Saturday, March 29, 2014

Going Places - So Much More Than Just a Book

Reading books to classes has always been a favorite part of my job as Principal, especially when it's a book like 'Going Places!' I preordered Going Places a few months ago and it finally arrived last week and I immediately Tweeted the arrival to my staff and they jumped on board for me to read.

Reading the book at home when it arrived, I automatically grabbed my laptop after the first read to watch the Above and Beyond video that I first watched last year. (embedded below) I'd actually recommend reading the book first, then show your kids the Above and Beyond video!

What do I love about Going Places?

- That it was written by two brothers @peterhreynolds @FablePaul

- There are SO many opportunities for kids to turn-and-talk with a partner and predict the next page.

- I really enjoyed 'staring dreamily' with each class I read with, was really trying to make the point that all kids think differently and all kids can benefit from those differences

- Going Places is a great book to change-up how you read each page. Some of the pages I would show the kids as I read, then others I would keep to myself and then show the pictures after I read the page. When Maya built her first prototype I showed the picture after I read. Also when Rafael and Maya debuted their 'Go-Kart' I kept the page to myself, always love building a little suspense and the kids love that also!

- Great conversation about being respectful when the child tells them they're going to loose, sportsmanship is a key conversation.

- The best prediction page is the last one with their frog-car-plane they built, great opportunity for turn-n-talk predicting.

- An overall conversation about where where the kids want to 'Go' and what they're going/hoping to achieve in life, such a great message!

- All kids can 'Go' somewhere, building confidence in students is a KEY component of our work as educators.

- Love the influence of nature throughout the story, look outside kids for inspiration. 

@MsKyWilliams inspired to collaborate with her class, go-cart creating and writing, great combination!

 Mr. Welcome reading to @s_wheeler1 class, such a fun class!

Thanks for the fun Tweet @BriscoeJSE 

We're 'staring dreamily' like Maya, great practice!

There were many more Tweets from the past two weeks, just too many to share. Check our school feed  (@jseroadrunners) for all the fun updates about Going Places! I've officially donated Going Places to our school library so kids can check it out again and relive the amazing story. Thanks to Peter and Paul Reynolds for your inspiration and enthusiasm! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Now THIS is Project Based Learning - Blended Learning #savmp

There are SO many articles in SO many different publications about Project Based Learning. (or Blended Learning) Just yesterday the newest EdCal arrived and on the front page was a long article about Milpitas USD and their Superintendent Cary Matsuoka (who I've actually sat next to and chatted with at a conference two years ago) and the work they've done with PBL/Blended Learning and how it's transformed their district.

At the end of each day I always go back through all my Tweets from @jseroadrunners to give myself a recap of the day, I can often 'forget' what happened at 9am in the morning, A LOT goes on during the day for a Principal. 

There has especially been a lot going on in @MStephensonJSE and @BNavarro_101 room the past couple of weeks. They both teach 3rd grade at John Swett and have incubators in class going with chicken and duck eggs. The kids have seriously been so excited learning about the eggs, hatching, anatomy of an egg, writing about the process and now some have finally hatched. During my peruse back through our JSE Tweets and reading the article in EdCal, I had to blog about the PBL/Blended Learning going on at our school.

Check out this Google Doc shared with me by a 3rd grader in @BNavarro_101 class, the kids have also been getting together and collaborating on Google Docs together in small groups. 

Project Based/Blended Learning in action!

Each student has their own Google App account and they've all done a drawing of an egg, labeled the anatomy and also written about the process. I'm always telling kids to share their writing with me on Google Docs, I love seeing their work and commenting directly on the document, they love it as well!

Mrs. Navarro just yesterday was doing a collaborative writing session with her entire class on a Google Document. Each student submitted a power sentence for the Informative writing unit about the eggs hatching, together, as a class.....I walked in the room while this was going on and the level of Student Engagement was unreal, they were so excited to brainstorm and work together!

Ducks on top, chickens on bottom!

Quick video of the first chickens hatching last week

Friday, March 21, 2014

If You're A Principal, You Should.... #savmp books to classes at your school. Reading to classes is such a great way to connect with kids and also to be visible in rooms. I really enjoy changing my voice for the books I read, the kids absolutely love it and it lets them see you (the Principal) on such a different and fun level.

Just a short post today, Happy Friday!

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt is a fabulous book to read with kids. It can go across any grade level and I really enjoyed changing my voice for the different crayon colors and the saga they were going through, check it out for sure!

Going Places by Peter/Paul Reynolds just got released and thanks to Amazon I pre-ordered a copy and have already read to multiple classes on campus, the kids LOVE the story!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

SVCUE 2014 Wrap-Up #svcue

What a day at #svcue......tiring, but what a day, and it all started with this as I walk into The Harker School. 

