2022

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Leading Difficult Personalities

A Principal's Reflections

While there are many challenging aspects when it comes to leadership, one that typically rises to the top is dealing with difficult personalities. As the saying goes, it’s typically the 1% that gives you 99% of the problems. Some people might take offense to the previous statement. Still, if you read it carefully, it sends a powerful message that most people possess a personality that is open to aspects we hold dear, such as collaboration, communication, innovation, and other elements essential

Cultures 512
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50 Learning Reflection Questions For Students

TeachThought

Were you an active or a passive learner? Of what you learned today, what are you most comfortable with and what is still 'iffy'? The post 50 Learning Reflection Questions For Students appeared first on TeachThought.

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The Best-Led Schools Put Communication First

My AP Life

Creating a dynamic communication model so that information flows effectively among the leadership team, faculty and staff, and parents and stakeholders helps nurture a culture and climate of shared leadership where all voices are heard and appreciated, writes AP DeAnna Miller. The post The Best-Led Schools Put Communication First first appeared on MiddleWeb.

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Playlists vs. Choice Boards: What is the difference?

Catlin Tucker

This week, I received a comment to my blog asking: What do you feel is the biggest difference between playlists and choice boards? Would you say a playlist is more data-driven and a choice board gives more variety in learning modalities? These are great questions! I have heard teachers use these terms interchangeably, yet there is a distinct difference between these the playlist model and choice boards.

Teaching 214
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Announcing the 2022-2023 Cohort of the League of Innovative Schools

Digital Promise

Digital Promise is thrilled to announce that 28 districts are joining the ranks of the League of Innovative Schools for the 2022-2023 school year. This new cohort extends the network’s reach to more than 150 districts across 38 states and expands its cumulative impact to 4.4 million students served over time. Please join us in welcoming the new 2022-2023 cohort of the League of Innovative Schools!

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Much ado about NAEP

Dangerously Irrelevant

Scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are down after the pandemic. Surprise! Four big thoughts on all of this… 1. Below is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) graph of daily COVID cases in the U.S. Note the huge spike in January 2022 due to the Omicron variant. Also note that the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) chose to administer the NAEP tests in March 2022 , during the downswing of that huge spike in cases and after two years

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PROOF POINTS: Third graders struggling the most to recover in reading after the pandemic

The Hechinger Report

As the coronavirus pandemic ravaged communities and shuttered schools, many educators and parents worried about kindergarteners who were learning online. That concern now appears well-founded as we’re starting to see evidence that remote school and socially distanced instruction were profoundly detrimental to their reading development. This story also appeared in Mind/Shift.

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5 Reasons Why Investing in School Leaders will Retain Teachers

Education Elements

Teacher turnover is an issue that has impacted school districts all across the country. Teachers are leaving the profession in record numbers while not enough are entering it. Therefore school districts are scrambling to fill vacancies with qualified educators. Teacher retention is a complicated issue. It is a challenge that has many facets, none of which seem to have simple solutions.

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Moving Beyond SAMR with the Rigor Relevance Framework

A Principal's Reflections

While there are many different frameworks to choose from when it comes to the effective integration of technology, SAMR is typically the one that most people and schools leverage. At face value, it is relatively straightforward while conveying how the use of technology can move from enhancement to transformation. The SAMR Model has provided us with a good lens to observe firsthand the need for proper planning prior to investing large amounts of money on technology.

Pedagogy 504
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Rethinking Normal

A Principal's Reflections

It always amazes me that we possess such vivid memories of some experiences yet tend to forget others. As the years' pass, I am always trying to retain as many as possible from my childhood. One that sticks out goes way back to my pre-school years. Now I can’t remember if my twin brother and I were actually in a year-long program or just a set number of days where high school students worked with us.

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Identifying the Best Supports for Personalization

A Principal's Reflections

We know for a fact that everyone learns differently. While a one-size-fits-all approach served its purpose for some of us, it doesn’t meet the diverse needs of kids today. It also doesn’t provide teachers and administrators with valuable insight on how to best support learners no matter where they are in relation to standards and critical competencies.

Pedagogy 497
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Shifting Our Practice

A Principal's Reflections

In my previous post , I dove into the concept of shifting our focus from “what” to “who” in order to set the stage for personalization. The premise is as simple as it is powerful, with the goal being to provide all learners with what they need, when and where they need it, to become life ready. While having a focus and knowledge of pertinent strategies is a good start, there needs to be an emphasis on changing practice.

Pedagogy 502
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Humble Leadership

A Principal's Reflections

Suppose you were to research or Google the qualities of effective leaders. In that case, all you would come up with are the typical characteristics such as good communication, ability to make difficult decisions, having a vision, models, and listening intently, to name a few. What doesn’t show up in routine searches is humility. There is a strong link between this trait and effective leadership.

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What Example Do You Set?

A Principal's Reflections

While there are some exceptions, most people do not like to be told what to do, especially when it comes to change. Not only does this often lead to resentment, but it can also inhibit people from doing their best work. I am sure many of us can recount numerous instances during our careers when directives have been leveled down by a leader(s). We end up following through with them in many cases because we are subordinate instead of empowered.

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Top Posts of 2022

A Principal's Reflections

With each passing year, I am always amazed that I continue to blog with consistency. It has become much more challenging, which is why I made the decision to move to a bi-monthly writing schedule. In a recent post , I shared my rationale. Basically, I am running out of unique topics and angles to explore so I don’t want to run the risk of becoming redundant.

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Transitioning to a Transformational Mindset

A Principal's Reflections

The concept of how one’s mindset plays a crucial role in growth and change is nothing new. However, there are different ways to look beyond just fixed vs. growth. I shared the following in Disruptive Thinking in Our Classrooms : A mindset is an attitude, disposition, or mood with which a person approaches a situation. In short, it’s a belief that determines the decisions we make, actions that are undertaken, and how situations are handled.

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The Everlasting Influence of a Great Teacher

A Principal's Reflections

Over the years, I have made the point of highlighting some of the many teachers who not only had a positive impact on me as a student but also have a tremendous amount of influence on me today. In Disruptive Thinking in Our Classrooms , the stories of Mrs. Williams (kindergarten), Mr. South (middle school science), and Dr. Hynoski (high school science) were shared.

Artifacts 490
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The Siri and Alexa Test

A Principal's Reflections

I absolutely love being at home. Having an intense travel schedule makes you cherish the little things that help alleviate stress and relax. One of my favorite pastimes is taking advantage of being outside any chance I get. Moving to Texas seven years ago meant the weather would stay warmer longer, making this more realistic. There is almost always music, whether in the pool, doing yard work, or hanging out with family and friends.

Education 482
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Strategies to Empower Reluctant Staff

A Principal's Reflections

As a leader, have you ever been so excited about a new initiative or innovative idea only to learn that some of your staff weren’t as equally thrilled? Early in my career, this was more the norm than the exception. I vividly remember getting excited about improving parent communication with, at the time, a state-of-the-art app. Since I saw the inherent value that it would have in the hands of my teachers to get information out readily while building relationships in the process, I couldn’t wait

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Get Students into the Learning Pit

A Principal's Reflections

In life, I would wager that the majority of us prefer the path of least resistance. After all, this is human nature. While we avoid challenges for many reasons, our mindset often keeps us from pushing ourselves if we are comfortable where we are at or we see a more straightforward path forward. Through an inherent fear of failure, mental blocks materialize to keep us in a safe place – free from dealing with potential adversity.

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Embracing an Evolved Thought Process

A Principal's Reflections

It is quite hard to keep up with all the exponential changes we are experiencing. Take technology for example. We get used to a device or app and before we know it there has been a huge update that alters the experience or it’s gone and replaced by something else. I think we can all agree that disruptive change is not the standard in society, but the question becomes how is this impacting education?

Tradition 480
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Developing Resilience in Learners

A Principal's Reflections

The pandemic leveled down an array of lessons that should pave the way for future success. One that sticks out to me as the most critical is how resilience got us through one of the most disruptive events we have ever experienced. Adversity, like never before, compelled us to not only change but also to persevere in the face of countless unknowns. While the path was fraught with obstacles, we learned to overcome them together through innovative means.

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Efficacy-Based Practices

A Principal's Reflections

The pursuit of improvement is a never-ending journey. With all the disruption we have and will continue to see, changes to how we educate kids must be considered. We often see a great deal of investment in an array of ideas, strategies, and solutions with the goal of improving learning for all kids. I am all for anything that can benefit all students.

Artifacts 478
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Leading Through Windows and Mirrors

A Principal's Reflections

There is no shortage of ways to reflect on how we lead in an effort to initiate and sustain change. Culture is everything. Establishing and maintaining relationships is paramount, which Is why I detailed research-based ways to improve morale in a previous post and in Digital Leadership. Another way to help ensure success in this area is to hold ourselves accountable through a self-efficacy lens.

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Core Elements of Personalization

A Principal's Reflections

Many concepts are looked upon negatively as they are associated with buzzwords, fads, or a lack of substance. You won’t get much of an argument from me as to the validity of this view because it is true in many cases. Educators want proven strategies that can be implemented readily that will address diverse learner needs while leading to an improvement in outcomes.

