Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What I Learned @ teachSDA This Weekend


Last night we focused on assessment, this is a soapbox issue for me.  I believe one of the biggest issues with education today is the misuse of assessments.  One of the best things about our system is the ability to fight the wave of testing misuse.  Testing is to help the student learn and the teacher to teach, any other uses and it's dangerous ground.

1. Autonomy Breeds Change
A year and a half ago I decided to implement a job-embedded growth model at the suggestion of some of my teacher leaders.  They desperately sought time during the school day to engage in professional growth opportunities, learn how to integrate Web 2.0 tools, and develop their own Personal Learning Networks (PLN’s).  

2. Can Twitter Replace Traditional Professional Development?
Twitter and Facebook might soon replace traditional professional development for teachers. Instead of enduring hours-long workshops a few times a year, teachers could reach out to peers on the Internet in real time for advice on things like planning a lesson (or salvaging a lesson that’s going wrong), overcoming classroom management problems, or helping students with disabilities.

3.Embracing Conflict, Disagreement, and Dissent
Upon beginning my work as an assistant principal, one truth quickly emerged – avoiding conflict was not an option.  In fact, one could argue that my job is about conflict – wading into troubled waters and helping others make their way to shore.

4. Revisiting Advanced Placement
The best intentions in education too often have unintended consequences.  Advanced Placement is a case in point.

5. How More Social and Emotional Learning (and Less Academics) Actually Builds Academic Success
With all of the high-stakes testing in our schools, and the resulting judgments and consequences for students and teachers, it is no wonder that schools are taking time away from activities like recess, breaks, art, music... to spend more time on academics. Yet I believe, based on what I have seen in schools, that we should move in the opposite direction, and take time out of academics in the early elementary years to focus on making students feel safe, secure, and confident in the classroom, in other words making them ripe for learning.

THESE LAST THREE ARE SPECIFICALLY CLASSROOM IDEAS AND RESOURCES
6. Superhero Science
My third grade science students need super-heroic intervention. Fortunately, comic book creators have been experimenting with the structures of living organisms for decades.

7. Resources and Downloads for Collaborative Learning
Educators from The College Preparatory School in Oakland, California, have provided these resources and tools for collaborative learning.
http://www.edutopia.org/stw-collaborative-learning-resources?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=STW-downloads-collaborative-learning

8. Five Free Web 2.0 Tools to Support Lesson Planning
"Teachers need to integrate technology seamlessly into the curriculum instead of viewing it as an add-on, an afterthought or an event." -- Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Educational Consultant, Curriculum Designers, Inc.