February 28

Image is everything (59:365)

source: ikea.com

source: ikea.com

When I first started as a principal here at RM Bacon, I used a theme with the students and staff, “Your image is our Image.” This theme is still on the marquee (that is not in service anymore and will eventually be taken down) on the parking lot side above the door. I still look at it everyday I walk in. My image, I say, is the image of this school.

I would like you to reflect on your image…

What is your image?

Who do you represent?

How do your represent yourself? Your school? Community?

 

Think about this…

As educators, every time you post, like, tweet, and podcast just remember… Your Image is Our Image….

 

 

 

February 27

Digital Student Portfolios (58:365)

digital student portfolios

Click on this icon for more information from Matt

During the recent Principalcast Podcast, we hosted author, principal, dad, husband and over all awesome guy… Matt Renwick! He taught us about Digital Student Portfolios and how they can help capture the learning for the 21st century. Later this spring he will be publishing a book on the subject titled Digital Student Portfolios: A Whole School Approach to Continuous Assessment. This e-book will be available online through Powerful Learning Practice.

The time we spent with Matt was quality. He talked about a range of topics beyond his upcoming books such as:

– Importance of becoming a connected educator

– Using twitter for professional development

– Sledding during recess

 

 

Check out the podcast and connect with Matt!

February 26

Student led Podcast: Spotlight on Dr. Pamm Moore (57:365)

Dr. Moore and Ashanti preparing for the podcast

Dr. Moore and Ashanti preparing for the podcast

Students in 5th grade at RM Bacon utilized 21st century technology for their culminating activity for African American History. The 5th graders selected and researched a true role model, Dr. Pamm Moore, Assistant Superintendent.

 

The podcast was an excellent opportunity for the students to display their learning. The host, Ashanti, was very calm and made everyone feel at ease. The producer, Xavier, learned Google+ hangouts, recording and embedding in one afternoon. He even let the students give a few shout-outs before the podcasting began.

 

 

 

The 5th grade shout outs…

During the podcast with Dr. Moore, the students asked excellent questions. According to Dr. Moore, she was impressed by their questions, and was a little nervous before everything began. After the podcast was completed, the students showed her their African American History projects. She was very impressed by the students efforts.

 

Since I am a co-host of a weekly podcast, I feel it is my duty to expose the students of my school this wonderful tool. I am hoping to expand to 4th grade next month for Women’s History Month. Stay tuned!

 

 

February 25

The reality of Augmented Reality (56:365)

pamm ar 2

Our Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Pamm Moore, experiencing an AR app

At a recent administrative meeting, we discussed Augmented Reality. Well, we discussed the concept of Augmented Reality and how we haven’t observed it during our walkthroughs. When I talked with my staff about the absence of Augmented Reality, I had one teacher decide that I would soon observe it in his classroom. True to form, I was invited to his classroom that Friday to experience Augmented Reality.

 

When I arrived at the class, there were AR codes all over the class. The teacher made sure that I was taught by a student how to find and utilize the AR codes. The 5th grade kids were prepping for later that day when they would teach 1st graders an app that integrated Augmented Reality. Mind blowing! As I solved the problems, and scanned the AR codes with an ipad, I “experienced” the answer. I could see it but I couldn’t touch it.

 

Simply coloring? Not anymore, that page comes to life through AR

Simply coloring? Not anymore, that page comes to life through AR

Later that day, I went back to the class and he had his 5th graders paired up with 1st graders. They were walking around the class, solving problems, scanning AR codes, and experiencing Augmented Realty. Honestly, the kids were less impressed then I was about the Augmented Realty. To them, they are often exposed to Augmented Reality outside of school. Drats! They have done it again… We are so behind the times!

Want to learn more about Augmented Reality? Check out these resources…..

Edutopia 

Engage their minds 

On twitter, follow the hashtag #ar4edu

Brad Gustafstason’s AR at his school

 

 

February 24

3 things to do this week to re-connect (55:365)

Source: dwightcarter.edublogs.org

Source: dwightcarter.edublogs.org

Want to be connected? Chances are if you are reading this blog, you are connected…. But the purpose of this post is to reconnect…

How is this week any different then last week? Well, for many in the Northern Hemisphere, the snow is melting, days are getting a little longer… there is hope!  This is the perfect time to improve your mental outlook after this bitter winter!

Here are 3 things to do this week: 

  1. Call a friend (yes, call not text, facebook etc.) and spend 10 minutes catching up and listening!
  2. Take a walk before, during or after work with someone. Yes, don’t go at it alone… choose someone to take a walk with to catch up on things and marvel in the conversation.
  3. Write a letter or send a card to someone in your  your profession. Hand write the note and tell them how much you appreciate what they do!

Let me know how it goes…

February 23

Science Fiction and Social Commentary (54:365)

source: onsophiastreet.com

source: onsophiastreet.com

One of the reasons I find science fiction movies so appealing is the opportunity to provide social commentary. Whether it is the latest Super Heroes, a new world or just a future version of our world, science fiction movies tend to focus more on our current problems then the future problems.

