Lessons Learned

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these…let’s see if I can pick it up where I left off in 2015…

Lesson One – What it Means to Serve

A colleague challenged my thinking this year in how I handle service. I always thought my acts, or what I did for people, is a way for me exemplify service leadership. However, my thought process was changed by thinking about it through the lens of how I serve the people around me. This presented itself to me in the form of a critical question; do I look to lift up those around me to let their talents show or am I looking at it through a more selfish lens and only thinking about how my service actions serve me? A leader should be a person that does not seek acknowledgment for their own actions, but rather how to bring the spotlight towards those that surround him or her. This is my goal and something that I hope to personify. Instead of constantly looking internally as to what accomplishments I have achieved, I need to begin looking externally and determining my own success based on how I help those around me reach their own goals.

Lesson Two – Don’t Stop Learning

“You’re crazy”, “I don’t think I could do that”, “does that really give you an advantage”. These are the typical responses I receive from colleagues when I discuss continuing my education. This year I completed my Ed.S. and will be perusing my Ed.D starting this summer. I was able to accomplish this with very little dialog or acknowledgment among my peers, which I prefer, but the typical response I receive is more of one of disbelief. To me, the thought of calling my education “complete” at the age of 32 does not make the most sense. As educators, we are continually trying to instill in our students the desire to achieve more in school, and I myself am a sucker that has bought into this narrative. Growing up, education was not a priority for my family and never was until I made it one myself when I entered college. As an adult, I find myself more curious than ever and have yet to see my drive to continue my education to ever decrease. I want to continue my educational career in both the formal and informal sense. Once the desire to continually grow and learn has died then what do we have to hang our hats on as educators?

Lesson Three – Talk is Free, Time is Valuable

Building upon Lesson Two, Lesson Three is probably the most valuable takeaway I have from this school year. I’ve learned that goals and ambitions do not come at a discounted rate. This year I have taken on a lot of new endeavors that, while worthwhile, can definitely be described as time suckers. While I enjoy learning and do not enjoy sitting idle for long periods of time, I learned that it’s not just about me, but rather the time that these endeavors take away from the valuable people in my life. New opportunities, work relationships, and projects may seem exciting and have great promise; however, at the end of the day, you have to be able to do a personal inventory on how your time is spent and ensure that an imbalance is not created. The people in your life that matter are willing to make sacrifices when it comes to time, but the people that don’t matter will usually exploit this aspect…be able to discern who is who in your life. Finding the balance is difficult, but I want to be able to say I give my attention and time to those that matter the most in my life.

Lesson Four – Speed Isn’t Everything

I have a bad habit of confusing speed with efficiency. My attention span doesn’t allow for me to sit back on my heels and wait for the appropriate time. This year I have learned that how and when you act or speak, is just as important as what you say. While I may feel eager at times to rush out and share, speak, or lead, this year I have gained a respect for pulling back on the reins. That’s not to say that it is easy for me, but I have gained a respect for it which has given me perspective. I now think about my own leadership through this lens and specifically through my communication with colleagues.

Joe McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – Reflection

I have been pretty much a ghost on my own blog for about 3 years now. When I was in the classroom blogging was so easy because I had so much to write about that was interesting. My blog served as documentation as to what my student’s were learning and experiencing each day…the material basically wrote itself. The change in my blogging habits over the past three years has been due to my career change to administration. Before, I was able to write about my everyday experiences. If I were to do that now, I’m afraid it would make for some rather dull reading material.

Lesson Two – PARCC Planning is Hard

PARCC planning was probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in a long time in this profession. It has been 3-4 months solid of eating, living, and breathing PARCC testing here at this school. That amount of time doesn’t even take into consideration the amount of time that was required to prepare for the assessment earlier in the year. The logistics alone were unreal. We had the task of administering 12 tests in a time frame of 3 months that included the shuffling of a 50+ person staff and 750+ student body. As for the actual test itself, it all went as smooth as anything with technology can be expected to go. There were glitches and hiccups along the way, but I think everyone was pleasantly surprised how smooth it went.

