EDWORDS: Latest Blog Posts

  • Wonder

    The Lesson It was 10:30, and way past bedtime. But, it was Friday evening, and they just finished watching one of their favorite Pixar movies, Brave. I told them that it was time to go to bed, but their dad had a different idea. “Boys, come here. I have something to show you first.” Intrigued, we all gathered around him at the bottom of the stairs. “All of you need your iPads.” What was this all about? The boys rushed to the charging station, grabbed their iPads, and ran back to their dad ...

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    by Amy Heavin
    Saturday, 25 July 2015
  • 24/7 Learning: What students need from us

    Learning is not only limited to the time the student spends in our classrooms. The bell rings and the student can continue their work from anywhere. Technology is allowing students to access class content, work on assignments, help one another, contact the teacher, at any time of the day. What does that mean for us as teachers?   21st century learners need from their teachers: 24/7 access to course content: Provide course content online with an LMS, Google Classroom, Edm ...

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    by Barbara Sweet
    Friday, 24 July 2015
  • touch

    High-Fives & Fist Bumps: Why They Matter in Teaching & Learning

    When we think of learning, the two senses that typically come to mind are sight and sound. Students look and they listen. But what about the sense of touch? Should it play a role in your classroom? If so, how much of a role? As it turns out, touch can have a vital role in teaching and learning and as someone who’s forever promoting the use of multiple senses, I’m delighted that we’re acquiring more and more information on the topic. The research on the importance of touch – whether it’s feeli ...

    by Rae Pica
    Thursday, 23 July 2015
  • Engagement with Community - Listen, Share, Respond

    “I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.”– Vincent Van Gogh   Upon entry into a school system (or company) one of the first things leaders do is listen to stakeholders and find out what’s going on. They ask questions like: “what’s on your mind?”, “what is working here”, “if you were in my position, what advice would you give me”, and so on. Any impactful leader’s entry plan involves engagement and listening! As I have learned and as I continue to learn on my leadership ...

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    by Michael Lubelfeld
    Wednesday, 22 July 2015
  • b2ap3_thumbnail_cups.jpg

    Red Light...GREEN LIGHT! A classroom management tool to help during the writing process.

      Recently I attended a training on Formative Assessment with Dylan Wiliam. He is well-known in educational  circles as THE guru of Formative Assessment. So I was pretty excited to spend a weekend learning from him. What he said was nothing new. What he said was no educational rocket science. Yet he had some great, easy to implement, suggestions on how to give formative feedback to students. Beyond the idea of feedback, many of his suggestions are essentially about classroom managem ...

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    by Kathleen Ralf
    Wednesday, 22 July 2015
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Posted by on in Education Leadership

The Lesson

It was 10:30, and way past bedtime. But, it was Friday evening, and they just finished watching one of their favorite Pixar movies, Brave. I told them that it was time to go to bed, but their dad had a different idea. “Boys, come here. I have something to show you first.” Intrigued, we all gathered around him at the bottom of the stairs.


“All of you need your iPads.” What was this all about? The boys rushed to the charging station, grabbed their iPads, and ran back to their dad, eager to see what was in store. He proceeded to show them a new app, Skyview, that he put on all of their iPads without them knowing it. “A long time ago, people used the stars to find their way to get places. Through this app, we can learn about the constellations they used. Let’s go outside to see them!”


Out they went, iPads in hand, dark night sky, the stars above. Each little guy pointed their iPad to the sky, and the constellations illuminated on their iPads. The next 30 minutes were filled with awe and excitement, the faces of discovery lighting the night. There are no words to describe the faces of wonder as they discovered planets, the patterns of the stars, and how space was all around us. Countless moments of “Look at this!” and “What is this thing?” were shared. Mom and Dad moved among the boys, answering questions, pointing to objects, describing what they were seeing on their screens.

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Posted by on in What If?

touch

When we think of learning, the two senses that typically come to mind are sight and sound. Students look and they listen. But what about the sense of touch? Should it play a role in your classroom? If so, how much of a role?

As it turns out, touch can have a vital role in teaching and learning and as someone who’s forever promoting the use of multiple senses, I’m delighted that we’re acquiring more and more information on the topic. The research on the importance of touch – whether it’s feeling and manipulating objects or the value of human touch in the teaching and learning process – is very exciting.

