Tag Archive for professional reading

Digital Student Portfolios

Over the years I have come to know Matt Renwick, fellow WI Principal known as @ReadbyExample on Twitter, as a wise literacy leader and tech guru that I love to learn from.  As our school continued to add technology and then implemented our 1:1 iPad program this year, he was a colleague that often shared resources with me; resources that he had created to help his teachers learn how to use their iPads for both teacher and student use.  So, when I heard that he was writing a book about their (school) experience of using Digital Portfolios I was ecstatic for him and eager to read the book to learn even more from him!

Digital Student Portfolios

I’m humbled to have been one of his first readers and even more so to have had the opportunity to co-write the forward to his book along with Curt Rees.  We both agreed that this book is a fantastic resource for teachers to utilize the power of the technology at hand to focus on documenting student learning in digital format as they focus on individual student progress and respond to their students’ needs.  In this book, Matt shares real examples of great learning among his teaching staff, along with steps they took that didn’t work, but they learned from them and moved forward.  What’s even better is there are several links to video clips throughout the book so you can learn from screencasts or see examples of digital/audio content of their students.  You can find some of these digital resources from his book HERE on his blog.

Where can you find Matt’s book? Go HERE to order his book.  Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

PrincipalCast Podcast Hosts ASCD Authors

Innovation and Leadership:  Strategies & Tips from Three Authors

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Mark Barnes, Bill Sterrett, and Michael Fisher

On Sunday, May 4th, join the @PrincipalCast team (including‪@DrSpikeCook ‪@PrincipalStager) for an interactive discussion on the TeacherCast network  with three @ASCD authors (‪@markbarnes19‪@fisher1000 and @billsterrett ) as they discuss learning, innovating, and leading in education.  If you have never listened to the podcast, we broadcast live at 8:30 pm CST on teachercast.tv.  If you cannot listen live then you can download the podcast at itunes or elsewhere for your android (I use the app BeyondPod).

BRIEF BIOS:

Author Mark Barnes (@markbarnes19) is a 20-year classroom teacher and the author of The Five Minute Teacher: How do I maximize time for learning in my classroom?

Mike Fisher (@fisher1000) is and instructional coach and educational consultant and the author of Digital Learning Strategies: How do I assign and assess 21st century work?

Bill Sterrett (@billsterrett) is an educational leadership professor, former principal and middle school science teacher and the author of Short on Time: How do I make time to lead and learn as a principal?  Bill spoke on an earlier PrincipalCast (#13) about time management and joins us again today to focus on collaborative and innovative leadership.

For more about the ASCD Arias series: http://www.ascd.org/ascdarias/home.aspx

Wrestling with Feedback

Image from Binghamton Univ

Image from Binghamton Univ

For the past couple of months my evenings and weekends have been devoted to wrestling.  This is a new sport for me, but one my family is enjoying together as we watch and encourage my 8 year-old in a sport that he has found to love.

We have now been to 6 tournaments with the opportunity to watch him improve each time with feedback and guided practice from his coaches.  Whether it is a practice or a tournament I have found that his coaches are quick to give feedback in a positive way that is specific enough to tell him what he needs to do differently.  In addition to the verbal feedback they follow the Optimal Learning Model of “I do, we do, we do, you do” by modeling the move, then physically moving their body to practice it and then watching it as they practice the move with a partner while continuing to provide feedback.

While at tournaments I have been saddened to see how some coaches/parents respond to their wrestlers in a way that is certainly not helpful feedback.  I’ve heard comments such as, “You should have done better than that!” “I can’t believe you didn’t cradle him!” or “You let him pin you!”  I have also seen some of these wrestlers a few times now at different tournaments and see the difference in their progress compared to others.  Those that are given positive, encouraging feedback with specific ways to improve seem to improve each time and enjoy the sport whether they win or lose.  Others that have been given hard feedback only seem happy when they win and are practically devastated when they lose.  I can only predict that they won’t make it long in the sport.

