Thursday, May 26, 2016

Avoid the Summer Slide


SYNC is a audiobook program for teens 13+. Sign up and listen to many titles for free between May 5th and August 17th offers lots of interactive games for young learners has reading activities for students in grades K-5 reads stories of various levels out loud and has activities to play as well

National Geographic has wonderful, colorful stories and games

Get a Pen Pal!  The International Pen Friends website allows you to sign up to get pen pals from around the world!

A wonderful list of writing prompts for rainy days and creative writers


The great activity to do that involves math is cooking!  Go to the local farmer’s market and whip up something in the kitchen for dinner - real life skill!

Plan a trip - Use google maps to plan a day trip.  Calculating distances is another real life skill!

Cool Math Games - tons of logic, math and skills games - all FREE

Hooda Math - free math games for all ages K-12.  

iXL - fee attached to this, but links to common core for students in grades K - 8. (math and ELA)

Virtual Field Trips:


Barnes and Noble offers students a free book if they track what they read throughout the summer

Chuck E Cheese - Read 2 weeks and get 10 free tokens!

Half Price Books - Read 300 minutes in June and July and get a $5 voucher for books each month.

Check out your local public library- most offer summer incentive programs including free bikes, baseball games and food!

AND just for fun….FREE BOWLING!  

Would love to have others share their resources!!!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Kindness Matters

I recently wrote about my Dad, who was, and will always be, my idol.  He told when I graduated with my first master’s It doesn’t matter how many letters you have behind your name, or how many people know your name, if you're a jerk, that’s all people will remember about you”.  WOW.  Kindness matters.  How true is that?

This week I received an award from a student recognizing me for being an outstanding educator. When calling his mom to thank her she said he calls me his “school mom”. This alone means the world to me.  Mom and I both started choking up as she shared stories of things that I had did or said to her or him this year.  None of them monumental in my opinion, just things that needed to be done, but it made me realize the impact that a person can have on a person.

I then started thinking about some of the amazingly kind things that others have done for me recently.

  • The wife of my internship mentor @CharityDodd sent an email on my behalf for a job that I had applied for.  I haven't had the opportunity to meet her, but her taking the time to do this and help me shows her extreme kindness and willingness to help others. Kindness matters.
  • My #CompelledTribe leader @jon_wennstrom has been so supportive this year. Again, someone I haven’t personally met, but someone I know that I can reach out to with questions and that will answer me with honesty and concrete advice.  Kindness matters.
  • I think about my new friend @meremendoza1 who sends me daily messages of inspiration and encouragement.  “Hang in there”.  “Thank you for what you do”.  She inspires me by raising a family of ten, and STILL finds time to make sure that I am okay!  Kindness matters.
  • My OSU professor @abanthony2 who emailed me a letter of encouragement. Rarely do you see a professor become someone you consider a friend. I am lucky to be supported by someone who believes in me and wants to help me in my next professional journey. Kindness matters.

All of these things make me think of what I can do to help others.  Leading into the summer I am going to make sure that people know I care and I'm willing to help. I'm willing to send a letter a reference, make a phone call, make a connection, meet a friend for lunch. Whatever it takes, because kindness matters.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Who Inspires You?

I just spent the entire day at a Special Olympics track meet. I saw athletes of all ages and abilities competing in running and field events despite the windy, cold Ohio weather.  These athletes were happy, ready and motivated to do their very best in every event they were in.  Many waited hours on the infield huddled together with us in blankets, but you never heard one negative word.  Just laughter and stories.  These athletes INSPIRE me.

As I was driving home with a happy, full heart, I couldn’t help but to reflect on others who have inspired me.  

My Dad, James Pierpoint - My dad never went to college, had no college degree, but was the smartest man I’ll ever know. I lost my dad six years ago this month and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him.  There’s rarely a day that I don’t wish I could pick up the phone and ask “What do you think about…”  “Did you hear...” “Can you believe…”. He'd have the answer.

My dad taught me from a very young age that I was going to have to fight a little bit more than everyone else if I wanted to succeed.  He never let me give up or quit trying. Those who truly know me know that accomplishing things such as swimming, tying my shoes, and riding a bike didn’t come as easy as they may for everyone else.  He instilled the “don’t feel sorry for yourself or let others feel sorry for you” mantra that I still carry today.

At my dad’s funeral, there was a line out the door of people waiting to say their final good-byes.  The funeral director later told us he was outside directing traffic! I realized that day that my dad inspired many people. I will never be close to the person my dad was, but I continue to be inspired by his words and my memories of him.

