Archive for the ‘Connected’ Category

connected educator

The United States Department of Education has designated the month of October as “Connected Educator Month.” The description below comes from the Connected Educator Month District Toolkit created by Powerful Learning Practice:

Connected Educator Month (CEM) is a month-long celebration of community, with educators at all levels, from all disciplines, moving toward a fully connected and collaborative profession.

The goals of Connected Educator Month include:

  • Helping more districts promote and integrate online social learning into their formal professional development
  • Stimulating and supporting collaboration and innovation in professional development
  • Getting more educators connected (to each other)
  • Deepening and sustaining the learning of those already connected

 

How do you know if you are a Connected Educator?  Jessica Johnson, an elementary school principal and district assessment coordinator from Dodgeland School District in Juneau, Wisconsin, in a recent EdSurge.com article, tells us 10 ways to identify if you are a Connected Educator …

1.  The first words out of your mouth each day at school are usually, “Last night on Twitter” …

With Twitter it is easy to get sucked into conversations you never expected to have and to find ideas and resources that you didn’t even know you were looking for.  Maybe you were just checking your twitter feed, maybe you joined in on a great discussion in a scheduled chat like #edchat, #educoach, #atplc (all things PLC), or your state’s educator chat.  After being involved in a great sharing discussion on Twitter, it’s hard to “shut it off” and you just want to share what you’ve learned with others at school.  I share the great ideas I find on Twitter by “Retweeting” them and sharing with my staff in my weekly memo.

2.  Whenever a staff member in your building asks a question, you can find many possible solutions on Twitter.

Do you know of an iPad app for keyboarding? Can we look at other examples of standards based report cards? “How do we get started with Battle of the Books? I’m struggling with ____ do you know any teachers that have been using this for a while?

As a principal, I hear questions like this on a daily basis. Just because I don’t always know the answers, doesn’t mean I don’t have them. Prior to being connected on Twitter, I would have just sent out an email to the handful of principals that I know in nearby school districts. Now I turn to Twitter. I ask thousands of educators my question and find someone who’s an expert.

3.  Need to meet up outside your building?  You can turn to Skype, Google Hangout, or Voxer.

Twitter is great to find ideas and get connected with others, but sometimes 140 characters just won’t do. To have more in-depth conversations I turn to Skype or Google Hangout. Voxer is great when you want to leave voicemails or walkie talkie back and forth with a group of principals/educators, allowing us to continue to have an ongoing audio discussion that all four of us can hear. Educators (both principals and teachers) are so busy, that it’s nearly impossible to find a large chunk of time for an extended conversation. Voxer allows you to leave each other messages (for one individual or for a group of people on Voxer) and pick up with the conversation whenever you have time to check in.

4.  You read numerous blogs from other educators/administrators.

There are so many great educators sharing what works and what doesn’t. It can save you time from making the same mistakes. When I first discovered great blogs to read I would check each individual website weekly, wondering if there was a new post…but no one has time for that! Now I use the tool Feedly which allows me to subscribe to blogs. All I have to do is check Feedly when I have time to read the latest blog posts…no more wasting my time going to each individual site.

5.  You look forward to attending conferences even more.

You probably enjoyed learning at conferences prior to being a Connected Educator, but conferences take on a new level of learning when you already know several of your “tweeps” (people you’re connected with on Twitter) will be there. Instead of just attending, taking notes on what you’re learning and thinking about it, you have others to discuss with and continue the conversation afterwards on Twitter. If there are many Connected Educators at the conference, then it’s likely that you’ll also get to socialize with them at a “Tweet Up” at the end of the day. It is very common for someone attending the conference to set a time/location for a “Tweet Up” (usually at a place for some choice beverages) and starting tweeting out the details with the conference hashtag so that anyone on Twitter attending the conference can meet up (thus the phrase “Tweet Up”) together to meet all their Tweeps.

6.  Even if you don’t have time to blog  / tweet, you do so in your head.

Blogging and tweeting can be such a great tool reflection. As stated in #4, blogging is not bragging; it is great to share your reflections online and get feedback from others in the comments to offer further suggestions or challenge your thinking. I only make the time to write a new blog post a couple times a month, but often find myself “blogging in my head” as I’m reflecting on something at school. Even though I don’t get to write that blog post, the reflection process has been helpful for me.

7.  You’re guilty of pulling out your phone to check Twitter while you’re in the bathroom.

I know I’m not alone. It only takes a minute to check Twitter. Find that minute waiting in line at the grocery store, muting TV commercials or yes, even in the bathroom.

8.  You have learned more from Twitter than your Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees combined.

I always intended to attain my doctorate in education. However, I have learned so much from being a Connected Educator that now I don’t feel a need to pursue higher education anymore. All this learning is at my fingertips for free. There is a wealth of free online learning opportunities; following the tweets of a conference hashtag as others tweet from it, joining in on free webinars that educators on Twitter organize, or joining MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses) that you learn about from Twitter.

