Lockett Learning Systems

Lockett Learning Systems

Friday, December 2, 2016

Merry Christmas

I'm a sucker for Christmas.  I love it all.  I celebrate it all...Baby Jesus, Santa Claus, gifts, stocking stuffers.  And the music!  I love it all, too...from Santa Baby! to The Messiah.  I once saw a spiritual dance of the Hallelujah Chorus.  It touched something deep within my soul.  I am forever changed because of this one wonderful experience.

As Christmas approaches in our schools, we are faced with multiple religious beliefs and multiple traditions for the holidays. Most of our children are excited to share their activities with their friends.

But...some of the most trouble children I see are those whose parents don't celebrate anything at Christmas because, in their words, "it is a lie."  I see these children when the parents aren't around.  They create an imaginary Christmas. They tell their friends they got presents from Santa Claus. They make up stories about programs and pageants. In their imaginations, they celebrate.  Religious or not, Christmas is an important part of American culture.

I honor your belief system even when it differs dramatically from mine, but I send you a word of caution. When you take something away, there is a void. If you choose not to do traditional Christmas celebrations… Santa Claus, and the birth of Jesus…, Create a new celebration. Give your children something positive to talk about.  If not, they will imagine it themselves.  They need to belong.

Whatever your beliefs and traditions, may the Christ of Christmas live in your hearts.  May the birth of a Savior long ago in Bethlehem fill you with wonder and with hope.  May you be blessed because He lives.

Monday, October 31, 2016

High Expectations Getting You Down? Work the Circle!

We all say we believe in high expectations, but sometimes the challenges of the classroom cause us to re-think what we mean by "high."

Don't Re-think.  Re-work!  Learn to "Work the Circle!"

When students are not achieving in the classroom at a level of content mastery, there is a reason.  Reasons are myriad, but they all fall into one of four categories:  Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, or Spiritual.

Physical causes of underachievement include problems with vision, blood sugar, allergies, hearing...the list goes on.  If it affects our bodies, it affects our performance.

Emotional causes of underachievement include our home environment, our relationships, our feelings of safety...the list goes on.  If it affects our hearts, it affects our performance.

Intellectual causes of underachievement include need for study skills, coaching, more information...the list goes on.  This is usually where we educators look.  If it affects our mind, it affects our performance.

Spiritual causes of underachievement include our dreams, goals, and values.  Everyone isn't religious (although that is spiritual), but everyone has dreams, goals, and values.  If we compromise our inner self, it affects our performance. 

Every intervention we make that is outside of "root cause" is a band-aid.  Band-aids are good; band-aids are necessary; band-aids help us heal quicker...but band-aids are not enough!

So..."Work the Circle!"  Try an intervention that is physical, then emotional, then intellectual, then spiritual...and do it again.  Do it until the student reaches content mastery.  Then get our of their way!  They have wings, and they love to fly!

Years ago, we taught teachers the "dragnet" style of teaching:  "Mind and body."  "Just the facts, Ma'am."  We now know, based on brain research, that we cannot teach half a child.  In fact, we believe that minimal learning occurs outside the realm of the emotional and spiritual.  We are charged with the task of infusing these elements into the classroom without violating a child.

We educators have a wonderful profession.  We are charged with molding the minds and hearts of the next generation.  Be brave!

Need help?  Contact us!  Lockett Learning Systems

Monday, October 3, 2016

Conquer the Crazy Time. (It's All Crazy!)

Have you noticed that...

Things start to get a little crazy on campus as we approach Halloween?...
Things on campus stay a little crazy until Christmas break...
Things get a little crazy on campus during football or basketball season...
Then there’s the time leading up to Prom night...
And, of course, every campus is blessed with “senioritis,” (and "junioritis" and "sophomoreitis" and "teacheritis!"). 

