Blog Archives

What’s Your One?

 

Have you ever returned from a conference and been asked to name a “take-away” or something you learned?

I recently had the chance to collaborate on a special podcasting project with Theresa Stager (co-host of the PrincipalPLN podcast).  We were both at the NAESP national conference in Maryland and presented a session on podcasting together in the Innovation Lab. Click HERE to view the live NAESP podcast.

Podcast Pic

During the session and live-podcast, we asked school leaders their “one” takeaway.  In addition to hearing what conference attendees were learning, we also wanted to model just how easy starting a podcast can be.  (Clearly, we needed to spend a tad more time setting up the green-screen lights, but getting over the need for perfection is a big step to actually starting a podcast!)

I’ve always maintained that one of the best ways for principals to provide relevant instructional leadership is to model using relevant communication platforms like face-to-face conversation, social media, and podcasting.  A podcast is also a great way to shine the light on the incredible work students and staff do on a daily basis, so there are many reasons to start.

We hope you enjoyed hearing from the inspiring (and brave) school leaders as they shared their “one” conference takeaway.  We also hope that you consider trying podcasting as a school or classroom communication tool.

I’d love to hear what your “one” was from NAESP16 in the comments section below, as well as other reasons you’ve used podcasting in your classroom or school.

**Be sure to hop over to this blog’s new home at www.BradGustafson.com for more Adjusting Course goodness.  In less than seven seconds you can subscribe and have the blog delivered right to your virtual doorstep.

How Do Educators Learn?

Lifelong Learning

What are the ingredients of a successful educational conference or workshop?  What makes professional learning relevant and impactful?

Recently, I had the chance to sit down and discuss how educators learn with Michael Medvinsky and Ben Gilpin on the #UnearthED Radio Show.  The catalyst for our conversation was the renowned Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) conference.

Although we only spoke for 10 minutes or so, we dove into the very nature of professional learning.  I’ve spent the better part of the past five years researching digital age professional learning.  As part of my doctoral dissertation I interviewed innovative leaders across the country.  More recently, I contributed a few words to a book on PersonalizedPD.  Through it all, I’m more convinced than ever that it’s not about “how” we learn…it’s more about “why” we learn.

Memos and mandates do not drive learning.  We learn because we are open to the idea of becoming.  We learn because we are curious.  We learn because we understand that new processes and pedagogy might benefit our students even if the content does not change.  We learn because we are networked and connected.

“Lifelong learning is a mindset not a mantra; it is the lens and disposition we bring to every situation we encounter.”

When we open our minds to the possibilities that await we’ve created the very conditions needed for learning.  Click HERE to listen to the UnearthED Show, and hear Michael and Ben share their beliefs about how educators learn. (You can also subscribe to #UnearthED Show on iTunes).

I’d love to hear how you learn best, and why you think some educators might be less inclined to learn the same way.

unearthED itunes logo

 

Join Kid President’s Cabinet (video)

IMG_3452

Click the picture to view a short video featuring kids from three different states.

What if kids were empowered to change the world? Let’s make it happen!  Your classroom can join Kid President’s “Unofficial” Cabinet.  Classrooms across the country will be discussing citizenship together on Thursday, March 10th at 9:30am CST using the #StuConnect hashtag on Twitter.

This short (3 minute) video was created by kids from Minnesota, New York, and New Jersey.  Their collaborative project sets the stage for the conversation that will occur on the #StuConnect hashtag.  Our focus will be on learning about positive character, digital citizenship, and making a difference for others.  All classrooms are welcome to participate (K-12 and beyond)!

If your classroom would like to preview the questions that we will be sharing on March 10th please see below.  The chat will start at 9:30am CST and last 20-30 minutes.  We will spend about five minutes discussing each question.  Feel free to reach out to the #StuConnect moderators if you need help facilitating this Twitter-based conversation with your students. 

#StuConnect Twitter Chat Topic: Citizenship* 

Q1: If you were on Kid President’s cabinet, what citizenship project would you recommend? How could you involve others? #StuConnect

Q2: What are some ways that students, teachers, and leaders display positive character and citizenship? #StuConnect

Q3: How do you demonstrate digital citizenship? #StuConnect

Q4: How does your classroom show citizenship outside the walls of your school? #StuConnect

*On the day of our Twitter chat, you can reply to each question by starting your classroom Tweets with the letter “A” and number of the corresponding question.  This will help others understand that you are answering a particular question.  Be sure to add the #StuConnect hashtag to all of your responses.  Example: “A4 We show citizenship by….. #stuconnect”

#STUCONNECT

World Book Talk Championship

There is no doubt about it.  We LOVE to read and we want to cultivate that same love of reading in our students.  One way we can do this is by talking about the books we love and involving our kids in the process.

