Archive for the ‘communication’ Category

TASSP 3

 

This is my second post as a review of the sessions I attended while at this year’s TASSP Summer Workshop in Austin, Texas.  I was fortunate to, once again, be able to attend this outstanding opportunity for professional development as well as get the opportunity to network with other principals and administrators from across the state.

The second session I attended was from Don Jacobs, an elementary principal from Royce City.  The title to his session was Effective Digital Leadership — Moving Our Schools Forward.  You can follow him on twitter @Don Jacobs.

This session was an excellent opportunity to get some solid information that we can all use immediately.  Here’s a summary of my notes:

  • If you are looking for a timer, just search YouTube.
  • Instead of sending your staff email after email, create a blog and compile all information in a single post and send it once a week.  This will prevent something from getting deleted or lost from all the email that you send.  Pluse each post is archived so you can find all information very easily.
  • If you do a “Teacher of the Month”, use a Google Doc to have everyone vote.  This will automatically tally all votes. (and you can send the link in your weekly blog)
  • Use videos instead of a lengthy email when you really want to explain something.  Post to YouTube and send the link.  This way everyone can watch it over and over if needed.
  • In place of having a parent meeting, make a video and post to YouTube.  Send the link to the parents.
  • Use a video to send to faculty and staff (and you can also have students watch it too) to explain all of the beginning of the year “stuff”
  • When you post videos on YouTube, you can make to where access can only come from a shared link.  You can also make your videos private.
  • Social Media is a great way to communicate with parents.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and also by text message (Remind 101).  Feedback says that this is what parents and kids want.
  • For a school Facebook — create a Page NOT a PROFILE.  go to yoru settings and turn off the page visibility while you are making this.  Set your profanity filter to STRONG.  In Page moderation you can set the list of words that Facebook will block automatically.  You are able to delete and post that is inappropriate.
  • You are able to link Facebook and Twitter together so all you have to do is post to one and it will automatically post to the other.
  • You can also use Remind 101, a free text messaging service that has recently updated the app to where you can tweet the message directly from the app.  If your Twitter is linked to your Facebook to post automatically, then is essence you posted once and it went to three different avenues for communication to parents.
  • Parents generally use on or the other — Facebook and Twitter.
  • Use QR codes for daily announcements.  Post them outside of each teacher’s classrooms as well as various places around campus.  Note:  by doing this you eliminate making announcements over the intercom which means that there can be no last minute announcements.  Everyone must prepare ahead of time.  I got this idea from Victor Sauceda from Granbury High School.  We were sitting next to each other and talking about how to save time during the school day.  You can follow him on twitter @VictorSauceda.
  • Make sure to have a #hashtag for your school and use it every time you tweet.
  • Use edweb.net for free webinars for professional development.
  • Photo Apps that are good…1.  Pic Collage,    2.  Pic Stitch,    3.  Blurr — this one allows you to blur out any student’s face and still be able to post the photo.
  • Presentation / Story Telling apps:  Chatter pix, Haiku Deck — this is a simple way to put a presentation together, Store House, PowToon (www.powtoon.com) — this website allows you to create professional looking presentations with animated videos.
  • Save all your documents to cloud storage like Google Drive, Evernote, Box,  and Dropbox.
  • Kids are fearless when using technology.  Teachers and administrators need to be this way too.

 

 

 

You Matter

How would you feel if someone told you that YOU MATTER?  How hard is it to let someone know that they really do matter?

This weekend I sent an email with a link to a YouTube video from Angela Maiers to everyone in our school district.  I usually don’t do this … I would usually just send to everyone on my campus, but this time I thought the message in this video was so powerful that everyone in my district needed to see it.  My hope is that it touched everyone in a way that would motivate each person to tell someone else … a student, a colleague, a friend, anyone … that YOU MATTER!

I got the following response from one of my teachers and I thought it was worthy to share with everyone.

I think sometimes we are so wrapped up in delivering our curriculum that we forget that our kids learn as much from us about how to treat people and how to appreciate life as they do about our subjects.

No former student over the last twenty four years has ever contacted me to say thank you I really appreciated all the lessons you taught me about Biology!  However, they have looked me up to say thanks for having their back, being their ‘school mom’, or making them feel smart.  I know we all have had this experience and if we are honest it is what keeps us in this profession.  I think the truth of what the lady on the video says is that if we are positive with our kids and make them feel they matter then probably everything else academically has a chance of falling into place.

What boggles my mind is that there are still teachers who perceive students as the ‘enemy’.  Almost every time I go to a workshop there will be someone griping about their students.  This speaks volumes about the attitude of the teacher speaking.  The sad thing is the people who need to watch this video most probably won’t or won’t perceive that they are the type of teacher who puts kids down and build negative barriers.  Alternatively, they take pride in the fact that our students ‘don’t like them’ like it is a badge of honor.  I think this is both sad and deeply disturbing. Everyone loses.

