Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Summer Break: Rest, Renew, and Restore

“Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work.” By Ralph Marston

Summer break is a time for educators to recharge themselves after an exhausting school year. Below are some ways for you to rest, renew and restore yourself that have helped me.

Rest: Take time off! Many teachers have a second job such as tutoring or summer school which is great but make sure you also take time for you. Go to the beach or on vacation.

Renew: Do something that you have never done before. It doesn’t have to be big but maybe it’s cooking a new dinner recipe or completing a new project. Extra points if you cross something off your bucket list.

Restore: Chose your own professional learning experience whether it be a book study, a face to face course or virtual. Improving your craft based on your needs will restore you and get you excited for the new year.

Please share ways that you recharge below in the comments.

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Empowering Educators to Use Data to Drive Their Own Learning

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” By Coco Chanel

We know that effectively using student data to drive instruction for student learning is a best practice. We also know giving students ownership through empowering them to use their data is another best practice. So why are those same best practices not being applied to our adult learners?

Personalized Professional Learning is becoming a popular educational term but just like personalization for students it is a philosophy, it should be the way professional learning should be for todays educators. We need to be providing educators the autonomy to personalize their goals and use data that support their needs.

Over the past several years, I have modeled personalized professional learning for educators multiple ways to allows them to see what learning should look like in their classrooms as the same best practices apply.

Here are a few ways that educators can be empowered to use their data to drive their own learning:

  1. Pre-assessment: Create a pre-assessment for educators to take so that you can meet them where they are in their learning journey based on their skill level. For example if I am providing a professional learning experience on “How to Implement Morning Meeting” the professional learning session should look different for those that have never heard what morning meeting is verse those that have been implementing it.
  2. Self-Assessment: This is different then pre-assessment because this helps to gauge the learner of where they feel they are based on their comfort level verse skill level. For example I may provide a self-assessment that has multiple skills/topics on it and based on the data they can chose an area they would like to further explore.
  3. Action Research: Allow learners to chose what they need to work on based on their interest. Provide them an action research template to help guide them and provide check points for feedback and support.

Interested in more of my thoughts on professional learning? Check out some of my previous blog posts.

Professional Learning Through Micro-credentialing

Creating a Face to Face, Self-paced Professional Learning Experience

Reframing a Paradigm for Professional Learning: Part 1

Reframing a Paradigm for Professional Learning: Part 2

I would love to hear how you empower educators to use data to drive their own learning.; please comment below.

Digital Writing in the Classroom

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” By E. L. Doctorow

Digital technologies are a great way to enable communication, collaboration and help teachers design authentic tasks for their students. Here are a few of my favorite apps that you can incorporate digital writing into the classroom.

iOs Apps: (Free)

WriteReader 

Day One Journal

Pages

Paid: MyScript Nebo 

Web-based:

G Suite

Evernote

Bookcreator

 

 

Change Management in Education

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” Robin Williams

Change is hard even though it is the most consistent thing in life. To help manage complex change there are five elements you need in order to make it sustainable. These five elements help anyone from Central Office educators to Principals to Teacher Leaders.

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  1. Vision: If you don’t have vision, you have confusion. Your team will not understand the direction you are going.
  2. Skills: If you don’t have skills, you will have anxiety. This can easily be solved be providing professional development to build skills. It is especially helpful if you utilize the talent you have on your team to help build up the team.
  3. Incentives: If you don’t have incentives, you get resistance. This is where a lot of leaders go wrong. You don’t have to buy gifts for extrinsic incentives as often a simple WHY the change needs to happen is incentive enough.
  4. Resources: If you don’t have resources you have frustration. Make sure you are giving enough time (that’s a resource) to be able to do the work for the change.
  5. Action Plan: If you don’t have a plan, you have a false start. Plans help teams focus and understand the end outcome. If you don’t have this, you don’t have a roadmap of where you want the change to go.

I have used the change management elements for multiple large projects and it works well. The one thing I would add is reflection. You need to make sure you are consistently reflecting on the process and how the change is going. You need to make tweaks as you move forward. The reflection should also not just be from you the leader but also from your stakeholders.

Inspiring Ted Talks

“Inside every great teacher, there is an even greater one waiting to come out.” – Author Unknown

Every now and then we need a little inspiration. Here are a few Ted Talks that I have enjoyed recently.

Christopher Emdin: Teach teachers how to create magic

Ramsey Musallam: 3 rules to spark learning

Fawn Qiu: Easy DIY projects for kid engineers

 

5 Google Instant Searches To Help You in The Classroom

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” By Albert Einstein

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Google aims to make their search site as useful as possible including having what is referred to as instant search cards. Instant search cards are when interactive information is the first result which allows you to “experience” what you searched for. Below are the top ten instant search cards you can utilize in your classroom with your students!

  1. Roll a die: When you type this in a six sided die will appear for you to interact with by rolling it to see what number appears.
  2. Timer: When you type this in a timer appears that you can use for multiple reasons in the classroom such as for transitions. Student also love using it to help with time management.
  3. Weather: When you type in weather your local weather will appear.
  4. Flip a Coin: When you type flip a coin, like the die, a coin appears so you can “flip” it. It is a great way to see who starts first or for probability lessons.
  5. Definition of: When you type “definition of” and the word you want, the results will bring up a featured definition snippet in Google. No more going to a dictionary website for what you need!

There always fun Google “easter eggs” (an intentional hidden message, joke, or feature in a work such as a computer program, webpage, video game etc) such as pacman and “do a barrel roll”. My favorite is Google in 1998 as it takes you back to what Google looked like when it first launched in 1998!

How to Leverage Personalized Learning in the Classroom, School and District Level

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” By Jim Rohn

One of my goals on my professional bucket list was to be published; I am excited to say I have accomplished this goal!  I would love for you to download, How to Leverage Personalized Learning in the Classroom, my new FREE book co-written with Allison Zmuda. We dig into what personalized learning is and isn’t and how you can implement this philosophy into the classroom, school and district level.

I would love to here your comments, thoughts, questions and feedback! Please message me or add them into the comment section below.

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