Monthly Archives: April 2015
We believe that our students are at the heart of all we do, and inherent in this reality is the opportunity to further amplify student voice. This school year we’ve had students teach us about Sphero programmable robot droids at a PD breakout session, and we even had kids present to our School Board as part of our site curriculum presentation. Now our students are helping us flip a faculty PD session!
The flipped PD video that’s linked above features students from the principal’s podcast crew that elected to give up one recess period to spend a working lunch with their principal creating a video for us. Teachers are asked to watch the four minute video and reflect on their learning and PD this school year. That’s all that needs to happen prior to our PD session on May 18th. The video provides an overview that will allow us to maximize our time together.
I’m really looking forward to our next PD session. We’re serving up an innovative PD experience using a format made popular by the hit TV show: CHOPPED! Come hungry to collaborate and bring your appetite too! We’ll be using a semi-structured format to facilitate cross grade-level collaboration with a relaxed culinary backdrop.
Our school district is celebrating National Volunteer Week in a big way! Wayzata Public Schools created a series of Facebook posts highlighting volunteers across the district.
At Greenwood Elementary we couldn’t select just one volunteer to honor, so we invited all our amazing volunteers to be part of a school picture. It was really fun to see how many people were able to stop by school on short notice for the photograph. The inspiring volunteers in the picture actually represent the hundreds and hundreds of parents that make a difference in our school.
We asked some of our volunteers to share what volunteering means to them. A few of the quotes brought tears to my eyes because I see the words in action every day at our school.
“I’m thankful for the many volunteer opportunities at Greenwood, both in the classroom and behind the scenes with PTA. Volunteering is a fun way to stay connected to our school community and I think the time we give really makes a difference for the children at Greenwood.”
“I so enjoy being a volunteer at Greenwood. As a former teacher, I am always happy to be back in a school setting and as a parent I am happy to help at school events as I know they are making the students’ experience better. I am always amazed at the wonderful support of parents and faculty and feel that Greenwood is truly a very special elementary school.”
“Greenwood Elementary has become a second home to me. Serving in the PTA as a volunteer, Vice President and now as President has become very rewarding. I love having an impact on the education my children receive and the many other children at the school now and in coming years. I realized that if I wanted to know what was going on I needed to get involved. A bit reluctant at first, but now I understand what volunteering means. We have the power to change lives in small and big ways. It’s truly amazing! I feel good about everything we do to help support our teachers and staff in making a better place for our children to be educated.”
“If there is any small thing that I can do that can help make a young person enthusiastic about reading, interested in school, or excited about learning; how can I avoid staying involved?”
“I’m a strong believer in the team approach of parents, teachers and staff working together for the educational success of our Greenwood students. Volunteering is my way of giving back with the added benefit of showing my kids I care about their school and value their education. I truly enjoy working with other parents, students and staff, whether in the classroom, serving on PTA committees or participating in school events. It’s great to be part of the Greenwood community!”
“I’m very blessed in my life and volunteer in a variety of ways as a means to give back to the community. Volunteers at school allow kids to be able to participate in a whole host of activities that might not otherwise be available to them.”
“Through volunteering at my children’s school I have gotten to know the wonderful staff and some terrific moms too! It’s very satisfying providing students and teachers with the positive parental interaction and support. I like being part of the message to the larger community that Wayzata parents really do care and want the very best for our kids. And working to organize and run the fundraising events is just plain fun while helping our schools cover costs of activities and supplies. And, I hope it is setting a good example for my children.”
“I love to volunteer at Greenwood because I truly believe the saying is true that it takes a village to raise a child. School is more than just the place where academics are learned. I like helping to be a part of a community where kids are given unique opportunities where they can grow and thrive as individuals.”
“Volunteering at Greenwood is a great way to show our kids how much we value their education and that we consider school a worthwhile cause.”
“I like to volunteer because it gives me the opportunity to share my talents, skills and experiences. I hope I can impact student lives in a positive way and invest in their future. I believe it is very important for my children to see that I am giving of my time, so when they have the opportunity to volunteer, they will see the importance of volunteering and the cycle will continue!”
“What I love the most about volunteering at Greenwood is the connection I make with the teachers and staff, the students and other parents. I love knowing that my contribution directly impacts the experience my children and others have at school.”
This past week a friend shared his doctoral findings on Twitter in a single-slide summary. I thought the idea was brilliant. The simplicity of a single graphic can be a great catalyst for conversation and reflection. At the same time, it can potentially over-generalize by removing important context about the research methodology. My research involved some of the most innovative elementary principals in the country, and they do not necessarily represent all elementary principals. Click HERE to access my entire dissertation.
*Hat tip to Tony Sinanis for the idea to make a 150+ page published research document more accessible to others!
After hundreds and hundreds of votes via Google form and via the hashtag #30SecondTake on Twitter…the winner of our March Madness podcast series is….
Watch the highlight video below to see the final result!
