Category: TEACHING



Personal PD; Phase 1 – Research Checklist

  1. Decide upon a topic to research.
  2. Document 4 -6 research resources using a variety of mediums.
  3. Use the Phase 1 Research Guide to assist in your research and writing.
  4. Visit with your Instructional/Tech Coach for support.
  5. Share your research findings in the space below. This will be shared with your building principal upon completion of this project and will be used during Phases 2, 3, and 4.
  6. Upon completion of steps 1 -5, you will move to Phase 2 – Integration.

Summarize your research findings below.

1. Growth Mindset, and “Culture and Climate.”

2. Here are several things I am looking at and using:

  • “Art Education.” Art Education, vol. 70, no. 5, ser. 2017, 9ADAD. 2017.
  • Smith, Mike. “Jostens Renaissance Education.” Jostens Renaissance Education, Jostens’ Inc., 2017,
  • Ragan, Trevor., Train Ugly LLC, 2017,
  • Hetland, Lois. Studio Thinking: the Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education. Teachers College, Columbia University, 2009.
  • Maiers, Angela. Classroom Habitudes: Teaching Habits and Attitudes for 21st Century Learning. Solution Tree Press, 2012.
  • Rosenberg, Marshall B. Nonviolent Communication: a Language of Life ; Empathy, Collaboration, Authenticity, Freedom. PuddleDancer Press, 2015.
  • Seligman, Martin P. Learned Optimism. 2nd ed., Vintage Books, 1998.\
  • Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfill Your Potential. Little Brown Book Company, 2012.

3. Last year our MS PLC talked about using growth mindset. For years I’ve believed that standards and test data are ineffective and often inaccurate if students are unmotivated to learn. I’ve heard teachers complain at PD about wanting AEA presenters to help them find ways to “reach” and motivate students. I’ve read books on developing essential questions. I took license renewal classes on character ed and helping students with anxiety and depression.

So this year, my personal PD will be addressing two things. To work with the district’s goals for PBIS, I’d like to find ways that I can positively influence our school’s “culture and climate.” We need a culture that values and promotes curiosity and personal growth and learning. We need a climate that is positive, safe and encouraging. Not that it’s “bad” or terribly inhospitable (so far as I can tell), but it’s also not intentional. Any school can always do better. The other thing I want to work on is to continue to develop and improve the ways that I address, teach, apply and use growth mindset in my classrooms. Ideally I can not only help students and improve my own teaching, but demonstrate to others the value of these concepts and consider adopting them as well.

I don’t know if I’ve hit all 14 points on the “Phase 1 Research Guide,” I apologize if my writing was too organic. I’ll re-do it if I’m required to follow a specific format.

4. With all due respect to the TLC, and I really like and respect Betsy, but-

5. I am going to be using a section of my personal blog as a repository of my findings and reflections on my personal PD this year.,
… but (as of 8/31) I will come back and type something here after reviewing more of the videos on the two websites and scanning through &/or reading some of the books I’ve listed above.

WATCH THIS SPACE for #5. Also, will Ted ever use the Phase 1 Research Guide? Will he get in trouble for the snarky meme he inserted for #4?

But seriously, I fully intend to study how to teach and use growth mindset, I genuinely want to help our district with their PBIS because I think it can have a positive effect on our community and students’ sense of belonging and identity- I just don’t want to see it stall out in the behavioralist stages of teaching and repeating procedures. And even if the only way I can do it is via the yearbook and cheer squad, I want to work on improving our culture and climate. I want to see us become a community of life-long learners, among other things. Got any ideas for me? I’m open to “crowd-sourcing” from other educators- why should I limit myself to books and websites? Leave your comments below or share your books & websites (resources) with me. Thanks.

Positive Teachers Matter


LOVE! This quote from German philosopher, poet & playwright Wolfgang Goethe-

“Instruction does much, but encouragement does everything.” It doesn’t mean to lie to kids and artificially inflate their egos, it means that teachers and coaches need to be cheerleaders, we need to encourage kids- encourage them to try, encourage them to work, and yes, encourage them when they succeed, but also to encourage them to pick themselves up, dust them selves off, and keep trying and working when they fail.

Of course American poet Maya Angelou said it another way when she wrote “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Or, to be more trite, “They won’t care what you know, till they know that you care.” Or to use some teacher-jargon, “You can’t get to Bloom, till you take care of Maslow.”

