Tag Archive for blogging

Blog as a Portfolio and Knowing the Admin Standards

I recently transferred my old blog to this new domain site and in the process decided to add categories and tags to each of my posts. I previously had no idea of why one would categorize blog posts until I read this post by George Couros and watched his video from a session he led on the topic:

In George’s video clip he says that blogging is “learning openly.” He goes on to say that “this is not to ‘toot my own horn,’ but to put my ideas out there, because there are a lot of great educators online that can respond to my posts, challenge me and add to my thinking.”

This past year our district implemented the CESA 6 Teacher Effectiveness Project to meet what will be the new state requirement for the teacher evaluation process in 2014-2015.  As part of this new system, each educator must submit artifacts into a documentation log (similar to a portfolio) to demonstrate evidence of effectiveness for the standards.  As I watched George’s video, I realized how easy it is to turn your blog into a portfolio if you align your posts to the standards.

Easy, right? Well, since I had over 100 posts that didn’t have categories it did take quite a bit of time to go back and review them. It was interesting to read my old reflections and compare to where I am now. I then realized how it can be difficult to decide which standard each blog post fit into (to my teachers reading this…I do realize the dilemma you had deciding which standard each of your artifacts should be in!) Over the past year I became an expert on the teacher standards, but I realized that I couldn’t even recite the administrator standards, let alone identify which standards that each of my practices aligned with!

As I read through my blog posts, I had the document of administrator standards open in my Evernote file to refer back to.  I found several of my posts fit into more than one standard and also found that a handful of posts didn’t really fit into any of them, so I created a “Personal Learning” category in addition to these standard categories.

While this took me a great deal of time (it took me a few different sittings over a week’s time), I felt like it was time well spent for me to better understand our administrator standards and reflect on my practice according to these standards.

So, from this point forward, my blog posts will be aligned to the following CESA 6 Effectiveness Project Administrator Standards (plus the personal learning category):

Performance Standard 1: Leadership for Student Learning

The school administrator drives the success of each learner through collaborative implementation of a shared vision of teaching and learning that leads to student academic progress and school improvement.

Performance Standard 2: School Climate

The school administrator fosters the success of all students by advocating, developing, nurturing, and sustaining a safe, positive, and academically engaging school climate.

Performance Standard 3: Human Resources Leadership

The school administrator provides effective leadership in the area of human resources through selecting, assigning, inducting, supporting, developing, evaluating, and retaining quality instructional and support personnel. 

Performance Standard 4:  Organizational Management

The school administrator fosters the success of all students by supporting, managing, and overseeing the school’s organization, operation, and use of resources.

Performance Standard 5: Communication and Community Relations

The school administrator fosters the success of all students by effectively communicating, collaborating, and engaging stakeholders to promote understanding, support, and continuous improvement of the school’s programs and services that are aligned with the school’s vision.

Performance Standard 6: Professionalism

The school administrator fosters the success of all students by demonstrating behavior consistent with legal, ethical, and professional standards and by engaging in continuous professional development and contributing to the profession.


The Problem with Learning from our Failures

I recently watched the TED Talk “What Doctors Don’t Know about the Drugs They Prescribe” given by Ben Goldacre. Goldrace speaks about how medical journals publish the studies that give positive results on the use of a medication, but previously never published the results of studies that found medications to be ineffective or even harmful.  His premise is that if the failed studies were published, they could save time on future studies and most importantly; save lives.

As I listened to his TED Talk, I made the connection to the education profession.  I read hundreds of blog posts/professional journal articles each month and a couple of professional books a month and love what I learn from them.  However, when I reflected on what I’ve read and what Goldacre is saying, I can’t say that I’ve read much on peoples’ failure in education to help us learn from their mistakes.  Why is this?  I read the book Mindset last year (and have blogged about it a couple of times) after the hype on this book from people in my Twitter PLN and have read numerous other blog posts talking about having a growth mindset and learning from failure, but can’t think of any failures I’ve read about. (I do realize “failure” probably isn’t the correct term to use, but will continue for this post with it meaning something that could have gone better…not that someone died or something was done illegally.)

As we blog about our professional lives and reflect on our experiences to grow from we do run the risk of breaking confidentiality or opening up too much in our blog posts.  Is that why I haven’t read any posts on peoples’ failures?  I can think of numerous failures I have had in situations with staff or parents that I could not blog about for this reason, however, I certainly did reflect on them to grow from.  But then I think about the mistakes other administrators have probably made that I could grow from too and learn mistakes to never make myself.

How can we reflect publicly on our failures to grow ourselves, while helping others learn from our mistakes, yet not get ourselves into trouble?

