Monday, September 2, 2013

Education and Media

Dear Readers,

I was participating in #oklaed chat last night, since #iaedchat was on a break. I saw a tweet from @d_mulder mentioning that #oklaed chat was discussing the Come Core State Standards. I decided to drop by the conversation and question six from @BenAllenKOSU asked Q6: What do you wish the media did better in covering #CCSS/ed issues? I first responded with A6 Actually understood what CCSS is all about and not just reading a brochure. It would be great if they attended PDs w Ts. #oklaed. I really thought this was a great idea if the media went to professional development with teachers covering the new Common Core State Standards. The opportunity to be part of the discussion and help promote how the Common Core is changing the instruction in the schools. The conversation slowly turned to how the media is always covering the not so positive things in education. I was watching the stream go by and a thought occurred and I replied with A6 Problem is negativity sells. We need society itself to ask for more on the positive things happening in education. #oklaed This thread made me think deep and hard about why I read the paper. Anytime I look at the front page I am drawn to the horrible things happening in society. Why is it that negativity sells? I know we all strive to stay positive and I always personally work towards that goal, but negativity is what grabs the headlines and society is the one purchasing the material. I really feel that we need to make a shift as a society. It is not the media, the schools, private businesses and all the others that need to shift, but we as a whole need to shift. We need to promote the positive and if positives sells than the media will publish the positive. I wish I had the answer to make it happen by tomorrow, but I will continue my best to promote the positives of society and the great things that our staff and students do.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Black Hawk has H.E.A.R.T.

The Black Hawk Elementary staff introduced Positive Behavior Intervention Support, commonly known as P.B.I.S. I previously had been part of PBiS at another institution and gladly brought the program to Black Hawk Elementary. We created a team at the end of last year and attended several trainings thanks to the AEA. We created the saying Black Hawk has H.E.A.R.T. which is Helpful, Effort 100%, Accountable, Respectful, and Trustworthy. We feel these five components will help a student with citizenship. I was concerned with the process since we rushed it in such a short amount of time. I want to report that the students and staff are responding wonderfully to the program. I can not tell you how many times during the first week students let me know they received a H.E.A.R.T. ticket. The joy which they expressed in receiving the acknowledgement let me know we are on the right path. I have told the staff several times that the process will take time to implement and that reteaching will occur throughout the year and next year. I see the biggest difference with the kindergarten students because they are new to the schooling idea and are quick studies. My daughter attends Black Hawk and is always excited to tell me about her tickets. She did think that she was getting a reward at the drawing, but I had to tell her it was the acknowledgement that is the reward. I did learn a lesson the first two days of school. The team and I created a round robin schedule to teach the students expectations throughout the building. We set it up to last two hours with five sessions each day. After the first day, the team realized we need to do a max of two sessions a day. We are planning the school trainings again after winter break to reiterate the expectations at Black Hawk Elementary.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Reteach/Enrich Idea

The Black Hawk Staff is considering the idea of creating a reteach/enrich Wednesday. The idea came from our data team process. As posted previously, we have had the data team process for a year with success. We continue to tweak ideas, but the overall outcome has been positive. I shared a power point with the staff about reteach/enrich, which the building data team created. We are looking for the solution of concentrating our efforts for RtI(response to intervention) and accelerating learning for others. The staff has been working on differentiation, but thought putting time aside to reteach to our struggling learners would be a great idea. The time also allows the opportunity to enrich learning for other students. We are not quite there, but want to share our potential plan to see if anyone else had ideas to help.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Professional Development

 Dear Readers,

I am still working on this blogging idea.  For some reason I struggle with getting my ideas down on a blog.  I feel like some of the students when trying to figure out what to say.  A topic I am comfortable writing about would be data teams.

Black Hawk has had data teams for professional development for almost a year.  The staff has been tremendous at adapting to the idea, and that goes to the former principal Shawn.  He had been working with teachers and data for awhile, so the transition to data teams went fairly smooth.  I did a flipped faculty meeting by creating a power point of the data team process.  The staff went through the slides the day before and when we met as a group we could focus clearly on questions.  I worked with the building data team and we continued to tinker with how notes would be conveyed.  Daniel from the AEA helped us create a google spread sheet to collect data, which acts as a data wall.   The process itself has helped us in creating an environment solely focused on helping students achieve.  We are still beginners with growing pains and I don't always have an answer to all questions.  The power of twitter has helped with answering some questions, a simple google search with other questions, and reading books with other questions. 

