Tuesday, December 31, 2013

ALL Principals + Teachers Should Read - 'Wonder'

'Wonder' by R. J. Palacio is a MUST read for ALL Teachers, Principals, District Office Admins and anyone who works with kids. Two of my 5th grade teachers @mrsrochejse and @ckolb01 from @jseroadrunners introduced the book to me and we ordered 60 copies for our students to read (this is happening starting January).

I read the book while in Lake Tahoe this week and have SO many thoughts about all those students who don't feel supported/accepted by other kids or adults in school. There are of course students on my radar that we're working with in different capacities, but how about those we don't know about for whatever reason?

Some takeaways.....

- we need to connect with EVERY student in our school on a personal level, everyone has a story and needs some type of support, some more than others.
- kids cannot learn/grow if they don't feel comfortable/confident, school work can sometimes take a backseat to social/emotional health and confidence building.
- we ALL need to be members of Team Kid #teamkid
- Growing up in my dads 2nd grade classroom from the time I could walk, there was always a poster on his door, "Only Kind Words Allowed!" Take this mantra and spread!

What else, any other takeaways from people who have read 'Wonder?'

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Making That Connection #teamkid

There's no secret I'm a HUGE proponent of using voice in education, especially with my favorite tool, audioBoo.fm! Whenever we record a podcast I always tell the student I'm going to 'make them famous!'

Lately at John Swett we've had these two 3rd graders caroling around campus, it's totally awesome. They carry their sheet music with them and will seriously sing to ANYONE they see throughout the day. Last week they appeared in the front office during recess and I happened to be in my office so I popped out.

They started to sing and I told them to STOP. Then I asked them......"Can I make you famous?" They seriously looked at each other with so much excitement and said, "Okay Mr. Welcome!"

Because audioBoo is on the cloud and I'm a #wiredprincipal my iPhone is my recording device of choice. I pulled out my iPhone, tapped the audioBoo app and started to record, listen below.....as of this blog post they have almost 700 plays on their recording!


This wasn't the end of it......a few days later I was talking with one of our teachers and the boys caroling came into the conversation. The teacher was commenting on how POWERFUL this had been for the boys and they'd already seen a change in these two students with behavior, attitude and overall presence in school. "Voice in education really works Adam, this is so awesome!"

I rest my case, #voiceineducation!

Make It Happen! Team Kid!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Directory vs Twitter - #wiredprincipal #savmp

I woke up at 3am this morning with MANY different thoughts in my brain........

A few weeks ago @HKorbey and I connected on Twitter about music in education and a recent study from Finland which you can read here.  We connected and then spoke on the phone about our music program @jseroadrunners and how we have a credentialed music teacher @tbonebusch who does AMAZING work with our kids. You can read the KQED Mind/Shift article here...... thanks again for connecting Holly and the article, very exciting!

The 3am moment was this, NONE of this would have happened (not just the music article) if we only had the paper based school directory that the county provides for each Principal. You know what I'm talking about Principal's......the nicely bound directory that lists each school in the county, phone number, Principal's name, etc.

@HKorbey and I wouldn't have connected, @jkloczko contacted me last night to come visit JSE, ALL the Principals, teachers, Directors, educational learners across the world would not be connected if we only relied on the directory. Maybe the 2014-15 directory can have Principal Twitter handles included? #goodidea

Twitter my friends, Twitter........if by some chance you are not on Twitter, you are missing out big time! If you have colleagues that are not on Twitter, make that a goal for the new year, get them connected. Sit them down and set up an account with them, they will thank you in six months.

- it makes us better educators
- it makes us constant learners/students
- it broadens our scope
- it opens our eyes.
- it allows for great things to happen
- it pushes our thinking

Thank you to all my Tweeps, love learning from you!


Mr. Buschiazzo with some 5th graders integrating 1:1 laptops into his class!

More of the same!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

#wiredprincipal This week, what's going on? #savmp

- Some really great Tweets coming from the @jseroadrunners staff this week, check out the feed for all the latest.

- @mrsfadeji and myself are currently 22nd for the 'Best School Admin or Principal Blog 2013 - Edublog Awards. Very honored to be a part of this group and you can read that post here.

- Met with some really cool guys this week at school. @babarbaig is an app developer from Denmark and Write to Read is the TOP app currently in Denmark and they're gaining some traction in the US. Thanks for the promo codes Babar, we're looking forward to testing it out!

- @frontrowceo Jens Holstebro came with Babar and we're going to get a FrontRow Juno to demo at John Swett which is exciting, stand by for more info on that.

- Also submitted applications to present @svcue March 8th, waiting to hear back and it will for sure be a great Saturday!

- It's been tentatively/hopefully planned to have an #edcampmartinez for Summer 2014.....stand by for more details.

Have a great rest of the week!

Friday, December 6, 2013

This Week from #wiredprincipals

Quick story ---

We have a substitute para educator in our Learning Center and last week she was telling our RSP that her iPhone was out on the table because she was expecting a phone call from the doctor.

- Our RSP tells her...."The entire staff at John Swett Elementary has their phones out all day, it's totally ok."
- Sub para....."Really, does the Principal care?"
- RSP....."Not at all, we all Tweet, use Evernote, ClassDojo, Google Drive and tons of other digital resources, it's just how we are at John Swett!!!!!"

As Renee (our RSP) is saying this, I walk by the classroom (she tells me this later) with of course, my iPhone in my hand (I was probably Tweeting) and she says.....

- RSP....."That's our Principal right there, he's probably Tweeting something he saw in a classroom!"
- Sub para......"That's your Principal, what's his name?"
- RSP......"Adam"
- Sub para......"Adam?"
- RSP......"Adam Welcome, but he wants everyone to call him Adam, it's how we are at JSE!"
- Principal....."I say this is success and just how we are at John Swett!"

#wiredprincipal + #wiredteachers = #wiredschool

Monday, December 2, 2013

Instructional Leadership #savmp #wiredprincipals

A short list.....

  • knowing the grade level curriculum helps when working with staff on developing PBL, Units of Study, and classroom environments
  • spending LOTS of time in classrooms, helps when having conversations about differentiating
  • reading LOTS of blogs and educational publications brings new ideas from other educators around the world
  • providing release time during the day for staff to plan, work, talk, not feel pressured by end of the day.....time is SO powerful
  • visiting other classrooms and schools provides hands-on opportunities to push the curriculum
  • Twitter of course!