Coaching Success Strategies in Education

wpid-2014-09-20-11.30.22.png.pngIn the immortal words of John “Hannibal” Smith, I love it when a plan comes together! This has been a great week of professional development, dialogue, and discovery for the teachers I serve. The Instructional Technology department decided to “flip” our PD sessions this year. So teachers are being exposed to our presentations early in Schoology. Lot’s of them came to the sessions already familiar with the content and were reeling with ideas.

What makes IT coaching even more fulfilling is when teachers implement tools and practices immediately, and reveal that they get immediate results from students. I’ve seen two teachers this week, transform their pedagogical practices from lecture/copy notes to flipped lessons/facilitate creativity. The looks on their faces are like light bulbs shining brightly!

What’s the key element that makes this happen? A two-sided mindset called coachability. Some teachers have already heard this story, however, it’s worth an encore.

I learned the importance of coachability when I was a senior on my high school basketball team. During our prior campaign, I led the team in scoring and rebounds. I was the team MVP, and the team captain. We had a different coach than the year before, and we were rebuilding. The season ended with us near the bottom of the conference with a 6-18 record. Still, I thought very highly of my 18 ppg average, and I went home that summer vowing to work hard on my ball handling to compliment my scoring ability. Continue reading

Digital Storytelling: Meaningful Technology in Third Grade cover image

By: Tyra Moore

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  • Are we sabotaging our children by classifying them as smart or not? Do we empower them to gain meaningful technology experiences? Elementary-aged children are quite different from the nearly adult students I’m used to. I had an opportunity to lead a STEM camp for rising third-graders last week, and I’m forever changed.


When the principal and my boss sat down with the media coordinator and I to talk about the camp, I had no idea how I was going to fair with primary kids. It turned out to be a beautiful adventure!

My first day at the camp began with a field trip to the local zoo. My trusty pal, the elementary instructional coach from my previous post was with me, and again on the following day. Thanks to her I was able to slow my brain down and show them effectively, how to create digital stories. The school media coordinator was there to save the day on the third day.

I was reading Mindset, written by Dr. Carol Dweck at the time. For three days, I was handling these children with care. The book forced me to be cognitively aware of the holistic features in each child.

These were my takeaways:

1. Third-graders like to hug – a lot.

For the first time in a long time, I felt like a rock star! After just a few moments of getting acquainted with my new little buddies, they began to approach me, one by one with open arms, smiles, and half grown-in front teeth. “What is this?” I wondered. Admittedly, I have a twelve-year-old who used to love to hug. Now I have to beg for them, but I do fondly remember that time. This was a bit different, and as the days went on, I began to expect them with glee. I believe hugging is their way of showing appreciation for learning. 
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Anger Management for Dummies

Don’t Make Me Angry: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry…

Have you ever seen my Incredible Hulk impression? Some people have and they think it’s a hoot! No, I don’t really turn green, or burst out of my clothes. There’s just this thing I do while adjusting the cervical vertebrae in my neck. I take a deep seething breath as I try to find a way to respond to the stimulus without losing my cool. My jaws flex, and anything I say for the next few moments, exits my mouth through my clenched teeth. At any rate, that’s my way of managing my anger, no irritability when I’m confronted with certain situations.  Continue reading

On Life After Losing Mom: 8 Things I’d Like Her To Know

This is about missing a parent, whose passing has left a huge void in your life. As the years go by, you do not  get over it, rather, you learn to live with it. No matter how young nor old, the hurt runs deep. There is never a way to prepare, albeit chronic illness, or sudden death. You must find ways to keep your mom or dad alive within your heart.

It always helps me to talk to my mother as if she were sitting next to me. I have to believe in my heart that she can see and hear me. Then I meditate over what I’ve said and imagine her response. Whatever you may do, I suggest you find what works best for you. There is no right and wrong way to grieve, and NEVER let anyone else tell you otherwise. Grief is a process, and you should be familiar with it.

This time, I am imagining that she is a techie like me. Therefore, I’m giving her a digital correspondence. Here goes.  Continue reading

We Dropped The Ball In “The ATL,” Now, Someone Just Pick It Up!

Courtesy of

Kasim ReedThe Gist

The mayor of the city of Atlanta was fighting for his life this morning, after the city became paralyzed following the massive snow and ice storm, “Leon.” Hundreds of people spent the night stranded on freeways, at work, and in Home Depots (and who knows where else). A woman reportedly gave birth in a car, and more than two thousand children and  their teachers were stranded at school overnight.

Kasim Reed’s political life, that is, is suddenly in critical condition following an interview with CNN’s Carol Costello. During the segment, the mayor appeared to accept no responsibility for his part in the failure of the city to adequately prepare for the inclement weather.

Costello insisted that, “There are some people who say that those children should not have been placed in that position.” Extremely irritated by the probe from Costello he shot back that the Atlanta City Public Schools is responsible for making the call for all school closings, not him. It seems that all of the officials are throwing one another “under the bus.”

