Teaching Boys

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I sent the following email out to my school this morning:

Last night the Town of Fishers issued a proclamation honoring a unit from Afghanistan that received a Presidential Unit Citation <kind of the Blue Ribbon School award except for the shooting part>.  The unit was led by Captain John Wagner…some of you may remember John.  In junior high he was known for his spiked hair and duct tape accessories.  He was one of my “felon boys with potential” <John was busted by Jan Quick for flipping off his friend at an early in the year convo which led to John and I having a one-direction conversation>.  John was the kid that in every team or group photo would make the odd face….you know the type.

 When John was a sophomore in high school he interviewed to be a Tecumseh Imagecounselor.  I remember the conversation between Tony and I about hiring John, we almost did not hire him…sins of the past;  in the end we did and gave him boys just like him…they thrived.  John still traveled to the beat of his own drummer…in the group counselor photo everyone is in t-shirts and John was in a flannel shirt.  In his senior year he was accepted into West Point.

Last night Captain Wagner walked to the podium and gracefully deflected praise from himself to his platoon, he talked of the difference he felt they made in the lives of villagers tormented by the Taliban, he talked of the grace that his wife, Lauren Achtien (also a counselor…remembered for a complete lack of rhythm when dancing), showed during his deployments, he praised his family for their faithfulness in sending care packages to his unit, and he cured dry eyes when through choked tears and unrehearsed pauses he remembered the 68 soldiers from the 101st Airborne who died clearing the Taliban from the Khandahar Valley.  Quiet humility. 

What a great reminder for me to not judge a young boys future based on the stupid things 12 and 13 year old boys do sometimes and for me to remember that they are not fully formed; their metamorphosis not yet complete. 


 Michael J. Fassold, M.Ed.

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.  ~Kahlil Gibran

Ready to Roll!

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My 17th year has begun…looking forward with a peek back <my beloved student teaching year students are turning 30…wow>.   My checklist has slowly whittled down…

Think.jpgNinja Exit Only.jpgMade my “THINK” letters out of pennies.  Pinterest is the inspiration for many of my projects.  My next “money” project will be to make a sign out of nickels…just waiting for inspiration on the letters.  Okay, there is no educational purpose for my “Ninja Exit” Sign other than everyone needs to have one in their classroom.  It makes me laugh every time I look at it.  The kids did not take long to ask me about it.

I wanted to find a way to have my students look at the entire year as one experience soooo I divided my bulletin boaGreat Minds Sign.jpgrd into all the months of the school year.  My plan is to post sample “lion” work, torn “lamb” cards, and some other reminders of the month.   Best part of the bulletin board?  Making the lamb and lion icons which tell Bulletin Board - Month by Month.jpga little story.  On the top left of the August/September panel is a scoreboard of lambs and lions….Lamb 160 and Lions 0 as of today.  I found <on Twitter> a great poster that read “Great Minds Discuss Ideas; Average Minds Discuss Events; Small Minds Discuss People”…it quickly became a poster <I put it over a project done by Rachel Rees many years ago…still there but my lack of wall space is causing me to place a second layer> A shout out to my principal for buying a poster machine.

Confidence is Silent.jpgPinterest gave me the inspiration for the next quote that is prominently featured in my room.  It Classroom - Two Deep.jpgmirrors Fassold Rule #26–“Those that have the least to say speak the most and those with the most to say stand quiet.”  In my classroom I want to reverse this trend by getting my best and brightest minds to find their voices…too many times they stay out of the conversation unless they are brought into the conversation.  My last change was to search for a way to keep kids from feeling disconnected from me.  My beloved 7th period class talked with me last year about changing seats all the time; I thought it was because they wanted to get near their friends…it turned out that they wanted to be nearer to me.  I finally arranged my seats into two squares around the middle of the room…mission accomplished…no student further back than row 2.

My 7th period class Fassold Rules 1 - 15.jpgalso asked me to post Fassold Rules in my room <it seems they thought I was just making up the numbers and rules when it was convenient>shocked face…however I finally wrote the first 25 rules down <I have added a couple since to the printing of the posters…grrrr my brain grrrr>.  I still have a couple minor things to do before my list is exhausted, but I feel pretty productive.

Finally, I moved my oldest daughter to college…toughest thing to do as a parent…she is strong and she will be okay.  I miss her,  but am proud of the person she has become.  Of course, my “red-headed” wonder is loving the only child status that she finally gets to experience.