With that in mind, next year will hopefully be much easier when it comes to planning. Pearson and the “PARCC States” are already on the move to shorten and simplify the testing window.

Lesson Three – Don’t Stunt Your Growth

This has been a very important lesson for me to learn this school year. To be honest, I have become stagnate in my professional growth process. Since I have went into administration, I have developed a bad habit of just trying to put out fires on a daily basis. I haven’t been active in trying to find materials that will help develop myself as a professional. For all purposes, I have removed myself form social media, blogging, and any type of PLC that I has apart of 3 years ago.

We all can get so bogged down that we focus on what is in front of us and become singularly focused on trying to complete “our job”. I want to continue grow professionally, but that means I have to do my part and be an active member in social media, blogging, and PLC’s. So, what does all this mean? It means that this is me making the effort to get out there and become an online participant again.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – Tis The Season

Every year, when the political climate is just right, I try to post one of my favorite videos regarding politics. There becomes a certain point during election time where a person can get very overwhelmed with the rhetoric and the pandering that goes on…it’s enough to drive you crazy.

Lesson Two – Dress Your Age, Part II

Early this school year I was reminded of a very valuable lesson that was originally taught to me years ago. During week two of the school year I showed up on a Friday in my casual attire…jeans and a flannel. Everything was going well until I encountered a 5th grade student who promptly informed me that I “dressed like a teenager”. Quite a blow to the ego.

Lesson Three – Is It Basketball Season Yet?

As it turns out the Arkansas football team is not quite as good as everyone once thought. After dropping two games early on in the season it seems as if all is lost…and as you might guess, people in this state are taking it very well. Football talk has definitely dominated everyone’s conversations around town and has left me wishing for a bye week.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – Meet The New Boss

“You know, the camera adds a couple hundred pounds”

So I decided that I would like to continue with my usual lessons learned, but post them every other week instead of weekly. With that said I do have a few quick observations from my first two weeks of being an assistant principal. First of all I am very tired at the end of the day, but it’s a different kind of tired that I experienced with teaching. With teaching I felt like I was running all over the place trying to keep up with my lesson planning and coaching as well. While I am still running as an administrator, it’s not quite the same. I am trading the long nights of practice, games, and lesson planning for longer days. I get to school early and leave late and still don’t quite feel like I have enough time in the day to meet all of my duties…but I suppose that is par for the course.

Lesson Two – Can You Open This?

Each day during lunch time, you can find me posted up in the cafeteria performing my daily lunch duty…yay! One observation that I made very quickly was that most students in the lower grade levels (K-2) really struggle opening the packaging that their food comes in. Emphasis on struggling. Through-out the day I am asked to open at least a couple dozen containers/wrappers for children. I never learned this in the Ed Leadership program.

Lesson Three – Keeping Tabs

This week has been really cool for a couple of reasons. 1) I am finally starting to feel like I know what I am doing in my new role…meaning I’m starting to form a routine. 2) I have been fortunate to keep some of my Woodland connections still alive. This week alone I have had two former students ask me to be a guest at two upcoming Woodland events and I have been invited to help the AVID program at my former school with some upcoming training. While I am very excited about the fact that Leverett is starting to become my home away from home, I’m also very happy that folks from Woodland are reaching out to me as well.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – #TheMcClungs2012

Yesterday we held the 3rd Annual McClungs Award Ceremony…and it was kind of a big deal. All together 80 students were recognized yesterday for their “achievements” in my class and the entire ceremony with off without a hitch. We had several former students come by to visit, including students that are currently at the high school. At one point we had 50 students in my classroom for the 4th period ceremony.

Lesson Two – Thank You!

I have the best students in the world. Today is my birthday and I have received countless birthday wishes from my students as well as a few birthday sweets. I am very fortunate to be at the school that I am at and to be surrounded by such wonderful students. Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes and goodies…I very much appreciate it.