Cultures 468
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The Role of a Leader in Building Capacity

A Principal's Reflections

When it comes to leadership, there is no one right way or quick fix. Just like with learning, it's a process, not an event. Another given is that no matter where your practice lies, or that of your staff, there are always areas to improve. Herein is why I stated the following in Disruptive Thinking : Chase growth, not perfection. While honesty and vulnerability are necessities to get the ball rolling, action must follow to advance practice.

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Disrupting Your Practice

A Principal's Reflections

Last week I shared the news that Disruptive Thinking in Our Classrooms: Preparing Learners for Their Future was published a year ago. While I am proud of all the books that I have been honored to write, this one was a bit more special. For starters, it represented my first major publication that veered away from a leadership focus. Since a great deal of my time as of late has been in the role of a coach, I wanted to share insight that has been gleaned through visits to numerous schools and count

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Your Ticket to More Effective Lessons

A Principal's Reflections

During my training to become a teacher, I was immersed in the work of Madeline Hunter when it came to lesson plan design. Her Instructional Theory into Practice (ITIP) model helped me identify the strategies I would use on a daily basis to help my students learn. These included the anticipatory set (hook), reviewing prior learning, checking for understanding, forms of practice, and closure.

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Model What You Expect

A Principal's Reflections

One of the most powerful teaching and leadership strategies is the act of modeling. It goes beyond just telling people what to do by instead showing them how to do it as a means to either support learning or change. In the classroom, modeling aids in making concepts clear where students learn by observing. I shared the following in Disruptive Thinking in Our Classrooms : Modeling is a pedagogical strategy whereby the teacher or student(s) demonstrates how to complete tasks and activities related

K-12 469
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Taking Learners Deeper with Reflection

A Principal's Reflections

“ We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.” – John Dewey The quote above from Dewey has always resonated with me, especially when I am outside doing yardwork in Texas. In the past, I used to often get stung by bees and wasps. There is a difference between the two species and how they sting. Some of them actually bite.

Pedagogy 458
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Tips for an Abrupt Shift to Remote or Hybrid Learning

A Principal's Reflections

The other day I was with one of my partner districts as part of ongoing longitudinal work that will last at least two years. As I was facilitating a model lesson near the end of the school day with a group of teachers and administrators, a staff member came by the room to inform everyone that the district would be going remote the rest of the week. An email was also sent informing all educators to plan for an asynchronous day of learning on Thursday and synchronous on Friday.

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Virtual Learning Done Right

A Principal's Reflections

Through adversity, we rise to the occasion. So many important lessons were learned during the pandemic that can be used to not only improve our practice but also to pave the way for a brighter future. The key is not to have a short memory while working to push forward with implementing initiatives that benefit all learners. One important lesson learned was that face-to-face learning does not meet the needs of every child.

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Improvement is Always Possible

A Principal's Reflections

We have been made to think certain things are absolute truths for most of our lives. Take, for example, the saying that practice makes perfect. While this sounds great in theory and can be a great motivation to pursue growth opportunities, an underlying fallacy is embedded in this message. Take bowling, for example. The ultimate goal of any bowler is to reach a perfect score of 300 by getting nothing but strikes.

Cultures 458
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Hitting Curveballs

A Principal's Reflections

If only everything could be simple. Life is anything but an easy journey. While this, for the most part, has been manageable in the past, the pandemic has upended professional and personal lives. Just when there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, a new variant materializes. For now, Omicron is the current curveball. As I write this post on the first day of 2022, I can't help but reflect on the resilience educators showed the year before.

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Learner Paths are Rarely the Same

A Principal's Reflections

At times I find myself claiming that I am a visual learner. Hence, I try to have an original image to go along with most blog posts I write. While text adds needed details and depth, the accompanying visuals provide more context. They also do a great job capturing the attention of prospective readers. I am not alone in my affinity for pictures. Researchers at MIT found that the brain can process images as quickly as 13 milliseconds.

Research 447
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#EDvice: Practical Strategies in 90 Seconds or Less

A Principal's Reflections

I never saw myself as a writer until I started blogging back in March 2010. It all began with goal setting for the Google Teacher Academy for Administrators, and I haven’t looked back. Consistency has been vital for me, as I have published a post every week since. Therein lies the dilemma I am currently facing. The struggle is real in my case when it comes to finding new topics to blog about or adding an innovative spin to already-prevalent concepts.

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Change Begins with You

A Principal's Reflections

When we do things a certain way, we often become comfortable, especially if we are satisfied with the result. While this might seem perfectly fine on the surface, the truth is that progress can become stagnant. The fact of the matter is that change will always be needed as employing the same old thinking will continue to lead to the same old results.