Category: Education

Outside of school, most people apply learning across disciplines, scenarios, and experiences. For a majority of our lives as students, we are taught in a system that creates blocks of…

Read More Learning Is Irregular

The other day I was talking to our high school choir teacher, when she told me about a fascinating brain study involving music.

Image Source: https://tcnjjournal.pages.tcnj.edu
Image Source: https://tcnjjournal.pages.tcnj.edu

MIT neuroscientists have discovered that music triggers an auditory cortex of the brain that doesn’t appear to respond to other basic auditory sounds like speech.

If our brains have portions that only react to sounds recognized as music, this leads to an important question: Are we really engaging the brain most effectively if we aren’t exposing it to music? Read More Triggering the Brain with Wonder

It’s cliche, but so true. Little things mean a lot, in daily life and in our profession of education. Sometimes we have to set aside time to reflect on the…

Read More Little Things Mean A Lot

Disruption for many people generates discomfort, shakes the status quo and breaks routines. We all have an emotional response to this process: for some hesitation, doubt, confusion, fear, anger, bewilderment,…

Read More Disrupt Me!

Words are a powerful vehicle for meaning and understanding, connected to individual or group perspectives, interpretations, and connections. The word “Digital” has been part of our vocabulary landscape for a…

Read More The Death of ” Digital”.

Last week I attended a great webinar presentation provided by NASSP with guest presenter, Jimmy Casas, on Hiring For Excellence.

Jimmy Casas www.jimmycasas.com
Jimmy Casas www.jimmycasas.com

A Connected Principal contributor, Jimmy is the current principal of Bettendorf High School in Bettendorf, Iowa. He was named the 2012 Iowa Secondary Principal of the Year and was selected as one of three finalists for NASSP 2013 National Secondary Principal of the Year. Among his many other accomplishments, he co-authored a book with Todd Whitaker and Jeff Zoul entitled, What Connected Educators Do Differently. Check out his website for more great resources.

After running my notes by Jimmy, he gave me the thumbs up to share some highlights from his valuable advice for school leaders who are hiring new teachers or team members: Read More Great Lessons from Jimmy Casas on Hiring For Excellence

Last week a teacher told me how excited she was to see the seemingly endless strategies teachers can use in helping students grow (see previous post).
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As we talked about John Hattie’s list together, I began to think about how helpful it may be to focus on some of his specific strategies for more clarification.

Let’s start at the top of the list: The first strategy from Hattie’s list is “self-reported grades”, so here are three takeaways I wanted to pass along—one from a Hattie summary, one from my own experience, and a third from teachers at my school: Read More 3 Tips on Student Self-Reported Grades

The world today is changing at a fast pace. We are seeing advances in technology at a frenetic rate, which is having a powerful impact on our learners. It is…

Read More Uncommon Learning

Yes, there is the Internet of Things: a world in parallel to ours were our devices, data, algorithms, gadgets, smart phones and digital tools interconnect, communicate, and work independently of…

Read More Welcome to the Machine

This summer some of our teachers attended Literacy Strategy as part of our before school professional development.

Image Source: http://classroom.synonym.com/
Image Source: http://classroom.synonym.com/

As a follow-up, we invited a Literacy specialist, Shannon Gaines, to spend a day with our teachers observing and providing feedback.

We scheduled half a day to walk her through a dozen classes so that she could observe interactions, lessons, and strategies already in play. Then we met in small groups with teachers for follow-up conversations.

As a school leader, I wanted to know what Shannon viewed as some strengths as well as where we could grow. The feedback was helpful: Read More 10 Easy Literacy Strategies For Engaging Students

There is a belief that children nowadays are natural, “Digital Natives”, and that we adults on the sidelines are “Digital Immigrants”. The dexterity and comfort many children demonstrate when interacting…

Read More …leave the kids alone?

This summer I had the privilege of traveling to Washington, D.C. with my superintendent. At our district’s opening meeting with staff, he told a story about one morning when we decided to paddle a kayak on the Potomac near Roosevelt Island.
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As we settled into our boat, we both began to paddle in separate directions: two leaders in one boat can sometimes create lots of waves while not moving very far.

Finally, we agreed that paddling together would be a lot more effective than each of us trying to separately navigate the course. As I rowed in front, and he provided steering in the rear, we were able to make good distance along the water and take in the morning sunshine along the Key Bridge near Georgetown. Read More 3 C’s For Navigating A New School Year

I know a lot of people who love Chick-fil-A because of the quality of their food and service.
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If you’ve eaten there, you know how friendly they are to customers, you’ve seen the fresh flowers on the tables, and you know how much better their chicken tastes than other fast food options.

As a school leader, it is easy to forget how lessons in marketing, public relations, or customer service also improve school climates. A couple of weeks ago, our district leadership team sat down with a Public Relations consultant, Jeremy C. Burton, who manages PR at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

ORU has seen an upward surge in enrollment, ehancements, and development over the past few years, and positive PR has been played an important role for promoting their brand. I wanted to pass along four points Burton made in his talk and add some of my own comments along the way. Read More Importance of Public Relations for School Leaders: 4 Tips

Yesterday I was privileged to hear one our senior boys do a presentation at a neighboring school. Jesse Haynes is a recently published author of young adult fiction.

Jesse Haynes, student and author
Jesse Haynes, student and author. Used with permission.

He was talking to groups of middle school students about his experience setting goals and publishing a book.

He also told them that his greatest inspiration for writing came from his 4th grade teacher. “I don’t know if you ever think about it,” he said, “But teachers give up a large part of their lives to prepare us for the rest of our lives.”

Wow, I thought. What a fitting tribute to the inspiring influence teachers have on students!

This week is Teacher Appreciation for many schools across North America. At our school, we’ve been thanking our teachers with yummy meals and treats. But no gift seems to be good enough for the kind of sacrifice teachers give every day in and out of the classroom. Read More Thank You For Being A Giver!