I tell my tutors that if they aren’t having problems, I won’t believe they are actually working with children.  Both the beauty and the frustration of teaching is that, at the same time, it can be both structured and unpredictable.  Teaching can’t be programmed in a neat little package.  Schools that endeavor to put children in a “learning box” and ask all teachers to do things the same way are destined to failure.  Teachers in these settings lose their creativity and passion.

So...leading up to the holiday season, here are four guidelines for what to do when you observe a student’s behavior that causes you to wonder what is going on in their lives:
  1.  Talk About It I often thought, as I read student essays, “S/he must not have wanted me to read that.”  I now know those students are actually begging someone to be brave enough to ask questions.  It is their cry for help.  I always feel inadequate and overwhelmed when I think of delving into another’s life crisis; but when I jump in, I also always find a strength or resource I didn’t know I had.
  2. Talk It Over With a Supervisor.  You never violate confidentiality when you discuss a concern with a supervisor in an effort to determine your course of action.  One teacher I know suspected child abuse and started to talk to her principal.  The principal said, “Stop.  If you tell me what I think you will, you need to know that I will report it, and that child will be taken from his home.  You will go with me to court to make that happen.”  She said, “I don’t believe children should be separated from their parents so I won’t tell you.”  Within the next week, that child was badly bruised from physical abuse.  When she saw that, she found within her the strength to do what had to be done.  When abuse and dysfunction are involved, pretending you don’t see the signs doesn’t make them go away.  Most of our children don’t need help this drastically; but when they do, we are mandated reporters and we must act. 
  3. “Carefront.”  This is the process of student confrontation we use in SCORE.  From research, we learn that the “unwilling/unable” student needs you to “shoot straight.”  They also need you to care.  Don’t talk around the issue; tell the student what you see.  As you talk, write it down so they can both see and hear it.  Talk in three columns:  Before, Now, and Now Then....  “Now Then” is their commitment with you for an acceptable compromise as they work through their current crisis.  Offer to help them through their circumstance (tutorials, grief counseling, twelve steps, etc.), and give them referrals to other sources of help.
  4. Remember Love.  It’s strange that we teachers who have devoted our lives to molding the lives of another generation don’t often talk about loving our students.  I had to learn it in therapy, not in my education classes.  In the aftermath of a time of loss in my life, the therapist said, “You need someone to love...to invest in.  Who do you love?”  I responded, “My son.”  He replied, “Yes, and you’re smothering the poor child.  Love your students!”  I did, and my teaching will never be the same!

    We have a motto in SCORE:  "Every child deserves a pushy parent.  If they don't have one, you're it!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Oops! Look Again!

Look at what's right, not at what's wrong. 

Medalist: Michael Phelps, as a child, suffered from ADHD.  Today he holds 23 GOLD MEDALS!

Artist:  Leonardo DaVinci wrote backwards and had "developmental problems."  That must have been before he painted the MONA LISA or THE LAST SUPPER!

Inventor:  Edison's teacher called him "addled" or "mentally ill."  He dropped out of school before he INVENTED THE LIGHT BULB!

Orator:  Woodrow Wilson, called "dull and backward" because he didn't learn to read until age 11, became the 28th PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Mathematician:  Albert Einstein's teacher predicted that "nothing good" would come out of him.  He dropped out of high school before he discovered the THEORY OF GENERAL RELATIVITY.

Cartoonist:  Walt Disney's fifth grade teacher told him, "Walter, flowers don't have faces."  Thanks, Walt, for DISNEYLAND!

Victim:  Harvey Williams started school at age 13 and failed Algebra 3 times.   Today he holds THREE DOCTORAL DEGREES.

Teachers, about that child that drives you crazy...take another look.

Parents, about that strong-willed child...look again.

Look at what's right, not at what's wrong. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Music, Music, Music!

Sing this to the tune of "Christmas is a Comin'"

Summer is a comin' and the beach fires are ablaze.
Be sure to bring the makings for the smores to feed your face.
If you haven't got the smore stuff, then a grunion hunt for you.
There really are fish grunion, but I've only seen a few.

