Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Struggling To Connect With Students? Let Them Get To Know You

Guest post by James Alan Sturtevant

Teachers are often lectured, “Get to know your students!” That’s not easy to do! A lot of kids can be pretty closed down. And, if you try to get to know them before they’re ready…it can be counter productive.
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Bonding with students is fundamental to the learning process. John Hattie, in his landmark book “Visible Learning”, created a list of 138 influences on student learning. He placed student-teacher relationships in 11th place, far ahead of many things one might think more important. State departments of education, like in Ohio where I live, are requiring resident educators to demonstrate that positive relationships are being fostered in classrooms.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hashtag How Tos - Figure, Configure, Follow, Find, + Find Others

When I speak with educators about the power of hashtags in social media, I get four questions.
1. How do I figure out which hashtag to use and set it up?
2. How do I know what people are saying?
3. How do I know what hashtag people are using if I want to find conversations about an area of interest?
4. How do I know who is using the hashtag?

There's a few great sites to help you answer these questions. They are Tagboard, Hashtagify.me, TOPSY, and Twitter.  Let's take a look and how to use these platforms to most effectively answer these questions.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Hottest Posts Everybody's Reading

Here’s the roundup of what's been popular on The Innovative Educator blog. Below you’ll see the top posts along with the number of page views. I hope there's something that looks of interest to you.  If it does, check it out. If you’re inspired use one of those icons below the post to share it with others and/or leave a comment.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

#ThrowbackThursday - Lessons Learned at The Science Leadership Academy

Today's #ThrowbackThursday brings us to a post I wrote after my first visit to The Science Leadership Academy. It was my first experience into the underbelly of what a "school gone right" looks like. I had the opportunity to spend an amazing day with the school's founder, Chris Lehmann, and his staff and students. Want to find out what makes a successful school? Read this article.

Written: May 30, 2008

Topic: Best practices at SLA

Who might be interested: Educators interested in learning about and using ideas that lead to school success.

Favorite excerpt:  When parents ask if SLA will prepare their children to do as well on standardized test as some other schools Mr. Lehman explains that the school is not about test scores. Instead he explains this is a place where students are not judged simply by test scores, but rather it is a place where they consider the students' head, heart, and hands. This was evident during my visit. Something I noticed early was there were no disturbing, ear piercing bells or announcements. When I asked Mr. Lehman to speak about this, he said it was because they were educating humans, not animals being trained to respond to a bell.

Reader question: Which of the practices outlined in this article take place (or you wish took place) where you work?


Science Leadership Academy – Lessons Learned

I had the opportunity to join my colleagues for a visit to Chris Lehman’s much lauded (recently to me by Will Richardson and Jason LevyScience Leadership Academy (SLA). Some of the best professional development I have engaged in is visits to schools that have the kind of reputation and stand for what I believe in. Then I watch, discuss, write, read about, implement, and share the best of what I discover. 

Chris Lehman, SLA's founding principal, has distinct views about what he believes schools should be doing for their students as he shared with us and in an Edutopia interview. "When I hear people say it's our job to create the twenty-first-century workforce, it scares the hell out of me. Our job is to create twenty-first-century citizens. We need workers, yes, but we also need scholars, activists, parents -- compassionate, engaged people. We're not reinventing schools to create a new version of a trade school. We're reinventing schools to help kids be adaptable in a world that is changing at a blinding rate."

Read the rest at: http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2008/05/science-leadership-academy-lessons.html 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

#BYOD Toolkit Provides Resources Necessary for Success

As Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) becomes and option for more and more schools, it is important to get the right pieces in place. A good place to start is the BYOD Toolkit which is part of the K-12 Blueprint for implementing successful technology initiatives.  The Toolkit includes case studies, checklists, step-by-steps, program frameworks, forms, and presentations to help in planning and implementing a BYOD program at the school or district level.

The Toolkit allows schools to learn from others with resources such as the sample acceptable use policies below:

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Prepping for #BYOD ? Home-School Connection Is Key.

When schools lift the ban on cell phones, they need to decide if they want to embrace the use of student devices for learning. If they do, it doesn't "start" with inviting devices into the classroom. 

It starts in student's homes. 
What better way to help parents understand the instructional value of cell phones than to use these devices to strengthen the home-school connection? 

Cell phones provide a terrific means for connecting with parents. Teachers can begin using phones to develop and strengthen those relationships. This can provide a foundation and help develop understanding around the benefits and value of cell phone use in general and later for use with students. 

Here are three ideas to get started:

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