Lesson Three – Closing Time

With this being our last Friday of the school year, this blog post will be our last lessons learned for the 11-12 school year. This has truly been a wonderful year for as a teacher and I am very grateful that I get the opportunity to teach such wonderful students in a fantastic school district. At the conclusion of each year I am left thinking that the next group of students could not possibly top the previous group that are leaving, and each year I am proven wrong when the fall semester rolls around. Next year will be a bit different though since I will be teaching 9th grade civics; meaning that I will more than likely have some of the same students again next year. Nevertheless, I am very much looking forward to the next school year and the opportunity to work with some of the same students for two years in a row. Thank you everyone for a great year.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – Return of the Brad

Couple of months ago one of our dear friends at school relocated to Indiana because their parents got a new job. Brad has been one of my runners for two years now and ever since he left our school we have definitely felt a void on our XC team. Today Brad is back in the house visiting us for one day only. It has been very nice to see him back in school and all of us here are glad to see him back in our halls. So Brad, we salute you and make sure to visit again soon.

Lesson Two – Final Count Down


As we get closer to the end of school, it’s important to remember a few finial reminders before we call it quits this school year. The most important of which is the McClungs, which will be held on May 17th…remember, it’s a black tie affair. Also all fees and fines need to be squared away before finals week in order to eligible for early dismissal. Also make sure to check the schedule for finals and know where you are going that week. 7th period final will be on the 21st, 1st and 2nd period finals will be the 22nd, 3rd and 4th will be the 23rd, and 5th and 6th will be held on the 24th.

Lesson Three – Shutting Down the Stock Market

Today we will call an end to our stock market challenge, do a final tally, and crown a winner. Students have been keeping track of stocks for about a week now and have been counting their loses and gains as we go along. Big winners and losers are few and far between but today we are expecting to have a few big numbers…stay tuned.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – Running Man

Cross country try-outs were held this past week and we had quite a turn out. Over 60 kids showed up this week to try-out for cross country…which is by far the most that I have ever had try-out. Our program is growing rapidly and we are continually getting better each year. I am very pleased with the number of students that are interested in running and I am very much looking forward to the coming season.

Lesson Two – Speaking The English

We have started a new routine in my hour room class. Each day Kaylee starts us out with a story about her life…usually something involving her multitude of animals. The other day the topic of English was brought up to which Kaylee asked the very important question about whether or not every is born speaking English…and of course this conversation dominated at least 10 minutes of class time.

Lesson Three – The McClungs Are Coming…

With only two weeks left until the McClungs, it’s time to let the cat out of the bag. The McClungs is an awards ceremony that takes place in my classroom every year. This all started two years ago when I realized that our 8th grade awards ceremony was pretty lame so I decided to hold my own. the selection process to win a McClungs is very intense…some time in the next two weeks I will sit down in front of my computer for about 15 minutes and make up about 10 awards per class. And that’s it.

The ceremony will be on the 17th and make sure to dress extra fancy, it is a black tie affair.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – Ridiculously Photogenic Guy

A few weeks back I ran my 2nd half marathon ever…while I am not fast at all, I was proud of my performance that day. Right about that time I had a student telling me that I looked like this photogenic guy that has been on the news lately. At the time I didn’t pay this much attention until I saw him and realized that this student must suffer from extreme vision impairment. Apparently this guy has been all over the guys because he has an incredible ability to run and still pretty much look like the man…a trait very few have. I now fully understand how hard it is to look as good as he does while running when I received the proofs back from the photographer that was working my particular half marathon. Upon sharing the pictures with my wife her immediate response was “you look like death”…which I did not take offense to, because I second the motion myself.

Lesson Two – Black Out

Friday is the culmination of our month long fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and it will conclude with my winning class getting the opportunity to shave my head. To celebrate this event I am asking my students to wear their matching race for the cure shirts tomorrow for our second annual “black out”. The idea is that the kids how up to school in our black t-shirts and raise awareness for the effort we are putting in with this fundraiser…there will be plenty of updates to come.

