How do you connect with 400 + educators at one time? (277:365)



How do you connect with over 400 educators from 6 different countries from around the world at once with out having to leave your house, travel, dress up or register? Basically, all you have to do is join twitter and follow the #satchat hashtag every Saturday, and you will find connections abound.


This Saturday, I had the pleasure of being a co-moderator with the #satchat crew. Scott Rocco, Brad Currie and Billy Krawkower volunteer their time every Saturday to provide the format for the discussion. All I had to do as the co-moderator was provide 6 questions, and be sure to keep the discussion going. Since it is Connected Educators Month, I wanted to do something besides just having an hour dedicated to “preaching to the choir” but rather I wanted it to be an opportunity to discuss how and why were are connected, and more importantly, what are we doing to share this news with others!


Here were my questions…. If you were not able to participate, please feel free to send me a comment of your responses.

  • What did it take for you to become a connected educator!?
  • What do you tell people about being connected?
  • What is the biggest obstacle to getting educators connected?
  • How does being connected assist you with the transparency of your class, school or district?
  • How much time does it take to be a connected educator?
  • What does your PLN mean to you?

It’s funny, I said that #satchat is an hour, but it took me over two hours to go through my feed and connect/reconnect with the participants. So the discussion goes well beyond the 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM time slot. That is why the #satchat hashtag usually trends all day on twitter. It is so powerful!


Here is the storify of the experience.

United in pink… and wearing it like a Boss! (276:365)

Just a few of the staff who were wearing pink.... like a boss!

Just a few of the staff who were wearing pink…. like a boss!

I love the synergy at our school. It is infectious. For instance, each October we celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One of our staff members, who lost her mother to Breast Cancer, honors her mother’s legacy by encouraging us to act.

This year she and another staff member got together and designed shirts for us to wear each Friday. In fact, their passion for this is so contagious that the rest of the district is joining in with their own shirts.


Awareness is only part of it. We also educate the students and parents about WHY we wear pink every Friday. We participate in walks, donate money, and volunteer our time to raise awareness. It is truly something to celebrate as we raise awareness to this awful cancer.

we wear pink like a boss!

we wear pink like a boss!

In addition, a few years back one of our parents was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. We made sure to flood her with positive vibes and support. Her tenacity was contagious! She ended up beating that cancer and now substitutes and serves as an aide for us. We have another staff member, who was a NJ state trooper, who also had cancer and was able to overcome it. She now assists teachers and students with positive behavior support.


The stories go on and on. We have staff members who have had family members diagnosed with the disease. Everyone on the staff has someone (usually not too far removed) that this cancer has impacted.


This brings us together! United in pink and wearing it like a boss!


Just an average day (275:365)

Sometimes I like to rely on the non-linguistic representations (ie pictures/images) to describe a day in the life of a principal. Below you see the awesomeness that I stumble upon on an average day in my school.


The energy is contagious. It emanates from the staff and students like a perfume shop in a local mall. It smells of engagement, 21st century learning, and exploration… Just saying!


Here are some pictures from my adventures in learning (just an average day):


Using legos during Genius Hour


5th graders sharing their first field trip


4th grade students making healthy smoothies as a reward!


3rd grade students using me as a character in their story


Scan a story to read using your device!


Happy Connected Educator Month! (274:365)



Did you know that October is Connected Educator Month? Yes, that’s right this month we celebrate all of the ways that educators have connected using Social Media and Web 2.0 tools. If it wasn’t for connected education.

Throughout the month, I will be sharing stories and best practices about being connected. I highly recommend that you purchase the Corwin Connected Educator’s Bundle featuring some of the leading educators in the connected movement!


I would not have been able to do the following if I was not connected:

  • Connected with other educators from around the world
  • Develop a PLN (Persona/Professional Learning Network
  • Use social media to connect with parents and community members
  • Make videos
  • Write blogs
  • Use apps to further my learning, engage students, and inspire teachers

There is so much to be celebrated with the Connected Educator Month…. What will you do to celebrate?

Using the podcast to tell the story (273: 365)

I have recently been working with my colleagues at the Millville Public Schools to tell the story of our district. Podcasts have become so easy to create and publish. For instance, I record the videos on Google + which automatically uploads the video to YouTube. Then, I edit the video on YouTube’s editing channel. I use a pre-recorded video that was made by our students as the introduction. Viola… a podcast.


We will soon have the podcast on Soundcloud and iTunes. I will explain that process in a future blog post.


