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August 7, 2013

PMA Wednesday - Training Camp - 9th Edition

Welcome to PMA Wednesday!

Last month, I received an email from my principal saying that our staff development was going to include Jon Gordon's book, Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Else. She purchased 10 copies for our school library, but we were invited to check them out prior to returning August 19th. 

If you've been following my blog for awhile, then you know I am a Jon Gordon fan. The Energy Bus and The Energy Bus for Kids has helped transform my attitude and teaching style.  

Since the book is set during a NFL training camp, I decided to read while I was walking on the treadmill. My husband was concerned for my safety, because I wouldn't be holding on to the handles. However, I slowed it down a little, picked up the book, started reading, and walking. I didn't make it past the introduction before I stopped the treadmill and scooted to my office to get a notepad and a pen. 

Jon Gordon asserts that there is a formula for success. He interviewed "the best of the best". He discovered that excellence is achieved through hard work, focusing on the fundamentals, staying positive, and a desire to succeed and make an impact. 

Hard work is what got me through school. I was never tested for the gifted program, although my brother was tested. I took some Honors classes, but only in English and Social Studies. During my junior year, my AP History teacher told me that if I didn't start participating in class discussions, I would not only get a C in her class, but she would not recommend me for AP Government. Fear of public speaking, landed me in an on-level government class. [Fear caused me to fail, but I am getting ahead of myself. This is in a later chapter for another day.] As an educator, I know this is true. My students, who work harder, achieve more. Those who read more, score higher on their reading standardized test. 

The second component of success is focusing on fundamentals. It seems simple enough. However, as a 4th grade teacher giving the STAAR Reading and Writing test, this was not my focus. I needed my students to come to me already knowing how to read and write, because I had roughly 7 months (with A LOT of interruptions) to perfect their writing into two 26 lined essays and an additional three weeks to hone their reading skills. One of the new buzz words in Texas is adding "rigor", which is the antitheses of the fundamentals. If students don't have the basics, then before we add rigor, we need to address the fundamentals. Hopefully, in my new position, I will get to establish the fundamentals of Math, so they can be successful on the state tests the following year in 3rd grade. This is my goal!

Staying positive isn't easy. I've had to learn the hard way what effect a negative attitude can have ones success. I still struggle with being sarcastic and funny with being a "Negative Nancy" or a "Debbie Downer". This is partly why my husband started sending his PMA Wednesday messages to me, then my team, and why I started my PMA Wednesday blog page and Pinterest board. 

I think we (teachers) all have a desire for our students to succeed. Whether positive or negative, we make an impact every day. Today, I will leave you with my favorite education quote. 

I am spending my Wednesday at an inservice learning about the various components of our district's math program. This is an optional inservice. I chose to go, instead of spending the day in my classroom unpacking. Why? As Jon Gordon writes, "The best commit themselves to new goals and being better than the year before." Have a POSITIVE Wednesday!


  1. Love it Kristin- I really like how you put yourself out there! Our buzzwords in NJ include "rigor" too. I like the quote at the end- I am planning to write a list of goals and stick it right next to my desk where I can check them off.

    Everyone deServes to Learn

  2. Thanks, Kristin! Great thoughts...I'm going to have to check out that book!


    Teaching Little Miracles

  3. As I was reading your blog I noticed that you think rigor is the antithesis of the fundamentals. I used to think so too until I read Rigor Is Not a Four Letter Word. I am finally able to add rigor to my classes even though my purpose is to bring them up from two or more years behind in reading and vocabulary. Yes, it takes more careful planning, but the kids seem to enjoy it more and my results are better.
    I am going to check out the book you are posting about. It sound s like a great book. I hope I get even half of what you did out of it.