 

For instance, last night I watched Elysium. Elysium is a movie set in 2154 and throughout the movie you can clearly see the struggles of futuristic living. The United States (and the rest of the world) has become over populated and there are pockets of extreme poverty. Most of the rich have moved into space to a place called Elysium where they enjoy peace and tranquility, endless healthcare and everything is just right. Citizens of Elysium and Earth rarely see each other or for that matter understand each other. Two different cultures, with different values and access to different resources. These futuristic inhabitants clearly live in two different worlds – comfort and security or survival and ingenuity. Sound familiar?

February 22

Walking through data (53:365)

A few posts ago I mentioned a resource for flipping staff meetings (screenr). I find that the ability to do a screen cast is very beneficial. First, just by doing a screen cast, you are showing the staff a new tool that they could use to connect with parents, other staff or students. Secondly, you are able to convey a message. If you are required to do walkthroughs with the staff, how do you share that information? For our school, we use the walkthroughs to measure the academic climate of the building (so we take these very serious). After we look at the data, we all begin to identify areas we want to improve.

 

Here is the screenr that I shared with the staff (and now, you)

February 21

Keeping up with Digital Content (52:365)

Recently the PrincipalCast crew discussed the importance of keeping up with Digital Content. As leaders, we need to be sure that we are growing, so we shared the strategies that we use. As always, I learned a few things and will be trying out some techniques to enhance my professional development. Take a look or listen and maybe you will learn something new…

 

 

Tools to follow blogs: feedly.com, zite, http://www.bloglovin.com/

connectedprincipals.com

http://badgeradmins.wikispaces.com/Admin+Blogs

http://cybraryman.com/blogs2.html

http://archive.principalcenter.com/

http://blog.teachercast.net/

http://ericsheninger.com/esheninger?sid=28

 

Something Awesome (app or tech tool):

Screenr http://www.screenr.com/ also www.screencastomatic.com

“Drafts” app https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/drafts-quickly-capture-notes/id502385074?mt=8 (iPhone) and https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/drafts-for-ipad-quickly-capture/id542797283?mt=8 (iPad)

Wifi File Transfer (for android phone users)

Make sure to share any ideas you have!

February 20

Be careful going down the lane (51:365)

A few minutes after the fall. Maybe I should keep sneakers in my office?

A few minutes after the fall. Maybe I should keep sneakers in my office?

I usually stay late on Tuesdays. It is something my wife and I worked out to allow me to get work done with out the kids bothering me. The past few weeks I have used the time to catch up, write observations, write, blog and grade the papers from my graduate course.

This Tuesday was no different. I had just finished a conversation with an older brother who came to pick up his little sister from the after-school program. He couldn’t make it downstairs because he recently tore his ACL playing basketball.  Basketball? I love playing basketball. It is one of my favorite sports. Then I peered into the gym and guess what? Kids were playing basketball.

I just wanted a 20 minute break to get my heart going to help me stay focused. I ventured to the gym and the Teacher and I took on five 5th graders in half court. 2 on 5 but then again the (2) were adults. We tried to teach the kids about how they outnumbered us and that they should have no problem beating us. Needless to stay, we got out to an 11-0 run and we were hardly trying. Everyone was having fun and we kept trying to encourage the kids to work together.

 

Boot? Until I get my brace this will have to do....

Boot? Until I get my brace this will have to do….

Then I had an opening and I was all alone in the lane. The teacher made a perfect pass and I went up for the layup. As I came down on the side of my ankle I let out a very loud roar. I went down like a ton of bricks. I felt like I was going to vomit. It was bad. The kids opened the gym doors to let a breeze in. I scooted off the court and watched the kids finish the game. They checked in on me and I could tell they felt bad. I eventually waddled out of the gym and went to the Nurse’s office to find ice. I returned to my office and tried to get work done but my ankle was killing me. I called my wife and told her what happened and that I would be home early. Ugh, I really feel like I am getting old!

 

I didn’t break anything but I did a number on my tendons. I will be in a brace for the next three weeks at least. Did I ever mention that I work in a building with lots of stairs and no elevator?

 

All I can say is be careful going down the lane…. Even if you are wide open 🙂

February 19

What’s the difference between old and new? (50:365)

source: kottke.org

source: kottke.org

I love when I hear things such as “no one ever talks to each other anymore because of this technology” and then I see a graphic of people reading the newspaper from the 1950s (see picture). Chances are they were not interacting either.

 

Are people really that different then they were 50 years ago? For instance, was television an interactive device? The radio? The telephone? I know that when I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s I had to be QUIET while my family watched TV. I couldn’t interrupt my mom when she was on the phone, and well I couldn’t pick the radio station in the car (and if a good song was on, I needed to be quiet).

 

So nowadays we put a guilt trip on each other because everyone is on their devices. I find that interesting because I can always stop what I am doing to attend to my children. I can press pause on the DVR even on a live sports event to change the laundry (I will be honest, I don’t want to but I can). My children actually show me their learning through their X-Box and the Ipad.

 

I’m not sure what the difference is between the “old” and the “new”??? Do you?