My Take

The media and citizens across the nation are appalled at the city, and state government officials, and their blame-shifting antics following the disaster. The CNN website is flooded with accounts of the misery there. When you clearly drop the ball, the best thing to do is pick it up, and accept responsibility! Then move forward.

At this point, who is to blame is the small issue. The bigger issue can be summed up in one question: “Now What!?” Really, there is no gear that the city can shift into as of noontime Wednesday, to erase the cold, hunger, fear, and danger from the minds of the people of Atlanta.

“Breaking news: Georgia State Gov. CLOSED…STAY HOME TOMORROW,” is currently posted in the blue bar on CNN as I write. I want so desperately to scream, “Ya think!?” I am not a government official. I never will be, but I do believe that if both Mayor Reed and Governor Nathan Deal could turn back the hands of time, this would have gone down differently. However, right now, the people want someone (ANYONE) to simply say, “My bad.”

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What the Lord’s Prayer Taught Me About Happiness

The Purpose of Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer is the one of the most commonly recited passages of the Bible and arguably the least practiced. I’ve played a lot of basketball in my lifetime. Every middle school, high school and college game was preceded by this prayer in the huddle. As well, it was a ritual before every contest that I coached during my ten-year career. In fact, millions of athletes on all levels murmur these words robotically like ABC’s:

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.Thy kingdom come.Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13 KJV

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Album Review: Beyoncé

Beyoncé Holds Private Album Release Party at Dave & Buster's in Times Square

Beyoncé Holds Private Album Release Party at Dave & Buster’s in Times Square

Beyoncé dropped her 5th album over night last Friday, unbeknownst to anyone. She skipped the months of campaigning and marketing that usually precludes an official release date. In fact, the self-titled album shattered sales records on iTunes topping the 800,000 mark by Monday morning. The fact is, singles were not for individual sale. For any of the 14 tracks and 17 videos, consumers had no other alternative than to buy the entire album, priced at $15.99. Genius.

After succumbing to the Wal-Mart Black Friday Conspiracy a month ago, I decided to play the commercial guinea pig again, by downloading the self-titled “Beyoncé” from iTunes. As my laptop screen took me through verification prompts, repeatedly asking me, “Are you sure you want to buy this selection,” I thought to myself, please let this be good.

In short – Beyoncé brought it!

This album is for the deep thinker. There are no bubble gum tracks or bubbly tunes that a kindergartener could memorize after a play or two here. “Beyoncé” isn’t about selling popular music, it’s about expression. With this one, you’ll get to take a look into her mind, and it’s exhilarating!

For the first time, the 32 year-old shows us a clearer picture of who Beyoncé Knowles Carter really is (and who she isn’t), and as of December 2013, she’s officially an artist.  Continue reading

Under Taylor’s Leadership, The NCCU Lady Eagles Must “Trust The Process.”

WBB_Coach_with_IWM_and_CN-300x166Vanessa Taylor came on board at North Carolina Central University in 2012, and has already steered the women’s basketball team in the right direction. She inherited a squad that had gone 3-27 prior to her arrival, and finished with a menial 2-27 record last season. Within those two campaigns, The Lady Eagles suffered 29 straight losses – Ouch!

This season, they’re 5-4 going into the holiday break, and I knew they would be. This isn’t about statistics and records. It’s not about glory, or fame. This is about life. I know women’s basketball and I know Vanessa Taylor. That’s what she does. She resurrects defunct programs, dusts them off, and makes them viable contenders overnight. In the process, she impacts player’s lives eternally. How do I know?  Continue reading

How I Learned To Overcome Disappointment

One thing is for certain: in this life, you can only do that which is in your own power to do. You cannot snap your fingers and spark world peace, or stop crime and pestilence. You certainly cannot end world hunger, dissolve massive weather systems, or stop a tsunami after an earthquake has parted the ocean floor!

Lately I’ve been flooded with memories of something powerful my grandmother told me when I was a little girl. It was a statement so profound, that I can still feel my chest quaking whenever I think about it! She spoke to me sternly through her teeth and said, “You better not cry!” Let me explain.

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Yes, I’m a Bigamist, and Proud of It!

My name is Joan and I am a BIGAMIST. A professional athlete and a pop icon fought for the sole rights to my livelihood, totally unbeknownst to them! Married to inspiration from the two, I’ve been forever branded as a two-timer, but I only cheat with men named Michael.

What does it mean to be the greatest, and why do we all strive for it? Stardom? The media? Personal goals? Who knows? I can only tell you my story. The story of Michael: the juggernaut, and the king of pop (and of course, the archangel…that’s another post). How is it that Michael has inspired millions on so many levels?

There is no such thing as coincidence. Period. Everything happens for a reason, and the sooner we all realize this, the better. Recently, I took a moment to think about the three most influential worldly figures (besides my mother) in my life. There’s something inside of me that strives for greatness. We all should. However looking back, I have found some irony here. Let me take a moment to explain how Michael Jordan, and Michael Jackson helped mold who I am today. Continue reading