Having been connected with Karl on Twitter for quite some time, it was great to finally meet in person. Throughout the day as I 'met' educators 'in real life' that I've 'known' on Twitter, it's like you already know each other before that first in person meeting. 

I love learning!
I love presenting!
I love bringing teachers to conferences!
I love telling colleagues about conferences and have them send teachers!
I really love meeting educators who I’ve been connected with on Twitter for months/years in real life!

I brought my 5th grade team to The Harker School, talked them into presenting about all the #eduamazing that’s going on in their classes this year with 1:1 laptops. Shelly, Cindy and Jenn created a fabulous website and rocked their session. 

- Blogging on
- Genius Hour
- Assessment w/Google Forms and self-grading using Flubaroo
- Google Drive all day long
- Writing in Music and PE class, now that's Common Core
- Google Drawing to create digital posters

Thanks to Craig Yen for all his #edusupport from the crowd, love having an interactive audience to push the session. Same to Amy and Kenneth for hanging out, great to have Principals in the room.

Just getting warmed up for the session, Incredibox on one MacBook Air, and the other to Tweet away! 

Cindy and Shelly getting hooked up, thankful their Principal was in the room to help with some technical questions :)

@PrincipalDurham + @mrsfadeji hanging out in the 1:1 5th Grade Classroom session. It's so important for Principals to be in the room, and for me to have 'those' conversations with colleagues. 

- How would you roll this out in your school.
- Who did you need to have on board to make this happen.
- How'd you pay for it.
- So important and so thankful we're connected! 


My other 'Principal Sister' @chaugen came in as well, lovely having #teamnorthbay in the house at #svcue, love learning from my 'Principal Sisters'

Second round session was Ashley Williams and myself talking about Podcasting with audioBoo. We seriously had a great audience and some #eduamazing conversation and ideas from the crowd. 

Note - Ashley and I met last year when she was in a session I presented about Podcasting with audioBoo. We've been connected on Twitter ever since and decided to present together yesterday. It was seriously the BEST to present with Ashley, totally in stride together, only rehearsed the slides over the phone and there we were. Thanks again Ash!

The close out the day I presented the 'marathon session' round on How To Run Your School From Your iPhone. We had great conversation with my attendees and talked about some awesome ideas to move schools forward. 

Fun to meet Lisa and Todd in real life, thanks for all the ideas and Tweets Lisa!

My favorite + most popular Tweet of the day, c'mon leaders/Principals!

A huge Thank You to the SVCUE board for all your work, I'm tired but it was an awesome day for sure!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

John Swett Elementary - Few Updates

We have  A LOT going on at John Swett these days and here's a brief update below!

Yesterday was Read Across America Day and I read 'The Day the Crayons Quit' to sixteen classes, it was a blast!

The banner that's hanging in my office, I Tweet this about once a month, it's a great reminder!

130+ Tweets last week from our JSE account, not bad for a small Elementary School.

Our PE Teacher @jsepeguy has brought his classroom and Common Core to the next level. Our 5th graders brought their laptops into PE last week and during the rainy weather created their own PE games in their Google Drive. (some examples are below)

Great visual for 'Foot Dodge' created in Google Docs by a 5th grader, yes a 5th grader created this during PE class!

Some 5th graders decided to write out their game in Google Docs!
Brave Mudder
Today’s obstacle course will be challenging but don’t give up. No One will be able to do this course unless you are brave and AWESOME!!!!!!! You may not touch the ground and figure out a way to get across the blacktop.

You will need…
A tire, two hula hoops, a balance beam, teams of 6, two pool noodles,a frisbee, and a roller scooter.

How to play…
You will need the equipment above. After that is done put the tire right in front of your line leader. Then you will give the line leader the frisbee and the two pool noodles, she/he will give it to two people of their choice. Those people with the pool noodles will be the ones pushing the scooter while on the balance beam pushing the leader. When the people with the pool noodles are done pushing they will use the hula hoops and place them on the ground one by one to stepping in them on their way back. While the pool noodle people are stepping their way back they are also pushing the leader back. The leader will still have the frisbee if the leader drops the frisbee the whole team will have to start all over again. (Warning: if pool noodle people step out of the hula hoop you will have to start all over again) Your goal is to get to the edge of the grass from the beginning of the first solar pannel pole.. When everyone has finished the relay you have won you have finished Brave Mudder! You are a champion!!!!!!!


Genius Hour is SO much more than just Genius Hour, I blogged this topic last month and @JenniferDeWeerd class presented their projects last Friday. Check our @jseroadrunners feed for ALL my Tweets last week. I also received two emails from parents about HOW AMAZINGLY excited their kids were to be involved with Genius Hour and to present. Talk about student engagement and kids being excited to come to school, it hands down does not get any better than this!

Twitter has changed our school, if you're not need to be!

#teamkid #makeithappen