Happy New Year’s to my family, friends, co-workers, professional learning network peeps and social media friends! I’m grateful for all of you! I sincerely wish you all the best that life has to offer in 2016.
My focus areas for this year, and years to follow are:
- Be more present for my family.
- Take better care of my mind and body by giving myself more mental breaks, eating healthier and regular exercise. Giving myself the time to do this often comes last, but not anymore.
- Focus more on relationships, by spending less time in my office, computer, phone or in meetings.
- Take more risks at work.
- Play more guitar, and that includes air guitar.
- Quit New Year resolutions, and remain focused on sustaining the things I should be doing instead of waiting for that one time each year to reflect on them!
Well there they are! They certainly take on a life of their own once you share them publicly. Happy 2016!
It’s not often that I seek out books from education consultants and speakers professing to have the answers to solve our most pressing problems in public education, but I have stumbled upon an amazing book that really resonates with me. I haven’t even finished “The Innovator’s Mindset”, by George Couros, and I’m certain that every educator in the world should read it.
To sum it up, this book is the holy grail of common sense that we desperately need to push public education forward so it can remain relevant to the world we currently live in and beyond. I completely understand that the problems facing public education can be complex, and since many of the challenges education faces can’t be solved in the near future we must all focus on the one thing that we can change: Ourselves! This book can help you to do just that.
I just read this blog post from Seth Godin titled “Is it too little butter, or too much bread?“, and I thought the timing was impeccable! We simply aren’t going to be getting more resources in education anytime soon, so let’s take a hard look at what we’re doing and make some changes. On one hand I continue to be very concerned about the rising mental health needs of the students in our school district, and I know this is a growing concern across the country, so I don’t mean to discount this alarming trend or others. I simply want to focus on the positive, and the stuff we can change to help the learner.
I recommend that you read this book and share it with leaders in your school system!
Whether you’re a student, a teacher, educational assistant or administrator, it seems that the Swivl holds the potential to create opportunities to increase feedback about things such as classroom dynamics, student learning, teacher learning, audience engagement, and it may even be a cost effective method for recording EdCamp sessions.
This tool could really give a teacher eyes in the back of their heads, especially in today’s learning environment where you have groups of students collaborating. A teacher can’t possibly see everything that’s going on, and this might provide insights that were previously difficult or impossible to see.
This device, or something like it, could hold the key to unlocking a different way of approaching many things that once required a team effort. Check it out at swivl.com and please share your thoughts and any experiences you may have had with a swivl.
On Monday I attended a leadership seminar at the TIES Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota that was led by George Couros. The topic was “Leading Innovative Change”, and I was extremely grateful that many of our instructional leaders were able to attend. I really wish that our entire staff could have attended this seminar, as it was very thought provoking. Luckily, TIES had George present the keynote on Tuesday morning so the rest of our instructional leaders could hear his call to action.
To get right to the point, George’s keynote inspired myself and others to self-reflect on our beliefs about teaching, learning and our practices. While we learned many things, here’s my big takeaway– Less is more! If we want to move towards a more open and collaborative culture in our district, where we can all learn together and develop our shared vision, let’s begin with a few important things that will facilitate moving this direction.
#1) To collaborate and share our work within our schools, across our school district, and educators across the globe, we need to create our Professional Learning Network’s (PLN). I’m happy to report that immediately following the conference several of our principals have begun reaching out to their staffs to build their school PLN’s! This will be a game changer, no doubt. Get on Twitter to be a connected educator!
2) Modeling. I believe instructional leaders in education must model what our students need to see. Our students live in a digital world, and the only way we can teach them about it is if we ourselves embrace it by increasing our digital footprint and learn along side them. I have created my about.me page and dusted off my WordPress blog so I can start sharing my thoughts and learn from others.
I’m excited by the potential that technology offers for us to connect and collaborate in education. I look forward to continuing this discussion!