Sing!  It keeps the heart alive.  It keeps the mind alert.  It's a great way to learn.

Indulge me in a grandson story.  I love telling grandson stories.

My 4 1/2-year-old grandson is so ready for kindergarten.  He's gearing up as the school-age children are shutting down to enjoy their summer.  We cleaned out his toy box, and the puzzle pieces were hiding in various and sundry places.  I wouldn't let him put them back until all the pieces were accounted for and together.  Soon I glanced over to find him filling in his alphabet puzzle.  He was singing with all the motions,

Where is A-a?  Where is A-a?  Here it is!  Here it is!  How are you today, sir?  Very well I thank you.  Put it away.  Put it away.

If he lands a teacher who values talking, singing, moving, and choosing, he will shine!  If he lands a teacher who wants order and quiet in the classroom, they both are doomed!  Oh, he can do order and quiet...but not for long stretches of time.  He needs music and movement.  When those needs are met, he can do it all.  When they aren't, he becomes a problem.  Even though he is my grandson, he can be a headache to teachers!

Do you have my grandsons in your classes?  Meet their needs.  Check out multiple intelligence research and methodology.  Learn about personality and learning styles.  Vary your techniques so everyone shines.

Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences
Personality and Learning Styles 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

I remember a dark time in my life.  Once in a while, through my depression, a belly laugh would find it's way through.  It was so foreign to my psyche that it physically hurt...but it eased the tension and moved me toward healing.

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals.

My little grandson and I were going somewhere, and he was determined he didn't need to be strapped into his car seat.  We struggled.  I watched as he stared at me and clenched his teeth.  For a moment I stared back.  Then I burst into laughter.  I just got his first "stink-eye" look!  It would have been cute and funny even if I hadn't seen it through grandma eyes.  When I laughed, he laughed.  The contest was over, and he allowed me to do what I needed to do...keep him safe in the car.

Laughter with solves a multitude of problems.  Laughter at usually deepens them.

Have you laughed today?  It's good for the health.  Some say it heals.  It may or may not drive physical healing, but it certainly heals a heavy heart and an angry confrontation.

How long since you watched I Love to Laugh?  Watch it again.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Fathers, Heart Fathers, and Mothers Who Are Fathers...Thank You!

Happy Fathers Day, Dads!  Happy Fathers Day, "Heart Fathers."  Happy Fathers Day Mothers who are doing double duty.  May life bring you blessings greater than you can imagine.

I work with high risk students and adults during troubled times in their lives.  I often hear young men say, "I'm afraid to have children.  I don't get along with my dad; he didn't get along with his dad; his dad didn't get along with his dad."

Family dysfunction.  It exists.

But...patterns in your family can be broken.  Many of those young men faced their family issues and are amazing dads today...loving, involved dads who both cherish and "get along" with their children...in good times and in bad.

I saw my Dad only twice; I was 13.  Then he died.  My grandfather and my Uncle Alton were my heart fathers. Every Fathers Day I had the dilemma of finding the right card.  Those reading "from your little girl" just weren't appropriate, but the sentiment was.  I love them both; I cherish them both; I celebrate them not just on Fathers Day but every day of my life.

I never really knew my biological dad, but I am doubly blessed because I had two men who are my "heart fathers."

If your biological father and heart father is the same person, you are blessed.  Thank God.

Who do you celebrate on Fathers Day...and why?  If you wrote a Father's Day card sentiment, what would it say?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Passion! It's What Drives Us.

This time of year, in our classrooms, it is passion for vacation that drives us...and causes our students to wiggle more.  For many of us, that passion is bigger than our passion for high grades.  It wins!

