Author Archives: dfgately

About dfgately

Middle School Principal Jericho, NY

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

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About assumptions: Being Wrong Isn’t Always Bad

There is an event that every principal anticipates with varying degrees of trepidation. It is something students are excited and nervous about as well: the year-opening school letter telling kids who their teachers are going to be. Students are eager … Continue reading

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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

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About Learning: On a snow day

Recently Long Island experienced a heavy, snowy blizzard so we had a snow day. Everybody loves snow days! After a huge breakfast of pancakes and bacon (a snow day tradition at our house) I decided we would have a digital version of the current events forum. Continue reading

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About a hero: Detective Steven McDonald

The world lost a true hero recently, Detective Steven McDonald of the New York City Police Department.  Detective McDonald  was an amazing man who, in his words and in his life, embodied character and a belief in the inherent goodness … Continue reading

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About energy: Loving the mannequin challenge

Any middle school teacher knows that one of the most exciting but challenging aspects of the job is the frenetic pace of life with the kids here. The executive function portion of the adolescent brain, the part that slows things down so we don’t make poor decisions, hasn’t fully developed. As a consequence, middle school kids seem to be operating at 78 rpm while the rest of us are at 45rpm. The engines in their brains have more acceleration than brake.
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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

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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 spelling: Could you do it?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Check out this video from the spelling bee today… Look what middle school kids can do!

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About “developing”: Teacher evaluation

I’m a life-long fan of the New York football Giants.  We’ve had season tickets in my family since 1963 when my dad and my uncle bought a pair of tickets to see them play at Yankee Stadium.   My brothers and … Continue reading

Posted in Best Practice, Leadership, Reflections, Teaching/Learning | 1 Comment