Tuesday, July 15, 2014

SAMR Model Matrix

I've taken the time to create a simple matrix for my staff that overlays the SAMR model with three major collaboration tools we plan to use for the coming school year. It was challenging to do so, yet in the struggle is where we learn. 

While there are several other technology integration models from which to choose, I feel SAMR to be the easiest for our staff to synthesize at this point and will breed the largest gains.  

I welcome feedback and comments! (pardon all the red word corrections!)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

No More Google Reader - Reflections a Year Later - A Look at Digital Organization

When I first learned that Google Reader was to be no more, I wasn't sure what my go-to feed would be. I had been using Mr. Reader for several years.  In the world of constant information, you simply cannot be without some method of digital organization. After much research and trial and error, I settled on a combination Bloglovin,  Diigo and Zite.

I follow somewhere between 150-200 blogs. Some are recipe driven "mom bloggers" and others are the latest in the tech industry. I'm certain if you perused my feed, you'd see quite an eclectic listing. Generally speaking, I use my Bloglovin feed for my personal, creative reading and Zite for my professional reading. If I find something I'd like to bookmark for later reading and sharing, I move it over to Diigo for later reference. (More on Diigo later - I'll be prepping for a presentation using it later in July)

Of course, there's always twitter! I have found twitter to be a constant and continual source of information and professional reading. I am careful of those I follow to ensure non-biased, research based information that is in alignment with my own philosophies. 

A the lead learner on my campus, I strive to model the life-long learning techniques I want my staff to follow as well. The educational atmosphere is constantly shifting and changing and it is imperative that we stay abreast of the newest information and how it affects our students. 

Check out some of my favorite professional readings below:



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Book Talk: Michael Fullan's Stratosphere

One of my professional summer reads was Michael Fullan's Stratosphere: Integrating Technology, Pedagogy and Change Knowledge. While yes, it was a book given to me as a part of my summer district professional development, it was one that had been on my to-read list for a while. In fact, as I read it I was surprised to note that I had not read many of Fullan's books until now. Several years back I read The Six Secrets of Change and was quite impressed and wrote a book talk blog post for that book as well. 

The first chapter, The Journey, sets the tone for the remainder of your reading. His discussion of "the triad" - known as technology, pedagogy and change knowledge - instantly connected to my prior learning of the TPACK model used in technology integration sources. The difference is we replace Content Knowledge with Change Knowledge. In theory there is a direct correlation between Content and Change Knowledge in regards to implementing technological advancements in education. The heart and soul of his writing is rooted in creating "sustained learning opportunities for all students." (pg 4) Pause and think for a moment if your campus provides such opportunities. Chances are it's occurring at an inconsistent level at best. Often in education we see these major areas of implementing occurring in silos - complete isolation. We will never have the schools our students crave if we continue in this manner. 

Two big ideas that stopped me in my tracks in chapter 2 were the following:

"Don't focus on technology - focus on it's use." pg 11
"Children hate school, he says, because they learn very differently than the way the school teaches them." pg 13

I am thankful to work in a district where we do focus on the instructional use of technology, not the device itself.  However, I still feel the structure of our schools are far more traditional than our students truly need.  It's a work in progress - a journey of continuous improvement. 

Much of the focus of the book relates to research on change and high yield results in various settings, all relating back to the educational environment.  Fullan creates a scenario in his work where you synthesize his concepts through the lens of school leadership. 

How do we measure up in our technological pedagogy? For me, I am certain we are not where we need to be, but we are on the path to providing our students what they need as global learners. 

As I completed the reading, I was able to connect Fullan's work intertwined with the concepts of John Hattie, Eric Scheninger and Dan Pink. Our goal as educators is to prepare our students and lead them to be future ready - whatever their future may be. The frameworks and concepts of Stratosphere is in full alignment with that goal.

Thoughts from TASSP14

Each year the school year ends and I have the opportunity to attend TASSP for some rejuvenation as I prepare for the upcoming school year. Truth is, the preparations have long been under way but there is something motivating about learning with and through others while not sitting around the conference room table. Sometimes we all need a little scenery change.

I have encountered several key concepts over the past few days that I am certain will make a positive impact on my campus. It's easy to come away from a learning conference and want to implement many ideas. Often time that leads to poor implementation because your focus is spread too thin.

The two biggest takeaways I have this year from attending TASSP14 are 1) building the campus RTI program and 2) implementing a solid social media plan.

RTI (now to be called MTSS - Mulit-Tiered Systems of Support) has always been near and dear to me as an educator. I've spent a large amount of time reading and researching RTI programs and have had the opportunity to build two very strong RTI structures at two different elementary schools. RTI in the middle school has posed a new challenge. While I am trained by one of the best in RTI for all grade levels, it is a hurdle in the secondary world.

I was beyond excited to see two sessions presented by one of my favorite educational leaders, Dr. Andrea Ogonosky.  I had the honor of working alongside her in my former district and I learned more about RT than I ever wanted to know. (Side note: I was able to introduce her at one of our district staff developments and it was a highlight of my career! Some people call me an RTI groupie.)  While furiously taking notes in her session, I have a much clearer understanding of the path I need to set out on to begin building an RTI program for my campus.

