Monthly Archives: October 2015
Every fall our Media Center is transformed into a whimsical pumpkin patch displaying “Literacy-O-Lanterns” from books our students love. This year I thought I’d introduce the new characters along with some past pumpkins as well.
Painting the pumpkins is fun, but the thing that I’m most excited about is how our students are absolutely crushing creativity with their pumpkin designs. Our entire 3rd grade team is in on the fun…that means more than 150 pumpkins are now on display. As you can probably imagine, all of the pumpkins are pretty awesome. I’m sharing a few student projects that used different media to capture the personality of their respective characters below.
A few educators have inquired about how we do this…so here’s a final picture that pretty much sums it up! The crop of characters always starts by drawing a Sharpie outline on a pumpkin. The outline is then painted with acrylic paint. It’s fun to see all of the pumpkins scattered throughout the Media Center and kids LOVE them too. The overarching goal is to celebrate reading and grow a culture of literacy.
Be sure to check out Twitter and search for the hashtag #LiteracyOLanterns to see some additional pumpkins from students in other schools.
You’re invited to join an interactive Twitter chat about innovation in our schools. Mark your calendar for October 21st at 7:00pm CST. Ben Gilpin, Dr. Kaylen Tucker, and I will be co-moderating a National Conversation about Innovation. We want to hear your innovation “Dos & Don’ts”!
As a precursor to the chat, check out the NAESP Principal Magazine article titled, “Leadership for Tomorrow” by clicking HERE. The article features innovative insights from respected educators across the country including Rafranz Davis, Dr. Joe Mazza, Jennie Magiera, and Sarah Thomas.
If you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat feel free to reach out for support. We will tweet out a question every five minutes to the hashtags #CE15 and #NAESP. Chat participants can respond to the questions and interact with one another. Be sure to include the hashtags in your tweets as well!
For a sneak preview of the chat questions check out the flyer above. We’re looking forward to connecting!
Our kids are counting on us to lead learning with a relevant and connected pedagogy. The approach we use is critical to students’ long-term success. In order to put kids first we’ve got to change the narrative. We’ve got to prioritize pedagogy…NOT apps or devices.
In order to do this we must begin by asking better questions:
“How might we provide students an authentic audience for their work?”
“In what ways can we tap into Social Media as Learning Media?”
“How can we infuse student voice and innovation into the Common Core State Standards?”
“What is the best thing that could happen if we embrace a more connected approach to teaching and learning?”
“What traditions and educational staples (pun intended) do we need to STOP doing?”
It’s time to get serious about pedagogy. Teaching the YouTube Generation without providing safe and scaffolded opportunities for students to contribute to YouTube is absurd. We’ve got to connect kids to authentic learning experiences that are congruent with the collaborative world they live in. Click HERE to view a three minute video highlighting some of the ways our team is connecting students to their world.
Each year our school plans monthly breakout sessions based on student needs, staff requests, site priorities, assessment data, and district vision. Last year our team expressed an interest in taking the learning and relationships from individual breakout sessions deeper. With the help of some Greenwood teacher-leaders and an amazing administrative intern we developed a cohort model that keeps teachers connected around a single unit of study for three months. We believe that the conversations, reflection, and collaboration that will occur between the sessions is just as valuable as the formal learning time.
The K-2 and 3-5 cohorts were designed to address the different developmental levels of students (primary or intermediate). Sometimes these levels mean staff have unique needs due to differences in curriculum, technology capabilities of primary/intermediate students, and the types of conversations we can have about race/culture with a kindergartner versus a 5th grader.
We are using a ‘Flipped’ approach to professional development so that we can maximize our time when we meet face-to-face. (This basically means that staff will have the opportunity to choose from various articles and videos to review prior to attending a session in person.) The article for September’s session was from ASCD (2015) called, “Approaching Race from the Inside Out,” by Alexandria Neason.
The resources below are for the October and November sessions on Racial Equity and Cultural Proficiency.
Culturally Responsive Teacher Matters Article by Elizabeth Kozleski
6 Reasons to Teach African-American History All Year Round Article by Andrea Thorpe
Color Blind or Color Brave TED Talk by Mellody Hobson
How to Overcome Your Biases TED Talk by Verna Myers