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As the 9th largest school district in the state of Ohio, the Hilliard City School District serves more than 15,500 students in grades K-12, through three high schools, three middle schools, two sixth-grade schools and 14 elementary schools.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

May 12, 2014

What Happens When We Don't Connect

“What Happens When We Don’t Connect” strays a bit from how the brain is wired and actually focuses more on the need to belong.  Jeremy Rikfin says that connectivity, social learning, and pop social media fulfill our needs for sociability, attachment, affection, and companionship.  He maintains that repressing the need to connect has definite consequences.  Thus, we need to seek ways to help students connect with the world around them.  This article shares ten recommendations:
1.      Connect them through function and purpose, not gadgets.
2.     Use technology to help them establish a context for themselves.
3.     Model how to relate to others who are different from them.
4.     Help them to clarify to whom and to what they’re connected.
5.     Use place-based learning and PBL to help them make new connections.
6.     Help them use social media for recreation, knowledge, and meaning.
7.     Offer digital citizenship strategies.
8.     Encourage them to identify the multiple citizenships to which they belong.
9.     Have them concept map their own interdependence in a given context.
10.  Help them in identifying authentic roles in communities they care about.

Take a look at the video embedded in the article.

7 Ways to Start Your Week Like a Leader

Early last week I tweeted this blog post  written by Dan Rockwell, the Leadership Freak, and I decided to make this my selection this week given the message it illustrates.  We all know this time of the year is crazy to say the least, but as you read the 7 thoughts Dan provides to set the tone on Monday mornings I think you will find a few strategies to calm some of the waters that come with the craziness of the end of the year.  

Try a few out and see what you think and good luck on the remainder of the year!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 21, 2014

Are Our Kids Ready for Computerized Tests?

With the reality that eventually (whether it’s next year or a few years after that) we will be moving to more and more online testing, this article focuses on skills that even the most tech-savvy students will need to have in order to be successful with online testing and five ways to help students get there. We piloted the PARCC and the new Science and Social Studies tests this spring and found a lot of the same issues come up that are listed in this article. The biggest challenge we have, according to this article is “the new online assessments will challenge educators to ensure that students not only have learned certain things, but also can demonstrate their knowledge using technology and apply their learning to a variety of tasks—all without the direction of the teacher.”

The Power of Positivity

It's the easiest road to go down this time of year, negative thoughts. So much is happening, deadlines are looming, parents are questioning, and pressures continue to mount on the decision makers. My father always told me "Attitude is Everything". We have the ability to control our attitude at all times, which in turns controls a lot our outcomes. The power of positivity is something we can all recharge from. Take a minute to reflect on how much power/influence you can have by simply being positive. Remember the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

March 10, 2014

What ADHD Students Wish Their Teachers Knew

My selection this week outlines 17 of the most commonly experienced issues for students with ADHD.

What ADHD Students Wish Their Teachers Knew

How to Implement Blended Learning Version 2.0

Hilliard City Schools strives to enhance the PreK-12 learning experience for each student. We want our most important 'customers' to be engaged in school experiences that excite and challenge them individually. Ohio's New Learning Standards are the floor to learning expectations for HCSD students, not the ceiling. 

We will leverage our 1:1 initiative to transform the learning environment in every classroom: more personalized for students, less teacher-directed. District and building leaders will lead a shift in instructional culture. The infographic below shares compelling content for courageous districts who intend to expand blended learning opportunities for students.

The Right Questions, The Right Way

If you received this month’s Ed Leadership, you saw it was all about assessments which is very timely as we gear up for new state assessments next year and a district focus on creating high quality assessments. One of the articles available in this edition is about one form of assessing students: Questioning. The article titled “The Right Questions, The Right Way” focuses on the problems with how teachers have traditionally questioned students and ways to think about doing this differently in a more purposeful and effective way that benefits students. These new ways of questioning allow all students to be more engaged and give teachers more timely information on where students are at in their learning process.

Keep the Promise of Educational Technology

A group attended the SxSW education conference this week, bringing together educators and more across the globe. Among many breakout sessions and keynotes the themes focused on personalized learning and integrating technology. It was reaffirming to hear many trends in education that districts are striving to do, as we are already knee deep in many of their initiatives. Here is a link to a quick summary of the conference along with video highlights. One takeaway is that we can always continue to push and do better for our students, and doing that together makes for a better journey.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

February 10, 2014

10 Ways to Change the Future Today

My selection this week comes from the Leadership Freak.  Those of you that follow me on Twitter, may have seen me tweet out a few of his thought provoking posts including this one.  My reason for sharing this post with you is that it provides 10 very manageable suggestions to change the future today.  As we are all initiating change in some way shape or form, I believe utilizing some or all of these suggestions will go a long way with teachers, students, and community members in increasing buy in.  Enjoy!