Long response, I know, but I’ve been thinking about this most of the day.  This video has an important message EVERYONE needs to watch it, from the students all the way up!

Thanks Angela Maiers for your Two Words Changing the World … You Matter.

You can follow Angela Maiers on Twitter @AngelaMaiers and you can go to her website at www.angelamaiers.com.

Here is the video I sent to everybody in our district.  Hopefully it will inspire you like it did me.

 

What do you think about this movement?  How do you let others know that They Matter?

Remember .. YOU MATTER!

Teh Scot Wright Daily

Every morning around 7:30 ( I just changed it from 8:30) my online newspaper, The Scot Wright Daily, comes out electronically.  It has articles, videos, photos that can give you ideas, tips, motivational tools, technology information … there’s something everyday that you can learn from.

If you want an easy way to get one small bit of your daily dose of information so you can learn, please consider subscribing to it.  It comes out daily on twitter as well, but when you subscribe, it comes out via email to your inbox.  You don’t have to do anything but read, learn, and share.  (Remember to share with your PLN and help them learn too).

Thanks for reading my blog, The Wright Stuff.  I hope you like it.  And I hope you consider reading and subscribing to The Scot Wright Daily.

Thanks for sharing.

Twitter-icon

Last summer at the TASSP Summer workshop I attended a session on Twitter.  I created a Twitter account during that session and that started me on the path to where I am today.  Now, one year later, I am going to present three sessions on using Twitter to build your PLN (Personal Learning Network).  Up until that point last summer, I relied on others for my professional development, but since then, I have been learning something new almost daily … and it’s been on my own terms.

I would like to acknowledge a few people who I have found through Twitter.  They have shared some resources that I will use during my presentation this week, and without being on Twitter, I would never have been able to find this information as easily as I have.  They are a valuable resource for me, and I am very grateful to each of them for the part they have played in helping me grow as an educator.

Thank you …

  1. Eric Sheninger – @NMHS_Principal – Twitter Resources, Apps, and Tools
  2. Daniel Zeevi – @DanielZeevi – Twitter 101: What is Twitter Really About
  3. Leland Rechis – @leland – Introducing Fast Follow, and Other SMS Tips
  4. Jerry Blumengarten, AKA Cybraryman – @cybraryman1 – Cybraryman’s Internet Catalogue
  5. Tom Murray – @tomascmurray – and Chad Evans – @cevans5095 – Google Doc — Weekly Twitter Chats
  6. Tony Sinanis – @Cantiague_Lead – Everything We Need to Know We Learned on Twitter
  7. Erin Klein – @KleinErin – Twitter for teachers: Erin Klein’s Awesome 10-Minute Video Tells All
  8. Jeff Herb – @jeffherb – How to Join Twitter
  9. Rita Clawson – @RitaClawson – Clawson’s Bloggity
  10. Sally Cariker – @carikers –Random Thoughts and Musings
  11. Jennifer Rogers – Technology Times in an E-Classroom

It truly has been an interesting year for me as far as my professional development goes.  I cannot stress enough how valuable of a tool Twitter is for educators, and I hope that more people get on board.  With Twitter you have access to thousands of teachers, administrators, and other educational professionals throughout the world.  There is no easier way to learn, exchange ideas and be in control of your own professional development.

If you haven’t begun to use Twitter to build your PLN, what are you waiting for?

positive

My heart goes out to the victims and their families from Boston.  I pray for quick recoveries and emotional healing as everyone tries to recover from this senseless tragedy.  We live in a world today where violence is everywhere … just look at the news as they report on the explosions at the Boston Marathon.  I understand that it’s their job; however, I know that there are positive stories intertwined within all of the negative stories.  I would hope that people can focus on these positives while at the same time not downplaying or forgetting what happened.

As I was coming to school this morning, I was thinking about how one person can do something bad and that is all that we talk about.  We forget (or ignore) all the good.  I am guilty of doing this.  I fail to recognize all the good that goes on at my school on a daily basis.  I really need to apologize for this.  I am fortunate to have a great faculty and staff and great students, but I don’t do enough for them to let them know how great I think they are.  I tend to focus on the small percentage that is the negative.  Every organization has its good and bad, and in my case, I tend to only focus on the bad.  Why do I do this?  I don’t know, but what I do know is that I need to change.  I need to recognize and publicize the good more.  I can’t ignore the bad, but I have to put the good first.

As we move forward from this tragedy in Boston, lets all try to do a little more good today that we did yesterday.  Lets all try to positively recognize more people today than we did yesterday.  Lets try to not focus on what’s wrong with something instead lets focus on what’s right.

Lets make today better than yesterday, and then tomorrow better than today. 

 

good not bad

helping-hand

It doesn’t matter what type of leader you are, you want to be successful, and your success as a leader depends on the success of your team.  We all struggle at times, and when one struggles, the entire team can be affected.  So it is best to create a team that has consistently high performance.  How do you do this?  There are three factors that can boost the performance level of your team.

