Category Archives: Educational Focus

These are posts on important issues in our school and other schools. Some of these issues may be important to speak to your child about.

About cooking: You can eat your mistakes

@DMGately at Nathan’s Famous 4th of July. It was the Fourth of July.   I was doing what I love doing in the summertime, using my barbeque smoker to make pulled pork sliders for dinner. I woke up at 4:15am to … Continue reading

Posted in Best Practice, Educational Focus, Leadership, Reflections, Teaching/Learning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

About school climate: You might control the weather

We cannot control the weather, but there are so many things that educators do control.
It’s about intentionality. Everything we do as educators should be done with intention, not because that’s the way were were taught, not because it’s what “feels” right, or what’s easy for us; we must always act in ways that create safe conditions for learning to take place and to build the resilience of our kids.
Continue reading

Posted in Best Practice, Educational Focus, Leadership, Personal Best, Reflections, Teaching/Learning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

About middle level teaching: Nobody wants to be the Junior Varsity*

Actions follow our beliefs.  If there is one piece of advice that all middle school teachers must follow it is this,  “Middle school kids are different,  don’t expect to succeed with the same strategies that might work with elementary or high school kids.” Continue reading

Posted in adolescence, Best Practice, Educational Focus, Inside the Middle School, Teaching/Learning | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

About an ordinary life: Encyclopedia Part II

Remembering Dates I share a birthday with Ludwig van Beethoven, December 16. That’s probably why, when I want to play classical music on my Amazon Echo I normally ask,  “Alexa,  play my Pandora Beethoven station.”   Of course Beethoven is awesome, … Continue reading

Posted in adolescence, Educational Focus, Parenting, Personal Best, Random Thoughts, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

About EdCamp, Friends and Family

You’ve all been to conferences. You sign in. Get a name badge that was printed for you in advance. Everyone has a neatly prepared badge — with their name — title — school district — all proudly displayed on their badge, neatly protected in a plastic case — hanging — from a lanyard.

And there’s Sharpy-Boy over there with his sloppy sticky label Continue reading

Posted in edcamp, Educational Focus, Leadership, Random Thoughts, Reflections, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

About envy: Using mentor texts

We guide students to use “mentor texts” in their development as writers. Ralph Fletcher explains that mentor texts are, “…any texts that you can learn from, and every writer, no matter how skilled you are or how beginning you are, encounters and reads something that can lift and inform and infuse their own writing. I’d say anything that you can learn from – not by talking about but just looking at the actual writing itself, being used in really skillful, powerful way.” Continue reading

Posted in Best Practice, Educational Focus, Personal Best, Random Thoughts, reading, Reflections, Teaching/Learning, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

About professional development: EdCamp is the better way!

Here’s a confession, I’ve been responsible for some pretty horrible professional development (PD).  When I think about the faculty meetings I ran when I was a new principal, I am embarrassed.  Often, my faculty meetings were the Don Gately Show. … Continue reading

Posted in Best Practice, edcamp, Educational Focus, Leadership, Personal Best, Reflections, Teaching/Learning | Leave a comment

About Muhammad Ali: Let your kids rebel … a little

Our most enduring memories are forged during our middle school years.  I was very saddened by the passing this year of former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali.  I feel like I grew up with Ali.    I was ten when The Fight … Continue reading

Posted in adolescence, Educational Focus, Parenting, Personal Best, Reflections | 1 Comment

About a teacher: Not just a “Regular Guy”

Last spring I had the opportunity to attend the world premiere of a film by a young and astounding filmmaker. Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion is a documentary about the history of the 1964 World’s Fair and especially the New York Pavilion. The filmmaker is a teacher from our school, Matt Silva. Continue reading

Posted in Best Practice, Educational Focus, Inside the Middle School, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

About a song: What does it “mean”?

This was only a brief snapshot of a terrific learning moment but I promised myself I would share what I observed because, at our school, we are all LEARNERS! Thanks Bess! Continue reading

Posted in Best Practice, Educational Focus, Inside the Middle School, Leadership, Personal Best, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment