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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, October 30, 2011

October 31, 2011

High School Students Learning by Skype
I’m writing this entry on the heels of a great session in the iGeneration Seminar in which Dr. Larry Rosen participated in our book discussions via Skype.  It was literally like he was right in the room with us! 

This experience was a reminder for me that we need to encourage our teachers to take advantage of the resources available to connect with experts, students, teachers, and classrooms all over the world.   My selection this week also reminds us of this and the power of Skype in schools.
“Skype created its first education-focused community, Skype in the classroom <http://education.skype.com/> , where teachers could create profiles, post classroom projects for other teachers to join, and find tips from educators on how to use Skype as a teaching tool. The site has grown into a community of more than 17,000 educators since it formally launched in March.”

Becoming a Connected Leader: A Journey
In the spirit of this blog, The Connected Leader, my selection this week comes from the blog of Chris Wejr, an elementary principal in Canada.  In this post, Wejr chronicles his journey in developing an online personal learning network (PLN) and becoming a "Connected Leader."  He's embraced all forms of social media (twitter, Facebook, blog, etc.) to find new ways to connect with his school community.  
So, jump on board and join those principals (@connected_leadr, @theheritagems, @memorial_ms, @weaverdctrip, @BradleyHS, @Hilliard_Darby) that have begun using twitter to reach out to their school communities.  Following these will be a start, but I promise you will soon find more in developing your own PLN.

The Five Stages of Data Analysis
Frequent data analysis is a behavior that we want every educator and Data Team in Hilliard Schools to weave into their craft.  Research indicates that student achievement will increase when teachers and administrator frequently examine the results of common formative assessments and respond with different instruction.  However, we know from experience that Data Team work takes practice!  
The author of this week's blog choice states that, " When teacher teams analyze classroom data and district data, they often experience one of the Five Stages of Data Analysis...similar to the Five Stages of Grief.  The five stages for teacher teams are similar because each person on the team may experience a different emotional reaction to the data that is presented."
An awareness of the five stages could help us as we nudge our teachers and colleagues to "accept" the current reality of the data.  

Study Reveals Brain Biology Behind Self-Control
Here's a new study into student achievement that will peaked my interest, and I am certain that you will also find this fascinating!
"A new neuroscience twist on a classic psychology study offers some clues to what makes one student able to buckle down for hours of homework before a test while his classmates party.  The findings add to a growing body of research suggesting that a student's ability to delay gratification can be as important to academic success as his or her intelligence- and educators may soon know how to teach it."
Read to find out how this research is being used by educators at the KIPP schools to improve both academic and social behavior.   Seven character indicators, including zest, grit, and social intelligence, have been added to the student report card twice a year to measure growth using school based strategies to improve self control.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 24, 2011

How Did The Robot End Up With My Job?

Why are we learning this?  What's the purpose of this activity?  How will I use this?  What do you want me to get from today's lesson?  These questions all get to the heart of "learning targets" -- questions that students all too often are not able to answer in our classrooms.

My selection this week comes from Thomas Friedman -- and as he always does so well -- Friedman makes us stop and think in this New York Times op-ed column . . . Students better understand how today's learning will help them tomorrow, and, even more important, we better make sure that it really will help them tomorrow.
"In the hyperconnected world, there is only “good” “better” and “best,” and managers and entrepreneurs everywhere now have greater access than ever to the better and best people, robots and software everywhere. Obviously, this makes it more vital than ever that we have schools elevating and inspiring more of our young people into that better and best category, because even good might not cut it anymore and average is definitely over."

How Did The Robot End Up WIth My Job?

20 Things Students Want the Nation to Know About Education

As a district, we have identified "7 Characteristics of the College & Career Ready" Student.  Now more than every before, it is imperative that we prepare our students for the college and career demands they will face when they leave the Hilliard City Schools.  

My selection this week comes from Lisa Nielson's blog, The Innovative Educator, and it's centered around an NBC News special, Education Nation.   The special consists of a student panel and their thoughts on what they think needs to be done to ensure a world-class education for everyone.  The blog includes the video of the special and recaps the 20 things they want us to know.  As the post states, "Students wanted to say something that made a difference to you (adults) and they did. Now adults need to listen."

How Small Wins Unleash Creativity

What motivates students to learn at their greatest capacity?  It could be the same thing that motivates employees to be enthusiastic about their work.  Researchers for the Harvard Business School recently released the top motivator of employee performance:  making progress on meaningful work.

Researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer indicate that employee motivation can be positively influenced.  They share 7 catalysts for enhancing "small wins" and promoting the feeling of forward progress.  

Five Reasons to go to College (Besides Career Advancement)

More young people today are asking, “Do I really need college?”  With soaring tuition rates and so many unemployed or underemployed college graduates, some students are rethinking their options.  These students argue that more money can be earned by pursuing real world skills than by writing research papers and taking final exams.  This article provides the top five reasons why college is more than preparing for a good career.  It is also about preparing for “life” as a responsible, productive citizen.  We need to continue to remind students of this as we motivate them to think deeper and set challenging goals for themselves. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 17, 2011

U.S. Students' Entrepreneurial Energy Waiting to Be Tapped

“Given the slow pace of the U.S. economic recovery and persistent unemployment and underemployment rates <http://www.gallup.com/poll/149525/Gallup-Finds-Underemployment-Stuck-Mid-Sept.aspx> , developing the entrepreneurial attitudes and experience of young people is critical to helping them grow up to be productive workers who ultimately help to create jobs. Continued measurement and understanding of these attitudes can also help to inform strategies for building a pipeline of business builders who will help their local communities thrive in the future.”
My pick this week is an interesting piece about a recent Gallup-Student poll conducted with U.S. 5th through 8th grade students about entrepreneurship and financial literacy.  The results align nicely with the direction we’ve been heading with broader career experiences, financial literacy requirements, project-based learning, and capstone experiences.

Before You Assign that Homework...

As our first grading period comes to an end, and we continue to have conversations about valid grades, this article provides us with a number of questions to consider around the value of a given homework assignment.  

Before You Assign that Homework...

Teaching Secrets: After the Honeymoon

As the excitement of a fresh school year begins to fade, author Cossondra George offers 7 tips for educators to keep our enthusiasm high and momentum moving forward.  The article is written with the first-year teacher in mind but even experienced educators can benefit from the reminders.

Teaching Secrets: After the Honeymoon

Personal Best

A colleague from another district sent me this article about two weeks ago saying that it would be relevant to the priority we have been placing on coaching at all levels.  I found it interesting that it is widely accepted for high paid athletes to work with coaches, yet professionals in many other fields resist exposure and critique.  This article promotes coaching as essential to the success of modern society.  Coaching can help both teachers and administrators to sustain mastery and continue to get better beyond their perceived professional peak.  “Coaching done well may be the most effective intervention designed for human performance,” writes the author Atul Gawande.

Personal Best  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Webinar: Knows & Applies Best Practice

Webinar: Knows & Applies Best Practice

As we continue our webinar series, this webinar focuses on one of the seven characteristics of highly effective teachers – Knows and Applies Best Practice.  Specifically, this webinar begins to paint a picture of what this characteristic should look like in action and the Doug Fisher model of instruction.  As we continue our series throughout the year, we will highlight many of the 7 characteristics to assist you in working with your teachers and knowing specifically what to look for as you visit classrooms.
Knows & Applies Best Practice (2011-2012) from Hilliard City Schools on Vimeo.