• Ride the River

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 8/19/2019

    Dr. Vinson spoke of "Riding the River" this year at convocation.  In the old west, the most dangerous part of the cattle drive was crossing a river, and doing so meant you had to trust your fellow cowboys.  

    This is my first year at MJHS, and I must say that I have fallen in love with the school, its people, my students, and my team of teachers.  Three of the four of us are new to this campus, and we are bringing new insights, ideas, skills, and passions to the table about the teaching and learning of ELAR.  While we all may be a little bit different it is the differences we have the make us strong.  I am so glad to be a part of this department and team, and I celebrate Riding the River with them. 

    #WELARfamily

     

     

     

    Comments (-1)
  • 50 Years

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 8/12/2019

    This weekend I had the honor of celebrating the anniversary of my mother and father in love.  My wife's parents were married 50 years ago and are still going strong.  As I listened to the kind words, shared in reading the beautiful cards, and enjoyed the sentiment of their love, I was reminded that accomplishments don't just happen...it takes work.  

    My daddy says, "anything worthwhile is worth working for."  I have found this as a truth in my life.  It is easy to give up and throw in the towel.  I think that fear is the greatest enemy of accomplishment.  We fear failure, and rather than failing, we just give up.  Therefore, we limit our accomplishments.  I am so glad that the Wright Brothers did not just give up on building the plane, or that Martin Cooper did not give up on creating the foundation for the cell phone, or that Chinese did not stop the first time they cured pork belly with salt, which led to the modern-day culinary cuisine of BACON. 

    At school, things get difficult.  Sometimes we want to give up and call it quits.  We want to jump and run when things get tough.  If we think cannot be the best, we think we have to stop the race. It takes perseverance to accomplish anything great.  Press on toward the goal! 

    Connie and Phil, Thank you for not giving up.  Thank you for your perseverance in your marriage.  Thank you for giving us an example to follow.  Thank you for being Accomplished!    

    Comments (-1)
  • Being GT--Repeat

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 8/8/2019

    This is a repeat of an earlier blog post.   It is important enough to repost.  

    There are many assumptions made about being GT that are not always true.  One is that GT kids are smarter than everyone else, but GT has very little to do with raw intelligence.  It has more to do with the way in which one processes and generates thought.  With GT students, I try to encourage them to capitalize on the divergent thinking that is innate within them. 

    GT is not about more work.  Many kids say that they don't want to be GT because there is more work involved.  That is quite to the contrary.  The GT student in my class will have no more work than the students in any other class.  GT students' work is tailor-made for the way they process information.  "Work" has become a word with a negative connotation in this culture.  We should embrace learning beyond work and long for the "experience." 

    GT students are not always "A" students.  Many research studies have indicated that the GT student is often the one that struggles in school to pass. Not because s/he is not "smart" enough to get the work done, but because they often find little meaning or value in what they are being asked to do, or on the contrary cannot figure out what to do because they overcomplicate things.  

    There are many misconceptions about students who are GT, and though "they" have profiles for students who are GT, one thing is certain:  each child is different and has a different set of learning needs.  My goal as a teacher is to ensure that each child has a meaningful relationship with an adult on campus who embraces them and to give each one of my students and "Literary Experience" that they may carry with them always.

    Comments (-1)
  • Rest for the Weary

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 8/17/2018

    I am a not stop kind of person.  With four kids involved in many things, I find that I don't have time to rest and just to "chill."  Correction...I do have time, I don't take the time.  I recently read an article that talked about productivity and rest.  It stated that the person who worked 45 hours a week was as productive, if not more, than the person who worked 60 hours per week. 

    Like a ton of bricks, it hit me.  I frequently find myself working all the time, not just on school stuff, but volunteer activities, "honey-do" projects, and other things that prevent me from taking time to unwind.  I have committed to taking time to stop, look, and listen.  I want to take a nap on Sunday afternoon, take a drive for no purpose, take a walk in the park without watching practice.  Our bodies are designed to rest, and I am going to have to give it a go. 

    Kids need rest too!  They are so often stretched thin and over calendared.  Try to build in time for your kids to be kids and to do nothing in between the doing something.  

    Comments (-1)
  • When it's time to change...

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 7/24/2018 12:10:00 AM

    ...you've to rearrange who you are and what you're gonna be...  How many of you remember that old song from "The Brady Bunch?"  It has often been my life's anthem because I love and embrace change and new things.  My wife is a saint because she rides with me when I decide we need to change things...and I do love change. 

    This year, change has come again for me.  I have moved from teaching GT ELAR to Advanced Science.  I love teaching English and Reading...it was one of my college majors.  When Mrs. Craighead called me into her office on the last day of school and told me I would be teaching science, my response was that it did not matter what subject I taught, just give me some kids to teach.  

    And that is how I look at it.  I can teach almost any subject in the building, and that does not matter to me.  What matters most is that I teach kids.  It is an amazing blessing to have 100+ kids show up and want to be taught.  It is my hope that I teach them what they need to know to be successful in life, not just science.  

    As I make this change this year, I am excited to be able to bring to life the love of learning, desire to create new knowledge, and kids who are destined to change the world.  

    Comments (-1)
  • #Harvey

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 8/26/2017

    I grew up in Freeport, TX, about 60 miles to the south of Houston and about 5 minutes from the murky waters of The Gulf of Mexico.  At the beginning of every summer, we began our hurricane readiness procedures.  Mama would get maps to track the potential storms.  Daddy would make sure the trees were trimmed.  We would stock up on masking tape for the windows, sterilize empty milk jugs and add extra water to them, and mama would always buy a little extra nonperishable food each time she went to the grocery store.  These and many more preparations, just in case.  Only a couple of times did we have to evacuate from a storm, and only ever received minimal damage.  As I remember my friends and family in South Texas, I don't envy the hardships they are facing this weekend, and I send my love and prayers their way.   