10 Ways to Change the Future Today

20 Tips for Creating a Professional Learning Network

In “20 Tips for Creating a Professional Learning Network,” Miriam Clifford takes a topic we’ve been discussing in our district and shares practical suggestions for approaching Personal Learning Networks in order to advance our craft.  These networks are reliant on the quality of our interactions with others.  Thus, our approach is key.  I’ll briefly share her tips.  What will be even more valuable to you, though, are the links throughout the article.

10 Tips for Using PLN’s

1.     Keep the spirit of collaboration as your driving force.
2.    Join an online community.
3.    Join a Meetup group.
4.    Become a beacon of light.
5.    Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
6.    Be an active participant.
7.    Remember to be polite and acknowledge contributions to the rightful owner.
8.    Designate a professional and personal account.
9.    Create a landing page.
10. Engage newbies.

10 Tools & Strategies for Establishing a Productive PLN

1.    Use Diigo, Evernote, Pocket, or Delicious to bookmark links.
2.    Use a reader to subscribe to blogs.
3.    Establish your own platform.
4.    Share on Twitter first.
5.    Consider your role.
6.    Aggregate resources together.
7.    Take a free course to learn about PLN’s.
8.    Stay current with new tools.
9.    Simplify logins.
10. Establish a classroom learning network.

While PLN’s truly are a powerful agent of change, they don’t come naturally.  These practical tips can certainly help us as we navigate our way.

20 Tips for Creating a Professional Learning Network

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February 3, 2014

Among Experts

The following is a blog written by Dwight Carter,  Principal of Gahanna Lincoln High School.  In it, he outlines a very valuable use and experience for a staff meeting.  He also shares the three main correlates of successful schools: instructional leadership, a positive school climate and culture, and frequent monitoring.  Take a moment to read the blog and see if it sparks the desire to try the activity he did and elicit the positive experience the GLHS staff had.  We all believe in the power of reflection and team building, and during a time of testing and evaluations we need to pause and focus on the positives that our staffs are all doing. Have a great week!

Among Experts

Redefining the Writing Process with iPads

Over the years the writing process has been affected by a number of technology changes.  With today's tools, many students use a completely digital process to create, edit and submit their writing.  Some students do this process very well and others use it to cut corners that might not be the best to cut.

Here is a great article on how to use an iPad in the writing process in an effective way!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 13, 2014

2013 Big Ideas in Education

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the plethora of information available for educators? This article is a summary of key issues from 2013. In addition to being a great summary of key ideas, it also references some additional articles you may wish to pass along to staff members. I hope enjoy the year in review, and have an opportunity reflect upon all we have accomplished as a district! Great article for keeping the key issues in the forefront of our minds!

The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder

Putting an emphasis on equipping students with learning strategies for the classroom is the best way to support students who struggle with attention and organizational skills to ensure life-long success.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 2, 2013

21st Century Schools or 21st Century Learning?

The following is an article from one of my favorite online sites, edutopia.  It is easy to get lost in this site for a couple of hours simply perusing the articles.  The articles are always written in such a way that I am prompted to analyze my own practices and philosophy.  In addition, they are typically short and to the point!  This particular article explores the concept of 21st century schools.  As I read this article, I found myself asking several questions.  The following are just a few:

- What percentage of our classrooms would fall under the heading "Classroom A" versus         "Classroom B?"
- If one attribute listed under "Classroom A" was removed from EVERY classroom in the Hilliard City School School District, how would education be impacted?
- If "rules were unnecessary," would our students be highly effective?
- How many of our teachers are using devices to teach like the attributes listed under "Classroom A?"
- If every student in your building had a device what would change?
- Do the papers/handouts that get distributed to our students and community reflect the attributes listed under "Classroom A" or "Classroom B?"

As you read this article, I encourage you to pose your own questions, and I challenge you to take a scavenger hunt of your school looking for the qualities listed under "Classroom A" and "Classroom B."  

5 Things I Want My Daughter to Learn in School

My selection this week comes from Jeff Delp, a Junior High Principal in Arizona.  Much like Jeff, I often find myself reflecting on the education I want my two daughters to have before they head off in to the "real world."  It's often hard for us as administrators to put aside everything we must balance on a day-to-day basis and view the education we provide in the HCSD through the eyes of a parent, or better yet through the eyes of the nearly 16,000 students that walk through the doors everyday.  As I read Jeff's blog, I found myself in complete agreement with what he identifies as the 5 things he wants his daughter to learn in school.  I can only hope the same for my two daughters and their peers.

Have a great week!