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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.

Friday, August 19, 2011

August 19, 2011

Starting the School Year Right

“When children return to school after the summer break, their perceptions about school and about themselves as learners are mostly uncertain. It’s a new year with new teachers, new books, new classes, new schedules and new friends. All of these novelties come with the hope this year could be different and better than all previous years.”

As we embark on a new year, this short piece by Thomas Guskey brings some important reminders of the hope, confidence, and optimism we can all strive to strengthen and secure within our students. It also drives home the significance of our first characteristic of highly effective teachers: “The highly effective teacher sets appropriately challenging goals and then structures situations so that students can reach these goals.” Let’s encourage our teachers to hold high expectations for all students, establish realistic, yet challenging goals, and create opportunities for plenty of success during the 2011-2012 school year!

Starting the School Year Right

Looking Back to Look Forward

"Yes today because of technology and our global economy and this new world we live in there is more of a focus on what we call 21st Century learning and it needs to be the norm rather than the exception but it is not something new."

As we continue to frame our conversations around 21st Century Learning, Greenblatt reminds us that we are not re-creating the wheel in terms of our instruction.  Instead, we are simply narrowing our focus and providing our students with more opportunities to be creative, critically thin, work with one another and communicate their learning.

Looking Back to Look Forward

 Using Social Media to Reach Your Community

As levy season approaches for the Hilliard City School community, administrators are considering the most effective ways to communicate with internal and external stakeholders.  At every opportunity, others need to hear a convincing message for the necessity of  a “Yes” on the ballot in November.  In the article, Using Social Media to Reach Your Community, a practicing principal states,  “Unlike traditional forms of communication such as snail mail and press releases, I can provide updates in real time as events happen, on Twitter and in Facebook. Since society as a whole is actively using social media, it only makes sense to connect with my community through these means.”  (E. Sheninger, personal communication, September 30, 2010)

Using Social Media to Reach Your Community
Kids Predict the Future of Technology
“Asking kids to predict the future of technology. Why not? It’s their future……Kids are asking for computers to look, feel, sound-and-interact- more like humans, says Jessica Reinis, a senior research analyst at Latitude who led the study and who specializes in creative methodologies for researching with children. In many cases, it’s not enough to have a machine that simply completes a task for the; kids today have a strong bent toward independent learning, creation, and artistic endeavors, and they are looking for technologies that can teach them and really engage them in new ways.”

This article delves into what appeals to kids with regard to future technology. Interestingly, but not surprising, they want to be active participants who have social communication privileges. They want human-like responses with devices that are an extension of themselves. This sounds a lot like the book that we are going to read in the iGeneration Seminar. Our second book, Infinite Reality by Jeremy Bailenson, explores the future of virtual classrooms where students will be taught by avatars who look just like them. He predicts that this idea will be a reality in the near future. Based on the research done for this article, it is notion that kids are desiring.

If you haven’t yet registered for the iGeneration Seminar, now is a great time to do that so you can be included in the discussions surrounding classrooms of the future!

Kids Predict the Future of Technology

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 11, 2011

Five Hallmarks of Good Homework

“The best homework tasks exhibit five characteristics. First, the task has a clear academic purpose, such as practice, checking for understanding, or applying knowledge or skills. Second, the task efficiently demonstrates student learning. Third, the task promotes ownership by offering choices and being personally relevant. Fourth, the task instills a sense of competence—the student can success fully complete it without help. Last, the task is aesthetically pleasing—it appears enjoyable and interesting” (Vatterott, 2009).

This important article by Cathy Vatterott was originally published in 2010 and many of us read it then – but it serves as an important reminder of what quality homework should look like as we move into the 2011-2012 school year. Additionally, as referenced in Objective #2 of our continuous improvement plan, homework and grading practices will be an integral component of our professional dialogue this school year – hopefully, the key points in this article can be a springboard for some of our thinking and conversations!

Click here to read full article:  Five Hallmarks of Good Homework

How Social Media made me a better Administrator

“I am by no means a tech savvy person, just a man who was fortunate enough to be shown, and take advantage of, the power of social media. My hope is that other educators, including administrators read this blog post and are inspired to embrace social media. Technology is a major 21st century skill that we expect our students to have; it can only be modeled by us as their leaders- start today!!!” (Burkhead, 2011).

On the heels of the words from Ian Jukes and Will Richardson at the ILE Conference last week, out students are more connected than ever. It is our hope through this blog and the twitter account, that we, as a Curriculum and Instruction team, can help you stay connected with a variety of educators throughout the world. I felt this blog post best summed up the transition into the Social Media world. Hopefully, it provides you and your admin team some ideas to ponder.

Click here to read full article: How Social Media made me a better Administrator

Publishers, Participants All

As the Innovative Learning Environments(ILE)conference concludes, I am challenged in my thinking and current educational practice. How do we synthesize five days worth of "cutting edge" new ideas into a few that can be applied this school year?

We want our work to prepare Hilliard students for their futures--not a world that does not exist anymore. In order to accomplish this goal, educators will need to collaborate with our colleagues about our craft in ways that will often feel uncomfortable to us.

Friday's ILE keynote speaker, Will Richardson, offers practical steps to weave social media tools into the learning process. He reveals that ..."almost 75% of teens regularly use social networking sites and that the vast majority publish updates, photos, videos, and more..." He challenges educators to use social media as a learning platform; undoubtedly, the future workplaces of our students will require the use of these skills.

Click here to read full article: Publishers, Participants All

Debunking Five Myths About Project-Based Learning

“Many teachers and administrators, not to mention the general public, might have the wrong impression of PBL. Maybe stereotypical views of what a “project” is, or they’ve seen poor examples of it in the past. Or they can’t imagine how it could fit in today’s landscape of standards and testing.” John Larmer, Director of Product Development at the Buck Institute, plays “mythbuster” and refutes five misconceptions about PBL by providing readers with “fact checks” to both explain and defend PBL.

After Larry Rosen’s presentation at Administrative Retreat, the conversation in the secondary smaller group session shifted to the value of PBL. Some administrators questioned whether PBL just focuses on the soft skills of collaboration and creativity or whether direct instruction is also included in the plan. The author of this article explains that PBL is standards based and provides opportunities for students to gain content knowledge, as well as key academic skills. Since we will continue to offer additional training sessions for PBL and encourage teachers to continue to develop units, I urge you to read this. Teachers will need our support as they take the “leap of faith” and challenge themselves to upgrade their instructional practices.

Click here to read full article: Debunking Five Myths About Project-Based Learning