Sunday, January 31, 2016

February 2, 2016 redux

Gotta love this weather.

Head's Up

Mr. Poore's Hunger is Heartbreaking food drive for Samaritan Community Center's SnackPack for Kids program began yesterday and run through Friday, February 12, 2016. Last year we collected enough to support food insecure students in NWA for 2 months. 

There will be a community forum on Wednesday, February 3, 2016 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at Arts Center regarding  new attendance zones for 2016-2017.

Yesterday was "change your password" day. Darn, I was sure that day was during a break from school.

Monday, February 8, 2016 is Chinese New Year.

Friday, February 12 is Abraham Lincoln's birthday. It's a professional development day.

Sunday, February 14 is Valentine's Day and Autism Sunday.

Economics Arkansas is looking for entries in their 2017 Economic Calendar Contest. The contest is open to students in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade. Entry deadline is May 13th.

Arkansas Razorbacks Sports is offering discounted tickets to games for Bentonville teachers. Click this graphic to see what's available. Enter the promo code EducateB15.


As you read this year's One District, One Book The One and Only Ivan make sure to share classroom activities to #bpsodob on Twitter, post to instagram @bentonvilleschools or just send photos with short descriptions to I appreciate your help in telling the story of the district. Here's an idea from School Library Journal about technology enabled book talks.

Ground was broken for Elementary #11 and Middle School #5 last Wednesday. Can't wait to watch the progress of these two new learning environments over the next year and a half.

If you have an iPhone and iMovie make some trailers. Seriously. if I can do it, anyone can.

Grants and PD

Big section this week as many companies are closing out fiscal years in the next couple months and realize that they haven't given away all their money.

Autism Involves Me (AIM) is accepting grant applications for their AIM to Educate grants. The local chapter is very committed to supporting teachers in their efforts to better engage and include students with Autism.

Dr. Scholl Foundation grants from $5,000 to $25,000 for learning centers, clothing drives, art programs . . .

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program accepts applications until June 1, 2016 that achieve to "develop the human capital capacity they need to meet the changing learning and information needs of the American public. The foundation supports STEM learning and, get this, Makerspaces! Whoot! Got to get us some o' that!

Marky Mark left the Funky Bunch behind a long time ago, but he still knows what kids want to hear. The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation supports helping students dream big.

Here's one for the class of 2016 and the parents who love them. Find scholarship and career planning information here.

Video of the Week

I'm a huge fan of starting with "why" and that's why I embedded this video. It's not to make anyone feel bad, or as a commentary on teaching methods - just an FIWhy.

Have a great week.

February 2, 2016

 Oh, you're looking for Tuesday folder? Click here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 26, 2016

I have to share a proud teacher story to start this week.

I went out to Bright Field last night where students were presenting their playground projects. As I walked around the commons, former students kept running up and persuading me to see their projects. But, that's not the part where pride kicked in. My heart swelled when nearly all of them started their presentations by talking about how they had included playground equipment for kids with special needs. And they could specifically describe how the equipment would help students in wheelchairs, with Autism, or other diversabilities. Now, that's something of which to be proud.

Head's Up

Wednesday, January 27 is the Groundbreaking Ceremony for Elementary School #11 and Middle School #5 on Featherston Road. Starts at 10:00 am.

One District, One Book launches on Friday, January 29. We would like to do a better job of documenting how this engages students and families. If you're on social media, use #bpsodob and post some pictures. Remember to tag @Bentonville_PS and we'll share them with our 4,500 followers. If you have a special project or unique activity that your class is doing for The One and Only Ivan, send me an email. Thanks Carol Halbmeier for producing this great intro video.

It's Clean Out Your Inbox Week from January 25 - 29, 2016. I hear Matt Saferite is going to achieve inbox 0 by the end of the week.

January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day.

January 28th is Christa Mcauliffe Day to commemorate Christa McAuliffe and the six astronauts who died when the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after take-off on January 28, 1986.

February is Black History Month, American Heart Month, and Dental Health Month. It's also a leap year giving you an extra day to celebrate.

February 1st is National Freedom Day, a day to honor the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

February 2nd is Groundhog Day. Or for Bill Murray fans Avoid Ned Ryerson Day.

February 1st - 12th is Mr. Poore's annual Hunger is Heartbreaking food drive for SnackPack For Kids items. A flyer was sent home via Peachjar today. Let's fill his office and get him on the roof. Thanks to Mr. Engle's 4th graders for finding the coldest day of  February to get him up there. Thank you for supporting Samaritan Community Center and hungry kids across NWA.