In the meantime, please enjoy episode 1 and 2 on YouTube.

Episode #1 Opening Day


Episode # 2

Thanks for the comments (272:365)



I love getting comments on this blog. I especially love it when someone asks more questions that I can carry into another blog post. Recently, someone read my blog post from January 30, 2012. Seems like a long time ago. I had to go back and read the post.

If you would like to read that post click here.


In the comments just posted the other day, Ana wrote:

Hey Dr. Spikecook

I had no idea how a principal’s normal day is, your story is very entertaining and eye-opener on how your job is so demanding and so human.

I would like to hear from you also, what is what YOU need as a professional? what are your main concerns every day? Your aspirations as a principal? What motivates you or actually hurts you?

Thank you for sharing!


What is what YOU need as a professional? I need to be able to grow. I need to feel stimulated, challenged and supported. I need flexibility, and the ability to take risks.


What are your main concerns every day? My main concerns are that my students and teachers feel safe and supported. I want to ensure that we are providing the best possible learning environment for all of our learners.


Your aspirations as a principal? I want my school to be the best school in the world. I want it to be the most innovative, and cutting edge school. I want teachers, parents and kids to be happy and want to learn. Simple as that 🙂


What motivates you or actually hurts you? I get my motivation from others, by reading, and connecting with my PLN. What hurts me is when I feel like I have not followed through on something or that I let someone down.

Use animoto to tell your story (271:365)




Animoto is a very simple website (and app) that allows you to create video slideshows for your classroom or school. All you have to do is sign up (educators are given a special discount), and begin loading your photos or videos. Then,  you are given a song (or you can find on their site) and a design for your show.


I recently made an Animoto for our September rewind. Animoto made it so easy for me. All I had to do was find my photos (which is usually a process because they are all over the place). Once I uploaded the photos, I just sorted them which was extremely easy to do. In a few minutes I had my first Animoto completed!


I look forward to making more Animotos!

Here is our September Rewind (my first Animoto)

What is #onemeasure? (270:365)



There is a new hash tag in town… #onemeasure. What is it, and more importantly… why? Well, let’s just say that there are many people in education, and politics that feel the need to judge a school on one measure… standardized assessment results. I do not agree with this, and I know I am not alone… So I want to highlight (and look for other like-minded schools and educators) who agree that schools are more than #onemeasure.


Let’s tell the story of schools beyond the standardized assessment…..  #onemeasure to your blogs, tweets, and pictures! GO!

Positive Behavior in Schools (269:365)

photo (30)

Students who earn Bear Bucks can redeem them each month

The concept is easy…. reward the students who display the behavior you seek…. hold the students accountable who don’t, and teach them the proper way…. Spend time with all students, and develop a rapport. Sounds easy, right? It actually takes a lot of time and energy to do it right.


Our school spends money, time, and effort to establish a school climate that is conducive to learning. We have 3 very simple rules:

  1. Be Safe
  2. Be Responsible
  3. Be Respectful
photo 5 (17)

Students engaged in the Dizzy Bat Challenge!

We use a progressive discipline structure that emphasizes patience, education, support, and encouragement. We also inundate the students with positive messages (we really attempt to have a lopsided ratio of positive to negative comments to students). At the conclusion of each month we reflect on the data, and reward those students who earned the “Bear Bucks.”


This month, in addition to “selling” Bacon gear, toys, and technology time, we continued with our “Bear Challenge.” This month’s Bear Challenge was the classic Dizzy Bat (with a twist). The students (and some teachers) spun in a circle for 30 seconds to get real dizzy, then they had to go to the other side of the gym and build a puzzle. Needless to say, the kids loved it. I tried it and literally fell to the floor before regaining my balance to then finish the puzzle. It was so much fun! Just the way school should be!

Another formative assessment tool: Plickers (268:365)



Yesterday I blogged about how Kahoot can assist you with formative assessment. Today I want to continue that thread and tell you about another excellent app… plickers. The purpose of plickers is to provide teachers and students with real-time formative assessment data with out student’s needing devices. Sounds interesting? It is!


Picture you are in the classroom and you don’t have a device for all the kids. How would you collect the data on what the students retained? Sure, you could do an “exit ticket” and then you have to go through all of the pieces paper. With plickers, all you have to do is register the students online, get one device that can scan a code, and you will be on your way. In addition, it will track your data week after week so you can see how your students are progressing.


Check out this video to learn more: