Is it about the tech or the learning?

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Thanks to Angie, one of our 2nd grade teachers for sharing this article from The Guardian called “Tablets out, imagination in: the schools that shun technology.” I love thinking and discussing the role technology plays in learning and this article caused me to refine my thinking and philosophy of tech in the classroom.

The question of the use of technology in schools seems as though it’s been asked for years. I can remember when we got our Apple IIe installed in my 1st Grade classroom and my teacher explaining to us that we were going to have to take turns using it but we weren’t going to spend all of our time playing games on it.

I guess playing Number Munchers and Oregon Trail wasn’t playing games in my teacher’s eyes, but that was the extent of our use of technology in my classroom 30 years ago (it hurt to type that).

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Fast forward to today when we have ubiquitous access to technology and one can see the reason why we continue to ask the question of how much is too much.

Just like with most things in life, Mother knows best: Moderation is the key. Balancing the use of technology so that its use is most effective for students. At the center of this balance is the classroom teacher. Just as we facilitate a discussion through a line of questioning that deepens understanding, we also need to consider how we facilitate the use of technology by our students. How are we presenting the use of iPads can be the key to unlocking the potential of creativity and ownership of learning that our students can leverage to demonstrate their understanding of complex concepts and new skills. George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset, argues that students should be learning with technology instead of simply learning technology.

Some powerful learning moments come when teachers present a new app to students, allow for some exploration of the app, and then ask students “What are some ways we might use this app to show our learning”. Furthermore, this kind of ongoing discussion around the theme of “how might this help you learn” emphasizes the key idea that technology is a tool for learning just as is a pencil, calculator, or textbook. If we make technology the end-all-be-all for learning, then it will be.

If we reinforce the idea that technology is a tool for learning, then it will be. Take a look at these guiding questions, also from Couros:

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From https://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/3702

What really excites me about tech in the classroom is the unforeseen outcomes that will come from the imaginiations and creativity of our students.

Thanks to Angie for sharing this article!

Have a GREAT week!

Herb

Worth Checking Out

T.G.I.F.: Feedback Fridays — http://www.ascd.org/publications/newsletters/education-update/sept17/vol59/num09/T.G.I.-£Feedback£-Friday.aspx

Impossible, unlikely or difficult? —  tinyurl.com/yd8o7n4x

How the Google Suite Can Enhance Open-Ended Math Exploration — https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/09/04/how-the-google-suite-can-enhance-open-ended-math-exploration/‬

Upcoming Events

September

21 – Student Picture Day
25 – Pastries with Parents, 8am
27 – Herb at mtg off campus, AM; ADE Staff Meeting, 3:45pm; Mumkin Delivery, 1pm
29 – ADDC Culture Celebration, 1-3pm

October

2-6 Conference Week
2 – School Community Meeting, 10:45am
5 – Fall Conference Late Night 4-8pm
7 – Cardboard Challenge
9 – PTO Meeting, 7pm
10 – School Improvement Team Meeting, 8:15am
11 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8:30am
17 – District Leadership Institute – Herb out
18 – District Leadership Institute – Herb out
19 – ADE Fall Tailgate, 6:30-8:00pm
20 – COI Day, No School
23 – Yearbook Cover Contest (through November 3)
26 – State of the Schools, 6pm Makoy Center
31 – Halloween

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Let’s Get More Googleyness in Schools!

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I read an interesting blog post on Google’s blog this weekend about interns who were sharing about their internship experience at Google this summer.

Each of the three interns who were interviewed worked on different projects for Google, and one question that was asked of all three interns was the most interesting one to me:

“After spending a summer at Google, what does “Googleyness” mean to you?”

First, I had never heard of “Googleyness” before, so I, ahem, Googled it.

Googleyness is a word that describes a desired characteristic or traits within people that Google considers desirable in their employees. Here’s a rundown of traits from someone else who has interned for Google:

“To me, Googleyness encompasses a couple of key things:

Working well with others

Caring about a cause bigger than yourself [1]

Curiosity (and “comfort with ambiguity”)

Approaching problems from different, interesting angles and thinking “outside” of the box

Having that signature, unique quirky thing that sets you apart (because everyone’s different!)

Passion. Period.

Desire to improve and learn from mistakes

And, above all, don’t be evil.”

I don’t believe there is a company in America who wouldn’t want their employees to have most if not all of these traits. What I think sets Google apart from other companies in hiring is the priority they place on hiring talent with Googleyness and how Googleyness is a way to describe the culture of Google that their employees experience.

