Last night on the Principalcast Podcast we hosted Kelly Tenkely. Needless to say, she rocked the house! Throughout the podcast she told us her story of how she became a ”connected” educator. She talked about her battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis and how being advised to take time off from teaching, eventually lead her to create the Learning Genome Project, and Anastasis Academy. She discussed her Blogging Alliance days (she blogged every single day for 4 years). Through the podcast, you will learn that no matter what Kelly gets involved in, she always exerts 100% effort!
After the podcast, Theresa and I just looked at each other and went… WOW. Hopefully, you will too!
Lets face it.. things are the way they are because we think this is the way things should be… Sound familiar? Crazy? Maybe a little of both? The fact is that we often get stuck in assumptions or “how things have been done”… For instance, we think schools should look a certain way, smell a certain way, and produce a certain way! When do we ever THINK about this? Even more, when do we ever QUESTION?
Since the summer is a great time for planning the new school year, what will you do this year to challenge the notion of how things have been done? What will you do that will cause you to think, as opposed to react, conform?
Let me know…. your kids are depending on you!
Our Art teacher Meg Peck got a chance to meet Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love!
I think it is important, maybe even imperative to maintain the school blog through the summer. Granted, there may not always be a lot of information to update, but the school must be seen in all its stages.
For instance, each week as I walk throughout the building and consult with the custodians, I take pictures to chart their progress and then report that out to our community (Our 3rd floor is ready, we are redesigning the Library, etc.) In addition, I ask the staff to submit photos from their summer vacations. I feel this is extremely important so our community can see the importance of travel, rejuvenation, or milestones from the staff. Simple, yet very effective ways of maintaining the summer bridge for the community!
Check out the RM Bacon Weekly (and I mean weekly, even in the summer)
Share your school blog stories! What do you do in the summer? Let me know
I love my #PLN. My two co-hosts (Jessica Johnson and Theresa Stager) were talking to me about the Miracle Morning book they were reading. We have talked with guests on the podcast such as Todd Whitaker and Eric Sheninger about how they most of their mornings. We have always come out of those conversations inspired, and challenged! Then, there is the reality of the modern day principal that stays up too late (usually connecting with others online) and wakes up late. It is a frustrating cycle for those who are not in the morning routine… But then there was this book, this voxer group, this podcast, this, this possibility!
I ended up ordering the book and it came in today. I am so excited about reading with this book and working with my PLN to become more effective in the morning… According to the back cover, this book will not only help me with the morning routine, but also with other goals and changes I have only dreamed of…. I took the first step… I got the book and I blogged about it!
Want more information?
Miracle Morning Website
Miracle Morning on Amazon
Miracle Morning on Facebook
Miracle Morning on YouTube
Hal Elrod on Twitter
Where do we find problems? When do we have time to find problems? In researching information for Genius Hour, I came across this video by Ewan McIntosh from his TEDx presentation. Even though the talk is almost 3 years old, the topic could not be more relevant. How do we find problems and how do we allow teachers to find problems?
I can definitely see some of my teachers engaging in problem finding, and I am excited about the possible results from these inquiries. Maybe they will tackle problems that I, as the principal, didn’t even know existed. The sky is the limit, and the problems are not the problems…. In my world, the problems are the opportunities! Once they see the power of problem finding, they will be more comfortable with allowing the students to do the same!
Check out this TEDx talk by Ewan, you will be glad you did!
I have been doing a lot of reflecting and planning for the upcoming school year. Yesterday, I posted about seeing an increase in Genius Hour and Makerspace opportunities for students. Today, I want expand on these ideas in terms of staff development. Genius hour, 20 rule, and a list of other initiatives are based off of the Google development philosophy. I am well aware that Google has since modified its approach to 80/20. With that said, I want to provide the staff with time to work on their own innovative projects….
During the year we have 18 staff meetings scheduled (2 per month)… This year I am going to redesign 4 of those meetings for individuals, or groups to work on something innovative that will benefit students. I wonder what we can accomplish in 4 meetings designed to allow staff to think outside of the box, and try something new! I think this will be the first step in a new direction for professional development.