#AffectiveDomainMatters #MotivationMatters #Inspire

‘Faculty Lounge’ | Teacher tagged posts

This section of this blog is dedicated to learning, education, and the glorious professionals on the front lines of facilitating learning for kids.

orange-brain-RIGHTSome of these posts, beginning in August 2017 are related to my own “Personalized PD” journey. But many before and after may have to to with teaching in general or teaching either Art or Social Studies. Thanks for visiting. Feel free to follow, share and comment.


ACEs & PBIS Resources

For out back-to-school in-services this year we screed an excellent film called ‘Paper Tigers.’ The next day we had a presentation on the dangers of human trafficking and social media. Both of these reinforced for me my contention that addressing the affective domain is vital if we’re ever going to be able to teach to the cognitive domain. In non teacher-speak; “They won’t care what we know until they know that we care.”

Since I also happen to be our districts website coordinator, I quickly put together a collection of links related to these two PD experiences so that our staff could explore these issues further on their own. Here they are.


ACEs & PBIS Resources

How can we make a positive impact on our students lives?

“Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. As such, early experiences are an important public health issue. Much of the foundational research in this area has been referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).”

~U.S. Center For Disease Control

Adverse Childhood Experience Study

“Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture and needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional and academic success. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all youth by making targeted misbehavior less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional.”

~San Jose Unified School District, San Jose, California

Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports

Similar/Related/Supporting Concepts

Mindset Mondays

ORANGE BRAINI haven’t blogged in quite a while and it seems like the last few times were either politics or poetry.

This year for professional development, our school is doing something called “Personalized PD.” Essentially we’ll be getting licence renewal credit for doing something I’ve been doing for years anyway; doing personal reading or research and implementing what we learn in our classrooms. Any professional educator worth their salt ought to be doing this at least casually if not deliberately and formally anyway.

Sometimes it’s a website, blogger or twitter. Sometimes it’s a professional journal or association resource. Sometimes it’s your own personal learning network (PLN). But anyone who’s serious about helping their students learn and grow is also constantly striving to learn and grow themselves.

Now that it’s becoming “institutionalized,” that is to say now that the educational-industrial-complex is finally catching on to personalized pd and to “professional learning circles (PLCs),” I worry that it will no longer be as organic and subversive as it once was. Time will tell, but in theory at least, it’s an excellent idea.

One component of our school’s Professional PD is that we need to share what we learn and implement with other educators. So, rather than create an entirely new blog, I am going to post about what I research and apply here on my existing blog under the tag “teaching” and with the spiffy “faculty lounge” banner graphic.

I may not be a professional education consultant, a TED Talks speaker, award winning administrator or YouTube or podcast host, but I am a 24 year veteran of both parochial and public schools, so I hope that my ideas and insights will be useful to whomever stumbles across them and to my colleagues at Boyer Valley and Woodbine schools.

DISCLAIMER/TRIGGER WARNING- What I write here are all my own opinions and do not represent Boyer Valley Community Schools, their Board or Administration- although

1) I will do my best to remain as positive and professional as I can at all times because

a) I like my job and want to keep it and

b) it’s the right thing to do anyway.

2) They really ought to be their ideas because it’s not like I’m a blither idiot, I try to be informed and it’s not like I haven’t got years of experience and any district ought to trust and empower their educators (whew- sorry, just putting that out there even though I recognize that it was both cynical and unprofessional, but admit it, it was at least kinda funny, right?) and

3) I forgot 3… oh yeah- any blogger ought to be able to feel comfortable being as genuine and authentic as possible without having to fear recrimination for their candor, right? Be that as it may, my goal is to share ideas, not spew opinions or vent frustrations so even if I try to use humor (or sarcasm) on future posts, please know that it’s intended to help communicate not to ruminate.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on with it.

The PLC I am a part of (not to be confused with a PLN) has as a goal to increase motivation among our students. Last year we discussed using “Growth Mindset” ideas, but for whatever reason, we didn’t get all that far. That doesn’t mean that I have to give up on that concept myself in my own classroom.

One of my plans is to dedicate a portion of each Monday to addressing issues of learning attitudes. In my eighth grade Civics classes I plan on using videos from Trevor Ragan at In my middle school Art classes especially, I will be working through the Studio Habits of Mind (SHoM) developed at Harvard. I will touch on these in my high school Art classes as well although in Commercial Art and Web Design , I intend to emphasize the steps in the design process more.

Later in the year, I may switch Art classes to videos from a YouTube channel called ‘The Art Assignment’ which will essentially be cycling through the studio habits in different ways. I may move Web Design to either Trevor Ragan, Simon Sinek or Steven Covey or some combination of all three.

As a Cheer coach, I’ve used John Wooden’s ‘Pyramid of Success’ for many years, but have let it go for a few years now, so I think I should bring it back.

