Monthly Archives: July 2015

Flipped Open House

We are extremely excited for our ‘Open House and Community Connections Night’ on September 3rd. This year we are flipping things around a bit! We are sharing some short videos before Open House so that our families have the chance to learn more about our amazing teachers and the curriculum prior to connecting in person.

Click Pic for Open House Video

Click Pic for Video

Directions:

1. Watch the short video promo above.  (It’s less than two minutes long.)

2. Go to https://goo.gl/4u7pFV and select the grade-level playlist you’d like to watch.  Don’t forget to watch the flipped videos created by Specialists and Administration too.

3. Join us at Open House and Community Connections Night on September 3, 2015.  PTA booths open at 3:00pm.  Classrooms are open between 4:00 – 6:00pm.  Community tables, PTA booths, and Social Media Support will be open in the Cafeteria throughout Open House.  We can’t wait to connect!

Additional Resources:

I’m really proud of the extra time our team took to create their curriculum videos. To access each grade-level’s playlist in YouTube click HERE.

To access our ‘Welcome Back’ letter click HERE.

To go to our school’s website with more Open House dates/forms click HERE.

Please let me know if I can help in any way.

3 Questions I Hope my Children’s Teachers are Asking

I often reflect upon how to empower students to learn at a high level while navigating the digitally-connected landscape we find ourselves in.  I ask questions and strive to serve our students better today than I did yesterday.

In addition to being a principal I’m also dad to three pretty spectacular kids.  My wife and I pray our children grow up to be loving people with humble hearts and curious minds.  We also understand that their world is different than ours was, so we think about other important things too.  My hope is that my children’s teachers are reflecting on some of the same questions I ask myself.

3 Questions I Hope my Children’s Teachers Are Asking

  1. How might I model digital leadership for my students?
  2. How might I help my students express their ideas in powerfully creative and appropriate ways using social media?
  3. How might I leverage the transformative power of technology to fuel collaborative conversations between students about their learning?

#STUCONNECT

For the past couple years I’ve collaborated with Tony Sinanis and John Fritzky (principals in New York and New Jersey) to create cross-state collaborative podcasts.  The podcasts feature our students sharing their favorite books, vision for education, and other creative endeavors led by kids.

This year we are adding an interactive Twitter-based chat to the collaboration.  We’d like to invite you to join us as we strive to model how to leverage technology as a tool to connect, inspire, and amplify student voice.

The four chat dates for the 2015-2016 school year are below, and we’re planning to share out a student-created podcast prior to each chat.  Please join us and include your classroom or school in the conversation.  We’ll be using the hashtag #StuConnect on Twitter starting at 9:30am CST on the dates below.

#StuConnect Chat Dates

October 8, 2015

December 1, 2015

January 15, 2016

March 10, 2016

Stop the Madness

We asked seven incredible educators to share one thing schools need to STOP doing….and we only gave them 30 seconds to respond! You’ll be surprised what they shared in this high octane episode of the #30SecondTake podcast!

Click the logo to view Episode 26.

Click logo to view Episode 26

Join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #30SecondTake. Be sure to vote for one of the guest hosts from Episode 26 to return next episode to tackle a new guiding question!

When Worlds Collide

Most people are willing to concede the world is changing for the better.  Education is changing. I tend to agree and I also think our students would benefit from some additional urgency and intentionality on our part.

We have opportunities to connect and learn from others that were unfathomable a decade ago.  We simply need to accelerate the merger between how ‘school’ has always been done and what it needs to be for our kids.

The evolution of technology has unleashed new levels of learning, creativity, content-creation, and sharing.  However, pedagogy has not been as nimble.  We have barely begun to scratch the surface of how ‘traditional best-practice’ should co-mingle with the digitally connected age.  We need these two worlds to collide.

This week I attended an EdCamp Leadership Conference in Chicago where I co-facilitated a session that delved into this very topic.  As part of the session we integrated some quadcopters and robotics, but the primary focus was on learning and connectivity.

The picture below doesn’t begin to describe the depth of the conversations that transpired.  However, if you click HERE you can read a reflective piece by Jeff Herb who was also part of the session.

EdCamp Leader Chicago 2015

The energy and sense of wonderment in the session were palpable.  This had me reflecting on the degree to which we are giving traditional best-practice a ‘free pass.’  Are we more prone to question and criticize new ideas, technology, and innovations than we are to examine the status quo?  Sometimes it feels as if past-practice has been placed in a protected vacuum chamber that absolves it from any scrutiny whatsoever.

What if we were able to realize a breakthrough and find a way to merge the digitally connected age with best-practice? What if we created a culture of innovation and risk-taking that made it OK to question things we’ve always done in schools?

Analyzing every inefficiency.

Advocating for students before we thought about maintaining the predictable practices we’ve come to accept as the only way.

How far could we go?

How deep would the learning and relevance be?

What’s the best thing that could happen?

Are you with me?!

All-Star Press Conference

It is my privilege to introduce Greenwood Elementary’s first round of “All-Star” picks for the 2015-2016 school year.  The three teachers we’re introducing in the four minute press conference video are just part of an amazing “draft class.”  More All-Star updates to come as we continue to sign some spectacular free agents who will join an inspiring team of teachers.  It’s going to be a great season!

Click the Picture to view Press Conference

Click the Pic to view Press Conference

To view the video click the image above or go to: https://youtu.be/-CHZsrpCi1w

*Special thanks to Joe Sanfelippo and the #LeadWild Voxer group for the constant collaboration and ideas.  Our students deserve educators who are connected, constantly learning, and confronting the status quo; you push me to do this for them.    

30 Second Take: NAESP Special Edition

Episode 25

Todd Whitaker advises, “Ask what your best people think and base decisions on their input.”

This past week I attended the NAESP National Convention in Long Beach, California.  In addition to attending numerous breakout sessions and keynotes, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel of school leaders from across the country about innovation and connectivity.  I also had the chance to interview numerous school leaders to get their advice for new principals.  I have to admit that the advice that was shared was phenomenal, and it had me reflecting on my own leadership practices.  The seven minute podcast is embedded below from YouTube.

Click HERE if you are a subscriber to this blog and accessing this post via e-mail.  You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.  Please take a moment to share your advice for school leaders using the hashtag #30SecondTake on Twitter.

Special thanks to Theresa Stager (co-host of the Principal PLN podcast) for collaborating on this NAESP special edition of the 30 Second Take podcast.  It was a blast producing this together!

NAESP Bean Bag Highlight Video

Bean Bag

This past week I attended the NAESP National Convention in Long Beach.  The conference focused on best practice and the learning was epic!

Prior to the conference, Ben Gilpin and I collaborated on an event to further connect conference attendees.  Our goal was to cultivate relationships that would propel into the actual conference sessions and beyond.  We extended an open invitation to all principals and school leaders attending the conference, and partnered with NAESP to blast the invitations out using e-mail, social media, and other web tools.

We had a great turn-out and met many colleagues who we were able to connect with throughout the conference…this was a HUGE victory (unlike the staged photo above).  Checkout the highlight video below to see more of the action and meet the 2015 National Bean Bag Champions!

Click HERE for an interactive version of the video via TouchCast.  (The end of the video includes a link for the new Studio-in-a-Box.)

Special thanks to Ben Gilpin, Penn GSU, Joe Mazza, NAESP15, Kaylen Tucker, and TouchCast for supporting the Tweet-up.

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