Here are a few things I am thinking about to give this Genius Hour some parameters:
- What will we do? I will need to teach the staff about the expectations and ideas (let’s face it, some will need to see an example and others may have never seen or heard of such an approach to professional development before) Yet, I cannot and will not spoon feed, and my expectations are that staff will do something with this time besides grade papers, clean up their classrooms, or complain about stuff…
- Google tracks projects during their innovation time – I will need to develop a process to allow teachers to discuss/report their projects
- Staff will have to trust that failure is an option – For some reason, education does not truly embrace failure as a learning opportunity and that will be something to overcome
- We need to create small, achievable projects/innovations – Since the 4 meetings will be spread throughout the year, staff will need to start small.
- We will need patience and be sure to help everyone innovate
What are your thoughts?
As we plan for the upcoming school year, I feel we are on the cusp of making remarkable changes in kids lives… There are a few ideas that may help us on on our journey… Makerspaces and Genius Hour….
Let’s face it, we have all but taken the hands-on learning out of schools and replaced it with a focus on standardized assessment preparation…. No wonder that some students are turned off when they enter the building…In their eyes, they are not “doing” anything… For the most part, they are right… Even though research has pointed out time and time again that we learn by doing, how often do we give kids the opportunity to tinker, think, research, collaborate, design, fail, replicate? Simple stated, Makerspace, can be an excellent use of space in the Library for kids to make and experiment!
Based off of Google’s infamous 80/20 rule (80% of the time you spend on Google, and 20% you spend on you) Genius Hour has emerged as another innovative activity to provide opportunities for students. In researching Genius Hour, I came across this video that shows the potential impact this could have on your school!
Kelly is always thinking!
The Principalcast Podcast will be hosting Kelly Tenkley on Sunday, July 20, 2014 @ 8:15 pm EST live on teachercast.tv! Kelly Tenkely is an educational change maker. Kelly has been a teacher, technology integration specialist, educational consultant, prolific blogger, education reform conference organizer, and speaker.
Most recently, Kelly imagined a new model of education, one that is honoring to students as unique individuals. Kelly started a preschool through 8th grade school, Anastasis Academy, based on this model. She is diligently working on her latest invention, The Learning Genome Project, to make the Anastasis model of education available to all children.
So check us out on teachercast.tv Sunday, July 20, 2014 @ 8:15 pm EST to learn from Kelly!
I was reviewing a soon to be released book Leading With A Coaching Hat by Jessica Johnson, Shira Leibowitz and Kathy Perret when I came across a quote that really struck a chord… “If you permit it, you promote it.”
The point was made in the chapter Addressing Concerns that the principal plays an important role in dealing with ineffective practices throughout their school. Think about that again, “If you permit it, you promote it.”
So the next time you are walking around the building and you see everything from teachers showing an unrelated movie, under-utilizing instructional time or yelling at students and you choose to do nothing… you are promoting those behaviors…. This really puts things into perspective…
I can’t wait until they publish Leading With A Coaching Hat…. Until then, I will be cognizant of what I permit, because it is what I promote.
Join the annual Reform Symposium Free Online Conference (RSCON) – an online global event highlighting “wow” moments in teaching and learning. RSCON5, will take place July 11th – 13th, 2014 and will feature 60+presentations, 11 keynote speakers from across the globe, panel discussions, tech/app/lesson swaps, the EdInspire Awards, and plenaries Dean Shareski and Kevin Honeycutt. Join the Future of Education community to keep updated with these events and connect with over 10,000 educators worldwide. See more information at www.reformsymposium.com.
For those interested in hearing an AMAZING panel of Connected Educators discussing how they are using Digital Media in their schools and classrooms, check out the TeacherCast Keynote Panel Revolutionize Your Classroom by Producing Mindblowing Media on Saturday July 12 at 3pm EST featuring Jeff Bradbury, Dr. Spike Cook, Theresa Stager, Sam Patterson, and Chris Nesi.
I look forward to seeing you at 3:00 PM EST today!