Monday, December 30, 2013

A New Year Approaches

As we look forward to the new year, what is it that we hope to accomplish?  What goals are you going to set?  Which ones will you keep?  I want this year to be about creating goals for myself that I know I can attain and will be a part of improving me and helping me maintain an attitude of gratitude.  I think in our busy schedules, we get away from realizing all of the good things in our lives.  We focus on continuous improvement which is not a bad thing.  However, I think we have to be mindful that this type of focus can keep us from enjoying our successes and celebrating things that are going well.  This year I intend to do just that.  One of the tenants of the PLC is celebration. We don't do nearly enough of that - big or small, we need to celebrate.  So I challenge everyone to keep your focus, remember that calm is contagious, and focus on being positive and celebrating.  Don't just make it about big events in life.  If you brought up your grades be proud of that.  If you made it to all of your classes on time be proud of that too - your teachers will appreciate both.  Be thankful for everything you have and maintain a positive outlook on life - it will make celebrating much easier.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Grading Final Projects

This week I have been grading the final projects from the GW Supervision class.  I am impressed by my students and the hard work and thoughtfulness they put into these finished projects.  I was worried that an 8 week compressed course on Supervision just wasn't enough - but the end result shows me that maybe it was adequate.  Kudos to my students in PG County!

I feel like you can't ever talk about supervision enough - and as administrators we are always improving our craft of providing feedback.  We must stay up on practices and really, really, know and be able to articulate what makes good instruction.  We cannot get fixed in one mindset and then continually provide the same feedback.  We really must embody ongoing learning and development - otherwise, we are guilty of not getting out of the time machine.  Our students are ever evolving - we have to keep up with them - and as instructional leaders, we have to prepare our teachers to keep up with (or ideally, stay ahead of) the curve for students!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Growing Leaders - Adult Development

While teaching the Supervision class at GW, I picked up this book to help guide my practice.  I have read several of her books and have found them all to be informative, easy to read, and most of all - relevant!  This particular book provides strategies and take aways, and most importantly, places for self reflection.  One of the most important tools we can use in our own learning is reflection - unfortunately, it becomes the thing we put to the side or neglect.  If you are working on  your own reflective practice and working with adults to "grow leaders" this is a great read that you can start using the day you read it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Beauty of the Anchor Chart

After completing an excellent lesson observation in an ELA class - I had a wonderful conversation with the teacher about going old school and using the paper anchor chart to aid in the lesson on predictions.  While I continually promote the use of technology, there is nothing like a reference tool to hand in the room to help students after completing a mini-lesson.  An easy way to decorate the room with learning tools that are helpful for students.  If you want to know more about these check out Laura Robb and the Reader's Workshop!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Recharging the Battery

We remember to do this with our electronic devices; however, we often skip our own, and decide rather to run on fumes.  But what is our productivity rate if we are tired, sluggish, and our judgement is less than 100%?  Staying rested, fueling our body with healthy items, and keeping fit is a key to remaining successful in our busy lives.  One of my favorite authors frames his life like this when considering whether he will do anything - "Will this (insert anything) help me become the best version of myself?"  So do I take a nap or go for a long walk?  Do I eat veggies or french fries?  Do I watch TV or read a good book?  It seems simple enough when you think about becoming the best version of yourself.  So this weekend, I decided that recharging my own battery would be the key to helping me be back on the road to being the best version of myself.  Nothing like a three day weekend to relax, catch up on life, and get in some great exercise.  Don't let your battery get into the red warning sign - take the time to charge up!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A New Endeavor

Last night marked the first milestone in my Adjunct Professor Career.  This term, I am teaching Supervision of Instruction for George Washington University to a wonderful cohort of teachers from Prince George's County.  After last night, I know there will be great discourse regarding leadership and the important role the evaluator plays in the cultivating teacher leaders and improving instruction.  I am looking forward to our continued journey tomorrow.  And I have to give a shout out to the excellent course I had at Ohio State - because we are using the newest version of the Glickman Book that I used there. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It's That Time Already!

This week has proven to be busy, challenging, and most of all invigorating.  The feeling of the school building just isn't the same without the teachers there.  It gets even better when the students arrive.  I am so proud to be the leader at WMS with such a fantastic and eager faculty ready to help students learn and become contributing citizens.  Our theme this year: Keep it Simple and Have Fun!  Seems quite perfect for middle school.  Looking forward to seeing all of our incoming 6th grade students tomorrow at PALS day!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer: Back to Blogging

Last week I attended the AMLE Leadership Institute - which had an excellent technology interface - forced a lot of people out of their comfort zone.  However, for me, it was a reminder of how much I needed to get back to using the digital tools I have used in the past.  One of the best sessions I attended was about Online Learning Environments (David Hayward).  His perspective was so broad on this subject that it really opened my thinking.  What really makes an online learning environment?  If you are reading this right now, you are in one.  Chances are that you searched something, then something else, landed on this, and here you are reading about my post from the conference.  What about Twitter and YouTube?  These are more than just tools to put out thoughts and funny videos.  What an excellent way to get the most up to date trends and create ideas.  Technology has expanded our audience to be world wide - we are no longer just limited to the people sitting in the room, but rather we can open it to anyone who wants to know.  Think about your online environments.  Where do you go for news?  How do you find out what is the best of the best for your school, vacation, shopping deals? - the list goes on.  Engaging with material is learning - now think about that!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Break is Quickly Approaching

Spring Break is just a few short days away.  8th grade students are taking their Writing SOL tests this week, and 7th & 6th grade students are busy trying to keep the hallways busy.  After three days of a flipped schedule, no library because of testing, and having to be quiet - these middle school students are going to need a break!  I hope everyone enjoys their time away and gets some rest!  I know that I will.  Have a great break Wolves!