Some very creative projects on display at Bright Field Middle School last night. Students presented their ideas to Bentonville Officials on upgrades to two city parks.  

How cool is this!  BHS student operating a camera for ESPN during last Friday's nationally televised game. Talk about an opportunity to get some real, relevant experience. Thanks ESPN for igniting the passion in students.

Grants and PD

Are you an innovator? Want to share your genius with other teachers in Northwest Arkansas? Or, are you planning your summer professional development and looking for something for teachers by teachers? Then Innovation Institute might be just the place for you. Details here.

Video of the Week

Finally, RSA Animate has made a video on Carol Dweck's famous (or infamous, depending on your mindset) book Mindset. Still a book on my required reading and re-reading list.

Enjoy your week.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 19, 2016

Are you back in the groove yet?

Head's Up

Sunday, January 17th (not Friday, January 17th as posted last week), was Kid Inventors' Day. I apologize for not being more on top of this opportunity, but here's a link to some invention contests for "kidventers" and "learnerpreneurs." They might be something to share during your next #geniushour.

Diversability Awareness Festival is truly a community event this year! Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 23rd and plan to join us at Lawrence Plaza in Downtown Bentonville to experience some creative projects that celebrate the contributions of people with disabilities and the diverse abilities we all share, find solutions to challenges faced by people with disabilities, and showcase the creativity and solution finding of students in Bentonville Schools.

This year we're supporting Best Buddies. Best Buddies is an international organization dedicated to connecting people with disabilities and non-disabled people for friendship and mentoring. They're busy building an organization and preparing for a fund-raising walk on, wait for it, Saturday, April 23rd that starts and ends at Lawrence Plaza! This is a great opportunity not only for community service hours, but also for students to have a real impact on the community. This Saturday is also the first Farmers' Market of the year.


 Friday evening, Central Park's Maya Ellgass and Old High's Ashlyn Farmer were honored for their adaptations of MLK's I Have a Dream speech. Not pictured is BHS Sophmore Pierce Reitnauer, who also was honored.

Hundreds of community members toured the new Bentonville West High School yesterday. It was great to see so many excited students able to walk through the building.

Wolverine Wednesdays are coming soon! Get your Snarl on people!

This space is only going to get more amazing once it's finished. The clerestory windows flood the space with natural light. It's hard to describe how bright this area is, even on an overcast day.

Bentonville West is definitely worth the wait.

Superintendent Poore's annual Hunger is Heartbreaking food drive for Snackpacks runs Monday, February 1st through Friday, February 13th. Let's fill his office and send him to the roof! Thanks to David Engle's 4th grade class for researching the coldest day for Mr. Poore to work from the roof. Their prediction? February 19th.

Social media policy update:

I think we are close to having a policy that outlines rationale, expectations, and potential consequences without undue overreach. I'm meeting with BPS Attorney Marshall Ney tomorrow to go over the final draft. The group working on the policy has developed a survey for students in grades 4 -12 that will be sent out within the next week. We would like to have students in grades 4 - 6 complete the short survey during computer lab time. I'm not sure how best to engage junior high and high school students, but seminar would seem the logical choice. Any other suggestions?

Grants & PD

There's some interesting offerings coming up in the next few weeks from Check the right hand side of their webpage for some great one-hour webinars.

Video of the week

It's tax time. That W2 is coming soon, leaving some to wonder if it's all worth the effort. Here's slam poet and teacher Tayor Mali's response to the question: What do you make?

Enjoy your week.

Monday, January 11, 2016

January 12, 2016

Keepin' it concise this week.

Head's Up

January is National Mentoring Month. What do you think about a BPS STEaMentor Corps comprised of professionals in the community? Would having a group of people willing to volunteer their expertise to support student learning add value to your classroom? Let me know your thoughts on this.

Please share this opportunity with students. National Youth Science Center is taking applications for Summer Youth Science Camp 2016. Get details here.

Don't forget - Diversability Awareness Meeting tonight at 4:00 pm in room 200 at BPS Student Services Center.

Thursday, January 14th, students a Fulbright will be hosting the community for Tech Night from 5:00 to 6:30 pm. Students will be presenting their projects on Internet safety.

Ruth Barker Middle School will hold the first session of their Financial Wellness Series this Thursday, January 14th from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Representatives from Signature Bank will be presenting on banking and budgeting. Contact Marisa Snow for more information.

