As we return to the classroom in January we’re refreshed, renewed, and rarin’ to go, right? If you’ve been putting off shifting your classroom due to time constraints, fear, or confusion about what “shifting” is, now is the time to take that first step forward. In the five full months that remain (in most of North America, at least), commit yourself to one of these steps each month and you’ll be on your way.
I’m a little reluctant to follow the popular annual tradition of announcing a “Top 10″ — mostly because I’ve read every one of the 100+ articles we’ve posted since our March launch. Whatever the click counts, I know how much great content we have to share, written by a remarkable cross-section of creative and visionary educators. Still, a colleague assures me that Top 10 lists are a good way for folks to sample the product and become regular readers. Reason enough. And I’m sure you won’t mind if I add a few extra!
Knowing that in just a few years after departure, no one will remember the current administrator, their programs, or their philosophy, one has to wonder what a superintendent can do to have a legacy? There is only one thing: Build a school. That’s right, a new school. Much like a President’s Supreme Court nomination, the building of a school will be the only nearly-permanent legacy that will have any truly lasting consequence.
“One can readily understand the value of communication between individuals within a school building, but the sharing of goals and vision among all stakeholders within the entire school community can only truly happen through the use of social media. What a great way to market and spread the passion of teaching and learning that is unique to your learning community!” says Catholic educator and IT leader Sister Geralyn Schmidt. For school leaders in need of social media help, she recommends Communicating & Connecting with Social Media from Solution Tree.
The first Westtown School World History Film Festival has come and gone. Two weeks before Thanksgiving my students were channeling Ken Burns — and serving as witting accomplices in my continuing shift toward student ownership of learning. This year I decided to continue the individualized learning approach I used last year in our unit on the Mongols, but I chose the communication medium beforehand: documentary film. Greedily, I wanted a broader audience for my students’ work, and I wanted an excuse to learn to make this sort of film. Here’s what we learned!
While the author provided insights and practical ways to get started in each of the key components of this text, I found it, on the whole, to be quite lacking in encouraging school leaders to use technology to enhance teaching and learning in their organizations. It caused me to consider “instead of that/try this” ideas, which I’ve summarized here.