When I take another look at that list of traits and the way the interns describe what Googleyness means to them, I see words like collaboration, curiosity, problem-solving, and passion.

These are all traits and skills I hope we can instill in our kids through the work we do with them. Helping our students build a future for themselves starts with us in elementary. I believe these are foundational traits and skills that will help them have more control over their future and I hope you will join me in working to build more Googleyness into ADE!

Have a GREAT week!

Herb

 

Worth Checking Out

“Resilience isn’t just being tough; it’s a skill you can develop. Here’s how I did it.” http://wapo.st/2go7pee?tid=ss_tw-bottom&utm_term=.88af9b641252

Be More Like Mattress Mack!

Upcoming Dates

September

 

5 – Mumkin Orders due

6 – Curriculum Night, 5:30-6:30pm

7 – Herb at Admin mtg, AM

11 – PTO Meeting, 6-7pm (Exec mtg); 7pm (General mtg)

12 – School Improvement Team meeting, 8:15am

13 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8:15am

15 – Building Advisory Committee meeting, 8:30am

16 – AD/DC Warrior Dash, 1-6pm

21 – Student Picture Day

25 – Pastries with Parents, 8am

27 – Herb at mtg off campus, AM; ADE Staff Meeting, 3:45pm; Mumkin Delivery, 1pm

29 – ADDC Culture Celebration, 1-3pm

 

October

2-6 Conference Week

2 – School Community Meeting, 10:45am

5 – Fall Conference Late Night 4-8pm

7 – Cardboard Challenge

Ordinarily Extraordinary

 

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The spirit and culture of America is often reflected in our ability to show compassion and to help each other during moments of great need. During tragedy, we often look to a dozen or so public figures for leadership. Yet we only have to look at ordinary people to see extraordinary leadership in action.

Leaders pick the phone and ask, “How can I help?”.

Leaders act without thinking, “What’s in it for me?”.

Leaders work to find a solution. They do the work without complaint, and do so with joy, knowing that they are called to serve those they have never met and yet will forever change what happens next for those they help.

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Your leadership is essential to the students you serve. It’s incredible, the impact you can have. The kind of impact you have is totally up to you.

Leadership is a choice, not a title. It’s ordinary people doing extraordinary things for others.

Have a great week!

– Herb

Worth Checking Out

Such a great read! The learning in this article reflects the vision we have set out to achieve! —

“A Literacy-Based Strategy to Help Teachers Integrate Science Skills” https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/08/22/a-literacy-based-strategy-to-help-teachers-integrate-science-skills/

Upcoming Dates

August

28 – First School Community Meeting, 10:45am, Gym

September

1 – Board of Education Bldg Tour, 8am
4 – Labor Day, No School
5 – Mumkin Orders due
6 – Curriculum Night, 5:30-6:30pm
7 – Herb at Admin mtg, AM
11 – PTO Meeting, 6-7pm (Exec mtg); 7pm (General mtg)
12 – School Improvement Team meeting, 8:15am
13 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8:15am
15 – Building Advisory Committee meeting, 8:30am
16 – AD/DC Warrior Dash, 1-6pm
21 – Student Picture Day
25 – Pastries with Parents, 8am
27 – Herb at mtg off campus, AM; ADE Staff Meeting, 3:45pm; Mumkin Delivery, 1pm
29 – ADDC Culture Celebration, 1-3pm

Saving Space for Grace, Mercy, & Understanding

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My kids are dessert hounds. They love something sweet after dinner and will protest when we say no. When my daughter Ally was a little younger, she would say that she was full (with half the dinner still on her plate). When we asked if she was sure she was full, she would almost always say, “Yes, but I’m saving a little bit of space for some dessert”.

That always made me chuckle. She was always thinking ahead of time that she would need to eat dinner, but that she needed to leave extra room for dessert.

I was reminded of Ally’s quest for dessert today during one of our prayers at church. During a prayer, our pastor asked that we always try to save more than enough space in our hearts to have an abundance of “grace, mercy, and understanding” for ourselves and for others.

As educators who work with children, we know the importance of over planning and the importance of planning ways to engage our students in learning. We also know know that we can expect to spend part of everyday dealing with events that we never planned for in the first place.

So as we get ready to welcome over 500 students through our doors for the first day of school, I ask that we are over-planned for the magical first day. The day will set the tone for the rest of the school year. But in our planning for tomorrow, and each day, let’s remember to save a little space in our hearts and minds to also include grace, mercy, and understanding for ourselves and for our students.

Have a wonderful first day of school!

Herb

Worth Checking Out —

My 30-Second Classroom Norms Speech: http://robertkaplinsky.com/30-second-classroom-norms-speech/

There Is No Apolitical Classroom: Resources for Teaching in These Times http://wp.me/p53b7p-1Rn via @ncte

When Schools Forgo Grades: An Experiment In Internal Motivation https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/08/13/when-schools-forgo-grades-an-experiment-in-internal-motivation/

“14 Books to Inspire Kids to Follow Their Dreams”

Upcoming Dates —

August

23 – Mumkin Sale Kickoff

28 – First School Community Meeting, 10:45am, Gym

29 – Herb at CO until 1pm

 

September

1 – Board of Education Bldg Tour, 8am

4 – Labor Day, No School

5 – Mumkin Orders due

6 – Curriculum Night, 5:30-6:30pm

7 – Herb at Admin mtg, AM

11 – PTO Meeting, 6-7pm (Exec mtg); 7pm (General mtg)

12 – School Improvement Team meeting, 8:15am

13 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8:15am

15 – Building Advisory Committee meeting, 8:30am

16 – AD/DC Warrior Dash, 1-6pm

21 – Student Picture Day

25 – Pastries with Parents, 8am

27 – Herb at mtg off campus, AM; ADE Staff Meeting, 3:45pm; Mumkin Delivery, 1pm

29 – ADDC Culture Celebration, 1-3pm

“I’m about to go below the line…”

“I need to go below the line for a minute.”

“I know this is below the line, but…”

Last week, there were several times during a conversation when the person I was talking to knew they were going below the line, acknowledged it openly, and then went below the line.

Is this how it’s supposed to work?

Nope.

I’ve been right there with you, too.  I’ve learned that my most likely below-the-line-moments happen when I am needed to respond to something completely unexpected.

Huh.  I’m prretty sure that kind of thing happens every single day (sometimes every single minute), so I am also pretty sure I need to anticipate more and react less.

The last weeks will test our ability to adapt and adjust to situations.  We won’t get what we want.  We will have to switch our plans at the last minute.  We will need to step up and help out when it’s the last thing we have time to do.

What’s important is that we continue to recognize when we are about to react on autopilot to a unexpected situation.

The next step, the response, is important.

Before you take it, work to gain clarity.  See the situation for what it is and then see the next ten steps.

Think about how your next response will create events for others.

Have a GREAT week!

Herb

 

Worth Checking Out

Without a sail http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2017/05/without-a-sail.html

Owning Your Own Future https://nyti.ms/2pv36wK

Big Meta-Analysis Says Four Teaching Strategies Are Most Effective For Low-Income Students http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2017/05/13/big-meta-analysis-says-four-teaching-strategies-are-most-effective-for-low-income-students/

 

Upcoming Dates

15 – Field Day, 8:30 – 11:30 am and 12:30 – 3:30 pm

16 – Focus fieldtrip to Falling Waters, 5:30 am – 9:15 pm; SLSP field trip to Tim Horton’s and Petsmart, 9:15 – 11:00; Fire Drill, 10:00 a.m.

17 – Staff Birthday Lunch

18 – Principal’s Meeting (Herb AM); Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am; See Kids Dream 5th grade field trip to Riffe Center

19 – Last day at preschool; 4th grade field trip to Zoo; SLSP fieldtrip to Get Air, 9:15 – 11:00

22 – BAC Meeting, 8:00 am; PTO Spirit Night at Dave & Buster’s, 4:30 – 7:30 pm

23 – 3rd grade field trip to Art Museum; PTO Family Luau, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

24 – 1st grade field trip to Art Museum

25 – Mental Health & Wellness meeting, 8:00

26 – Last Day of School

4 Takeaways from “Hilliard U”

Spoiler Alert: Kids today are different than we were.

