Category Archives: #Voxer

I Have A Dream

This year I have picked some quotes from Dr. King’s most famous speech that most people have not read in its entirety. If you would like to read the entire speech click on this link.

“So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.”This

This speaks of the urgency that Dr. King felt in 1963. Too many white people have accepted the “tranquilizing drug of gradualism”. We allow People of Color to suffer believing that as long as there is some progress towards racial equality that is enough. While we stand on the sideline observing this slow progress to occur, our black students are being harmed. If you are not addressing race in your class you are willingly ingesting the drug “tranquilizing drug of gradualism”.

“The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”

White people need to stop feeling anything but a need to help our Black brothers and sisters attain equality. We feel ashamed when we learn the ghastly history of our past without using that to fuel our anti-racist actions in the present and the future. We should be conscience-stricken about the past because it was vile and we (white people) are benefiting from that abuse of Black People today. However, if that is where our actions stop it is not enough. Black People statistically don’t have the power to do the work of changing society alone.

As educators, we have the ability to co-liberate our students and ourselves. White people fail to recognize that we are suffering from racism as well. You see we (white people) have separated ourselves from other Black People who deserve equality. Together we can make a more equitable world where “we could join forces to bring about a more equitable distribution of wealth that would benefit us all”. (link) Most importantly,
“we are missing out on the benefits of deep human relationships with people of other “races” and cultures, and all that can be learned and enjoyed in such relationships.” (link) Segregating ourselves has negatively impacted our souls.

“There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.”

Here we are 55 years later and we are still speaking about police brutality. It is more than just the police however. “Bias by decision makers at all stages of the justice process disadvantages black people. Studies have found that they are more likely to be stopped by the police, detained pretrial, charged with more serious crimes, and sentenced more harshly than white people.” We have to look at our criminal justice system and understand that is not working for everyone equally.

Voter suppression is still alive and well. Shelby vs. Holder decimated the voting rights acts. Just look at Georgia in the last election. “African-Americans make up thirty-two percent of the state’s population, but they represent nearly seventy percent of the suspended applications.” (link) We need to call for election day to be a national holiday. Need a day to get rid of? Cancel the false worship of Columbus and now you have the opening to make election day a national holiday.

I will leave this blog with the part of Dr. King’s speech we all know. Honestly, I need some hope right about now.

“And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”


Tonight we ordered a couple of pizzas for dinner and told the in-laws to come over for dinner. I hopped in the ole gray Jeep Patriot to go pick them up. After I procured them I had a strange and interesting thought pop in my head. I thought the pizza box hasn’t changed much in the last 15-20 years. So I went home and did what every curious human does and asked the Google what is the history of the Pizza Box. I stumbled upon the website Serious Eats  and learned myself a little something about the pizza box. 

What we would consider the Mitochondrial Eve of the pizza box spawned in the 17th century and seemed somewhat sophisticated and environmentally friendy of a system for transporting hot dough like food.

“In the early 1800’s, bakers were using copper containers to transport small breads and pizzas on the street. They often employed their sons to cart these stufas (literally stoves) around the neighborhood in hope of selling the scraps for some extra change. It was kind of like Newsies, but with much less singing and dancing. Unlike today’s model of made-to-order pizza delivered hot and fresh to your door, stufa boys were hawking pre-made pies. Stufas kept the pizzas warm, as copper has high heat dissipation capabilities. They also had pointed lids with covered vents to help manage steam exhaust. Brilliant!”

Nearly 100 years later a pizzeria in America started doing a really poor job of packaging their food to go.

“Jump ahead 100 years and pizza starts to catch on in New York and other industrialized American cities. Legend has it that pizzas were being sold “to-go” rolled into a cone, wrapped in paper, and loosely tied with twine at Lombardi’s (America’s first licensed pizzeria).”

So now we have moved to the idea that we slide a pizza into a brown paper bag after we put in on a piece of cardboard. Fun fact. I have gone to Federici’s a number of times over the years and their pizza is delicious.

“The post-WWII years exposed millions of American GI’s to pizza in Italy, so interest dramatically increased upon their return home. In the 1940’s, lots of pizza purveyors offered take-out pies. The pizza would sit on a stiff corrugated base, which could slide snugly into a large paper bag. The bag’s thin structure would allow steam to escape but only at the price of heat loss. Still, it’s not a bad means of conveyance. You can still find this method in use at Federici’s in Freehold, NJ, which has been bagging pies since 1946.”

Ok we are almost to the end!!! The boxes appear. And no more greasy bags.