About the latter, teacher Joan Young says:

Touch is the way we connect to each other, show compassion, and create community. One of the most important ways that I have built a safe and lively learning space is through rituals to celebrate hard work and successes as well as failures. Fist bumps, high fives, handshakes at the door are small actions that join us and convey we are all working together, trying to bring out each other’s best.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership
“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.”
– Vincent Van Gogh

 

Upon entry into a school system (or company) one of the first things leaders do is listen to stakeholders and find out what’s going on. They ask questions like: “what’s on your mind?”, “what is working here”, “if you were in my position, what advice would you give me”, and so on. Any impactful leader’s entry plan involves engagement and listening! As I have learned and as I continue to learn on my leadership journey, it is necessary to listen and respond throughout one’s tenure – not just at the beginning. In our District we value strategic and ongoing communications to engage our stakeholders.

In our District we highly value survey data, focus group data, stakeholder input, and action. Each year we administer a Culture Survey and every other year we administer a climate survey.I have shared posts

'The Mandarin Chinese symbol listen - the heart, ears, eyes ... together - Listen.' src=https://dps109supt.edublogs.org/files/2014/07/chinese_tolisten-28z5trg.jpg
The Mandarin Chinese symbol “listen” – the heart, ears, eyes … together – Listen.

about our community engagement efforts over the past few months. From the earliest days of my administrative career I have had aChinese symbol in my office: this is a reminder to LISTEN with both ears and my heart!

As part of our data informed decision making processes we engage with thought leaders and thought partners around various endeavors on an on-going basis about a multitude of topics (including but not limited to): curriculum, teaching, engagement, innovation, communication, etc. With respect to communication, the following four slides show graphics about our recent strategic engagement efforts. While our tag line isEngage, Inspire, Empower– our energy is devoted to seeking out thoughts, reactions, feedback and input into how we can continue to best fulfill our bold mission!

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Posted by on in Tools, Shortcuts, Resources

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_cups.jpgRecently I attended a training on Formative Assessment with Dylan Wiliam. He is well-known in educational  circles as THE guru of Formative Assessment. So I was pretty excited to spend a weekend learning from him.

What he said was nothing new. What he said was no educational rocket science. Yet he had some great, easy to implement, suggestions on how to give formative feedback to students.

Beyond the idea of feedback, many of his suggestions are essentially about classroom management. When students aren’t engaged in your classroom, they are going to make their presence known in ways you won’t really enjoy.

One way of gauging who in the room is on track and who needs help is by using the traffic light technique. Each student uses a set of colored cups to indicate the level of help they need.

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Posted by on in General

 

May 22, 2015 was the day the Class of 2015 graduated where I teach; consequently, I spent most of May 23rd and May 24th either sleeping or in a semi-comatose state because I was tired. Let’s be honest: teaching is exhausting.  But no sooner than the end-of-the-year bell rings, many teachers are figuring out how to get the most out of their summer and also debrief and prepare for the next school year. I’m sure many of you are type A personalities like myself, so sitting and resting do not come easily but are so necessary for healthy teachers. This summer be sure to carve out time for rest in the following areas:

Physical Rest. The daily grind of the school year is physically exhausting. Take time to sleep in or at least leave mornings unscheduled and relaxed. Quality physical rest stems from overall physical health, and summer is a perfect time to focus on areas in our personal health that may have gotten out of balance during the school year. Take advantage of fresh fruits and vegetables, extra energy to prepare healthy meals, and time for leisurely walks all of which makes for a healthy and rested body. And by all means if your body is saying it needs a power nap in the afternoon, take it because you certainly won’t be able to do that once school starts.

Emotional Rest. One of the most exhausting parts of the day in and day out of a school year is the emotional drain from students, parents, and even colleagues. Being emotionally drained is not necessarily a bad thing because it means we have celebrated with our students, cried for our students, struggled with families, and lamented with coworkers over what’s best for our students. This is good because we have been fully present, but we do need to step back and allow ourselves time to emotionally rest. Spend time around people who are easy to be with and give you energy this summer and don’t feel guilty about it.

Mental Rest. Planning, grading, conferencing, and reading for ten months can lead to mental exhaustion, but if you’re like me, summer is a time to read professional books that you can’t squeeze into the school year. Evaluating the previous year, planning for the new year, and reading for professional development are great things to do over the summer but balance them with pleasure reading or catching up on a television series.

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