A Change in Blogging Programs

Yes, I am changing formats.  Change is okay.  It took a while for me to understand this blogging program, but I have to say, WordPress gives you much more opportunities and design options.  They sure do have the market on blogging.  The reason I chose to switch is for the mere fact that I have two other blogs connect to this one, the Rethinking Education blog that I use to write and the Edcamp Upstate NY blog to which I am a part of this group of highly engaging educators designing a fun filled day of learning, all for free, at Queensbury HS on Octber 25, 2014.  (Check out the blog/website in production!)

But this isn’t going to be about changing blogging programs.  This is more of a share from my friend Dr. Joe Mazza.  Joe was the first tweep that I followed two years ago and he also recruited me as on of the Social Media Ambassadors along with Tony Sinanis for the Baltimore NAESP conference.   I consider Joe as one of the pioneers in using social media to engage parents as partners in the school.  He hosts the national #ptchat every Wednesday at 7:00p.m. on Twitter and engages his students and parents about the use of technology to help enhance learning.  But it isn’t always about technology that is the most important thing when dealing with parents.  Below, he writes about how important those face-to-face conversations with parents are – it is something that we all have to keep in check to help build the partnerships with our parents.  Check it out:

As educators, we’re in the age of apps, social media, email, text alerts, Skype, email, online polls and other valuable tech tools we’re utilizing each day to make our schools better – most of these I find on Connected Educator blogs and my Twitter PLN. However, the more we rely on these tools, the greater the risk we as leaders take in swaying our communications away from the face to face interactions with eye contact, tone, empathy and body language that supports relationship-building amongst students, staff and families.

I am a technology geek. I love testing out the latest tools to see how it might positively impact my learning community at Knapp Elementary, but I must continue to maintain my “home button,” meaning the face to face interactions each day. By taking the time and investing in face to face conversations by default instead of sending an email or including it in a newsletter, strong leadership and relational trust can be built on a solid foundation.

Remember, what we do and how we do it is always being soaked up by our students, teachers and families. It’s our job to role model the very best ways to communicate effectively in mentoring young citizens. Make an investment this year. get back to basics. Be explicit on how you intend to do it.

I cannot say it any better.  Have a great week!


(BTW, please be patient while I work to tweak this blog, it’s appearance, and some of the what WordPress can do other than just a blogging platform.  Look for developments!)

Other News
  • Bus Duty for Feb 3-Feb 14 Team 1: Steph Plaisted, Brooke Crump, Kim Johnson Upcoming bus duty:  Feb. 24- Mar. 7 Team 2:  Mindy Backus, Pam Mahay, Denise Croasdiale.
  • We have a staff meeting on Monday,  Feb. 3rd.  Let’s see if we can get to do this and not get cancelled out.  Kim Hayes will join us.  Please remember to register on MLP before midnight.
  • Look for Edcamp to come to Gouverneur very soon!  (Keep you guessing!)
  • Just a quick shout out of thank to you all for working with me to get these walk through mini-observations completed. Thanks for being the best of the best!
  • What are the five things you are grateful for?  Make a list daily.  It does wonders!
  • Be the change agent for kids!  Be a champion for kids.  Every kid deserves a champion!

App of the Week:  Edublogs

You all know I enjoy blogging on a personal level.  I share my voice and thoughts about education in my blog Rethinking Education linked to this blog.  (Some day I will probably get in trouble, lol).  What I am doing is trying to weigh in on areas that are effecting and affecting education not only with us as a school, but through New York State and the nation.  I think we as educators have a voice and you all should share your voice about education, good practice, and even frustrations.
With that being said, why not look at Edublogs for your students?  This is a great platform to use for your class, even if you just start blogging as a classroom.  You can show students how doing this and create a blog for your class instead of websites.  It’s easy as well as FREE.
Edublogs runs on the WordPress platform.  It can be set-up for privacy as well as publicly.  You can also have students set-up accounts and have them start blogging.  These can be closed accounts as well.  Edublogs is free and it also has a web-based platform here: http://edublogs.org/  Let’s check this out!   How powerful would it be for our kids to start blogging that is linked to your class blog.  Wow!!
Other Items of Interest
     Here’s the Story of StandardsStandards in New York State, presented without the drama.Video
This recording of an interview with Vice-Chancellor Bottar (who is also one of our Regents in our BOCES) from Channel 9 is worth a watch. It begins with some NYS education history and the genesis of the Regents Reform Agenda. The second part of the program addresses the implementation of the Common Core, assessments, APPR, and more.image This video explains the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) and its impact on public education in New York. It does a great job to explain it for all audiences.The February ASCD Collection Top Ten (remember, these resources have been purchased for all educators in the BOCES):

  • Learning Targets Explains learning targets as a theory of action to raise student achievement and create a culture of evidence-based, results-oriented practice.
  • Rethinking Homework Explores the homework debate and explains whether homework is an essential effective or harmful. Topics include how to avoid the “homework trap” and “seven steps to building better relationships with parents about homework”.
  • Data-Driven Decision Making Shows how to implement data-driven decision making and make it the key to assessing all school activities, from classroom instruction to budgeting.
  • Strengthening and Enriching Your Professional Learning Community Explains how to strengthen the effectiveness of Professional Learning communities in schools.
  • Assignments Matter Explains the critical differences among “assignments,” “activities,” and “assessments” and thoroughly describes the key elements of an assignment: prompts, rubrics, products, and instructional plans.

How “authentic” are the assessments we use in school? Grant Wiggins explainsauthentic assessment. Good project based learning will meet these criteria.
This recorded hang out addresses district and school leadershipleadership for project based learning and 21C readiness. As you plan to move your school or district forward, this makes the connections between the classroom and the larger system explicit. The 4Cs are the “what” and PBL is the “how.”
PBLNYMake plans to be a part of PBLNY. August 5th -7th. The center of the PBL world comes to Syracuse. Bergman. Boss. Chaltain. Zhao. Save the date.
We’ve seen the Six Shifts for ELA, math, and Data Driven Instruction. Here are some of the shifts for the 21st Century. There are more than six – but they’re all true.
This one-pager describes the impact of povertypoverty on learning and offers some resources.Description: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRVZ3bmYm5OD3sy2jxy-ogeOsEc2Tsn-o_OnHgwVmze5dmBI8el
Try SkillsWin! for free for the rest of the year. It includes lessons, videos, and reflection tools to help students learn 4Cs & more.

image The NYS Department of Health has prepared an activity packet for elementary students about emergency preparedness. Disclaimer: it includes a wordsearch.
Another free offering is the AugmentEd MOOC. By the end of the 13-week course, learners will have used a variety of free Web 2.0 tools to create eight different digital projects, and will be eligible for a course “Master Learner” badge for their accomplishments.

3 Videos on Lesson Planning

Grades 9-10 | ELA | Planning | CCSS (Downloads)
In this video, watch as Mr. Hanify considers integration of standards as he plans his lesson.
Grades 6-8 | Math | Reasoning | CCSS (Downloads)
Sometimes we use the lesson planning process to think deeply about the complexities that must become accessible to our learners. Ms. McPhillips does just that in this video.
All Grades | Math | Preparation
We often determine next steps by examining the ones we’ve just taken. Ms. Spies uses student responses to help plan her next lesson in this video.

A Touch of Humor

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