Jen LaGarde and I are teaming up to bring you the World Book Talk Championship. This is the Super Bowl of book talks.  (We even included a few fun reading-themed commercials to complete the Super Bowl feel.)  We started with 16 incredible educators who each submitted a short book talk video.  We’re down to four finalists and we need your help.  Who will win the coveted “Vince LomBooki” award for best book talk in the world?

#30SecondTake Brackets 2016

It’s “I Love to Read Month” and we’re feeling the love!  Click HERE to view the championship round of the podcast.  In the eight minute video you’ll see two “Literacy Legends” take on two “Lead Learners,” but only one person can hoist the championship trophy.  YOU decide!

Click HERE to cast your vote online…voting is open through February.  We’re also seeing classrooms create their own versions of the #30SecondTake book talks too.  We’d love for you to share these with us as well.  Most importantly…keep reading!

 

Special thanks to Oliver Schinkten…his creative genius elevated our Super Bowl commercials to an entirely new level.

An interactive TouchCast is available at: http://www.touchcast.com/greenwood/30secondtake_podcast_world_book_talk_championship 

The Super Bowl of Book Talks

Bracket

Click HERE to watch the Podcast

It’s finally here…the Super Bowl of Book Talks! Jennifer LaGarde and I are teaming up to bring you 16 educators sharing their favorite books in 30 seconds or less!  Just for fun we divided the educators into divisions.  Jen is heading up the Literacy Legends, and I’m rooting for the Lead Learners.  The only question is…who will take home the “Vince Lombooki” trophy?!

This podcast features all the thrills of the Super Bowl…including some amazing commercials!  Watch the podcast and then vote for who is moving to the next round using the online link below.

Vote for your favorite book talk today! Click HERE for our online voting ballot. Round 1 voting closes Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 10:00pm CST.  Vote for one book talk from each bracket to advance to the Super Bowl.

Pick the winner based on pure passion or perhaps try a more objective approach…the choice is yours! Click HERE for a classroom book talk rubric shared by Jennifer LaGarde.

Special thanks to Oliver Schinkten for his creative genius, as well as all 16 of the educators who shared their #30SecondTake book talks.

Are You the next MakerStar?!

Students showcase their Sphero Mobile MakerSpace cart.

Students showcase their Sphero Mobile MakerSpace.

Our school is looking for somebody to design the next Mobile MakerSpace cart at Greenwood.  We’ll supply the budget and pay for the materials, but we need kids, teachers, and parents to provide the creativity, voice, and ideas!  Who knows….your class or students just might be the next #MakerStar!  To submit an idea for a new cart follow the rules below:

Rules:

  • Be persuasive…WHY would your idea be great for our students?!
  • Stay on budget with supplies ($750 max.)
  • Stay succinct (provide a focused plan, drawing, or video)
  • Include costs, quantities, and any relevant ordering information
  • Your idea must fit inside (or on top of) the cart pictured below. Shelves are removable.
  • This design opportunity is open to students, groups of students, classrooms, parents, and educators everywhere.
  • Submit your idea to hashtag #MakerStar on Twitter by January 15, 2016.
  • We’ll be empowering our students to make the final decision and to announce the winners!

Maker Cart

Ready to Take the Design Plunge?!

Are you ready to dive in? If not, click HERE to see an inspiring motivational video by Steve Harvey! His “Jump” video applies to many things in life, but it gets me fired up every time I watch it.

Now that you’re ready to jump, just remember to post design submissions to hashtag #MakerStar on Twitter.  Submissions can be in any format (short video, diagram, photo, etc.).  If you don’t do Twitter don’t worry! Feel free to contact me and we can arrange a way for the design(s) to be e-mailed. The video below demonstrates how our students and staff are using some of the different carts, so be sure to check it out for possible design ideas.

Background Information

We currently have a fleet of carts capable of transporting hands-on, collaborative learning tools to virtually every classroom and hallway in our school.  Click HERE to see our carts in action.  A complete list of all our current carts is below.

Cart 1: Cardboard Construction – Makedo Kits

Cart 2: Circuit Scribe – Conducive Ink and Writable Circuitry

Cart 3: Edison Robots

Cart 4: K’Nex

Cart 5: Knitting – Yarn and Assorted Looms

Cart 6: Legos – Motors, Creative Tubs, Base-plates, and Education Kit

Cart 7: Legos – Simple and Powered Machines, Wheels, and Creative Tubs

Cart 8: Lego Friends Kits

Cart 9: MakerBot 3D Printer – with 14 colors of filament

Cart 10: Makey-Makey Kits and Bee-Bots

Cart 11: Modular Robotics – Cubelets

Cart 12: Sphero – 31 Robot Droids, Turbo Covers, and Accessories

**Special thanks to my summer administrative intern, EmaKate, for collaborating with me on this student design opportunity.  We’re excited to see what kids can create!