2012 Summer Blogging Challenge

Bill Carroza (@wcarozza) over at “Principal Reflections” snuck in a blog challenge in his post “5 Reasons Educators Should Blog.” Then my twitter friend @fliegs threw @mmiller7571 and I under the bus in a tweet to get us in on the challenge (now that I think about it, I think he has done this to us every year!) I have a hard time saying no to anything so I’m in (even if it means that this first post is this simple–it is also my first attempt at using the blogger app on my iPad, so I have no idea what it will look like and have found I can’t add any links into my post.)

So who wants to join us? Only 2 posts a week, come on we can all commit to at least 2.

Now I’m off to start thinking of my next blog post…

10 of my Most Popular Blog Posts

While working on another writing project, my blog has been put on the backburner, so to speak, but the guilt has caught up to me and I am trying to still add to it. For this post I would just like to share links to my blog posts that had the most hits. Blogging has been an interesting journey for me, because I first started out with it as a means to reflect (I tried journaling, but I seriously cannot write that much by hand). I was slow with my posts in the beginning of my blog, because I didn’t feel like I had anything to share, but then would be surprised by how many hits some of my posts had. I really don’t think I’m sharing anything that amazing, because I know of other principals that do incredible work that inspire me, I just think we need more of them blogging about it. But anyways, I already got off track.

If you are new to using blogger, you can click on “stats” within your dashboard to see the # of hits on your posts and where you’re traffic is coming from. Here’s a screenshot of my stats:

My Top 10 Posts (with #1 being the most “popular”):
10. Reflecting on my classroom visits

9. Twitter for Teachers

8. Teaching with Daily 5/Cafe for Summer School — My Reflections

7. Why our school recognizes honor roll in Pride Assemblies

6. Web 2.0 and Higher Level Thinking

5. Web 2.0 How do I love you? Let me count the ways

4. Leading the Way with Staff Memos

3. The decision to go school-wide with Daily 5

2. Using the iPad to Increase my Productivity

1. The Power of a Data Room

Sharing Success

Recently, I finally convinced a dear friend of mine to join Twitter (after 2 years of talking about it to her), but was surprised when she said she has nothing worthy of tweeting for others. This is an awesome teacher that can share with me for hours about her classroom and has plenty to share with the Twitter PLN…she just doesn’t realize it yet.
Today I had the pleasure of presenting at the SLATE conference with my colleauges Curt Rees and Jay Posick once again on Twitter (just to clarify, I do not actually work with Curt and Jay-we have connected via Twitter). This time we added the following video:
This video clip has really got me thinking about my online presence (Twitter, this blog, Connected Principals Blog, and podcasting). Over the past 3 years I have grown tremendously in my profession by connecting with others on Twitter and reflecting on my practice through this blog. I have had many compliments by others on twitter about my work and even had someone tell me today they wanted my autograph! (Highlight of my day). I have also had others contact me to skype with them about topics I often tweet about (Daily 5, ipad for Walkthroughs, etc). What’s funny to me, is that I originally sought out others on twitter for these topics and realize that the more I talk about it, the more I reflect/grow in each of those areas. Compliments and opportunities like this always make me feel good, however, I am always growing and know that there are many better administrators out there to learn from. There are many teachers, tech directors, instructional coaches, and other educators doing great things, they just aren’t all on twitter sharing it with the world. I just happen to be one administrator sharing what I am doing and sharing what my awesome teachers are doing for kids.
So, to those of you who enjoy following my blog/twitter account–thank you! To those of you who think I’m a twitter celebrity–I’m just a Twitter Evangelist, trying to get the rest of the Education World on twitter for my selfish reasons–to keep learning and growing. You all matter and you all have a lot to share.

2011 Edublog Nominations

Almost everyone on twitter is talking about the Edublog Awards right now and I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that with almost 3 years of being on twitter I’ve never paid attention to the Edublog Awards. I can recall seeing tweets about it and have seen Edublog Award badges on some blogs, but never stopped to find out what it was about. This weekend, someone from twitter nominated my blog in her Edublog Nominations post here. It was a nice little pat on the back for me, which my husband promptly told me not to let go to my head since “anyone can nominate anyone.” I do have to side with my husband (rare occasion that shouldn’t go to his head) that the award itself is a bit silly, but what I do find of value in the Edublog Awards is the opportunity it provides for educators to share the favorite blogs that they are learning from. In just 5 minutes of exploring the Edublog Awards page I found several great new blogs that I wasn’t previously following and immediately added to my google reader.

So, now that I’m aware of The Edublog Awards this time around, I am posting my nominations in hopes that someone else finds a great blog that they haven’t previously been following:

Best Group Blog: Connected Principals has been a great resource to me to follow posts from a variety of administrators. I have contributed to this group blog a couple of times, but benefit even more from what other administrators have to share in their posts.

Best New Blog: I’ve enjoyed reading It’s All About Learning by @henriksent, a Canadian teacher/administrator that just recently began tweeting and blogging.