Bonus Spoiler: We were different than our parents, too.
Three years ago, Alton Darby and Darby Creek started on a journey to see if the elementary learning experience could be different.  Many times we concluded “yes”, but there was and still is this struggle among us to accept that 1) Kids are different than we were and therefore learn differently than we did; and 2) The world is rapidly changing and therefore we need to retool and revise the learning experiences we create for kids.
We found ourselves wanting to change, but we battle ourselves over our own fears and against “but that’s the way we’ve always done it”.
We know that our fears and how we feel about the challenges that are before us won’t change kids and the way they learn and won’t cause the world to stop from rapidly changing.
We are left with one choice, which is to embrace the challenges before us and remember that what is consistent about our profession is our deep-seeded calling to help and serve children.
Last Tuesday at “Hilliard U”, many educators in our district shared the ways they are retooling and revising the learning experiences they create for kids.  Teachers shared stories about overcoming their own fears of new ideas and approaches and the positive results they experiences with their students.  Below are four of my takeaways from Hilliard U that stuck with me and continue to make me reflect on my role as an educator.

1. Our kids’ brains are wired differently.

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We could debate whether this is good or not, but the fact remains that our kids’ brains, how they experience the world, and the stimulus they receive from the world have created different neural pathways.  If we want to increase engagement and decrease negative behaviors, we need to consider how much instant feedback and social engagement plays a role with our students’.

2. Learning to read has changed.

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One of the sessions I attended focused on the different approaches to reading we all need to consider when reading digital content.  Scrolling, ads, linear format without pages are aspects of digital reading that we may be overlooking as teachers.  In the picture above, we rated our preference of reading format with traditional on the left and digital on the right.  It would be interesting and worthwhile to see how our students rated the two formats.  As you can see, most of the adults liked a balance of paper and digital.  I would argue that preference is one thing, but reality is another.  Stop and think about how much digital reading we do in one day.  Think about how differently we have to approach digital texts in order to understand them.  That experience should inform us of our instructional approaches in reading and the behaviors we need to teach, model and demonstrate for our growing readers.

3.  “My biggest roadblock was my own mindset…”

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It’s amazing the people who are creating amazing learning experiences for kids who will also say “I don’t consider myself tech-savvy”.  This is what the presenting teachers of the keynote on blended learning said of themselves as they amazed the audience with how they provided excellent instructional experiences for the students they work with each day.  We need to give ourselves more credit for what we are capable of doing.

 

4. “We are our own best resource.”

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I ended the day listening to a panel of teachers from two of our elementary schools who have piloted the One2One experience this year with students.  Their honesty about failing and persevering was comforting and inspiring.  What they revealed is that we need to give our students and ourselves more credit for what we are all capable of doing.  And when we get stuck, we have each other as resource to utilize.
As we move forward into next school year, and take on the changes we have in store for our students, I challenge us all to remember that we’ve got this.  We are on the cusp of something great and it was the talents, skills, and mindset of everyone in this school community that got us to where we are right now.
Finally, I’ll leave you with an ADE student’s letter to Ms. Bednar after attending a showcase of learning projects.  I hope it captures for you what our kids are wanting from learning:
3rdGradeLetter
The kids are ready to go! Let’s do this!
Have a GREAT week!
– Herb

Worth Reading

A Principal’s Reflections: Our Work is Our Message http://esheninger.blogspot.com/2017/05/our-work-is-our-message.html?spref=tw
Projects, Passion, Peers and Play: Seymour Papert’s Vision For Learning https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/05/01/projects-passion-peers-and-play-seymour-paperts-vision-for-learning/

Upcoming Dates

8 – Kona Ice Truck here; PTO Meeting, 7:00; Spirit Week

9 – BIT meeting, 8:00; Retirement Party, 3:45

10 – 8am Staff Meeting; 9:30-11:15am Grades 1-4 meet in Media Center data team meeting (see email from last week); 5th grade field trip to Art Museum; last day for Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

11 – Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am; Tornado Drill, 1:30 p.m.

12 – 4th grade field trip to Art Museum; SLSP Field Day at Darby H.S., 9:15 – 1:30; 5th grade Growth & Development, 1:30 – 2:30

14 – Mother’s Day

15 – Field Day, 9:30 – 11:30 am and 12:30 – 2:30 pm

16 – Focus fieldtrip to Falling Waters, 5:30 am – 9:15 pm; SLSP field trip to Tim Horton’s and Petsmart, 9:15 – 11:00; Fire Drill, 10:00 a.m.

18 – Principal’s Meeting (Herb AM); Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am; See Kids Dream 5th grade field trip to Riffe Center

19 – Last day at preschool; 4th grade field trip to Zoo; SLSP fieldtrip to Get Air, 9:15 – 11:00

22 – PTO Spirit Night at Dave & Buster’s, 4:30 – 7:30 pm

23 – 3rd grade field trip to Art Museum; PTO Family Luau, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

24 – 1st grade field trip to Art Museum

26 – Last Day of School!