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Bringing Up the Future

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 8/23/2017 11:25:00 PM

    I remember my student teaching year vividly.  I was not nearly as good as what I thought I was.  My goal was to change every kid in the world and the face of education for everyone in the world.  I was going to set the world on fire with my knowledge and skills.  All I did that year was make a bunch of kids sleep with their eyes open.  I am so thankful for Ms. Franke, Mrs. Walker, and Ms. West for putting up with my ignorance and guiding me, sometimes not so gently, down the right path.  After surviving that year of student teaching, I vowed to improve my craft so that I may have the opportunity to shape student teachers and help them become the best teacher they can be.  Since 1996 as I teacher I have had the chance to supervise several student teachers and interns, some of whom have become remarkable teachers.  This year, I am blessed once again to be a mentor to a student teacher.  

    The kids have all met Mr. Dean Latta.  He is a student at The University of North Texas preparing to become a teacher.  During this fall semester, he is doing what the university calls PDS-1.  This means he is taking some classes on his campus, and he spends 2 days a week with us on our campus.  During the fall semester, he will spend some time working with small groups, getting to know about the daily operations of the classroom, doing a few model lessons for his class, and of course some mundane tasks that every newbie gets to do.  In January, he will gradually take over the classes. With my help and under my direction, Mr. Latta will be planning and leading the instruction.  

    Being a student teacher is not easy. It is a 40+ hour week job with no pay. I have full confidence that Mr. Latta is going to do a fabulous job with us this year.  Thank you for allowing your kids to be a part of his education.  

     

    Comments (-1)
  • First Day of School

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 8/21/2017 4:15:00 AM

    I love the first day of school so much that it should be a National Holiday.  I can remember nearly every first day I ever had.  When most kids were dreading that moment that school started, I was counting down the days.  New shoes, new shirts, new pants, and in my younger days, new crayons.  To this day, there is something magical about new crayons. I get a new box that I keep only for myself.  I admit it...I am a crayon snob.

    It is more than the new stuff.  A new year brings new opportunity.  It doesn't matter how much I messed up last year, this year I have a chance to do better, be better, grow more, and learn more.  As I type this, in the wee hours of the morning, I know that the first day of school is just minutes away, and with that day will come many emotions.  There will be raucous laughter, unspoken fears, grins from ear to ear, and probably a few tears.  And that is just from me.  It is an emotional time for moms and dads as we watch our kids grow up...this year is especially emotional for me, for last week my wife and I took our daughter to start her first year in college at East Texas Baptist University, which is 2 hours and 29 minutes from our home.  It will be hard this morning when we take our traditional "First Day of School" pictures, and for the first time, she will not be in them.  I will be so excited in class today that I won't be able to find my train of thought, and my students, oh my poor students, will wonder how on earth they let me be a teacher.  My throat will be sore, my mouth will be dry, and all the cheek muscles will ache from smiling all day.  There are a thousand things I want to remember and ten thousand things I will forget.  

    The start of a new school year is wonderful for me, for I have done so many years.  13 in public school, 4 in college, and now 22 as a public educator.  It never gets easier or less emotional.  So bear with me on this sacred day.  

    Comments (-1)
  • Why Bacon?

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 8/18/2017

    I do love bacon.  I find it to be the perfect food because of its versatility.  Bacon works for breakfast as a side for eggs, pancackes, or anything else...or even as the main course.  It is good on a sandwich or salad at lunch or dinner.  Bacon can be used to wrap shrimp, sausage, or anything else that needs wrapping.  Bacon is perfect for the burger, on the fries, and even dipped in the ice cream or chocolate.  Bacon can be made of just about anything, including tofu...though I am not a fan of tofu bacon. (I eat turkey bacon because it is heart healthy).  

    Bacon goes beyond being the perfect food; it is engaging.  Kids need to be engaged with learning, and I use Bacon as an engagement piece.  They think that it funny that have a bacon tribute wall in my classroom.  They enjoy my bacon socks, puzzle, games, and even when I use the words "Makin' Bacon" as my call back signal.  I want kids to have fun in class, and this is one way that I do that.  I have thought about changing to something different.  I have a buddy that uses the Texas Rangers as his engage with kids, but bacon tastes better than a baseball.  Several of my teacher friends use animal themes, but my Pinterest account does not have room to post the cute teacher things...it has too many bacon recipes.  

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Being GT--Repeat

    Posted by Michael Brinkley on 8/14/2017

    This is a repeat of an earlier blog post.   It is important enough to repost.  

    There are many assumptions made about being GT that are not always true.  One is that GT kids are smarter than everyone else, but GT has very little to do with raw intelligence.  It has more to do with the way in which one processes and generates thought.  With GT students, I try to encourage them to capitalize on the divergent thinking that is innate within them. 

    GT is not about more work.  Many kids say that they don't want to be GT because there is more work involved.  That is quite to the contrary.  The GT student in my class will have no more work than the students in any other class.  GT students' work is tailor made for the way the process information.  "Work" has become a word with a negative connotation in this culture.  We should embrace learning beyond work and long for the "experience." 

    GT students are not always "A" students.  Many research studies have indicated that the GT student is often the one that struggles in school to pass. Not because s/he is not "smart" enough to get the work done, but because they often find little meaning or value in what they are being asked to do, or on the contrary cannot figure out what to do because they over complicate things.  

    There are many misconceptions about students who are GT, and though "they" have profiles for students who are GT, one thing is certain:  each child is different and has a different set of learning needs.  My goal as a teacher is to ensure that each child has a meaningful relationship with an adult on campus who embraces them and to give each one of my students and "Literary Experience" that they may carry with them always.  

    Comments (-1)