June 27

Reflect and plan: It’s as easy as 3, 2, 1

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RM Bacon Teachers engaged in the 3-2-1 activity

A few weeks ago I read the ASCDEdge blog post 3-2-1 Countdown to Summer by Kevin Parr. It was just what I needed. It was just what our staff needed. Since the concept was so applicable, I was able to integrate it into my final staff meeting of the year. Our purpose was to reflect on the year and to begin to plan for the next school year.

 

After introducing the concept, I had the teachers work individually to identify their 3-2-1.

3 to Keep – Taking from the blog post, teachers “identified 3 practices that were working for them.”

2 to Tweak – Teachers were asked to identify 2 activities/practices that they would like to continue, but that needed a little improvement or “tweaking.”

1 New – Teachers were asked to identify one area that they would like to try that is NEW to them.

 

Putting the activity into motion …  

RM Bacon teachers engaged in the 3-2-1 activity

RM Bacon teachers engaged in the 3-2-1 activity

After working individually, the teachers shared their 3-2-1 in small groups. These discussions were very rich with reflection, connections, and new ideas. Then we shared out in a large group for everyone to hear. We learned so much about the year. Here are some of the insights:

Keeping

Teachers flipping their instruction

Using data to improve writing

Focus on the Whole Child

Class Dojo

Classroom blogs

 

Tweaking

Centers

Classroom management

Classroom behavioral plans

Professional Learning Communities

Genius Hour

 

New

First aide supplies for recess

Class Dojo

Remind

New components to reading series

 

 My reflection …  

RM Bacon Teachers engaged in the 3-2-1 activity

RM Bacon Teachers engaged in the 3-2-1 activity

After the 3-2-1 workshop, I challenged the staff to try this with the students. I was pleasantly surprised how the teachers then used this with the students. They had the students reflect on their class using the 3-2-1. This feedback will help the teachers as they plan for next year! One grade level even tweaked the activity, and had the students change the 1 new to 1 that should go. I liked that approach and if I do this again, I would like to see an area for one to go.

 

As the Principal, I felt this activity was very easy to implement, and the feedback from the teachers was amazing. I was amazed at all of the insights from this year. I was able to see what is working in the school and what needs to be improved. The activity gave me an opportunity to listen to teachers, and hopefully empower them to take chances to improve their learning environment.

 

I want to thank Kevin Parr for putting together the activity.

June 27

Join us at #empowerED

EmpowerEDlogoLooking for a conference in August that could invigorate your staff, district or most importantly, you? Join an action packed team at the EmpowerED Conference scheduled for August 6-7th.

There are so many awesome presenters that will be gathered at EmpowerED… For instance, the Keynote speaker is George Couros! George Couros is currently a Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning with Parkland School Division, located in Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada, as well as an innovative teaching, learning, and leadership consultant. He is passionate about distributed leadership within my division, and believe that creating a collaborative environment with all stakeholders, will help to ensure that we meet the best needs of all children.

 

In addition to George, there are dozens of presenters that I learn from everyday! Here are a list of the presenters. These educators are accessible through Social Media, and can easily be part of your Professional Learning Network! Check out the list of presentations and strands where you will learn about:

  • Branding your school/district
  • Isolation in leadership
  • Becoming connected
  • Global learning
  • 1 to 1
  • App fluency
  • Flipped leadership
  • Empowering student voice
  • Transforming your Help Desk with students
  • Developing Digital Citizens
  • Understanding relevance in technology and leadership

 

Updates and pricing information:

  • $299 per individual
  • $274 groups of 5+ (must all register at the same time)
  • $25 off for attendees at ISTE, BLC and NAESP (see attached flyers with promo codes listed that they will need to enter at registration in order to receive this price)
  • “Bring a Buddy” – attendees already registered will receive a complimentary copy of their choice of a publication from the Connected Educator Series of their choice for referring a friend to attend the conference with them

Want to learn more about the inter-workings of the conference? There are many ways to connect:

 

Let’s pack Grafton High School with people excited to connect with each other and learn about integrating technology into our schools and districts!

 

June 7

Who is ready to learn how to Cram? Guest post by @flashcards

Source: cram.com

Source: cram.com

Every student has his or her preferences when it comes to learning. Some get excited about math while others prefer history or astronomy.

The formula for teaching many of these subjects can be pretty straightforward. Review a chapter or lesson in class, take questions, do some sample problems and send students on their way with homework to solidify their knowledge of that day’s lesson. This is a formula that works well when students enjoy the material.

But what can be done when they don’t? How do you motivate individual students without sacrificing the rest of the class? In my experience as the designer of an education technology software, the key is taking a learning tool and expanding it into something that can be used for fun.

When designing out educational product we decided to focus on flashcards because they have been used since the early 19th century and have remained viable through massive changes that have happened over the last 200 years (the invention of the computer, cellular phones, wide spread internet adoption, tablets, etc). Today opportunities for students are better than ever because we can put an almost unlimited number of flashcards in a pocket or backpack by putting them on phones and tablets.

cram.com

cram.com

When we created our software, Cram.com, our intention was to load it up with features. We thought that turning the flashcards into a practice test, providing options in a lot of languages, allowing you to sort your cards, were all things that students and teachers would want.

What we discovered instead is that kids simply like games (surprise!) and that’s made the biggest difference towards people enjoying our product not just using it. We quickly attached two games to our product. The games not only help make learning fun but the competition aspect behind them helps push learning-adverse students to better themselves and raise their test scores along side their game scores.

With the competition aspect, points are assigned on a continuous spectrum, so every kid will get a different score. Some of our teachers have used that facet to award extra credit or the opportunity for the student with the highest score to skip a test. Even the kids who don’t get the opportunity to skip the test will have competed enough for the top prize that they are much more likely ace the test anyway.

Getting good user feedback has always been among our number one priorities. Through that feedback we’ve been thrilled to learn that when it comes to the internet and mobile apps, a lot of difference can be made in the classroom with a creative teacher willing to embrace a new technology. More importantly, these teachers all understand that learning can and should still be fun.

We’re also excited that Dr. Cook has been showing off our product to our third grade teachers and we thank him for letting us write a guest post on his wonderful blog.
Todd Clemens, Co-Founder Cram.com