  • Form a campus team of 3-4 individuals (admin/counselor/504/instructional specialist)
  • Work through PLCs to discuss students and instructional methods related to interventions
  • Universally screen 2 x year and progress monitor throughout

While the above three steps are not the fully extent of RTI, it will set up our school to have a successful framework from which to start and move forward.

After reading Digital Leadership earlier this year, I became increasingly aware of the need to develop a campus social media plan. While we do utilize various social medias to publicize campus events, happenings and announcements, it needs to be intentional and focused.  I spent the year tracking our growing followers on our three main social media tools, but we did not see the growth I expected. As I began the thought process on planning for the 14-15 school year, it became evident to me that I will have to change and internationalize the social media branding we use.

One session I attended shared the use of Google Hang Outs as a means to share events of the campus. This specific campus live streamed PTA meetings, choir concerts and sporting events. What really caught my eye was the use of Hang Outs was to introduce staff members and build relationships between the school and community. Once or twice this year I recorded a short video clip and shared it on our school social media. In one clip I personally invited parents to attend our Open House. In the second clip I shared the campus happenings of our students during a snow day while we were still in school. In both instances, we received very positive feedback from the parents and stakeholders. It's simple - parents want to know the individuals on the campus in which they send their child. What better way to build that community than through the use of your social media?

I am thankful for a motivating experience here at TASSP and I look forward to the planning process and what the upcoming year holds.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

#titansread: Modeling by the Staff

In my earlier blog post, I shared our campus's movement towards implementing our campus-wide reading program, #titans. I decide to use it to brand our reading program and it is working wonders.

I truly feel the single most powerful thing a teacher can do is model life long learning for their students.  While it pairs with the student reading program, there are some differences.

Staff are challenged to read 25 books as well. This includes secretaries, administrators, paraprofessionals, and classroom teachers. We are well aware this is a lofty goal - but we are chasing it anyways. {Any good goal is outside your comfort zone!}

Staff are encouraged to write their titles on the classroom log and post for students to see. The idea behind this is for students and teachers to engage in conversations about the titles they are reading. In addition, the students will see the teachers as readers sharing the value of reading.

Staff are encouraged to tweet about their readings using #titansread.  Twitter is a powerful communication tool within our community and just within a few weeks, this has sparked some conversations online about book series, reading locations, PAP required readings and a whole lot of other topics! 

Staff will also participate in their own incentive program. For every 5 books read, a badge will be placed outside their door.  This will continue until 25 books are reached. In addition, staff are able to earn free jeans coupons, Titan gear and some really cool prizes. (I can't give away all my secrets!) 

While the student requirements are pretty rigid, the teacher book requirements are a little more laxed. This is due to two main reasons: 1) As adults, they have more latitude in the options they read...blogs, plays, etc. 2) We need the teachers to be fully in to this program and we all know lots and lots of rules does just the opposite.

Anxious to learn more about our reading program? Follow us in the following ways:
On Twitter - @kimbarker25, @Tidwell_MS #titansread

Monday, May 19, 2014

My Journey Through 25 Books: A Reflection

Previously I have written on my journey through the 25 Book Campaign within my school district.  While it started at #N2RDG with a high school, I became a principal at a middle school (which also promotes reading through the 25 book campaign) and thus it transformed into #titansread. 

I am happy to report that last week I completed my 25th book. Between the responsibilities of of my position and time with my family, I feel quite accomplished.  

So what did I read? See for yourself.

My post on books #1 and #2

My post on books #3 - 6 

Book #7  The 10 Minute Inservice by Todd Whitaker

Book #8  Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Book #9  Memoirs of an Inner City Principal by Pat Michaux

Book #10  Sparkley Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle

Book #11  A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson

Book #12  The Blind Side by Michael Lewis

Book #13  The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak

Book #14  The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

Book #15-18  Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant by Erica Roth

Book #20  Teach Like a Pirate by David Burgess

Book #21  Mindset by Carol Dweck

Book #22  Assessment and Student Success by Carol Ann Tomlinson

Book #23  Praying for Boys by Brooke McGlothlin

Book #24  Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist

Book #25  The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle

Thursday, May 15, 2014

5 Must-Reads for Digitial Leadership

Keeping current with the latest best practices in instruction is a priority of any true leader. I use a variety of tools to do so including following several blogs and innovate leaders on Twitter. (follow me @kimbarker25) This week I have found five incredibly moving articles that have raised my own sense of urgency in the area of digital leadership. 

20 Things That will be Obsolete by 2020 via MindShift
A sobering look at the type of world we are preparing our students for. Are our schools doing all they can? Truly we are preparing students for careers that do not exist yet. 

The Physical Environment for Learning via Edutopia
Desks in rows and teachers at the front of the classroom are a thing of the past. How does your school align to the ever-changing needs of our students? Is your school structured to foster collaboration?

5 Sites Teens Flock to Instead of Facebook via Marketwatch
A reminder that we need to meet the students where they are - not where we think they are. 

Supporting New Teachers to Make Global Connections via Edutopia 
If your classrooms aren't connecting globally, you are doing a disservice to your students. Global collaboration is an important 21st century skills our students must have when leaving our school systems and entering the workforce.

The SAMR and TPACK Models via Ipadbootcampforteachers 
Knowing where your teachers are on either of these models, will help you as the instruction leader meet them where they are and support them in making progress towards full technology integration.