Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

social-media

As I was sitting in the drive-through line at our local don’t shop this morning, I began reading a blogpost from Eric Sheninger called Relationships are Everything, http://esheninger.blogspot.com/2017/01/relationships-are-everything.html , and it got me to thinking about my own story involving using social media.  I use social media but I am by far, not a pro at it. 

This is my story….

I’ve been a principal for 16 years now at three different schools.  At my first school, social media was just getting started but most people, including me, didn’t participate.  After a few years as social media grew, I knew about some of it, like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, but I still didn’t participate. 

At my second school I had a superintendent who was dead-set against us using any forms of social media at school, even really in our personal lives.  There was in incident at either our Jr. High or our elementary school and a parent got really upset at something (I don’t even remember what it was).  She BLASTED the school and our superintendent on Facebook.  From that point forward, he referred to Facebook as “The Evil Empire” and he thought there was nothing good that could come from social media, so he really was against it.

It was during this time that I attended a conference in the summer of 2012 and I joined Twitter.  I went to a session and the presenter showed us how she used Twitter as a way to learn.  This was something that was a way for me to expand my own learning opportunities, so I signed up at the end of her session.  She showed me how she looked at someone’s bio, looked at who they were following, and read some of their tweets before she started following them.  That is what I did as well.  Soon, I had built up a pretty good group of people I was following and at the same time, many people started following me. 

I went back to my district and shared what I was doing on Twitter.  I got many of my teachers involved but the other administrators were slow to follow.  Remember, my superintendent thought of Facebook a “The Evil Empire” and he really never got on board with what I was doing with using Twitter as my personal learning network, my PLN.  He did allow me to start a Twitter account for my high school but warned me that if there was anything negative that came from it, I would have to delete the account.  I could use Twitter but NOT Facebook.  In reality, very few of the parents at that time followed us on Twitter.  They were all on Facebook so our communication efforts via social media were very limited.  I eventually started a school Instagram account, so I was able to have Twitter and Instagram but still no Facebook. 

I eventually took a position at my current district and in talking with my new superintendent, he was agreeable to me using Twitter, Instagram, AND Facebook.  He said just to be cautious.  At this time, I was familiar with Twitter and Instagram but not Facebook.  I didn’t even have a personal account, so I got signed up.  I started my own personal Facebook account and also one for my school.  At this time, my school had Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts.  My district did not have an account on any of these nor did the other two schools in my district.  I kept telling them how much of a benefit it is and how we were reaching more people and sharing information and good things that were happening in our school and that they should really get started doing this.

Now our district and all three campuses have Twitter and Facebook accounts (my school is the still the only one who currently has an Instagram account) and this has been very positive for our schools and district.  Even my previous school district still uses social media and even has given in to “The Evil Empire” and began using Facebook.

My personal use of social media has changed a lot since I started being connected.  I have been able to learn from many other administrators from all of the country and the world.  Not only have I been able to learn more, I have been able to learn more of what I wanted to learn.  Rather than just going to a workshop or conference and just keeping all the information to myself, I am able to share with others.  I can learn from others and I can share with others. 

I have a system on how I use social media.  I use Twitter for professional learning and I use Facebook just socially and for fun.  I will share some personal stuff on Twitter, but not very often.  For my school, I am able to connect my Twitter account to my Facebook account so I can just post one time and it posts to both.   When I first started doing this, I would post to Facebook first then is automatically posted to Twitter.  I have since switched this and post to Twitter first and it posts to Facebook automatically. I got this idea from my superintendent.  By posting to Twitter first, when we tweet and have a photo with it, that photo will show up on the Facebook post as well.  When we posted to Facebook first the photos would not show up on Twitter until you clicked on the link.  And I still use Instagram but not as often. 

My goal is to better utilize all forms of social media.  I have a Snapchat account both personally and for my school but I don’t use it.  I keep asking my daughter to teach me how to use it, but she doesn’t want to help me.  I am also going to begin to utilize YouTube for my school.  This is what I am working on now.  Stay tuned.

Since I began my journey into school administration, a lot has changed.  Unfortunately, there are those who do not want to change with the times.  These are the ones who will get left behind.  We must all be open to the new as well as being able to stick with what is working … just making it better.  My social media journey has been fun.  There is something out there every day to learn, videos to watch, new recipes to try, old friends to find, and much more. 

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Wednesday

Today is Wednesday, January 13, 2016, and today was “one of those days” !!!

It started off good, went bad, then ended up good again.  Notice that there were two positives to only one negative so that pretty much sums it up.  The positive outweighed the bad today, so I’m not going to talk about the negative here.