Lesson Three – Boozehounds

For the majority of the week we have been discussing the topic of booze…specifically we have been discussing the prohibition movement in the early 1900’s and how government still controls alcohol consumption to some extent in our present day. Today we will continue this conversation by discussing the wet v. dry county debate.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – The McClungs are Coming…

McClungs
Consider yourself notified, the McClungs will be here on May 18th. If you do not know what they are, ask around and act like you know.

Lesson Two – One Man Relay Team

This is Blake. He has been recognized several times this year as being an excellent thrower. However, at our conference track meet he was recognized for something totally different. He did win the shot put event, but when it came time to receive his metal he received a first place metal for the girls 4×800 team. Which raises many questions in mind…how did he do the entire relay by himself? How did he manage to beat the other relay teams on his own? Why would anyone ever confuse him as a girl…or as a team of girls? Nevertheless, he has been crowned champion of women’s distance relays. Congratulations Blake.

Lesson Three – One Week

With only one week left in our fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, I am pushing my students harder than ever. Despite getting off to a slow start we are nearly half way to our goal of $2,500. I’m hoping that things continue to heat up as we come down the final stretch and hopefully we will make it 3 years in a row to hit our desired goal. Stay tuned.

Mr. McClung

 

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – Three Cheers for Testing

It’s over, thank God it’s finally over. This week in the state of Arkansas schools across the state took part in the madness that is benchmark testing. For four days we subjected our students to mind numbing testing in the hopes that when the scores come back that our school will be seen as adequate. The system has never made since to me at all, we take a test that is designed and graded by individuals that have likely never been to our school, but we rely on them to tell us if we are doing a good job or not. Makes about as much sense as a basketball cleat. It’s a terrible system, I hate it, and I wish we could find a better method of assessment that is more accurate and doesn’t pound our students into submission through four days of pointless testing.

Lesson Two – That’s Embarrassing…

Going into this spring I had really high hopes for our annual fundraiser for Susan G. Komen Foundation…however, we are currently falling short on our goal of fundraising. For some reason or another this year has not been as successful as years past. However, there is good news. We do still have two weeks left in order to meet our goal, but it’s going to take a lot of work. Today I want to challenge my students to donate as much as possible to this worthy cause.

Lesson Three – Picture Day

Jealous?

It’s back again, next Friday we will be taking our spring pictures here at Woodland. Picture day is a very polarizing topic, either you really had picture day or you enjoy the entire process of getting dressed up nice and posing for a picture and awaiting the the proofs to come back. At the risk of sounding even more cynical in this blog post, I would say that I am not a fan of school pictures…especially at the age that I teach. 8th grade is a very awkward stage in your life and keeping documentation of how awkward that stage is seem a bit unnecessary to me. Nevertheless, we will continue to have them and the cycle will continue.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – Start Something

We have indeed started something. This is my first year as the head track coach at Woodland and I have been very excited about the accomplishments of our team thus far. So far this season our 8th and 9th grade squads have walked away with several 1st and 2nd overall finishes this year. We have only one our conference track meet left and we are hoping to capitalize on the opportunity that is in front of us and hopefully walk away with a 1st place team finish.

Lesson Two – First Blood

We are now two weeks into our annual fundraiser for Susan G. Komen and we have had a bit of a slow start thus far. However, we do have our first donation on the board! Sarah from 2nd period has put her class into the lead by donating $25. Hopefully Sarah’s donation will carry over into some nice momentum for our fundraiser and cause other classes to step their game up.

Lesson Three – Your Boy, Alfie

Next week we will begin our week of standardized testing for 8th graders. For students, make sure that you are aware of your testing location and the flip schedule days.

