Insights Into Learning

Find someone better than you (191:365)



Are you looking to improve in an area? Not happy with your weight? Want to be a better writer? Speaker? Gardener? If you are looking to be better…. find someone better than you! For instance, I was recently talking with an old friend of mine who is looking to expand his horizons…. He wants to be a comedian! So in preparing to be a comedian, he went to a few open mic nights and heard some really funny people. When he was in his local coffee shop he ran into one of the people he saw on stage… He asked for some help and the two collaborated for a few months on comedy. Guess what? My friend became a better comic as a result. So if you are looking to improve yourself in anyway, find someone better than you… and learn all you can!


For connected educators this is very easy and accessible… If there is someone who you admire on Twitter, all you have to do is follow them, check out their blog, or what they share… Once you have spent time learning from them, reach out to them to tell them how much you have learned… You may even want to interview them through Skype or GHO…. Next thing you know…. you will be better because of it!


Check out my summer series I did in 2012 and 2013 because I wanted to learn from those I admired! It helped me so much!

In 2012, I reached out to George Couros. After I interviewed him, I continued to reach out to about 9 other connected educators I admired… Here are the rest of the interviews

In 2013, I continued connected to educators. I started out by interviewing Rich KikerHere are the rest of the interviews...

Very funny… world without WiFi (190:365)

I was scrolling through Twitter today and I saw a link for a funny video posted about the world without WiFi… It was re-tweeted by Josh Stumpenhorst who found it through Adam Bellow….All of this was done using WiFi… I clicked the link (using WiFi) and watched the video (using WiFi)… I have to agree (without WiFi) that it was funny… So I embedded into this blog (using WiFi) and posted the video (using WiFi)…. Well, I did spend time outside today :)


Reflection – 5 simple steps (189:365)



Reflection is key to growth. Whenever you have the time (and summer is a perfect time for educators) you need to reflect on your experiences. Here are 5 key ways to reflect:

1. Find a mentor, a trusted guide, an impartial 3rd party and tell them about your experiences

2. Write it out! We are in the education business, we need to be modeling what we want others to do
3. Actively seek out others who have expedience similar things – Just have to start reading blogs and you will certainly find examples
4. Silence is the backdrop of all thought – Turn down the noise of life, and relax, think
5. Plan – So, what are you going to do with your reflections? Put them into action, but first, develop a plan


Reflection can come in all different shapes and sizes… Take your time with it….



.@Principalcast interview with @Petermdewitt (188:365)

Last Sunday the Principalcast crew sat down with Peter DeWitt. In this interview, we discussed everything from packing for travel, the principalship, getting up early for presentations, and all of Peter’s new projects… Take a listen, you will be glad you did!


Walking a Round (187:365)

I’ve been playing golf since I was 16 years old. When I first started, I walked every round. Step by step I walked and tried to get better (which is not an easy task). As time went on, and I graduated high school and college my focus with golf changed. I began driving the cart. This transition coincided with my increase in salary and my desire to “enjoy” golf more…. Or so I thought.


Today I was golfing with my brother-in-law and his colleague. They asked if we could walk the round. At first I was a bit taken aback… driving the cart saves time, energy, and well…. I haven’t walked a round for 20 years! My brother-in-law said that he has been walking rounds lately, and he ensured me that I would cover about 6 miles. Even though I was a little reluctant, I did it. Ironically, our round was not any slower. I didn’t necessarily play better, but I certainly enjoyed the experience.


I had a few take-aways from walking the round:

  • As you get older, it is extremely important to get exercise whenever, and wherever you can
  • Walking the course gave me a deeper appreciation of the rolling hills, sand traps and fairways
  • I walked about 6 miles and burned about 1500 calories 
  • Each step is as important as the last, and all propel you to the final destination
  • It’s cheaper to walk the course, and that makes it easier on the wallet :)
  • Take chances, risks, and the rewards will be forthcoming!


I am now looking forward to my next round… walking!


The @Principalcast Summer Series (186:365)

GKvIx1N7This summer the Principalcast Crew will be continuing the learning process with some of education’s greatest minds. We are making a few changes to our schedule. Our Summer recording time will be 8:15 PM EST on Teachercast. Since it is the summer, we are planning to take some Sunday’s off to spend with our family.

The Principalcast Podcast is  weekly round table discussion about current topics in educational leadership. The concept was developed by Theresa Stager, who at the time, was a first year principal seeking ways to learn from others. Theresa reached out to Jessica Johnson, and they invited Spike to join. Principalcast began podcasting in September of 2013.

Each week we interview teachers, principals, superintendents, authors and presenters to learn about how to become more effective educators! We are dedicated to being the lead learners in all that we do. During the first year we had 32 episodes that are available on YouTube, Itunes, and at Teachercast.