Last week when we returned from our Christmas Break, I met with my faculty and staff and we discussed a few things, one of which was an “idea” I had.  One of my goals is to get my teachers to get together more so they can learn from each other.  This is not a new idea at all.  It’s done everywhere …  on Twitter, in libraries, in cafeterias, in teacher’s classrooms.  Everywhere except at my school.   Not really … that’s an exaggeration.  It does take place at my school in pockets, on a small scale.  And often times, it’s done begrudgingly.

What I want to do is have a day once a week where my teachers get together and share ideas with each other. I decided on Wednesday after school — 3:45 in the library.  I told everyone on my campus about it last week.  This week I sent an email to the Jr. High and Elementary teachers and invited them to come.

This is what I said about the Wednesday Learning Opportunity (the name I made up):

What it is–
  • Learn from each other
  • Share ideas
  • Discuss Articles/books
  • Use of Social media
What it not —
  • Gripe session
  • Mandatory

I knew that I didn’t need to force this on them at all, so I made sure to put that it was NOT mandatory.  I still had one teacher ask me if she had to come!  Again, I said that is was not mandatory.

So today, before I went to bus duty, I stopped by the library and got the computer and projector set up and wondered if anyone would show up.  I was curious and told myself that if no one showed up today that I would try again next week, and then again the next week if I needed to.  In reality, I thought to myself that the “Not Mandatory” part of it would offer a free ticket for them not to come!  After all, the first question I got about it was from a teacher asking if she “had” to come!!

While at the bus stop this afternoon, I got an email from an elementary teacher letting me know that she wasn’t going to make it because she had a sick child at home, but that she would be here next week.  That was cool.  Somebody wanted to make it today but just couldn’t.  And I knew that I would have at least one person next week.

So as the last bus leaves at 3:40, I make my way to the library.  I walk in and to my surprise there are 11 teachers, 1 counselor, 1 assistant principal, and 1 superintendent.  That was 15 people (including me) getting together to talk, ask questions, and share ideas.

Not a bad way to end the day.

TodayWasVeneer_1024x1024.jpg

today was a good day

Today was a good day for me.  I was fortunate to hear two great educators — Todd Whitaker (@ToddWhitaker) and Eric Sheninger (@E_Sheninger) and while both of them had different points in their sessions, they both had a common focus, which should be our focus in everything we do in our schools.  We need to focus all our efforts so the students can benefit in their learning. We (the adults) have to improve ourselves and what we do in order to create an environment at our schools to where the students can benefit, which means learning and being prepared for life — today and after high school.

Most of our schools are not like it is in the real world, and we must do whatever we can to change this.  I’m talking about everything in our schools … from the actual school day and how it is divided up, to how we treat the other adults and how we treat the students, to how we use the everyday tools that we all now have, to how we learn, to everything. We need to open our eyes, out hearts, our minds, and begin to assess what we are doing NOW and evaluate that against where we need to be and decide what we need to do so that we can begin that move in the right direction.

I also attended a session today from Abi Adam (@aquatexas), Technology Specialist from Seminole ISD and Kevin McCasland, Principal of Seminole High School. This was something I was looking forward to since I first got the conference program and started mapping out my sessions.  This title of this session was Taking Paperless Beyond the Classroom, Effective workflow practices through the use of Google applications.  I know that there are a wealth of tools from Google that are FREE and that can help me be more efficient, and I want to learn more about them so we can be more effective at my school.

One specific topic within this session that I was particularly interested in was what time during the day they scheduled their mandatory tutorials and how they scheduled the students for this time. There are many different approaches and thoughts on this subject, and I am always looking at other schools and how they do it.  To me, this is one area from my school that I will tweak so that we can be more efficient and maximize the time that we can help our students be more successful.  This session goes together with one I attended yesterday with Lyndsae Benton, Principal from Crowley High School and Stefani Allen, Principal from North Crowley High School where they use what they call “Power Hour” to transform their campus culture and increase / improve their test scores and student achievement.

Today was a good day.  So was yesterday.  I, along with principals from all over the great state of Texas (and from other states too) are fortunate to be able to attend this conference to learn and grow.  Thank you @TASSP1 for a great summer workshop.

Click HERE for the link to resources that Eric Sheninger shared today

Click HERE for resources that Angela Maiers shared yesterday.  (This is a topic that I will come back to in another blog post)

I want to leave you with these words … this picture says it all !!!

never stop learning

Today I was looking through my twitter feed and came across these pics and I thought they were very relevant so I thought I’d share.

Blog 1

blog 2

blog 3

blog 4

Leave a comment and let me know what your thoughts are.

