Connected Principals Posts

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” Seneca For many, the new school year has already begun. For others, we are in…

Read More Charting Your Course

I was inspired to write this post after reading Kelly Christopherson’s blog post on his first days of school with his staff.  This is a really important day to set…

Read More Our First Days; The Gift of Time

This is a post inspired by blogging friend and colleague Josie Holford, who did a great post last month on the topic Advice for New Teachers. (Josie belongs here on Connected Principals).    Let me quote a couple of my favorite of her points before adding my own.

  1. Assume that your older colleagues want to be helpful and see you succeed. This includes administrators. Invite them to your classroom. Ask their opinion. Ask to see them teach – or whatever it is they do. See if you can find a project of theirs in which you can participate.
  2. Sign on to Twitter. Follow the smartest people you can find in your areas of interest. Build a great PLN – personal learning network – of the wisest and most helpful people you can find. Follow people with whom you agree and those who challenge your assumptions.  Follow people like you; follow people not like you. One place to start looking: Twitter for Teachers wiki.
  3. Take advantage of the opportunity to work with students outside the classroom – clubs, teams, school trips.
  4. Learn from failure, learn from practice, learn from collaboration with colleagues, learn from theory. Most of all – stay a learner.  [One of your chief roles in the classroom is as Chief Learner, not just Chief of Learning] And here is Cybrary Man’s website of resources for new teachers. He is Jerry Blumengarten and twitters @cybraryman1 .

Thanks Josie: And now some of my own to add (readers, please add your own by using the comment box).

1. This can be counter-intuitive and counter to how you were taught, but try this:  Problems first.  Invert the normal paradigm where we used to deliver the content, information, and skills first, and then ask the questions. Ask the questions, pose the problems at the outset, and then envision yourself a mountain climbing guide roped in with your students as you facilitate them in climbing up the mountain that is the challenge.  (See Ted McCain’s Teaching for Tomorrow for a fuller discussion of this). Read More Advice for New Teachers

I’m pleased and honored to be writing my first post as a contributor to Connected Principals.  I’ve been blogging about educational issues at KARE Givers since last December, but as…

Read More Helping write student’s stories…

Walkthrough observations take many forms in the elementary, middle, and secondary levels. This practice typically involves the principal or other supervisor spending a few minutes observing a classroom to take…

Read More Leading with Walkthroughs

Rigor, Relevance and Relationships……The three R’s of a successful high school, or so goes the latest in reform talk about high schools in general. Rigor, being challenging, able to move…

Read More We Need to Make Better Connections

As a staff, we were very fortunate to have parents attend and help to guide us in the process of education planning for the 2010-2011 school year. Using feedback that…

Read More Parents and Education Planning

A couple of weeks ago, Nathan wrote about his secret stash in his top desk drawer. http://nextgeneduleaders.blogspot.com/2010/06/secret-stash-in-top-desk-drawer.html Right away I thought about advice I got from Ralph Watson, my last…

Read More Written Praise

As I reflect on my continuous evolution as an educational leader I am constantly amazed at how things have changed over the course of a year and a half.  It…

Read More Why a Blog?

My opening remarks to the St. Gregory student body, the morning of the first day of school.

Welcome to 2010-11!

A popular saying urges us to remember that there are only two things we really need to flourish in life: roots and wings.

I like the saying;   it provides a lovely metaphor simplifying the many strands of what what flourishing requires into two simple metaphors:   Roots and wings, a sense of connectedness to our community,and a sense of freedom and empowerment to go out confidently into the world and accomplish our goals.

I worry about false dichotomies—I resist people trying to trap me into making choices I don’t want to have to make.    There is a book I love that calls upon parents and schools to ensure children and students spend more time in nature and argues that kids are so much healthier when they spend more time outside and in direct contact with the earth, the sky, the water.   Get dirty and be happier and healthier. It surprises some people when I say I love and endorse this notion, because sometimes they think I only want kids to spend more time on computers.   I don’t.  I do think computers are great for learning and growing,  but I also believe fervently that it is so important for us all, kids and adults, to spend more time outside.

We must resist the narrowing effects of Either/Or Thinking, and embrace the Both/And.

And so it is with Wings AND Roots.  I think people sometimes think that because I want to see more computers in learning, they are believing I want less face to face time, less interaction among peers and between students and teachers.  But I want both, and I don’t want to be cornered into a false dichotomy.

Fittingly, and charmingly, Wings and Roots correspond precisely to the two big changes we are making this year, laptops and advisory—because we all need stronger wings and deeper roots. Read More Wings and Roots: Our school’s 2 major ed. initiatives for the year

Name: Penultimate (iTunes Link) Publisher: Cocoa Box Design Price: $2.99 Platform: iPad My quest for today was to find a tool that would allow me to blend in with my…

Read More Scribble Scrabble