I am writing the blog to say thank you to the School Board and District Administration for allowing us to follow this path.  The majority of the staff continues to say "thank you" for allowing the time to collaborate with colleagues and try to do what is best for students.  I hope to be able to continue using professional development to support the initiative and give staff the ability to almost individualize instruction for our students. 

Iowa #i11i Conference

Dear Readers,

I had the opportunity to attend the Iowa 1 to 1 conference.  This is my third year attending the event and still marvel at what it has become.  I am impressed with how much the conference has grown over the four year period.  It was a great opportunity to meet people that I follow via twitter.  I also feel inspired after attending an event and want to come back and change everything right away.  However, we need to proceed slowly.  Here are the major points I took away from the conference and what I hope to bring back to my district and school site:

1.) @MR_EHN Have an infrastructure to support your initiatives.  I spoke with the BCSD tech director and found out we are getting Enterprise installed in our school.  We already have the internet speed, but we need to update our machines.

2.) Also from @MR_EHN A tid-bit he received go slow to move fast.  This relates back to number 1.  I agree with the philosophy and will stick to the guide line.

3.) Prepare the staff for the tool.  Computers/devices are not here to replace teachers, only here to help students expand their horizons.  The computer/device is a tool to help with efficiency or collaboration or investigation or whatever you need it to be.  The teacher needs to know how to harness that device and create the environment for learning to occur.

4.) Encourage risk taking and support risk taking.  I heard that from just about every presenter at the event and also from participates at the event. 

5.) Be the change.  This is from @casas_jimmy and completely agree.  I want to support the reform that needs to take place and hopefully the staff feels the same way.  We all feel like the system needs an overhaul.  If we all accept the idea of "Be the change" it will occur. 

These five points are only a handful of the ideas I received at the conference.  I have to keep the focus small for the change to occur.  I am fortunate to have a wonderful staff and appreciate the hours they instill into their jobs.  I rarely here a compliant and seem to hear ideas how we can become better.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Risk Taking, why should we do it?

During a professional development early out I set time aside to work with teachers on twitter.  I could tell from some of the expression why should we learn Twitter.  I tried to explain to the staff how twitter is a 24/7 PD, connections to others, an idea gathering place, and much more.  I have enjoyed learning from @Aaron_Becker32, @markliddell, @bcurrie5,  @casas_jimmy and many, many more.  I ventured into #IAedchat and #Satchat to gain even more knowledge.  I have been using twitter to   ask questions and gain answers.  If I had not taken the risk and started using this resource where would I be now?

Now to the point of the post.  We ask students to take a risk in class, raise your hand, speak out, give it a try, do not be afraid to get the wrong answer and so on and so forth.  Now if, we want to be role models we need to take risks ourselves.  We need to try new things and see the results.  We need to have the initiative to give it a whirl.  I will role model risk taking for staff and students.  If I am not willing to make a mistake, learn from it and correct it than why should the students or staff.  The biggest part of learning is to learn from your mistakes.

Image from Presenter Media

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Support Staff

I was thinking about all the wonderful things support staff do for the school.  It really dawned on me when a custodian was digging through the trash to find a pair of glasses.  The student realized that he placed his glasses on his breakfast tray after the trash was in the dumpster.  Brad put on his rubber gloves and went dumpster diving.  He did not complain or say how could you do a stupid thing, he just went to work finding the glasses.

 I think about all the disrespect given to the associates for handling problems on the playground, hallways, or cafeteria.  The associates here do a great job of not getting overly upset or yelling at students who are not following instructions right away.  Associates take time to help students memorize spelling words, listen to them read, or practice flashcards.  I forget to let them know how much I appreciate their effort in making a school function.

And of course the school secretaries, these are the brains of the school.  I find myself always turning to Teresa for an answer or even a better idea.  The secretaries are always the first to field a phone call and try to remedy the situation.  They work tirelessly to keep the school business moving forward and offering words of encouragement for students and staff.  We all know when a problem occurs at school the secretaries are the first in line to deal with the issue. 

I truly appreciate all the work that the secretaries, associates, and custodians do for the school.  They are valuable members and often go unnoticed or thanked for their efforts.  Please remember to give kind words to these individuals and let them know how much they are appreciated.  I will work harder on making sure I do that for my support staff because they also need words of encouragement.