“The 1950’s brought pizza into the dining rooms of a booming nation and as orders piled up, so did the pizzas. Bags don’t stack very well and we didn’t even have that funky-little-white-plastic-dollhouse-table-pizza-box-support yet (more on that in a future post) so mankind was forced to adapt. Thin paperboard bakery boxes provided a bit more support, and so were born the earliest dedicated pizza boxes.”

Finally, Domino’s to the rescue! I have to be honest. If you eat Domino’s I may be judging you right now. Just a little bit. It also happens that I hail from an area that has the best pizza in the country. I have five pizza places withing 15 minutes that are amazing. Moving on. Check out below how Domino’s changed the game.

“One of the greatest leaps in the evolution of the pizza box can be attributed to Tom Monaghan, founder of Dominos. Since Dominos focused its business solely on delivery, it should be no surprise that they were the driving force behind pizza delivery technology. In order to deliver hot pizzas in a timely fashion, Monaghan searched for a company to develop a corrugated cardboard box in the mid 1960’s. According to Monaghan’s autobiography Pizza Tiger it was more difficult than anticipated to make a container that was scored properly for folding yet strong enough to hold its form. After a long development process with Triad Containers, a Detroit-based corrugated box company, they finally achieved success. The resulting pizza box has become a standard for the pizza industry right down to the way the box base doubles over itself to lock into the base, known appropriately as “Michigan style”. Regardless of how you many feel about the quality of their edible products, it’s hard to ignore the impact Dominos has made on the history of the pizza box.”

So what does all this mean? This means for 50 years pizza boxes have been doing their thing. Sure add a little plastic table for Shopkins but the pizza box has done it’s job well. As always my mind drifts back to my teaching.  What is something that I have done in my career at a really high level that hasn’t changed much? What is my pizza box? The answer to that I really listen to what my students are saying. I intentionally focus on what they are saying and figure out how I can change my class for the better. This is my strength. Talking with the students and allowing them to have a voice in my class.

What is your pizza box?

Pretty Nails

This weekend my wife and her sister took a trip to the Poconos to see her aunt. This meant three days and two nights alone. I was mentally prepared to be Mr. Dad and rock the weekend until IT started. By IT I mean the wailing that was coming out of my daughter’s mouth when my wife went to leave. The faucets were wide open and the tears flowed like the taps at an Irish Pub on St. Patty’s Day. My wife hadn’t even got out of the door and things were going off the rails.

Working at a summer camp allows me to have an insight on kids crying when their parents leave that few other mortals have. I knew the longer the scene dragged out the worse it was going to be. Ripping the band-aid off became priority one.  I quickly helped the ladies out of the house and closed the door behind them. My daughter had just started to calm down when the door opened and my wife came back in with some stuff from the car she didn’t want to travel with. NOOOOO!

The scene reverted back to the pub. I grabbed a mop and a towel and was ready to clean up the lake that was forming under her. My heart was breaking. My brain was hurting from trying to figure out the quickest way to get a unicorn or a pony to appear in the kitchen. I then started down the road of inquiry that I knew would make everything better. “Do you want to paint my nails?” The tears stopped and together we walked over to the table.

My daughter is the quickest nail painter on the East Coast. Five minutes later each nail was a different color with some nails being partitioned and painted two colors. My daughter was calm and soon bedtime was upon us. The house quickly fell asleep and soon the morning rooster crowed.

We woke up and I went to coach my kids basketball teams. All was going well until one of the 40 kids in the first session asked me why my fingers were painted. I had totally forgotten about them! I explained my daughter had painted them and the kids started giggling. The same question was asked by a child in the second session. I explained again how Abbie had wanted to paint them and I was cool with that.

One of the fathers at the practice who I was friends with asked me about them as well. I told the story and the empathy immediately flowed from him. He has a daughter and understood without any need of explanation. He then proceeded to take a picture and send it to our friends.

After basketball I took the kids to a play with my parents. My parents are somewhat conservative and both of my parents made it a point to bring up my nails. It was not negative but the mere fact that it was brought up said something about how this wasn’t quite a social norm.

I have kept my nails painted all weekend because honestly, I am too lazy to find the nail polish remover and take the color off. I was also somewhat curious about what the reaction would be from the people I interacted with. I don’t know what judgments people are making about me when they see my fingers. Do they question my sexuality? What assumptions are they making? I know personally, I must feel some way because I forget that they are painted and when I see them it jars me for a second. That has to say something. Let’s face it. Most cis-gender heterosexual men don’t usually paint their nails.