Make sure to connect with the co-hosts Theresa Stager, Jessica Johnson, Spike Cook, and our producer, Jeff Bradbury!

Check out the schedule below and we look forward to connecting with you!

All Times 8:15 PM EST
July 6 – (Episode 33) Peter DeWitt – Life After the Principalship
July 20 – (Episode 34) Kelly Tenkley Want to start your own school?
July 27 – (Episode 35) Daisy Dyer Duerr Summer Learning Opportunities

August 10 – (Episode 36) Ben Gilpin: #Edcampleadership
August 24 – (Episode 37) Chris Wejr Preparing for the New School Year
August 31 – (Episode 38) Special Mystery Guest (s) Preparing for the New School Year Part 2

Tune into Teachercast to catch all the action. Follow us on Twitter and check out the Principalcast website


Happy 4th of July! (185:365)



Today is a special day for our country! All the way back in 1776 we declared our Independence and began our quest to be the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. We celebrate this holiday by honoring those who have protected and served the country! Most Americans enjoy parades, family barbecues and fireworks on this special day.


Our position in the global landscape has grown and changed over the years. We continue to debate at the local, state and federal level. Thankfully, our voices, votes, and ideas matter. We have a unique opportunity in this country to challenge the process, ask questions, and ensure that our values are protected.


In researching for this post, I found an article that listed 25 Fascinating Facts about America and USA Fact Slides 

Here are a few I found interesting:

  • Did you know that Alaska has the highest percentage of people who walk to work?
  • 27% of Americans do not think we landed on the moon
  • Montana has 3 times as many cows as people
  • The Declaration of Independence was written on Hemp paper
  • The Liberty Bell has been  cracked (and silent) since 1846
  • Virginia has 8 Presidents who were born in the state making it the most in the country
  • 7% of Americans claim they never bath
  • 1 in 8 Americans have been employed by McDonald’s
  • 8 Billion Chickens are consumed in the US each year
  • Every tweet Americans send is being archived by the Library of Congress

Are we making creators? Or Conformists? (184:365)



Here is a great quote from Piaget that I saw on twitter today. It really struck a chord with me because I often wonder if we are simply educating kids into the society we have, as opposed to providing opportunity for them to create something new.


I’m convinced that the emergence of the standardized assessment movement is clearly dedicated to thwarting creativity, and innovation. Without “getting those test scores up” your school is viewed as a failure and treated as such. Those with high test scores fear taking risks could impact those same scores…. What a conundrum we have bubbled ourselves into….

Principalcast to host @petermdewitt (183:365)



The Principalcast Crew welcomes Peter DeWitt to the show on Sunday, July 6 at our new (summer) time of 8:15 PM EST. Peter will be discussing his tenure as a Principal, his new position as a Visible Learning Trainer, and the upcoming Connected Educator Series which is anticipated to be released in the fall of 2014.

Peter is an author, speaker, and presenter. His blog, Finding Common Ground, is published by Education Week. He is a freelance writer for Vanguard Magazine. Peter published his first education book, Dignity for All: Safeguarding LGBT Students in 2012. He contributed a chapter in Peter Lang’s Authentic Alternatives to Accountability and Standardization. He has two forthcoming books to be released this fall: School Climate Change (co-authored with Sean Slade) through ASCD Arias, and Flipping Communication Doesn’t Have to Mean Reinventing the Wheel, through Corwin Press.

Peter spent 11 years as a K-5 teacher and 8 years as an elementary Principal. As a principal, Peter was named the 2013 Outstanding Educator of the Year by School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS). He recently resigned from his Principal position to focus his efforts on writing and his new position as a Visible Learning Trainer.

Peter has presented at local, state, national and international conferences. Most notably, Peter presented at the NAESP, ASCD, ICLE’s Model Schools, and was a panelist on NBC’s Education Nation.

Once again, join us on Sunday, July 6 8:15 EST on Teachercast!


Half-way there! (182:365)



So today marks the HALF WAY point of my Blog 365 challenge. I started this journey on January 1, 2014, and haven’t stopped yet. There have been some good days and some rough days…


There are days when I have blogged a few times to catch up or plan ahead, and other days where I have simply waited and waited for inspiration. Luckily, I have always been inspired by something, or someone…


Here are some of the sources for my inspiration:

  • The Leadership Journey (there is always something to reflect on)
  • My family, friends and co-workers
  • My Personal/Professional Learning Network – Fortunately, through being a connected educator, I have the ability to connect anytime, anywhere through social media! It’s all a click away
  • Life, observations, musings – You never know what lessons life will teach you
  • Readers, and interactions on this blog

Although this challenge has not been easy, I can thank those listed above for all of their help…. Now, back to planning Blog #183 (tomorrow is almost here)