Last night I listened to a wonderful lecture about standardized test…however, it was not very positive towards our current testing model. Alfie Kohn put on an excellent show for nearly 2 hours and discussed topics such as testing, homework, and overall best practices in education. It would take me entirely too long to discuss all of the highlights of last night’s lecture and I know I could never do his message justice in one of my silly blog posts. Therefore, I would like to invite you to check out his work. You can visit his website by clicking here. Enjoy.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One…

Act like you know has somehow become my unofficial slogan for teaching, coaching, and life in general…however, today it became official. On our morning announcements usually end with either a quote of the day or an interesting fact and today I made the quote of the day thanks to one of my cross country runners. He used my unofficial official slogan and gave me credit it for it on the announcements…which sparked the question, “what does that even mean?”

I have never really given it much thought in the past, it was just a slogan that I have always thought to be cool. Urban dictionary, the source of all reliable information, defines it as a way to tell someone that they “better recognize”  or to simply play along and act like you know what’s going on. I like the latter of the two. To me the action of acting like you know simply means to always play it cool no matter the situation.

Lesson Two – Did You Know…

In class earlier this week we were reviewing our notes and one of our students, Caroline M., decided to play a trick on the rest of her group members. During the middle of our pair share activity there was a question that something to the extent of what was significant about the Battle of Pea Ridge. To which she explained everyone in her group that the first ever pumpkin was discovered there…and somehow they all believed it. So much so that one even repeated the explanation to the rest of the class as serious as she could be…and she was made fun of extensively in class and is now made it to lessons learned. You’re welcome.

Lesson Three – Spring Break

Don’t come to school this next week because you will be the only one there…this next week will be spring break for us here in Arkansas. We will return to class on March 26th, enjoy the break.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – You Done Goofed

This week we have been learning about the Civil War and the first shots fired at Fort  Sumter. For a project that corresponds with this lesson, we have been writing news paper articles about the events of Fort Sumter from the point of view of either a southern newspaper or northern newspaper. One of the poplar head lines that students have been using with this project has been the phrase “you done goofed” in describing the point of view from a northern newspaper…of course the phrase was borrowed from the viral video of Jesse Slaughter from a few years back.

Lesson Two – Talent Show


Video taken from last year’s talent show.
Today we will be holding the annual Woodland Talent Show. Every year I am blown away by the talents that our students bring to the show and it is always highly entertaining to watch. This year should be no different and there will be videos to follow I’m sure.

Lesson Three – Kyle

There is a bit of sad news this week. Our good friend Kyle, from 4th period, will be leaving us next week to move to Arizona. While Kyle may be a young man of few words, he has provided plenty of entertainment and memorable moments in 4th period and deserves a proper salute on this being his last Friday with us. We will miss you Kyle and we wish you the best of luck in Arizona.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – Quit Playing Games With My Heart

This week we had our semi monthly advisory period to help prepare for our course selection for next school year. In my advisory we tend to celebrate our coming together with food, and Wednesday was no exception. We had a Valentine’s themed meal on Wednesday and we had tons of goodies…and then there was a cow heart. One of my students decided it would be funny to bring an actual heart, cow heart that is, to class as a symbol of Valentine’s Day…makes sense right? However, there is a we soon realized that there is very little you can actually do with a cow heart despite how much fun it sounds.

Lesson Two – Stress Test

I’ve been a bit stressed of late and it is mainly due in part to the fast approaching track season. This will be my first year as the head coach of the team and I’m quickly realizing how much work has to be done in order to get two teams ready for the season. We have been putting in the extra miles and working hard to prepare for the season. However, I’m asking for the patients of my Arkansas history students because this time of year I can be a bit on edge…shocker I know.

Lesson Three – Lights Out

Friday night was the last basketball game to be hosted in Fayetteville High School’s gym. The gym will be torn down to make way for the new gym they will have in place next year and for further renovations of the high school. When the lights go out on gym it will put to an end of 60 years of high school basketball.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – LMS

Monday was a tough day at school. Not necessarily because anything bad happened, but mainly due to what was going on outside…snow. Several school districts around us had closed due to road conditions, however we did not and that did not set well with the kids. We had many absences that day and therefore made teaching class very difficult. So I did what any self respecting teacher would do, I spent a large majority of the class ranting about Facebook and my own personal pet peeves…a airing of grievances, if you will. Of course this got a lot of traction with my kids and they were very vocal about their own pet peeves as well.

Lesson Two – Final Stand

Last night was the final home game for our Woodland boys basketball team, and it was quite a game. The 9th grade team played one of the best teams in the conference and won the game on a last second shot. It was an great final home stand for this group of 9th graders and you can see the last second shot by clicking here.

Lesson Three – Presidential Treatment

We will not be in school on Monday due to President’s Day. So rejoice, sleep in, and play Xbox…I know I will.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – Spirit Week, pt. Duex

As the basketball season starts to draw to a close, this next week with be our last spirit week of the year. We will play our cross-town rivals, Ramay, next Thursday…and to get ready we will have themed days each day next week. Monday will be blue and white day, Tuesday is Red and Pink day, Wednesday is mix-match day, Thursday is Duct-Tape day, and Friday is purple day.

Lesson Two – Track Weather

Here in Arkansas we have experienced unseasonably harm weather lately…and it is really messing up my track season. Trying to plan for track practice is really difficult when you have 60 degree weather one day and 20 degrees the next day. I suppose the moral of this lesson is that I’m ready for spring and some more consistent weather patterns.

Lesson Three – Catchy Headlines

In the past two days conversations at school have been dominated by recent accusations of a school administrator at another school in our district. In class we talk about the media quite a bit and how they may over sensationalize from time to time to make a catchy headline. Today I just want to remind everyone to look beyond the headlines a bit and try to obtain reliable information because sometimes headlines can be misleading…have a great weekend.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – Three Cheers for Technology

This has been a terrible week for technology in my classroom. I decided that this week would be a great time to start a class project using a website called Glogster, however I didn’t plan on the entire project going to garbage. What should have been a 2-3 day project has now turned into a 6 day ongoing project…issues with the website, school network, and everything else in between really put a halt to our progress. I’m usually very big proponent of technology in the classroom, but this is one week I wished I would have just stuck to the textbook.

Lesson Two – China…You Should Go

This week I have been preaching the good word about our 2013 spring break trip to China. We are working with a group called EF Tours and planning on taking a group of students, from Woodland and Central Jr. High (Springdale), to China for what should be an awesome trip. So far we have had a great response from our students have have already filled about 25 spots filled and the remainder are filling up quickly. If anyone is still interested in go on the trip, I would suggest getting your name quickly before the trip is fully booked.

Lesson Three – Once Again, I Hate Politics


If only we still had Herman Cain.

My political leanings tend to be toward the apathetic side more than the left or right. I try not to get caught up in either sides of the debate, I like to look at both sides and simply spectate the circus that typically ensues. However, this week I decided to try my hand with discussing political topics…I mean the Daily Show makes it look so much fun, right? However, I now realize now that I don’t have the chops with grown-ups with it comes to politics. After listening to debates this week and trying to engage in a few myself, I have been left very jaded. I know now that I don’t belong and never will belong when it comes to debating with grown-ups. In other words, I have experienced my political threshold and now I wish I could somehow distance myself from the entire subject. Too bad it’s election season.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – I Hate Politics


It’s political season again…don’t look so excited. While some people really get amped up for the presidential election I really have a hard time doing so. I’m not a fan of the attack ads, two-faced candidates, mud-slinging, and just the entire politics of the entire process. I stumbled across the video above a few years ago and I feel like it really embodies exactly how I feel about the whole political process.

Lesson Two – Pop Sensation…Camryn

The circus has officially come to town. Today we had an aspiring artist pop sensation come to school today to perform during lunch. Needless to say this caused quite the commotion among the students today and dominated much of the conversation at school…which makes it real easy to try and teach Arkansas History. However, it seemed like the kids did have a good time and that is truly all that matters.

Lesson Three – Vilification

Speaking of mud-slinging and attack ads, I was the victim of such attacks earlier this week. My students were asked to create a poster/pin/sticker for an ad campaign for a fictional or real person. One of my students, Mr. Wagstaff, decided to pick me as the target of his smear campaign. He took a ad slogan from the 1964 presidential election and used me as the center-piece for this ad…oh yeah, and did I mention that he distributed stickers for everyone in the class as well? Well…he did. Despite the fact that I have been exposed for being nuts, I still got to admit that it was a brilliant submission for this assignment.

Mr. McClung

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – The Sneetchs

Today we are gonna do things just a little bit different. As oppose to the normal 3 or 4 lessons we have each week, this week we have only one…but it’s a big one. Today in class took the time to read to my students my favorite Dr. Seuss book, The Sneetches. This book is a classic example of the harms of discrimination from one group of people to another. In this book the Sneetches that have stars on their bellies are essentially the “haves” and those without stars are the “have-nots”.

I like to read this book to my students are this time of year because of the fact that we are about to enter a 3 day weekend as we celebrate MLK Day on Monday. I think it’s very important to realize that over generations, the meanings behind holidays tend to get forgotten and eventually become less important. My message to the kids was that the lessons we learned about ourselves from the civil rights movement are too important to forget. It’s important that we never forget were we came from as a country and continue to build upon the work of the leaders from that time period. Have a good weekend, everyone.

Mr. McClung

 

Lessons Learned

Lesson One – High Cotton (Updated)

Although we have only been in school for two days this week, majority of the conversations around the school have been dominated by the 2011 Cotton Bowl. Living in a college town it’s no surprise that a Razorback game be the talk of the town, but it has been especially thick this bowl season because of the aspirations that the Razorbacks have had this year.

Updated version, Arkansas took care of business and handled K-State in the Cotton Bowl…showing the Wildcats how a real teams plays. Take that EMAW!

Lesson Two – Bad Christmas Presents

This lesson was originally posted in January of 2010, but it always makes for a great discussion piece after the holidays.

Christmas is always a memorable experience….sometimes it may not be a pleasant memorable experience but memorable at best. This week my students and I discussed bad Christmas presents throughout history, and I shared with them my story about the rock tumbler I received one Christmas. I was about 11 or 12 and at the age where parents are not quite sure what to buy you anymore….toys are no longer cool and your not quite into clothing at this point.

For those of you not aware of what a rock tumbler is, it is basically a container that you fill with a set of rocks and a “secret” mixture then place on a motor that spins (or tumbles) the rocks for about two weeks. After the end of the two weeks, you then take your rocks and rinse and repeat with another “secret” mixture….for another two weeks. At the end of a month you have nice pretty rocks that you are not quite sure what to do with….turns out they are great throwing rocks. Can you beat this bad Christmas present? If so, leave us a comment.

Lesson Three – Arkansas History

arkThe picture above is a copy of the tattoo that can be found on the back of my arm…pride, stupidity, or maybe both?

Starting this week we will be changing our curriculum from social studies to Arkansas history. This is a semester course and will highlight the role that Arkansas had in many important events in American history. For many of my students they have been dreading this switch for quite sometime, but for me I have been really looking forward to the switch. I really enjoy teaching Arkansas history because it allows me to teach American history while instilling a sense of pride for being from the great state of Arkansas by explain how we fit into the big picture. Often times the thinking of students, in regards to Arkansas history, is that nothing cool has ever happened in Arkansas…however that couldn’t be further from the truth. As Arkansans there is plenty to celebrate and there are also many events that happened within our own borders that have shaped our national landscape. Hopefully once we are finished with this semester my students will feel the same way that I do and start taking pride in the fact that they are from Arkansas as oppose to thinking nothing cool has or ever will happen in our state.