I probably won’t clear my nails off for work tomorrow either. What will the elementary students I teach think? It will be a topic of interest I am sure. I purposefully wear a pink sweatshirt to show my students that gender doesn’t dictate color preference. This will be no different. My nails have nothing to do with my gender nor sexuality. This goes hand in hand (pun intended) with my gender lesson that I do with kindergarten students. We identify the difference between boys and girls. This year I will include intersex into the conversation as well. One of the answers the kids give is that boys don’t paint their nails. I counter with the question of whether it is legal or not. We discuss how most boys don’t paint their nails but that is a choice nothing more or less. This will give them a concrete example of someone choosing to have their nails painted.

I appreciate your time for reading the blog. Hopefully, this will push your thinking a little and see how you can show your students where their bias is. Drawing attention to it is the first step.

Sensible Conclusions


Judgement is the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions. (google it). I would like to concentrate on the making sensible conclusions part of judgement. As Hoobastank sang; I am not a perfect person. I have noticed that I making conclusions. A lot. As soon as I noticed it bothered me. Haven’t we been told “Judge not, that ye be not judged”? The first instance came when I was on Facebook and visiting the PE Central thread. One woman stated that she gives the fitness test to her students every month. Instead of trying to understand her position I automatically made a sensible conclusion and told her what she was doing was wrong. Was I telling her this because fitness testing students every month was wrong or did I make the sensible conclusion that fitness testing is not the best use of classroom time?


My thoughts then turned to my teaching. I make snap sensible conclusions 1,000 times a day. When two students are arguing I usually know who is wrong before I even get involved. When a ball goes flying across the gym and I see two students standing near where it was I can tell you who was the one who kicked it without even seeing who did it. I make judgements about my students all the time.


So what is the problem with judging? We all do it. We are biologically programmed to judge things. John Medina writes about attention and judgement in his book Brain Rules. He states, “Can I eat it? Will it eat me? Can I mate with it? Will it mate with me?” Those all seem like good reasons to come to a sensible conclusion. Where does the problem with judgment come in?


The problem with judgement is that people can only judge by using their own biases and experiences. When I judge people on social media am I fairly judging them? When I judge my students’ decisions and efforts in class I am using my own lens and perspective. Therein lies the worry. I am judging based on my views and experiences in life. This is where my race, socioeconomic status, religion, sexuality, and culture all play a huge role in the judgements I make. It is impossible to separate my judgments from my biases without metacognition.


One example of bias I came across is an article published by Psychological Science.

“Across both studies, the researchers found that racial stereotypes shaped teachers’ responses not after the first infraction but rather after the second. Teachers felt more troubled by a second infraction they believed was committed by a black student rather than by a white student. In fact, the stereotype of black students as “troublemakers” led teachers to want to discipline black students more harshly than white students after two infractions, Eberhardt and Okonofua said. They were more likely to see the misbehavior as part of a pattern, and to imagine themselves suspending that student in the future.”

That study should worry you. It should make you think long and hard about what your biases are and how they impact your students.  


Q1. How do you avoid judging coworkers? #slowchatpe

Q2. How do you reflect on your biases? #slowchatpe

Q3. What makes you think a student is not a nice child? #slowchatpe

Q4. How do you ensure your classroom management is fair? (appropriate not equal) #slowchatpe

Q5. Who is the most nonjudgmental person in your life? How do you know? #slowchatpe


The Evolution of Voxer Use

This is a joint blog with Dr. Dorian Roberts and Justin Schleider

Introduction by Dr. Dorian Roberts.

Remember when you were a toddler and after you took a bath you would run around the house naked until your parents stopped you? You ran laughing, somewhat knowing that you could do something that no one could do except for you.  You took some type of pleasure in it… some type of joy… remember how you would giggle and laugh really hard.  HeeHeeHee… good times, fun times, lost times, and I never thought I would get those chuckles again until July 2015 when I was introduced to Voxer and then a group called #Edumatch.  

So, recently reflecting on Edumatch, Justin and I noticed something with the new “youngins” that have joined the group.  These latest members seem to be following in our footsteps through some rather organic stages of Voxer/#Edumatch.  In this collaborative blog, we are going to discuss what we ourselves have experienced and now dubbed as the “Stages of #Edumatch”.