What Factors Make Consistently High Performance?

  1. Expectations — expect your team to excel.
  2. Responsibility — give your team members more responsibility.
  3. Feedback — give your team members more supportive feedback.

As the leader you have to believe in people, hold them accountable, and give them a supportive environment.   It is your job to create an atmosphere of high performance by improving your communication with your team members, paying attention to details, and improving cooperation between your team members.   It’s about using these three factors all together, and by doing so, your team will respond positively.

EXPECTATIONS

Positive expectations have to be communicated to others.  Everything you do and say must communicate your positive expectations and these expectations must begin with the current reality of your of your team and organization.  Recognize the facts and accept the reality.  Acknowledge things as the are or it will be impossible to move forward.  Your expectations will have a significant impact on others so remember to communicate clearly and consistently through words, tone of voice, and body language.  When you expect the best, people will respond.

RESPONSIBILITY

There has to be accountability both as a leader and as a team.  Lack of accountability paves the way for mediocrity, and without accountability, nothing gets done.  You must have clear-cut goals and make sure everyone understands what these goals are.  When the team is engaged in setting the goals, developing the plan, and measuring the progress, the more accountable they become.  The goals need to be proactive, not reactive.  This will create the focus for the team.

FEEDBACK

Feedback tells us how well we are doing, helps us stay on track, and make progress toward our goals.  Feedback is essential to helping everyone on the team grow.

Positive feedback should be motivational, energizing, and validating.  It makes you want to accomplish even greater things.  It serves as reinforcement. Negative feedback can also be motivational; however, it can be less energizing and validating.  Sometime it may seem as punishment so you have to be careful with what you say or how you say it.  Bringing out the best in your team means recognizing good work and reinforcing the desired behavior.  It’s about giving them positive feedback that makes the team want to keep doing the good things they are doing.  Not everyone will be great, but everyone can be better.  It is our job to help people improve.

team

Creating a team that consistently functions at a high performance is the job of a leader and the leader is only as good as his/her team.  In order for the team to be a high-performing team the leader must do these three things well …

  1. Expectations — expect your team to excel.
  2. Responsibility — give your team members more responsibility and hold them accountable.
  3. Feedback — give your team members more supportive feedback

And when done effectively, the team and team members will will thrive.

Help Wanted

Before this school year started I did a session on using Twitter.  Some of the teachers that attended have really taken to using Twitter and have done a lot with it throughout this school year so far.  Others, though, for various reasons, have been a little more reluctant to take advantage of it.  It’s also no secret how many of my teachers feel about some of the professional development opportunities that have been forcefully made available to them in previous years.  In many instances, I feel the same way as they do.  That’s what is so great about Twitter.  It puts the teachers in control of their own professional development through the connections they individually make.

As a principal, my main job is to make sure that the teachers are effective in the classroom.  Effective instruction is the best way to increase student achievement.  Each one of my teachers has a unique set of abilities that helps them to be effective in the classroom; however, each one of them also needs improvement.  We all do!  Those teachers who think they don’t ever need to improve should get out of this profession!!  I’m extremely lucky.  I have a great group of teachers at my school that are willing to do whatever they can to make themselves better.

As a principal, another part of my job is to get my teachers the tools they need to be effective in the classroom.  This is where I am asking for your help.  I want to help my teachers make connections with other teachers.  In turn, they can meet other teachers who have the same passion for learning and self-improvement.  In turn, they can learn something new that they can use in their classes.  In turn, they can become better teachers and have more effective instruction.

Here is a list of my teacher’s Twitter handles:

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

 

Wright, Lesa @WrightLisa
Nixon, Shane @NixonCoach
Henson, Wendy @WendyHenson225
MATH
Jones, Jamesa @JamesaJones
Soper, Ze Ze @ZeZeSoper
DeLorme, Lily @LilyDeLorme
SCIENCE
Antes, Kerri @KerriAntes
Cariker, Sally @carikers
Brach, Vince @BrachVince
SOCIAL STUDIES
Touchstone, Keith @CoachTouch
Eudy, Jordan @JEudy24
Smith, Doug @smithd0710
SPECIAL EDUCATION
Montgomery, Kim @MontgomeryKim1
ELECTIVES
Anderson, AnthonyBand
@andersona54
Clawson, Rita — Art @RitaClawson
Coleman, Johnny — Ag @JohnnyColeman16
Jones, Roger — Ag @RogerJones2009
Evelyn Nieves — Spanish  @nievesetu
Mock, Amy — Family and Consumer Science @AmyMockL
Rogers, Jennifer — Technology @rogersjochs
Heflin, Nathan — Assistant Principal @NathanHeflin
 

If you are interested in making connections with them, please send them a message.  Post a link to an article and include their twitter handle.  Invite them to a chat.  Read their blogs and send them the link to yours.  Give their Twitter Handles to other teachers.  Re-Post this blog.

I appreciate your willingness to help me help my teachers.

Have fun making new connections!