All of these programs are intended to help develop learner’s own intrinsic motivations to desire to learn and challenge themselves rather than relaying on extrinsic motivators like grades, privileges, rewards, punishments, detentions, candy, etc. etc.

The thick, pseudo-intellectual explanation for this is that I see myself as aligning with cognitivists and existentialists in psychology rather than the behavioralists. The snarky way to say that is that I want students to be thinkers and learners rather than treating them like animals or machines.

Let’s be blunt. The trend in legislatures and state departments of education in recent years has been to focus on testing, data, and standards. But if students don’t respect the test, the results will always be skewed and therefore inaccurate. What’s more, the best tests, the best data, and the best designed standards in the world won’t mean jack if students are either unwilling or unable to learn.

Because of this, we need to direct our energy into inspiring and encouraging students to actually WANT to become life-long-learners.

Here are two trite cliche’s which I consider personal mantras and which I share as often as I can:

  • We can’t teach them Bloom till we take care of Maslow
  • If you WANT to learn, NO ONE can stop you;
    But if you DON’T want to learn, NO ONE can help you


Artist Statement; for an example/demo assignment


Graphite & pencil on 18×24 newsprint, 2017

Students had 5 days to work on their final self portraits. Between helping them and getting piles of grading for other other classes done I had to force my self to spend a class and a half to work on one myself. I kinda like the funky angle. What did we do before cell phones? Maybe I need to back off of telling them they should use mirrors instead of phones.

Below are my responses to some of the “self-critique” reflection questions that I assigned to my students for their semester final self portraits.

PRODUCT: What do you like most about your drawing? What are you most displeased with or disappointed in about your drawing?

I like this one much more than the one I did first semester with the mirror. That one is much less realistic, not to mention more static and flat. I love the from-above angle and the 3/4 view. I think that the shading helps it have a sense of form. While I kind of like the contrast between the linear texture of the hair and the shape/pattern of the flannel shirt, I think that without legs or hands, the shirt kind of becomes just an amorphic blob holding up my head.

PROCESS: What did you enjoy most about making this drawing?What was the most difficult challenge you faced in making this drawing?

It was an escape from the pressure of entering grades at the end of the semester and the chaos of eighth graders who are so excited about the end of the school year. If anything, I wish I’d been working on this with the rest of the Drawing class for the whole five days, and not just a day and a half.

PROCESS & PRODUCT: If you were the Art teacher, what grade (A, B, C, D, F) would you give to this drawing. Please explain or defend your choice. Why does it deserve that grade? What about it earned the grade you’d give?

I guess I’d give myself an A-/B+ It’s accurate an engaging, but just imagine how much better it could’ve been had I given it my full attention and commitment.

DEVELOPMENT & GROWTH; How do you think this drawing demonstrates that your drawing skills &/or perceptual skills are improving? In what ways have your skills advances since the beginning of the year?

I’m not sure it’s fair for me to answer this question since I’m not a student and I’ve been an Art teacher for 24 years now, but I am always amazed at how I can continue to learn and improve no matter how old I get. I also think sometimes that the less I think about what I’m doing and just do it, the better my results. I’ve heard baseball/softball coaches talk about this for pitchers- some thinks are mechanical rather than cerebral and you just have to “trust the process, don’t over-think.” Obviously my expression reveals how weary and cynical I’ve become in middle age. I had hoped that the unique angle, besides being thinning, might counter the curmudgeon with dynamic, even energetic angles and eye-flow.

EXIT SURVEY: What do you think are the biggest breakthroughs in your perceptual skills this year? How did your drawing skills improve? What are some things you feel like you learned this semester or will be able to take away from this class?

While I do feel like I’ve had some breakthroughs this year, I’m having trouble putting them into words.

But I have to say that I am very grateful for my high school Drawing, Painting, and Photography classes this year. I’ve been blessed with students who engage, participate and learn- not to mention many who have enormous amounts of talent! The icing is that almost all of them are just great people that are fun to be with. I feel like they’ve allowed me not only to continue to grow as an artist along with them, but to grow as an educator. I think many of them have taught me a few things, or at least reminded me of some things that teachers need to keep in mind while they’re teaching. There have been many very difficult and discouraging things about being in this profession this year, but none of them have come from the kids in my high school Art classes.

I truly hope and pray that many of them can continue to take Art classes the next year or two. Even if they can’t, I hope to use what they’ve taught me and the momentum they’ve given me for teaching 6-12th graders NEXT year. Thanks Drawing 2 Class- have a great Summer!