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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 27, 2013

October 28, 2013

Grading Exceptional Learners

Do teachers have to choose between fairness and accuracy when assigning grades to exceptional students? Can the grades for such students ever be both fair and accurate?

This article presents a five step model to provide fair and accurate grades for students with disabilities and English language learners.  I love the focus on individual progress as opposed to where they are-value added.

Who is Helping You Get Better, or Better Yet, Be Great?

"I am here to tell you we do and if we are going to be great and inspire our students and others to be great, then we must model the way for others to see us being great and feeling great!"  We all desire to be Great, or at least I hope that's the case.  As I've spoken with many of you, I feel so fortunate to see how each and everyone one of you perform "Greatness" in your buildings in your own ways.  Often times, it's the little things we do that allow us to get better, and go from good to great.  This article provides four of these so called "little things" that can help us get better and become great.  I especially liked the the last suggestion...calling the parents of your new teachers to say Thank You! 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

October 14, 2013

Improving Practice with Sarah Brown Wessling

As you know, technology use can be challenging for everyone sometimes.  Technology does not always work the way that we think it should work.  Fischer's Gradual Release Model is an excellent strategy when it comes to helping staff and students to use technology effectively.  Students are very comfortable using and trying technology tools, but they are not always proficient user's of technology.

Making a Difference

This fall administrators are using the new OTES rubric for wide-scale teacher evaluation for the first time. We realize that differentiation is a topic in which more learning is needed.  Educators use the term but often have misinformation about what it means or how to implement in classrooms with many diverse learners. 

This week's article is an interview with the 'mother of differentiation', Carol Ann Tomlinson, called Making a Difference. She defines differentiation as a teacher "...trying to address students’ particular readiness needs, their particular interests, and their preferred ways of learning." She speaks of "respectful tasks" in which the work of every learner "...is equally engaging, equally appealing, and equally important." In the interview, she shares practical strategies for gleaning information from students that would enable teachers to provide the desired tasks. I believe the article could be used as a powerful conversation starter with our teachers in HCSD.

Breaking the Rules of Professional Development

“Breaking the Rules of Professional Development” reminds us of the importance of providing professional learning opportunities that offer educators the opportunity to take total control over what they learn and when they learn it.  Mary Jo Maddo wants to help Dan Callahan, co-founder of EdCamp, introduce the word “unconference” into more educators’ vocabularies.  The goal is simple.  Let’s not allow our colleagues to be tacit observers when it comes to professional learning.

Dare we provide professional learning experiences that are not reliant on assignments or rigid structure?  Could organized chaos and “radical openness” still result in high-quality learning?  Multiple EdCamps are held every weekend in states and countries across the globe.  Educators have the opportunity to learn and establish connections with other “education-enthusiasts,” whether it’s at the actual event or via Twitter.  The structure is simple.  EdCamp forms communities that people can become a part of and participate at their own leisure.  Sound familiar?  PD isn’t forced within the EdCamp Twitter forums.  Instead, it becomes an option that educators can utilize when they need to.

I fully agree with Madda.  The “unconference” should become the norm, not the exception.

Breaking the Rules of Professional Development

Teacher's Top Five Tech Tips

For this week I chose a short video about the "Ohio Teacher of the Year" and her Top 5 Tech Choices for education.  This is a short video about 5 tools she uses that give her the biggest impact on her students education.  She has identified a way for her instruction to be integrated with technology and it works for her.  What are the top 5 tools in your building we can be focusing on that will maximize the instruction for your staff?  It would be my hope that this teacher is leading PD in her building on how to use these 5 tools, and that her colleagues are learning from her.  Who in your building can lead PD like this on the tools they are "experts" on?  Allow opportunity for your staff to share their Top 3 or more Tech Tools that influence their instruction.  Then ask them to share how.  See what happens.