I can’t help, but make this wrestling connection to what I have learned from the book Mindset by Carol Dweck and the idea of having a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.  I am also currently reading Opening Minds by Peter Johnston. Johnston talks about “yet” as a key word to help keep children from having a fixed mindset, that we want them to say, “I’m not good at this yet” and take steps to help them change that.  As I think about giving feedback in the school setting and as a parent, one quote from Johnston that sticks with me the most is:

“How we give children feedback is probably the most difficult for us to change, but it is probably the point of most leverage.”

 

 

Fostering Grit

fostering gritI recently finished reading the book Fostering Grit, which is an ASCD Arias book (it is short enough to read in a 1 hour sitting) written by Thomas R. Hoerr.

Every great educator knows that we can not only teach students content; that we must also teach character traits such as respect, responsibility, kindness, etc.  Hoerr wrote this short guide under the premise that we must also teach the virtue of grit, which he defines as tenacity, perseverance, and the ability to never give up.  The author points out that teaching grit can be difficult for educators, because “it runs counter to the caring school environments that we all esteem.”  The author shares that we need to teach our students to respond positively to setbacks and to respond appropriately when things go wrong; as he writes, “turn a failure into a good failure, one from which we learn.”

As I read Hoerr’s book on how grit helps us to be resilient and to persevere when we fail, I made many connections to what I learned when reading Mindset by Carol Dweck.  The concept of having grit goes hand in hand with the teaching students the concept of having a growth mindset.

Hoerr writes that as educators we can help teach our students to develop grit by introducing them to levels of complexity that are out of their comfort zone, to cause frustration and then help students to understand the frustration and how to respond to it.  Students will benefit from us sharing our personal stories with them of how we have overcome obstacles and talking about the importance of grit.  We can also share examples of others we know or famous people such as professional athletes, actors or even former presidents that our students may be surprised (and interested) in learning about the obstacles they overcame and how having grit helped them to be successful.

The author of Fostering Grit shares Six Steps of Teaching for Grit that each have great strategies to foster grit in your students:

1. Establish the environment

2. Set the expectations

3. Teach the vocabulary

4. Create the frustration

5. Monitor the experience

6. Reflect and learn

During Daily 5, students come back to the carpet in between “rounds” for a check-in which often serves as an opportunity for students to reflect on the reading/writing work they did.  Many of our teachers have added other opportunities for reflection throughout the day. As I read Step 6, “Reflect and learn” I realized what a great opportunity reflection can be for students to stop and think about how easy/challenging a task is for them and think about how they felt when they didn’t give up on a frustrating task.

What other ways can you foster grit in students?

fostering grit quote

My Summer Reading Bucket List

If you follow my blog then you know that I’m an avid reader with a goal to read 55 books this year(you can read it in this post). So far, I have read 31 books since January and have a stack of books that have piled up that I look forward to read this summer. My only problem is that I have so many stacked up, it’s hard to make a “what’s next” plan.

Here’s my professional reading stack:

I am currently reading The Multiplier Effect with our district admin team and we will be moving on to Cultures Built to Last as we attend the PLC Institute in July. I will also be reading Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess (who I was so fortunate to meet at the ASCD conference) for the #educoach chat starting on July 10th.

As I’ve previously written about (in this post), I’m trying very hard to not be so boring and also make sure that I read fiction, so here is my “reading for pleasure” stack for the summer:

What’s on your summer reading bucket list?  Can you read any in either of my stacks to help persuade me to move it to the top?

My Summer Reading List

Blog 8 of Spilling Ink Challenge

Summer is a time to rejuvenate…this usually means that I finally catch up on professional reading that I’ve wanted to do all year long, but didn’t find the time for.

Here’s my summer reading list:
Difficult Conversations : How to Discuss What Matters Most No matter how many difficult conversations I’ve had, I always feel like I need more learning in this area.

Implementing Response to Intervention: A Principal’s Guide We are just in the beginning stages of RTI at my school and I need to be a leader for RTI.

Classroom Walkthroughs to Improve Teaching and Learning My Professional Development Plan (for licensure renewal) is on using walkthroughs to improve classroom instruction/learning, so this looks like a great book for my own personal professional development.

What’s on your summer professional reading list?