Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Parent Technology Academy

I'm already preparing for my September Parent Technology Academy. I thought that this may be a great video to spark conversation about the power of technology, digital information, and the road forward for deeper learning. This is a great opportunity to discuss the disruptive nature of technology.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Asking Questions, Listening to Answers

We have been on the hunt lately for meaningful projects that melt into our current curriculum that provide excellence learning opportunities. In this process, we stumbled on this concept of Fifty People, One Question. We are seeing a huge value in middle school kids stopping to listen to multiple perspectives on the same question or idea. Additionally, we feel that the practice of interviewing folks using our videography equipment is a huge practical skill for our students to possess. What question would you like us to ask folks in the process of Fifty People, One Question? http://fiftypeopleonequestion.com/

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Pictures Change

The good folks over at USMNT.com have started a contest of posting old starting eleven photos from random games throughout the last decade or so. It is super to see some forgotten faces of the past including Saint Louis native and former opponent of mine, Steve Ralston. The pictures have me thinking about each year that I have been a building administrator. There has never been a year when the "starting eleven" for me remained the same. Retirement, babies, moving, etc. have all changed the complexion of the of the staff. The thing that remains though is the hard work that each group put into the system. There work, even if for a year, was not in vain. It added value to the system.

As a leader, I want to continue to maintain a system that is so strong that the annual changes in the pictures aren't a blow to the work of the past, while being nimble enough to change to meet the current needs. The USMNT team has done this over the years moving from a team that could barely hope for a few counterattacks a game against the best teams in the world to believing that they have a real chance to win no matter who they are playing. They have shifted formations when necessary, but the hard work of those before isn't forgotten. In the fall, don't forget to let the new "starting eleven" see the pictures of the past. It will only make the system stronger.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Five for Friday- Final Edition

Final Friday, Final Five
I hope something from these weekly updates added to your professional growth and development.
More starting again August 19.

As we search for stronger communication with our parents, I found this idea, not sure it is for everyone, but I thought that I would share.

Here is a really good editorial piece on education.

This seems like it has potential for getting important educational ideas in folks hands each week.

Seem like we should be getting our students connected to more podcasts through their iTunes that are quick learning opportunities. Ted Talks, 60-second science, and this link could easily become a part of homework or as a Do Now.

Reflection is so important for students and adults. This presentation does a nice job frame the importance. Could be a great opening piece for kids when you talk about why the processes and procedures are built in your classroom.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Our Learning Community

The Maplewood Richmond Heights community is in a golden era as a learning community. Every family is looking for a way to contribute to the growth of our kids. There isn't a sense that hard work of teaching is someone else's job, and it is a great time to be leading this army of caring. Recently, a group of MRH parents took on a twelve-week program to help girls with self-esteem and fitness known as Girls on the Run. It is a national program with a huge presence in Saint Louis. The culminating event is a 5K run in Forest Park. I had a chance to be in the audience for the run (which rarely happens), and the pride and energy of these elementary aged girls running their first 5K was amazing. I should also mention that my wife was in the core of the coaching team for this event, and I couldn't be more proud of the work that she did with this group. Thank you to the organizers, and the many volunteers at MRH and throughout Saint Louis for continuing to embrace the responsibility for learning that we have as a community.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bullying is Never Funny

I was just joking. It is the most common response that I get from my middle school students when I confront them about being unkind to others. Sure there is a difference between being mean and bullying, but being mean is practice for becoming a bully, and if you don't want to become a bully, we shouldn't practice these bad habits. It is so important that we reframe the idea of joking. Joking is something that the two people both enjoy, but in contrast, being mean and bullying are when one party wishes it would stop.

Student Bullying
[Source: Buckfire and Buckfire.com]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The New Leadership

Retired General Stan McChrystal led a new type of military force during his work in Afghanistan. It was amazing to hear him talk about leading a force that was spread across locations, was both military and non-military, and even spanned learning generations. The wisdom that comes from this TED talk is a great piece of lateral capacity building for educators. We are facing this same challenge. How do we build deeper more committed relationships with our staff with less and less face-to-face time? How do we "invert" the learning in our schools so that our students can move us forward in our professions? How do we grow our communities of influence beyond our certified staff while maintain common mission? Some of these answers are below in the video.