An oft-used student cop-out is "It was boring."  Technically, the students are saying, "I'm not passionate about that subject."  If they're not passionate about the subject, studying it and earning good grades is harder.  Possible...but harder.  If your students aren't passionate about what you love, there is conflict in your classroom.  Often you take it personally.  At least I do.  If I love something, it hurts my feelings if my students criticize or poke fun at it.

It doesn't matter if you're five or ninety-five, you need to find your passion.  Passion changes over time.

I said an earthly good-bye this week to a man who wrote about passion and purpose in life.  He moved from this earth at age 96.  He became a first-time author at age 93.  He was legally blind, deaf, and needed a walker to get around.  He buried his wife of 63 years just 2 years prior to writing his book.  He spent several years prior to her death as her full-time care-taker.

He was my hero.

Technically, he was my Uncle Alton.  One of my earliest childhood memories is riding on his shoulders into the deep waters of the ocean.  When I think of him and childhood, I remember squeals of delight.

He is the reason I became a teacher.  Everyone told me I would be a good teacher.  In my generation, girls were to become mothers, nurses, or teachers.  I rebelled against the stereotype and majored in business.  While I looked for a job just out of college, Uncle Alton helped me get a substitute credential so I could work part-time.  I loved it!  I went back to school for my credential and have never regretted it.  Interestingly, that business background has also served me well.  I approached teaching from both perspectives.  It was easy for me to design SCORE with both college and career in mind.  None of our learning is wasted.  It takes us to the "whatever's next" in our lives.

They say our concept of God is formed initially by our fathers.  My father abandoned me.  My Uncle Alton became my father figure and introduced me to a God of love.  Because of him, I am forever changed, forever blessed, forever willing to find a new passion when circumstances prevent me from continuing on the path I've chosen.

He is my hero.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The New Blooms: From Passive to Active Learning

I love the New Blooms!

Okay...I love my version of it.  I don't like the connotation of a pyramid urging teachers to teach to "higher order" skills.  I love the Lockett Learning visual that makes it a continuum.  We never truly "arrive," because when we complete a learning task we reach a new level of understanding and have to go back to basics to fully understand it.  If we are learning and growing, we are continually seeking to remember and comprehend something new.

Of course I believe we need to teach our students to analyze, evaluate, and create.  But...I had several students who were really good critics but hadn't paid the price to gain the knowledge base they needed to evaluate effectively.    

Here's the continuum "play out:"

Remember.  We use our memory banks to gain basic information about our topic.
Understand.  We comprehend what we are learning.  
Apply.  We use what we comprehend.
Analyze.  We are able to accurately compare what we are learning to other similar knowledge.  We are able to make informed decisions about what would be our best choice.
Evaluate.  We are able to objectively look at the pros and cons of our subject and ask intelligent questions.
Create.  We envision something that would be even better...take us to a higher level of learning.

Remember.  We use our memory banks to gain basic information about a higher level of our base topic, beginning the cycle all over again.

"We have not succeeded in answering all of our questions.  However, we are now confused at a much higher level about more important things."
Jim Cox

Monday, March 7, 2016

Top Down or Bottom Up?

I had the privilege of visiting a school that had fully implemented a SCORE program in less than six weeks.  I asked the principal his secret.

I followed a principal who was well loved by the faculty.  I realized I couldn't quickly change things so instead I spent my entire staff development budget last year allowing faculty to visit schools that were implementing exciting reforms.  They returned saying, "Why don't we do that!"

This year, we did!  They were ready, they selected the innovation, and it was smooth and easy. 

That's the key.  "Top Down" change faces implementation sabotage.  "Bottom Up" change faces administrative budget cuts.  You have to communicate...create...cooperate.

When an administrator follows a respected leader, change must be gradual.  When an administrator follows a disliked leader, change must be immediate.  But change must always be mutual.

Teachers, this works in the classroom, too.  When you inspire students to want to learn what you are teaching, your job is so much more rewarding.  Communicate...create...cooperate.

