from three.

Another one of Dr. Sprik's gems was that if the consequences are too severe, teachers won't follow through.  I find this is the case with our cell phone policy.  I would rather give a warning before referring to the office.  We need to have something smaller and more manageable, so teachers follow through.  One school just used the phrase "Honor our rules" as a gentle reminder.

So what am I doing new after this conference?:
  • postcards for students: I purchased 100 postcards from VistaPrint for use in my room.  I would hope to be able to send at least two a week all year.
  • a behavior list for each class in teacher binder: this will allow me to track behaviors in my classroom, so I have data when I need it for conferences and referrals
  • checking attendance (2 Ab in 1st 4 weeks is an issue) very early in the year

My favorite line from the conference:
We are being asked to do something that has never been done in our country's history: educate every child in the United States.  

That leads me into our last slide:

I would love to hear your thoughts on these things.

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