112: Classroom Management - Withitness and Emotional Objectivity, part one

September 24, 2016
Dr. Robert Marzano talks about every teacher needing a common mental set when focusing on classroom management (Marzano, Classroom Management that Works, 2003). This mental set is comprised of withitness and emotional objectivity. 

This is part one of a two part look at this mental set.

For this episode we will focus on withitness which is being aware of what is going on around you. It is often that sixth sense that a teacher needs to have. Often it is spoken of as an extra set of eyes in the back of your head. 

No matter what, withitness is a condition that you have to teach yourself to turn on and stay tuned to.

In the Marvel Comics realm there is a character named Spider-Man. He has the ability to recognize danger and foretell the potential of disaster approaching. When he feels that tingle in his brain he knows that he better pay attention or move out of the way. The classroom teacher is no different, He has a Spidey sense as well. 
It is a matter of paying attention to it.

The better a teacher gets to know his kids the better he will become at recognizing warning signs of impending danger.

One sure fire way to turn on your withitness is to stand at your door during class changes. Yea, I know it is easy to get distracted, but the more you make this a priority the better you will become at recognizing issues are entering your classroom.Talk with the kids when they enter. Shake their hands. Look into their eyes Chit chat with them in the hall. If you do you these things you will notice when there is anger, sadness, or other issues walking through the door.

The same applies for during class. You have to pay attention to their eyes. You have to pay attention to their mannerisms. Listen with your ears and eyes. If you are truly paying attention you will notice when there is something wrong. Once you notice it. Address it. Go to the kids. Find out what is wrong. You will be happy that you did.

This is withitness.

Work on turning yours on and you will be able to address issues before they become issues.

Next time we will focus on emotional objectivity.
Here are some links for more information on withitness:

Length: 14:10


111: Mandi Mathis & The Littlest Inventor

September 18, 2016


Mandi C. Mathis has written a book called The Littlest Inventor.

She works for a law firm, is a wife and a mom and now an author.  
She and her family live in Athens, Georgia.


Mandi hopes all kids, teachers, parents. and counselors will read her book.
But she will tell you that the book was written for her son Sawyer. 
She wanted him to "have a positive literary role model that looked like him." 
Sawyer was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder.

The book is colorful and has wonderful illustrations. The storyline is interesting and does a wonderful job of pointing out that it is ok to be different.

Here is a picture of Sawyer who was featured in Autism: Asperger's Digest.

I love the part of the interview where Mandi talks about celebrating differences as she says, "We love different. We are all different." 
We talk about what Autism Spectrum Disorder is as well as what teachers and other adults need to recognize about working with kids who have sensory overload.

Listen to her talk about "misbehavior is just missed behaviors."

I hope that you get a chance to get a copy of The Littlest Inventor after you listen to Mandi. 

110: Kip Jones and his Urban Character Education Books

September 10, 2016


Kip “Mr. J” Jones  is a School Counselor at Alcoa Elementary School  in Alcoa, Tennessee.


He has written a series of wonderful books focused on teaching character education. His books are part of a series he calls Urban Character Education, published by Boys Town Press.


The series follows the adventures and interactions of Willie Bohanon and his friends. They are written in rhyme and illustrated and printed as a graphic novel.

Listen for Kip to explain the Biblio-Rhymology concept.

The characters are easy to identify with and his point is clear to anyone as soon as you pick up his books. Each book also has an activity guide as a supplement to support using the book for working with kids.



He currently has three books with a  fourth on the way: The Power of an Attitude of Gratitude, The Power of Bystanders, and The Power of Self-D. Coming soon is a book focused on dealing with peer pressure.

His book series is a winner of the Mom’s Choice Gold Award.


In addition to his full time counseling work and writing, Kip is also a national speaker, a husband and a father.

He and his family live in Maryville, Tennessee.

Find out more about Kip, Willie & his friends, Urban Character Education, 

and biblio-rhymology






Get in touch with Kip

email:  kjones@alcoaschools.net

phone: 865-560-6490

Length: 38:44

109: Connecting with Parents-The Postcard

August 31, 2016

Are you looking for ways to connect with parents? 

I know dumb question right? 

Well, have I got an inexpensive way to start off the connectivity- get postcards.

You can go buy some on-line, at the US Post Office or a local printer or you can make your own.

Between you and me you don't have to use your money and supplies.

First, hit up your principal or PTSA or a local business. 

What school or community leader could say no to a teacher who wants to connect with parents. 

By the way, they are cheap, too!

The cool thing about the PostOffice cards is that you can buy them with postage already on the card.

Now...now... just getting postcards isn't enough you have to write something nice and then send it to the parents or guardians.

So here is a thought put some announcement on the card that all parents need to hear. 

You know...you can buy stickers that you print the message on and then stick them to the card. 

Think about it. Invite them to open house or tell them about your blog or class podcast...

...then near the sticker write a personal note...like ...Steve really participated well in class this week. Or Judy answered all of her legacy questions completely and correctly! Yea! or...come on think out loud. You could come up with something nice about every kid...really you can do it!

But why would you want to?...easy...

It helps you connect with parents and break the cycle of the only reason why the parent hears from the school is for trouble.

And believe me, some kids get lots of negative contact from school.

If you send one of these cards home with a personalized note...you know it's going on the refrigerator!!!

5 Steps for Using Postcards to Make Your School a More Positive Place

1. Get the cards.

2. Get your roster

3. Get stickers

4. Write something personal

5. Reap the benefits

Here are some links to resources where you can get postcards:
(Don't forget to check local printers, as well.)

By the way, I have no relationship to any of these companies. I will not get remuneration for you clicking on the links above.

Have fun!!!

Length: 16:28


108: Matt Miller & School Spirit Vending

August 16, 2016


Remember to get your free ebook: 

The Top 10 Reasons Why You need to Own a vending Business

Matt is the Founder of School Spirit Vending. He is also a graduate of the US Air Force Academy  and a former pilot of T-38s and C-5 Galaxies. He has been successful in several business ventures in the medical industry, advertising and even selling gumballs. It is the gumball opportunity that led him to the school vending focus.

After hearing Matt tell his life story I get the feeling he is “Determined to succeed, willing to take risks, and not willing to give in…”


He has helped to raise over 3.5 million dollars for schools.

As a former high school principal, you need to find ways to raise funds. Typically it is through food, candy, car washes and doughnuts. Matt’s company designs stickers and comic books that the students buy from the all mechanical no electronic parts vending machines. No junk food. Typically, no machine breakdowns.


Additionally, he is the host of the School Zone Podcast. According to Matt, “he was amazed at the incredible variety of school resource and fundraising companies available and started the School Zone Podcast to allow these companies and organizations time to share their stories.”

School Spirit Vending is located in over 2000 schools across the United States. They develop their products on their own from the ground up. The products are developed based on following age group wants and desires.

Matt’s favorite leadership quote is “help other people get what they want and you will be taken care of” by Zig Ziglar.

He says that he was always looking for a “win-win.” He wanted to help his clients. By following Zig’s thoughts about helping others it has kept him focused on helping him connect and succeed with clients.

School Spirit vending is a company that seeks entrepreneurs who want to market the School Spirit Vending products to regions across the country.

The majority of his franchise holders have other jobs but more and more they are growing to the point where they hire some of their own staff as the sticker machine business expands.

Matt and his franchise holders spend a lot of time with parent-teacher organizations but often work directly with clubs and their sponsors.

Matt was fun to talk with and I am sure you will enjoy listening.

Find out more information about Matt and School Spirit Vending at the following links:

Length: 42:59