When planning your summer staff development, consider SCORE, a division of Lockett Learning Systems. SCORE is validated by the United States Department of Education for effectiveness in getting high-risk students turned on to learning, achieving in a rich curriculum at a level of content mastery, and graduating ready and eligible for the college or career of their choice.

Send us your information, and we will send you information on implementing our successful strategies.  Click here.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Failing Forward

I asked my 4-year-old grandson if he would like a "Do-over."  He looked at me a little puzzled and asked, "Grandma, how to you know about do-overs?"

I've welcomed a lot of do-overs in my lifetime.  One of the great things about teaching is that you get a "do-over" every semester and a new beginning every school year.  You start fresh.  You work from a clean slate.  You build your reputation.

As a first-year teacher, I learned quickly that if my students didn't gain the knowledge base they needed, I had to work harder for the rest of the year.  I did them no favor to allow them to scrape through with a 'C' or 'D' if they didn't have content mastery.

My second year of teaching, I announced to my keyboarding class, "Now, listen carefully and take notes.  This information is crucial and foundational.  If you don't pass the test on this material, you won't pass the class."

A student sitting center rear yelled out, "Hey, you don't know me, teach.  I don't do tests."

I quickly responded, "In my class, you do."

The moment the lecture was finished, I walked to his desk and helped him with his notes.

When test day arrived, 8 students did poorly.  While the rest of the class was working on an assignment, I gathered them together and said, "Evidently I didn't teach this the way you need to learn.  There are several ways you can approach this.  Use the one that works for you."  I reviewed the material three different ways, all coming to the same conclusion.

Two students took the test 3 times. Everyone passed both the test and the class.

The next year, I announced to my keyboarding class, "Now, listen carefully and take notes.  This information is crucial and foundational.  If you don't pass the test on this material, you won't pass the class."

A student sitting center rear yelled out, "Hey, you don't know me, teach.  I don't do tests."

Before I could respond, a student sitting across the aisle from him said, "Hey, in this class, she means it.  You better take notes."

What is the point?   

Content Mastery, Not Just a Passing Grade!

Our job is to empower our students.  Our job is to teach the way they need to learn.  Our job is to give second and third chances during the developmental stages of our content so they don't need them by the time they get to the final.

I always tell my students they have the right to fail my class, but I have a responsibility to make failure harder than passing would be.

Do your students get "do-overs?"  Do they start each unit, semester, and year with a clean slate?

Make sure, when they fail, that they fail forward.

The only ultimate failure is falling down one more time than we get up.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What Happened Over the Holidays?

It seems the same Christmas holidays that bring us joy and celebrate peace on earth bring out the "Crazies!"  There is an increase in violence in its many forms.  Driving on the freeways sometimes feels like a contact sport.  And how about this weather craziness?

A few years ago, we got notice that one of our students wasn't going to graduate with his class.  Shocked...he was on track just a few months earlier...we started asking questions to find out what happened.  It seems his history teacher noticed a "major change in his behavior" when he returned from Christmas vacation.  She suspected he was using drugs but didn't know what to do about it so she did nothing!

What was the problem?  It wasn't drugs...then.  By the time she sent home a non-graduation notice, it was.

The culprit?  Grandma died over Christmas vacation, and in his mind, Grandma was the only person in the whole world who loved him (of course that isn't true...but when it is true in their minds, we must deal with it as fact to help them through their crisis).

Helping him mourn Grandma would have been so easy.  Instead, a normal life event became a big life crisis.  Instead of prevention and helping him with healthy grief strategies, he needed intervention and major rehabilitation.

There are two tragedies in this true story:
  1. What could have been a healthy grief lesson turned into a lost diploma, a life wracked with substance abuse, and a long road to recovery.
  2. A teacher saw the signs but did NOTHING.  Ignoring an unacceptable behavior doesn't make it go away.  
When you see the signs, ACT.  Act now.  Get help.
Lockett Learning Systems has resources to help you with your children and/or students who are grieving.