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.