9.  Your daily routine includes listening to educational podcasts.

Podcasts are a great way to continue your learning while walking the dog, cleaning your house or on your daily commute. I have first learned about the many choices out there via Twitter. Some of them include: Techlandia, TeacherCast, Choice Literacy, and any broadcast from the EdReach network. I love learning about best practices and new ideas from the tech/literacy/building level leaders that record these. Can’t find one that speaks to your topic? Then start your own! Just recently a couple other principals and I started the Principalcast Podcast since we couldn’t find anything specifically for principals.

10.  You can easily recover from the isolation of your busy school day.

I like to refer to the isolation of busy educators as “Gilligan Syndrome,” which sets in when you get “stranded” and don’t know how to reach out to others for help. This is common for administrators, lone subject teachers or even busy teachers who don’t get to converse with their colleagues often. Utilizing the connections you make on Twitter is a great way to get yourself “unstuck;” you always have other educators to turn to when times get rough. To make the best of Twitter, figure out the strengths of the people you are following. You can always tweet out a question for everyone to see, but when you have a specific question it is great to know someone who is an expert on that topic to send a direct message to so you can talk to in a Google Hangout for further help.

*Gilligan Syndrome is a term that Curt Rees, Jay Posick, Matt Renwick and I have come up with as we present to educators in Wisconsin about becoming connected educators.

Are you a Connected Educator? 

If so, leave a comment as to how this helps you be a better educator. 

If not, what’s stopping you from becoming one?

BU001683

The start of the new school year is right around the corner.  In just a few days, teachers and students will be back in school , back to the routine that is all so familiar to us.  While some teachers and students will say they are not ready to come back, most really are ready.

Ready to learn.  Ready to teach.  Ready to make a difference.

Here are some questions to think about.

  1. What are you going to do this year?  Will it be the same as you’ve done every year?  You know, the saying … one year’s experience, twenty-five times!
  2. Are you ready to do something different?  Are you ready to put in to action what you learned from your summer professional development?
  3. Are you willing to commit to it?  Will you go right back to what you’ve always done because that is what you are comfortable with?

Is this what your classroom will look like this year?

desks - straight

Do you rely solely on textbooks to teach your class?

textbooks

In this video from John Maxwell, he talks about the value of a rubberband.  It is  intended to be stretched.  Can you be stretched?

Here’s my challenge to you … What are you going do to stretch yourself ??

Learn and Grow

What is the purpose of school?

It doesn’t matter if it is Elementary, Middle School / Jr. High, or High School.  The purpose of school is for the students to learn.  It’s our job as educators to teach them so they can learn.  It’s that simple!

As teachers, we already know everything, right?  We know everything there is to know and we can teach it to every student that walks through our doors, right?  And we know the best way to teach it to them so they can learn it, right?

Really!  (Can you detect a little sarcasm here?)

So what do teachers do to learn?  This is a good question … a question that doesn’t have just one answer because all teachers learn differently, just like their students.  There is not a right way or a wrong way.  What’s important is that you have to learn.  If you don’t, your students will suffer.  And that is unacceptable!

Your students depend on you for help.  Your students depend on you to learn so they can learn!

Here’s the challenge:  get connected, reflect, explore, read, watch, listen, model, collaborate, search, take notes, blog, lurk, discuss, encourage, share, and  …………… grow!

grow

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?

book 1a

Here’s my 2013 summer reading list (in no particular order):

book 1

Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess  — (Follow Dave Burgess on Twitter — @burgessdave)

Dave Burgess lists the following traits to absorb and develop and practice until they become part of the teacher who is wholly committed to the profession: Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask and Analyze, Transformation, and Enthusiasm (astute readers will see that the first letter of each word spells out PIRATE). From this jumping off point Burgess accompanies the reader through the techniques he has developed and perfected in making the classroom an exciting, desirable place for students to literally absorb learning. His ideas on providing `hooks’ that focus on capturing the attention and passion of students to follow his standard in making learning not a chore but a fun challenge to incorporate in their view of the joy of learning.

book 2

The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon  — (Follow Jon Gordon on Twitter — @JonGordon11)

The Energy Bus  takes readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals ten secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment.  Everyone faces challenges and everyone has to overcome negativity and adversity to define themselves and create their success.  For everyone looking to turn negative energy into positive success, this book provides a powerful plan for overcoming common life and work obstacles.

book 3

Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley  — (Follow Andy Stanley on Twitter — @AndyStanley)

Five characteristics mark the man or woman who will shape the future.
-Courage
-Clarity
-Competence
-Coachability
-Character

Drawing on two decades of experience mentoring a rising generation, seasoned visionary Andy Stanley shows how to:
-Discover and play to your strengths
-Harness your fears
-Leverage uncertainty
-Enlist a leadership coach
-Maintain moral authority

“Capable men and women will eventually catch, pass, and replace the current generation of leaders,” says Andy Stanley. “Embracing these essentials, you will not only excel in your personal leadership, but also ensure a no-regrets experience for those who choose to follow you.”

book 4

Schools Cannot Do It Alone by Jamie Vollmer — (Follow Jamie Vollmer of Twitter — @jamievol)