Hitting the Wall

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Last October, I almost made my personal goal of completing a half-marathon in under 2 hours. My official time was 2’02” but I was just happy to have made it to the finish line.

After the race, I gave myself a couple of weeks off before I got back into keeping a regular run schedule.  Getting back into a schedule became more of a chore than a joy and so excuses not to run started to become more common.  I even started to think about giving up running altogether.

I remember asking myself OK, what’s really going on with me?

I had been working so hard to get to a point where I could complete a race that it became the sole reason for running.  What I lost along the way of training was the joy and the happiness running had given me before.  Things needed to change for sure because I really love to run.

So, I quit worrying about my pace and focused on mechanics like my strides, my breathing, and my heart rate.  I also stopped worrying about distance.  At the peak of my training I was running 20-25 miles a week and I think that was bumming myself out since I had backed that way down.  At night, I started thinking about the run I was planning on the next morning which made those 4:45 am alarms easier to wake up to.  I also started focusing on how I great I felt after running rather than starting my workout thinking about how I didn’t really want to do this.  

All of this points to the power of self-talk and what you tell yourself each day.  It made me remember to reflect on what I was saying to myself.  If my self-talk was a person, would I want to hangout with them all day?

This weekend, I ran over 6 miles in the pouring rain and thunder, farther than I had run in 2 months, and I loved every step. I had forgotten how much I loved running in the rain!  It’s silly but I kind of felt invincible, like nothing could stop me.  It was the first time in a while when I didn’t want to stop and I was happy the whole time I was running.

“Hitting the wall” is something that happens to us all throughout life.  I believe these moments are supposed to happen because they give you a chance to remember your “why”.  The work you need to do to get over the wall is hard work.  It’s reflective work that forces you to be honest with yourself.  You start thinking less about what you want to happen and more about what you need to do in order to get the outcome you desire.  

“Joy” sounds like such a simplistic outcome to work for but it’s complicated to obtain especially if you are creating your own roadblocks.  Take time to remember your “why”, especially when the going gets tough because it will get you closer to the outcomes you are working toward.

Have a GREAT week!

Herb

 

Worth checking out —

4 Essentials to Growing into Great Leadership https://leadershipfreak.blog/2017/04/28/4-essentials-to-growing-into-great-leadership/

My friend taught me…to seesaw http://myfriendtaughtme.weebly.com/1/post/2017/04/my-friend-taught-meto-seesaw.html

3 Misconceptions About Innovation in Education http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/7305

 

Upcoming Dates

May

1 – Bus Driver Appreciation Day; 3rd grade Music Performance, time TBD; School Community Meeting – “Make a Difference”, 10:45am;

2 – No School for Students (Waiver Day)

3 – Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

4 – Admin. Meeting (Herb AM); Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am; PTO Flower Sale Pick Up, 4:00-7:00; PTO Spirit Night at Chick-Fil-A, 5:00 – 9:00 pm

8 – Kona Ice Truck here; PTO Meeting, 7:00; Spirit Week

9 – KG/1st Data Teams; Retirement Party, 3:45

10 – 2nd/3rd Data Teams; SLSP field trip to Dare Equestrian; 5th grade field trip to Art Museum; last day for Get Fit Girls, 3:35 – 4:30

11 – 4th/5th Data Teams; Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am

12 – 4th grade field trip to Art Museum; SLSP Field Day at Darby H.S., 9:15 – 1:30

14 – Mother’s Day

15 – Field Day, 8:30 – 11:30 am and 12:30 – 3:30 pm

16 – Focus fieldtrip to Falling Waters, 5:30 am – 9:15 pm; SLSP field trip to Tim Horton’s and Petsmart, 9:15 – 11:00

18 – Principal’s Meeting (Herb AM); Staff Book Talk, 8:00 am; See Kids Dream 5th grade field trip to Riffe Center

19 – Last day at preschool; 4th grade field trip to Zoo; SLSP fieldtrip to Get Air, 9:15 – 11:00

22 – PTO Spirit Night at Dave & Buster’s, 4:30 – 7:30 pm

23 – 3rd grade field trip to Art Museum; PTO Family Luau, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

24 – 1st grade field trip to Art Museum

25 – Mental Health & Wellness meeting, 8:00

26 – Last Day of School!