My dad passed away this week, and even though it was a tough time for me, there is a lot I can take away from it.  Whether it is a sudden loss, or as in my dad’s case, the result of a lengthy illness, death is never an easy thing to deal with.  People deal with death in different ways, and one way is not better than the other.  The way I deal with it is not any better or worse than how someone else deals with it.  It’s just different.  It just depends on the person.

This week has been filled with memories, some good and some bad.  This week has also been filled with much more.  I have seen the good in a lot of people, and it’s refreshing to know that their is still a lot of good in this world.   In a world with so much negativity, more times than not,  that’s all we see and hear.  But throughout this week, I have witnessed so much good in people and I am so thankful and grateful that words can not express my true feelings.

I have also learned a lot this week …

I learned that life is short.  Sure, this is something that I’ve heard many times before, but I’ve never thought much about it until now.  You never know when you are going to get sick or have an accident, so make the best of every day.

I learned that I need to let go of some ill feelings and let go of some of the grudges I have.  It doesn’t do any good any way to hold on to all the negative feelings.  This is hard for me to do, but I am going to work on it.

I learned that friends you make when you are young and in school are friends that you can have for a lifetime.  Many of my dad’s classmates came to his funeral, and they had stories and memories that were as clear and vivid now as they were 52 years earlier when they graduated. And as I think back to my classmates when I was in school, we were close back then and have a lot of memories, but we don’t stay in touch like we should.  I am going to make it a point to be better at keeping in contact and communicating more with my classmates.

I learned that I am doing somewhat right in the way I choose to treat people.  I want to treat people the way I would like to be treated even though sometimes its hard.  Today there were several of my teachers and people I work with from my current school and and some teachers from my previous school attend my dad’s funeral. There were also many people from my church attend.  They didn’t know him at all, but they chose to come because of me and my family.  They didn’t have to but they did, and I am truly grateful!

I learned that there are students today who are great kids (no matter what some people say about today’s teenagers). Several students came to the funeral.  It was heartwarming seeing a teenager show up for something like this when I know they would really rather be doing something more fun than attending a funeral.  I had one student come up to me in the hall this week at school and tell me that she was sorry to hear about my dad and ask could she just give me a hug.  How awesome was that!!

I learned that in everything in life can be a learning opportunity.  No matter what the situation, there is always something that we can take away and learn.  Take the opportunity when it comes and always be ready to learn.

 

Keep Learning

 

Back to school

It is that time of the year … back to school time.  Kids say they aren’t ready to go back, but secretly, though, many of them are.   Teachers are the same way.  They enjoy their summers off doing nothing! (Doing nothing … yea right!!!)  Teachers get finished with one school year and then start planning for the next.  They go to workshops to learn new things that will help them with their classes.  They come up to the school (and try to maneuver around the desks and tables that the custodians have moved into the halls and not walk on the freshly waxed floors) in order to work in their rooms.   Some teachers come up at night to work on their rooms because they have a summer job because teacher’s pay is too low.  Teachers spend all summer doing nothing, so when the end of August rolls back around, they are ready for the new school year.

It’s that time of the year … back to school time.  It’s that time of the year when new teachers meet the teachers who have already been working in the district.  It’s that time of the year when the veteran teachers  are able to help mentor the new teachers and help them get settled in.   It’s that time of the year when a new principal is welcomed by fresh faces (teachers, students, parents, community members).  OK, I had to include this last sentence because I’ve been in my new school for 12 days now and I have met a lot of good people who are also excited about this new school year.

It’s that time of the year … back to school time.  Schedules are done, but some students aren’t happy because they didn’t get all the classes they wanted.  It’s that time of the year when the first day of school is right around the corner and senior students realize that this will be their last … first day of school (I stole this statement from a teacher at my previous school who always does a great job with the back-to-school announcements and assembly).  It’s that time of the year when the football team is practicing in the 90-100 degree heat as they get ready to make a run for the state championship.  It’s that time of the year when the volleyball team is working hard in preparation for their run at a state championship.  It’s that time of the year when we’re already having volleyball games but school hasn’t even actually started yet.

It’s that time of the year … back to school time… and I’m looking forward to it!!!!!

My First Attempt at Tackk

Posted: August 3, 2014 in Learning
Tags:

One of my former teachers shared with me a video from www.tackk.com and I thought that it had some real possibilities, so I thought that I had better try it out.  Here is my first attempt at creating a Tackk ( I guess that is what you call it??).

 

https://tackk.com/gl5d2x

 

Check it out and leave a comment.  Let me know what you think.

Enjoy.