In #Edumatch, there are all kinds of balls—big balls, small balls, tiny balls, blue balls, red balls, every kinda of ball you can think of… balls—meaning DIVERSITY! (So get your minds out of the gutter.) LOL!  Look back at Stage 1… Did it catch your eye and cause you to scroll down to get to the good stuff?  If it did, don’t feel bad because it happens in #Edumatch all the time.  People are listening to the “hot new topic” being discussed among educators.  You hit this green button and BAM! You are instantly heard. The POWER, the CONTROL—you have it all with that green button.  You have a captive audience.  And then… wait for it… wait for it… chirp, chirp… you have a notification.  Someone else has heard what you said and agrees with you.  Someone hears your cause, your joke, your story, your journey and all of a sudden, you feel validated.  You feel at home.  You have, at last, found your people.  

Justin: Stage 1: Existence; This is so exciting!
This stage is where you keep voxer alerts on. You are waiting for someone to say something so you can jump in. You are so excited to be a part of a group with so many teachers from all over the world. You are making comments and super excited about every conversation. You go to other rooms to listen to the conversation. Housework is only done with Voxer. You stop listening to music or podcasts. Voxer has overtaken your life. You are hooked.

Dr. Dorian: Stage #2 I’m too SEXY FOR MY VOX!!!! or “I’ve Said what I’ve said,” by NeNe Leakes of The Real Housewives of Atlanta

This stage is the confidence stage.  This stage is hilarious.  Why? Because we have all done it with maybe one exception, the founder and creator @Sarahdatteecher. In this stage, you let your “expertise” show.  You make your stance known to others in the group. Your opinions become statements.  Here’s where it gets fun… disagreements are made, Voxer battles are created, sides are taken and voxes increase.  That’s right, you named it… “The Debate”. Now, what is funny to me is that people actually leave chats and Voxer groups over differences of opinions or sore feelings.  Really! I’ve seen it happen.  You may ask me how I handle disagreements? “I’ve said what I’ve said!”  I fight daily, but I never turn my back on family.

Justin: Stage 2; Fight or Flight

This is the stage where you stand up for yourself or you tuck your tail between your legs and run away. People start to really let their opinions and feelings be known. They are willing to step up and debate their point. This is where Voxer can be at its best. Debates can get heated but most understand it is all about the subject and not the person. The most the debates last is two days before the next subject is tackled. You can really grow from these interactions and be challenged by some of the best and brightest educators in the game.

The flip of the coin is those who run away. They don’t like the pushback. They feel personally attacked. They leave the group. This is fine as well. The best part of social media is if it’s not working for you, bounce! Leave. Why stay in a place of your own choosing that makes you upset or uncomfortable? The only problem with leaving is that you may be leaving the only place you will get honest feedback. We all know that group think runs abound. The longer you use social media the more this is apparent. Remember pushback allows you to grow!

Dr. Dorian: Stage #3 The CLASSICS

When you put on your grown man or woman pants, this is the best stage.  This is when you create a Voxer group of your own that has nothing to do with education.  It is where you go to let your hair down, smoke a cigar, drink you favorite wine and watch a movie together with your crew… yes, I mean literally watch a movie together.  In this group you do things like have Reader’s Theatre, Mock Trials, play Voxer tag, sing karaoke, and I could go on and on. This is a place where the “seasoned” #Edumatcher goes for a good old-fashioned resort vacation.  I love it there!

Justin: Stage 3; Make Voxer Your Own

This is the stage where you find your tribe. It is almost like the direct message groups I wrote in an earlier blog about Twitter. This is the stage you start a spinoff of the group. This group is a couple of other people who share your views.  You start to talk about people or subjects that you don’t want public. You code switch to a much more informal tone. The subjects you discuss are not just education related. Personal relationships are cultivated. You learn much more about the individuals in these small groups. The conversations flow much more freely. You sing on your way home and let them know when something in school really ground your gears. This is the sweet spot of Voxer. Finding likeminded people who you can be your authentic self around without the censorship and decorum that large chats with people you don’t know demand.

These stages aren’t written in stone. They are what Dr. Dorian and I have noticed over the months and years on Voxer. We both believe it is a game changing application that will elevate your professional and possibly personal life in ways that were inconceivable before. If you haven’t tried it we would both highly recommend it to you. Two great groups to check out is Edumatch for general teachers and the General Physical Education chat for physed and health teachers. My voxer name is SchleiderJustin. Dr. Dorian Roberts voxer name is Dr. Dorian Roberts. Hit us up if you need any help with Voxer.

Q1. What is the first thing you do when you join a new group on social media? #slowchatpe

Q2. What made you confident enough to chime in during group discussions? #slowchatpe

Q3. Have you ever left a group on social media because you felt attacked? How did it make you feel? #slowchatpe

Q4 What made you start a direct message group on twitter or side vox group? #slowchatpe

Q5. What is a voxer group that people would find enjoyable? #slowchatpe