Need a contest with a cause for creative kids? Susan G. Komen Kids for the Cure Coloring Contest is waiting for their entry. Get details on the form, or contact Leslie Lyons

Sunday, January 17th is Kid Inventor's Day. Think about starting Genius Hour with your class or just giving kids time to brainstorm some big, crazy ideas. Who knows, they just might surprise you.

Monday, January 18th is Martin Junior King Jr. Day.


What do y'all think about bringing #bpseduchat back once a month? What about the second Sunday or Monay of the month at 7:00 pm? Great way to start the week.

Don't be shy, share your greatness with Taylor. She'll make you famous (at least in the District). Send story ideas, photos, projects, and celebrations to

Video of the week

Going to work on this. Wish me luck.

Enjoy your week.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Welcome back!
Full disclosure: If there was an award for the least motivated person in Bentonville during Winter Break, I'd most likely be the winner. Hope you all found time to do nothing as well.

Head's Up

Some of you participated in, and many of you heard about, Diversability Awareness Festival last year. The inaugural event not only provided students an opportunity to think critically and find creative solutions to challenges faced by people with disabilities, but also educate and create awareness of the contributions made by people with disabilities. Diversability Awareness is back and committed to making a greater impact on the community. This year's event is scheduled for Saturday, April 23, 2016 in Downtown Bentonville. Diversablities Awareness is supported by strategic partnerships with Downtown Bentonville Inc., Walmart, Bentonville Special Education Equality Network (BeSEEN), and a group led by Former Cave Springs Police Chief Mike Caudill to bring an international disability support organization called Best Buddies to Northwest Arkansas. If you're interested in participating or know students who are already working on projects that align with Diversabilities, let me know. Here's the Google doc from previous planning meetings. The next meeting is Tuesday, January 12, from 4:00 to 5:00 pm at Student Services 1000 SE 14th Street.

Here's video from last year's event, just to pique your interest.

Do you have students wanting to change the world, this opportunity for student voice in a public forum might be perfect for them. The MLK Holiday is Monday, January 18, 2015.

High school artists are invited to participate in the 2016 Governor's Young Artist Exhibit Competition. This year's theme is "bridges" and how creating "bridges" can help find solutions to various challenges. Click the above link for details and entry forms. 

Just found out about this: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles seeks entrants for the 2016 Drive for Design Contest. High School students are asked to design a Dodge SRT Hellcat for the year 2025. Unfortunately, the deadline is January 8! Something to keep in mind for next year.


Students at Sugar Creek collected food for Samaritan Community Center the week before Winter Break. 

Make your New Year's Resolution to share the great things going on throughout Bentonville Schools! Email me or Taylor Blackwell and we'll get the word out. If you're using social media, tag @Bentonville_ps or use #bpsCares #bpsmorethanascore.

Thank you to Buddy Herndon and this great group of kids for their hard work and support for those less fortunate.

We'll be fighting food insecurity in NWA again in February during our Hunger is Heartbreaking food drive.

Social Media policy status update 

Work continues to draft a District Social Media policy. Currently, BPS attorney Marshall Ney is reviewing the current draft. After his input, we'll look at any changes to language. The next step is to develop guidelines for professional use. There are a number of people interested in collaborating in this process, if you'd like to help, contact me. Here is an interesting article with an infographic on best practices when using social media.

Grants and PD

Got this little gem on my Twitter feed last Friday. Check out these grant opportunities. to promote STEM, STEAM, and real, relevant learning opportunities.

Farmers Insurance is accepting applications in January for the 2016 Thank a Teacher Program. This program provides $2,500 grants for day-to-day classroom needs and $100,000 for visionary ideas that improve schools and the community at large.

Did you know that Crystal Bridges does PD? And did you know you can get credit for it? Check out these two offerings:

Looking Beyond the Obvious Part 1: Decoding Symbolism
Wednesday, January 6, 6 - 8 pm
This is the first part of a two part series that explores works of art using historical context clues to decipher the symbolism and intended meaning of the piece. Cost $10.

Learning with Chemistry and the Arts
Saturday, January 9, 9 am - 1 pm
What do Haiku poetry and chemistry have in common? And how do both relate to visual arts? Find out by attending. Cost $10.
For more details on these and many other opportunities available at Crystal Bridges click here.

Are you a science teacher who always wanted to attend Stanford? Then this MOOC's for you.

Video of the week

A lot of us are setting goals around this time of year. Here's a little video to help.

Have a great week.