Best School Administrator’s Blog: The Principal’s Posts by @l_hilt is a blog I enjoy reading and learning from with each post she shares. She is a principal that challenges the status quo and is transparent about her learning.

Best Free Admin Resource: Eduleadership by @eduleadership started out as a blog, but now also contains podcasts, webinars, and iPad for administrator resources. Everything I’ve learned about organization/time management to become more effective as a principal, I’ve learned from Justin Baeder at Eduleadership.

Best Individual Blog: Since my school has gone school-wide with Daily 5/CAFE literacy framework, I have been following and learning from the Delightful Daily 5 Cafe Blog by @komos72, a 1st grade teacher implementing Daily 5/Cafe in her classroom and blogging about her experience and sharing her reflections to benefit other teachers. I have also enjoyed learning from her on twitter during the #d5chat (weekly daily 5 chats).

Best twitter hashtag: I have grown so much from what I have learned from others in the weekly #educoach chat, a chat for instructional coaches/leaders. I strongly believe that the principal role should be more of a coach than a manager/supervisor and have been improving in my role from the weeklky #educoach chat.

Best Free Web Resource: TeacherCast provides a variety of educational podcasts, screencasts, app reviews, etc.

Why Not Blog?

*blog #2 of the February 14 Challenge

Blogging is not on the top of my priority list. In fact if you look through my previous blog posts, I’m not even sure if I can call myself a blogger, because it’s certainly not a part of my regular practice (but it should be….see my prevues post for why).

So what are reasons that I don’t make the time to blog?
1. I don’t feel like others will be interested in what I have to say.
2. When i read the blogs of others in my PLN (aka my twitter colleagues) I feel like they are miles ahead of me in the topics they are blogging about.
3. Often the issues I’m reflecting on as an administrator could not be posted in a blog due to their confidential nature.
4. I have two children-one that’s just 8 months old and leaves me sleep deprived and if I have to choose between the two, I will chose sleep over blogging!
5. I could easy come up with 10 things on my to-do list that I should do first.
6. What if one of my teachers, parents, or school board members reads this? What will they think?
7. I don’t think I’m a great writer.

Despite all of these reasons that I don’t make blogging a part of my practice, I want to make it a priority. As I said in my previous post, blogging gives me a tool to reflect on my practice and open myself up for input from others. Yes, it is putting myself “out there” but then I am also modeling learning and reflection for anyone who reads it, be it one of my teachers, a parent or a school board member.

Why Blog?

I first began blogging almost 2 years ago, when I just wanted an “official” way to reflect. I started out my principalship with the intentions of journaling and only filled in 3 pages of my notebook by the end of the year. As a new principal in a rural district, I was craving dialogue with other administrators and stumbled across The Practical Principals podcast (By the way, Scott and Melinda, you are long overdue for a podcast update!) It is from listening to their podcast that I learned about building a professional learning network (PLN) through blogging and twitter. Actually, I listened to them talk about it on a few different podcasts, thinking that I didn’t have time for “that stuff” until I tried it.

Yes, it does take time, but it is worth it! Why blog? Because it is my time to sit down and reflect on my practice, what I’m reading and what I’m learning. Even better, it gives the opportunity for others to respond to my reflection. In return, I learn from others as they share their blogs with me.

I certainly do not blog as much as I should, but Larry Fliegman’s “14 in February” blogging challenge has once again given me the kick in the rear that I need to get blogging.

Tomorrow…my reasons why NOT to blog.

Why am I blogging every day in June?

Day 2 of Spilling Ink Challenge…blogging every day in June. http://writenowtroup.blogspot.com/

I’m currently on maternity leave (well, kind of, but I’ll blog about that tomorrow), so why did I get myself into this challenge to blog everyday when I barely have time to shower? I want to feel connected to other great educational leaders again and be motivated to plan for another great school year. During the times that I stayed active on twitter, I was constantly dialoging with other leaders…on twitter, through their blogs, chat rooms, emails, online book studies, etc. I feel like it kept me current, motivated me and saved me from the “island” that the daily life of a principal can feel like.

During the last few months of my pregnancy I was not the best principal…I had to follow doctor’s orders to stay off my feet as much as possible or go on bed rest. So, I became a “paper pusher” sitting in my office the majority of the day. After putting my son to bed at night, I was so exhausted that I rarely checked twitter or other blogs for my online PLN (twitter is blocked at school).

So now, that is why I am joining this challenge to blog each day in June…even though it means I might not get the blog posted until just before midnight and it has taken me all day to try to type it during baby naps…and that I typed most of this with one hand while holding the baby. I’m taking the challenge with the hopes of getting feedback from others and following their blogs as well to stay current and motivated by other educational leaders.