Congratulations to our 2015 National Champion. The overwhelming support for ALL 16 of our guest hosts was truly inspiring to watch. In fact, the runner up set a record for votes received as well. Our 16 EduAll-Stars definitely brought their “A” games, and there was a rich dialogue on Twitter and Voxer after they each shared their 30 second educational videos. Thanks to everyone that shared their message and reflected on how we can get better for kids.
I’d also like to thank Oliver Schinkten for all of his time, energy, and passion. He created the highlight video above and results show, and did a phenomenal job in helping produce all of the March Madness episodes. Thank you Oliver!
A huge shout out also goes to the TouchCast app for powering the #30SecondTake podcast! Finally, thanks to everyone that voted and provided feedback on the Google form. We’ll be sure to bring in some of the guest hosts that were mentioned, and incorporate the guiding questions you suggested. The wealth of ideas and positive resources made possible via social media is astounding. Thank you!
This year we introduced Mobile MakerSpaces at our school. A team of Greenwood teachers and I collaborated on the concept over the past year, and I earmarked some funding in our budget that we invested into the Mobile MakerSpace fleet and supplies. Our goal was to create an ethos of innovation and design-thinking. We wanted students to have the opportunity to create, build, tinker, fail, and think critically from any classroom or hallway in our school. At our summer teacher workshops we embedded the “welcome back” content into a MakerSpace approach to demonstrate how learning and sharing through creative construction was possible. Fast-forward to today…
Our Mobile MakerSpace fleet is one of the many things our students LOVE about school! Combined with the Genius Hour time that many teachers are doing…I sometimes catch myself wishing that I was an elementary student again! Students are creating mini-golf courses using coding and Spheros. They are knitting, building, drawing, constructing, collaborating, and communicating their way through the school day. Students have world-class opportunities and they are learning right alongside a dedicated team of teachers that continues to learn as well. We even had a group of students lead professional development for some teachers and their principal (me). The student-ownership was AWESOME!
We’ve also had some classrooms start their own MakerSpaces and MakerSpace challenges to continue providing students opportunities to unleash their passions and creativity throughout the day. During observations, I’ve observed firsthand how teachers are seamlessly integrating Mobile MakerSpaces into the student learning experience using clear learning targets and standards. The creative materials and opportunities for student design-thinking have taken student engagement to levels I had not previously observed while students were completing worksheets.
Students have responded with a tenacity for learning. One of our grade-levels schedules MakerSpace time 1st thing each morning, and our students can’t wait to get to school! You do NOT need fancy supplies or expensive carts to create an ethos of innovation in your school. (You can use everyday objects and miscellaneous supplies from home.) However, I am including a list of our Mobile MakerSpace fleet supplies in case you’d like to bring any of the opportunities to your classroom or school.
Cart 1: MakerBot 3D Printer
Cart 2: LEGO
Cart 3: LEGO
Cart 4: K’Nex
Cart 5: CircuitScribe (Writeable Circuits)
Cart 6: Knitting Looms and Yarn
Cart 7: Sphero Robotic Droids
Cart 8: Modular Robotics Educator Pack
Cart 9: Edison Robotics (compatible with LEGO)
Cart 10: Bee-Bots & Makey-Makey Kits
Cart 11: Makedo Guided Kits & Creative Construction Bundles
Please feel free to view the videos below showing our students in action. To see more of our students’ work, you can go to our school’s hashtag on Twitter #GWgreats.
Background Information: We believe that the most important voices in a school are those of its students; they are central to our mission. The purpose for highlighting pedagogy via video is to amplify student voice when we are together in person. We want the walls of the Wayzata City Hall to reverberate with authentic student sharing and stories about their learning experiences at Greenwood Elementary.
Providing content prior to a lesson or presentation is often referred to as “flipped” instruction. We’re applying the same basic principles to maximize our face-to-face time and to facilitate deeper conversation at the School Board meeting. Please watch our five minute video before April 13.
Focus: Meaningful Technology Integration
- I can identify at least two approaches teachers are using to help students discover their unique talents.
- I can evaluate how students are experiencing a “connected pedagogy” by articulating how technology is being used to transform learning in order to prepare students for their future.
School Board Presentation Agenda
Students will share two-three minute presentations with the support of their teachers. A copy of the PowerPoint we’ll be using is below.
- Sphero Robotic Droids featuring students taught by Carrie Lunetta & Joe McAuliff
- Mobile MakerSpace Carts featuring students taught by Ginny Adams
- Genius Hour featuring students taught by Joe Vrudny & Elle Zeman
- 3D Printing featuring students taught by Adam Hinnenkamp
- Drone Technology featuring students taught by Madeline Ray & Brad Gustafson
- EPIC Reading featuring students taught by Ashley Drill & Jamie Tewksbury
- Question & Answer Time facilitated by Greenwood students and staff
- Click HERE to view a “Flipped Leadership” book by Peter M. DeWitt.
- Hashtags on Twitter to Explore include: #ThatsMyCube, #GWgreats, and #EduDroneChallenge.
- Watch an astounding TED Talk about the athletic powers of quadcopters.
- Video Resources specific to Greenwood include: Mobile MakerSpaces, Genius Hour, ConnectED BINGO, and Sphero Droids.