My Aunt, Barb Leeper -  My aunt is often referred to as the Rose Kennedy of the Pierpoint Clan.  She keeps us all together and has through some pretty difficult family struggles. She never waivers, never loses her calm, and keeps everyone focused and together.

Aunt Barb has always been “my favorite”.  Although I didn’t see her very often, I loved spending weekends and summers with her.  She and my uncle were both educators.  Together they showed me the love of education.  I remember my aunt driving to Columbus to get her administrator's degree, and then her superintendent's license.  I thought, I’m going to do this some day.  I was lucky to be able to see more of her when I was in undergrad, because my college was pretty close to where she lived.  Dinners with her proved that I was doing the right thing.  

As I became a teacher and as I worked on my administrative license, she has constantly supported me, bought me books and sent letters encouraging me on.  Although she’s retired now, I know that I can still call her and ask for her advice and support.  She will ALWAYS be my educational inspiration!

My Mentors - Dr. Susan Sears, Dr. Belinda Gimbert, Bobby Dodd, Sherri McCaul, Dianne Ryan and Bob Searles

I would NOT be where I am today without these education icons! Each of them has had an impact on me and has bettered me as a teacher, counselor and aspiring administrator. All of my mentors have shown what dedication and excellence looks like and have always motivated me to try harder and push myself further.

I may not reach the greatness of any of them either, but if I can inspire another educator they way they have, then I will at least feel purposeful and feel that what they have taught me was valued and appreciated!

I’m lucky to have, and had, ALL these people in my life.  I’m better because of each of them.  I can’t wait to meet the next person who influences me in such a way that I can add them to my list of inspirational people!

I encourage everyone to take a minute and think of someone or something that inspires you, and take just a few minutes to acknowledge them.  For the last 30 days I have been doing daily “shoutouts” celebrating others and it truly has been the best!  A kind word goes a long way!

Friday, May 6, 2016

What Makes a Great Teacher?

When thinking about Teacher Appreciation Week I decided to go to the experts, my students, and ask them their thoughts on what makes a great teacher.  The happiness I saw on their faces as they recalled memories of teachers and thought about great things teachers do proves that we are making a positive impact!

What makes a good teacher?

"A teacher needs to be entertaining and interested in what they are teaching.  We don’t want to watch videos every day or just listen to you read something.  We want you to sound like you like what you are doing."  AG ~ 10th grader

"They bring life stories into the lessons - something that relates. This helps me understand the lesson and remember it more" - SP ~ 10th grader

"They don’t have favorites.  We pick up on your body language." - JR ~ 9th grader

"Instead of saying “What are you going to do to fix your mistake?” great teachers gives us options and helps us through the process.  There is a reason we made the mistake." - IM - 10th grader

"A good teacher can be funny and have a good sense of humor, but they also know when to draw the line with students and make them tow the line in their class."  -  IB - 9th grade  

"Teachers that make personal connections and share personal stories about their families and lives makes the class feel more like a family than a bunch of students just sitting together in a room.  The sharing of our life stories with each other makes a better learning connection." -  MF - 9th grader

"Teachers that try to figure me out as a person are the ones I respect most.  They care about my health, my grades, and my personal life." -  DR 9th grader

"A teacher that I can trust and tell things to is important to me" - DB 9th grader

"A good teacher is nice to everyone, not racist, and gives people a chance.   Listen to the students and be reasonable with the students - be fair.  If you don’t like kids, you shouldn't be a teacher." - LA - 9th grader

"A great teacher is someone you know you can trust and that will be there when you need them." - CC - 10th grader

"A teacher that understands how we feel and can relate to what we go through as we deal with drama, problems, and friends in high school is a pretty good teacher in my opinion."  - MZ 9th grader.

"The best teacher I ever had put herself in my shoes. She would give me advice and she’d share personal similar situations that she had been through.  She was very understanding." - LR -10th grader

"No matter how the student acts or what they choose to do, the teacher doesn’t give up on them.  The teacher keeps encouraging the student to be their best even when they are at their worst."  - AG 10th

"A great teacher will take the time to work with you one-on-one when you can’t figure something out." - SC 9th grader

"The teacher tells you the truth even if it hurts. It made me realize I had to get my act together." - AP - 10th grader

"Great teachers go above and beyond for students that need an extra push. My favorite teachers teach because they want to, not because they have to."  - JK 11th grader

And the one that brought me to tears….

“That’s you Miss P. You care about me more than I care about myself sometimes.  Even when I act like a fool you don’t stop giving up on me”  - MU - 11th grader