Schools Cannot Do It Alone  tells of Jamie Vollmer’s extraordinary journey through the land of public education.  His encounters with blueberries, bell curves, and smelly eighth graders lead him to two critical discoveries.  First, we have a systems problem, not a people problem.  We must change the system to get the graduates we need.  Second, we cannot touch the system without touching the culture of the surrounding town; everything that goes on inside a school is tied to local attitudes, values, traditions, and beliefs.  Drawing on his work in in hundreds of districts, Vollmer offers teachers, administrators, board members, and their allies a practical program to secure the understanding, trust, permission, and support they need to change the system and increase student success.

book 5

The Noticer by Any Andrews  — (Follow Andy Andrews on Twitter — @AndyAndrews)

Poverty.  A failing marriage.  Old age.  Lost dreams.   A failing business.   An unsure future.  To the residents of Orange Beach, Alabama, these desperations are dead ends.  Hopeless, barren places with no chance of change.  But to an old drifter named Jones, with a gift of seeing what others miss, there is no such thing as a dead end.  It only takes a little “perspective”, he says, to recognize miracles in our moments, the seeds of greatness tucked into our struggles.  As Jones mysteriously makes his way through this coastal town and into the searching hearts of its residents, he offers simple wisdom and sound hope.  Think, Learn, Plan, Dream.  For soon … you will become.

Again, this is my plan for summer reading.   I have Teach Like a Pirate on my iPad and hard copies of the other four.  I haven’t decided which one I will start with, but I am going to start one on Monday, June 10th.  By the way, I have included each author’s Twitter handle — you should consider following each of them.

If you have read any of these,  I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Simply Lead

Today was an AWESOME day!

I was fortunate enough to attend Chick-fil-A Leadercast 2013, a one day event that is held LIVE in Atlanta, Georgia and broadcast to hundreds (over 750, I think) of locations around the world.

I can’t say enough about how great of an event this was.  Not only were the speakers and the information they shared great, you could also download the Chick-fil-A Leadercast app.  This was an amazing app that had additional leadership resources, You could take notes directly on the app, and, at one point the emcee, Tripp Crosby, Facetimed with everyone who had downloaded the app.  It was just plain cool!

The theme of this year’s Leadercast 2013 was SIMPLY LEAD.  So in keeping with the theme, I will share a little bit of what I got from each of the speakers.

1.  ANDY STANLEY — Best-selling leadership author & communicator and founder of North Point Ministries

  • Take complicated things and make them simple.
  • What is your core responsibility?
  • Create a one-sentence job description that describes your critical role, your unique contribution to your organization.

2.  JOHN C. MAXWELL — Internationally-renowned leadership expert, coach, and author who has sold over 20 million books

  • Take something complicated and make it simple.
  • How to Simply Lead — It’s basic math!
  • ADD value to people everyday.
  • SUBTRACT your leadership landmines.
  • MULTIPLY your strengths by developing them.
  • DIVIDE  your weaknesses by delegating them.  (let somebody do it who does it well)

3.  SONYA RICHARDS-ROSS — 2012 London Olympic GOLD Medalist in Track & Field

  • Make a vision board.  Focus on your goals.  Look at it everyday.
  • Focus on one thing.  Don’t multi-task.
  • Focus on victory … not what can go wrong.

4.  DR. HENRY CLOUD — Leadership consultant and coach.  Clinical psychologist.

  • Bring necessary endings.  Prune it.  Quit doing stuff that’s not necessary.  Keep doing stuff that’s vital for growth.
  • Don’t be a HOARDER.  Don’t hang on to the past.  Yesterday has gone — let it go.  This includes people too.
  • Focus your attention on the relevant.  Keep current.

5.  DAVID ALLEN — Best-selling author.  Personal and organizational productivity expert.

  • Crisis evokes serenity.  Why?  Because you’re focused.
  • Everybody has the same amount of time – 24 hours in a day.
  • Have a mind like water.  Don’t over react or under react.
  • Don’t multi-task.  Only do one thing at a time.

6.  MIKE KRZYZEWSKI — Head Men’s Basketball coach, Duke University and Team USA

  • You can’t hold back.  Don’t get side-tracked from your mission.
  • In order to learn and grow, you have to get out of your comfort zone.
  • RULES are externally applied.
  • STANDARDS are internally applied.
  • You must have standards.  Have your team “own” the standards.

7.  CONDOLEEZZA RICE — Former Secretary of State (2005 – 2009). Professor at Stanford University.

  • Recognize the simple things that you can do better.
  • The key to complexity is to see simplicity.
  • Even under the most dire situations, try to be an optimist.

8.  JACK WELCH — Former CEO of General Electric

  • Be straight with people.
  • Generosity Gene — Good bosses have it.  They love to give and not take.
  • When you say something is important, back it up.
  • Get rid of the high performer with low values.  This person will destroy your organization.
  • Make your organization a place where people love to be there.

9.  LCDR RORKE DENVER  — Navy SEAL and star of the 2012 movie,  Act of Valor

  • Calm is contagious.  Stupid is also contagious.
  • How can you constantly improve?  Keep reaching!
  • Lead from the front.

This was the kind of event that everyone in any leadership capacity should attend every year. As a mater of fact, you should go ahead and put next year’s date on your calendar — May 9, 2014.