80/20 staff meetings this year (197:365)

source: thenovicespiritualist.wordpress.com

source: thenovicespiritualist.wordpress.com

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:

  1. 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…
  2. Google tracks projects during their innovation time – I will need to develop a process to allow teachers to discuss/report their projects
  3. 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
  4. We need to create small, achievable projects/innovations – Since the 4 meetings will be spread throughout the year, staff will need to start small.
  5. We will need patience and be sure to help everyone innovate

What are your thoughts?



How do we develop our Geniuses? (196:365)

source: www.keepaustinweirdhomes.com

source: www.keepaustinweirdhomes.com

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!

.@principalcast to host @ktenkley (195:365)

Kelly is always thinking!

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!

“If you permit it, you promote it” (194:365)

source: peoplebeforeprogress.com.au

source: peoplebeforeprogress.com.au

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.



Check out #RSCON5 (193:365)

rscon5logoJoin 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!

How do you deal with rejection? (192:365)

source: mentalfloss.com

source: mentalfloss.com

There are countless stories of people who overcame rejection. Each of these stories serve as inspiration to those who face similar situations. Ever heard of the Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss? This book has been read by generations of kids and adults…. Did you know that the manuscript for Dr. Seuss’s first book, And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street, was denied 27 times before getting published? Did you know that Henry Ford, the famous founder of Ford Motor Company, failed 5 times before establishing one of the most successful car companies? Or did you know that Thomas Edison failed 1,000 times before inventing the light bulb? When Edison was in school, his teachers felt he was ‘too stupid to learn anything.’ There are countless stories highlighted in the article, 50 Famously Successful People Who Failed At First.


When I look back on my short career in education, I have dealt with my fair share of rejection. It’s interesting because we don’t like to talk about rejection in education even though in other industries (as listed above) we celebrate the rejection stories. Well, I am ready to share my rejection stories, and how I dealt with the rejection.

Here are a few of my rejections:

  • I was not accepted to college through regular admissions – I was required to go through an alternate admissions program
  • Once in college, I had to take remedial writing courses, and actually had a professor ask me if English was a second language for me
  • I have been rejected by 17 school districts for an administration position
  • Presentation proposals for the following National conferences have been rejected: NAESP, ASCD, ISTE (twice)
  • I have never won a Teacher, Guidance Counselor, Administrator, Blogging or Social Media award

So, how have I deal with these rejections?

  • Even though I was not accepted through regular admissions, I went on to earn a Bachelors, 2 Masters, and a Doctorate degree!
  • After taking countless writing courses, I have my first book coming out in September, and I am currently working on my second book!
  • After being rejected 17 times (either not getting interviews, or getting interviews but not getting second interviews) I have been employed as a Principal for the past 3 years in the best school in the world!
  • Ironically, even though I have been rejected for National conference presentations, I have presented at NAESP and ASCD in 2013…. I continue to apply and present at conferences despite previous rejections 🙂
  • I am not even sure where I stand on academic awards, but I still work tirelessly to be the best administrator I can be for the teachers and students. I continue to blog, and use Social Media to connect with awesome educators throughout the globe. Everything I learn, I use to make my school and district better!

Hopefully, you may be reading this thinking about any of the rejections you have faced in your career…. Maybe you are down in the dumps because of the rejections… In my opinion, they are only rejections if you let them be… They only hold you back if you let them!


How do you deal with rejections?

Find someone better than you (191:365)

source: thenovicespiritualist.wordpress.com

source: thenovicespiritualist.wordpress.com

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)

source: commons.wikimedia.org

source: commons.wikimedia.org

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….