Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mixed Feelings

Today is the first day back for teachers in Kanawha County. I have participated in opening day of school for 8 years until today. I'm feeling slightly nostalgic and out of sorts today. 

To those of you returning to your classrooms, good luck and have a great year! 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Public Education: Something I Am Beginning To Believe The Public Knows Nothing About

I am saddened by today's article in the Gazette that announces that the five principals are stepping down.  Three of the principals I know personally and they are excellent at their jobs.  They have hard jobs!  Nonetheless, the dedication to their schools, teachers, students, and community is amazing!  The comments that have appeared on the online edition of the paper are appalling and personally attacking. 

It amazes me just how clueless the general public is about public education, yet they feel the need to open their ignorant mouths to spew unintelligent drivel.  I am completely and totally offended by the general public's remarks about teachers and administrators in Kanawha County.  Yes, there are both good and bad school faculty members, but when will we start addressing culture, parental involvement, community accountability, and overall negative mindset towards the betterment of the next generation?  When will everyone attempt to climb on board and start working on solutions rather than blame placing?  Isn't the point of an education to better the next generation and to better oneself?  How do we begin this process? 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

RHS's Hands Are Not For Hate: Civic Responsibilty

Last week, several groups within our community were told that God hated them by a group of less than tolerant individuals from Kansas.  West Virginians were told that they were less than human due to sexual orientation, religious decisions, employment, gender, and any other 'difference' that one could muster up. 

The Covenant House in Charleston, WV organized a FLASH MOB and A Stop The Hate Rally on the Capitol steps the evening that the hate group was protesting diversity.  The rally was to promote diversity, difference, and focus energies and power on the positive rather than dwell in the  negative of the HATERS. 

Several Riverside High School students wanted to be a part of the experience.  In class and in the halls, students began to have a dialog about civic responsibilities and how it was their turn to stand up for what they believed was right.  Students held discussions about how turning a blind eye creates more harm than good.  They felt that it was their turn to stand up and say "Stop The Hate!"  They were kind enough to invite their teacher to join them, so I went joyfully!

As an educator and loyal supporter of diversity, I had a profound experience at the Capitol that evening.  I was impressed with how many individuals came to support The Covenant House and give a message of positivity to those that needed to hear it.  I was PROUD that 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students came out in the rain to stand up for something that they believed in.  I was PROUD that they understood the real meaning behind Civic Responsibility and followed through with their mission of sending a positive message.  It was fun.  It was heartwarming.  It was a proud moment.  It was a moment that none of them will forget. 

You can read one student's personal account of the rally on his blog post "Stop The Hate Rally."  Please, watch the videos that follow to see for yourself why some of the students opted to "Stop The Hate."

Cody, Riverside Student

Ashley, Riverside Student

Riverside High School Students Creating A Poster

Stop The Hate Flash Mob
Steps of WV Capitol
Charleston, WV
April 8, 2010

Author's Note: This post originally appeared on Chez's World of Globaloria: Where literature, language, and technology go hand in hand. All students in pictures and videos gave consent to be posted on the internet.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Student Memorial Speech

Unfortunately, the eastern end of Kanawha County has experienced a massive amount of loss in the last decade since the doors opened at the consolidated high school.  From the deaths of students and family members, to house fires and floods leaving children and families homeless.  Riverside High School was not an exception when being stricken with grief and loss from the most recent Mine Explosion.  Many of our students and community members knew and loved one of the men that lost their lives in the mine that day. 

Riverside High School students opted to hold a memorial service for fallen Warrior, Cory Davis on Friday.  His family attended as did his school and community family.  I would like you to take a minute and read The Memorial Speech that one of our students gave during the service.  Her words are honest, universally West Virginian, and moving.  Student Memorial Speech.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

West Virginia

Photo Credit

W.Va. Girl

by Mike Morningstar

You've been carryin' heartache 'round these small and dirty towns
Clutched-up in your heart and soul Bluefield to Wheeling town
I've seen you down in the coal mine shacks, in the mountains of the north
And the southern farmlands cracked your hands, to show these men your worth

West Virginia Girl I've loved you from the start, WVa Girl these songs I sing for you
For I know God loves you in his heart, God knows I love you too

With all the weight of decades upon you as you strive
With the poverty around your door, the wisdom in your eyes
Don't the coal dust ever make you weep as it sifts into your sod
Don't your tears e'er seem to blur your sleep, come a dreamin' out for God

You have seen your sons and husbands carried from those mines
With a "coal tattoo" deep in their chest, a death stare in their eyes
Down in Farmington I heard your cries and I felt your misery too
Small comfort tho' my song may bring, I'm singin' it for you

Now I sing this song for every West Virginia Girl I've known
And for every one I'll never know who shares this mountain home
For my Mama and my Grandma, all who gave their love to me
For the Gypsy and her mother, and the "one who would not be"

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Break

This was one of the most amazing experiences that I have ever had.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV

The Boulevard Tavern threw a fantastic Super Bowl Party last night.  The buffet was absolutely fabulous.  The huge screens and the additional HD TVs didn't hurt either! It was fun seeing Reggie Bush and The Saints pull it off.  However, do you know what the best part of the whole entire evening was?

The $2,500 that I went home with at the end of the evening!

Friday, February 5, 2010

My Students ROCK!

I'm currently teaching an unconventional English 12 class.  Through the Globaloria program, my students are working through the English 12 curriculum and exploring and creating educational video games.  With the use of an online textbook, wikis, blogs, and FLASH the class is almost completely paperless and pen-less.  It is completely and totally problem based learning and the kids are having a blast!!!

All of the students in the class are flourishing.  They are learning so much and using collaborative learning techniques to learn more about themselves and the world around them.  It is one of those classes that a teacher dreams about.

On Tuesday, two of my students were asked to present their class to some of the major stakeholders in the GlobaloriaWV project.  The gave a 10 minute presentation about their unique class in front of:

Dr. Jorea Marple, The Assistant Superintendent of WV Schools
Dr. Steven Paine, The Superintendent of WV Schools
Gaston Caperton, former WV Governor and current President of The College Board
Dr. Idit Caperton, founder and president of World Wide Workshop Foundation
Gayle Manchin, WV's First Lady
Monica Beane, Assistant Directory of The Office of Instruction
David Lowenstein, State Director of Globaloria WV

That is a well respected and highly educated audience.  The girls were nervous, but one would have never known.  I was so proud of them!  I still am.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Technology has advanced the human race to such extremes that the activities and things that we can do sometimes seems like a dream rather than a reality.

Humans can send a man to the moon.
People can communicate in real time to others on the other side of the world.
A US citizen can literally be in London for a business meeting in less than 8 hours.
 School age children can create video games for learning purposes.

Scientist can predict storms and when the Earth might tremble.  However, all the technology in the world can't stop the natural devastation that can occur during those moments.  Please, during this time remember the human condition and the commonalities that all human beings share.  Donate money, time, services, or goods.  Pray, whisper, sing, meditate.  Keep the people of Haiti and their loved ones in your heart.

Guilty Pleasure Admission #1

Guilty Pleasure Admission #1

Several times a week I like to check the South Central Regional Jail Admissions List to see if any one that I know was arrested the night before.  

What?!  It isn't any sicker than reading the Obituary Page everyday!  Don't judge.  ;)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Have A Burning Question To Ask?

A neat site!  Do you have a burning question that you would just love to anonymously ask?  Do you mind answering the questions that people have for you?  Check out this site.  www.formspring.me