Join the Conversation

CE15

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!

Pedagogy First (video)

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.

Students connect with a Greenwood graduate and current 3D printing professional.

Students connect with a Greenwood graduate and current 3D printing professional.

PersonalizedPD Cohorts

PD pic

Personalized PD Cohorts Fall 2015

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

Profiles of Character

Be sure to watch the six videos below featuring Wayzata student-athletes.

Be sure to watch the six videos below featuring Wayzata student-athletes.

Our school is excited to shine the light on some Wayzata student-athletes who are sharing inspiring messages of positive character.

Our teachers will be sharing one short video every couple days with our elementary students.  The dates that each video will be shared are listed below.  We also have some optional classroom conversation starters that align with the message that each student-athlete shared.  I am also encouraging students to practice the character pledge at the conclusion of this blog post.

We will show the video above to students on September 14, 2015

Student-Athlete: Cooper

Sport: Lacrosse

Character Trait: Trustworthiness

Descriptors: Be honest and reliable.  Do what you say you’ll do.  Have the courage to do the right thing.  Tell the truth.  Admit mistakes.  Choose integrity.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does Cooper compare communication to trustworthiness?
  2. Why do you think Cooper says, “Trustworthiness is an important factor in a successful team?”
  3. How is your class or school like Cooper’s lacrosse team?
  4. How can you show trustworthiness at the Fun Run?

We will show the video above to students on September 16, 2015

Student-Athlete: Eliq

Sport: Basketball

Character Trait: Respect

Descriptors: Treat others with respect.  Follow the Golden Rule.  Use good manners, not bad language.  Don’t threaten, hit, or hurt anyone.  Stand up for what is right.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What example did Eliq use for showing respect when a coach or teacher is speaking?
  2. How can you show respect for yourself?
  3. What are some ways you can be a respectful spectator or fan?

We will show the video above to students on September 18, 2015

Student-Athlete: Emily

Sport: Dance

Character Trait: Responsibility

Descriptors: Put forth a good effort.  Be accountable for your words and actions.  Set a good example for others.  Do what you are supposed to do.  Plan ahead.  Think before you act.  Be on time.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does Emily show responsibility to her dance team?
  2. Why is asking for help if you need it showing responsibility?
  3. What responsibility do we have to our class and team for being positive?

We will show the video above to students on September 21, 2015

Student-Athlete: Andrew

Sport: Wrestling & Football

Character Trait: Fairness

Descriptors: Play by the rules.  Take turns.  Listen to others and be open-minded.  Don’t take advantage of others.  Treat all people fairly.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does Andrew show fairness when a referee or teammate makes a mistake?
  2. Andrew mentions being on a team with younger classmates.  What does Andrew mean when he encourages us to, “Teach them up?”
  3. What will you do to respond to Andrew’s challenge (e.g. The Fairness Experiment).

We will show the video above to students on September 23, 2015

Student-Athlete: Hannah

Sport: Cross Country & Track

Character Trait: Caring

Descriptors: Be kind.  Express gratitude by saying, “Thank you.”  Take a stand against bullying.  Be a good friend and student.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does Hannah know her team cares about her?
  2. Who does Hannah encourage us to show caring towards?
  3. What will you do to show caring?

We will show the video above to students on September 25, 2015

Student-Athlete: Mara

Sport: Diving & Track and Field

Character Trait: Citizenship

Descriptors: Obey laws and rules.  Do your share to make our community better.  Cooperate.  Stay informed.  Be a good friend and neighbor.  Respect authority.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does it mean to be an ambassador of our school?
  2. Why is following laws and rules important in diving?  Why is it important in school?
  3. What do you think Mara means when she says, “Respect authority”?

Student Character Pledge*

RESPECT

RESPONSIBILITY

and CITIZENSHIP too.

They bring out the best in me and you.

TRUSTWORTHINESS

and being FAIR

Help to show others that I really

CARE.

I know what’s right

I know what’s good

I will work hard to do

What I know I should.

*Character Pledge Credit: The Josephson Institute

A special thanks goes to the high school students who donated their time to visit our school to share with us.  Thanks for being great role models to our students.  Thanks also to our PTA for organizing our Fun Run and connecting it to the character traits we focus on all year long.  Having a common language helps us support positive decision-making and celebrate students for making a difference in a unified way!

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