A Principal's Reflections

What Learners Really Need

A Principal's Reflections

A great deal has changed since I began writing this blog back in 2009. For starters, my primary device to connect on Twitter was a Blackberry. I didn’t even have a Facebook page until a year later.

The Skinny on Hashtags

A Principal's Reflections

Upon getting on Twitter in 2009, I was not only baffled about how to use the social media site but also about all the symbols associated with it. There was no apparent rhyme or reason to using these in any messages whether long or short. One of them was the hashtag (#).

3 Shifts to Make Learning Personal

A Principal's Reflections

In education, a lesson makes or breaks a learner’s experience in a classroom. Planning takes time.

The Pivotal Role Movement Plays in Learning

A Principal's Reflections

“ More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.” – Justin Rhodes Spending time in schools as a leadership and learning coach has been some of the most gratifying work I have done.

5 Costly Inventory Management Mistakes Schools Should Avoid

If your school is like most, inventory and/or asset management plays a critical role in daily operations.

Meaningful Learning Begins and Ends with the Opportunities We Create

A Principal's Reflections

Learning hasn’t really changed, but the conditions that impact and influence it has.

Chase Growth, Not Perfection

A Principal's Reflections

Perfection is something many people chase after. Educators are no different, but more on this later. In sports, there are only defined scenarios when perfection can be achieved. A pitcher can deliver a perfect game if he or she gives up no hits or walks and the fielders commit no errors.

10 Strategies to Strengthen Instruction and Learning

A Principal's Reflections

When I think back to my training to become a teacher, there were some reasonably consistent norms. These consisted of sound classroom management, listing the learning objectives, and developing a lesson plan.

Unleashing the True Potential of Video for Learning

A Principal's Reflections

The best job on the planet is that of a parent. I can’t begin to explain how awesome it has been over the years watching my kids grow up and being actively engaged in their lives. Sure, there are some lows along the way, but the highs are what bring so much joy and purpose into our own lives.

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Great Leaders Surround Themselves With Smart People

A Principal's Reflections

Leadership is a team sport. It is not about what one person does, but instead the cumulative actions of everyone in an organization.

5 Strategies to Create a Culture of Accountability for Growth

A Principal's Reflections

In a world where ideas are a dime a dozen and shared openly on social media, it is incumbent upon all of us to critically reflect and determine if it is, in fact, a sound strategy.

Today’s Curriculum for the Higher Ed HR Leader

Speaker: Joseph Clay, Business Transformation Strategist at Oracle, and Jeffrey Haynes, Director with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP

Today’s universities and colleges face many challenges ranging from reconciling financial pressures, to ensuring student success, to managing complicated workforce dynamics. One thing they all have in common: Their head of HR must align the HR function to best support the institution as it navigates this current landscape.

What Are Your Beliefs?

A Principal's Reflections

What do you believe in professionally? We all possess a particular set of beliefs that are shaped by our respective value system. These impact our work and ultimately determine whether we are successful or not. Mark Lenz provides this great perspective: Beliefs. We all have them.

The Art and Science of Leadership

A Principal's Reflections

Leadership is far from a science. Many would even argue that it is more of a form of art. Since effective leadership means different things to different people, I wanted to dive a little deeper into this debate to glean a better understanding as to what great leaders do.

Build a Door for Opportunity to Knock On

A Principal's Reflections

“ If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle I love the quote above. It did not resonate with me early in my career as a school administrator, but later became sort of a personal mantra. For years I always looked at the world through a “glass half empty” lens.

Are You Driven by “What If” or Held Back by “Yeah But”?

A Principal's Reflections

Imagine if only everything went as planned in life. If this was the case, I am not sure that there would be any lengthy discussion on a growth vs. fixed mindset. As we are all acutely aware, even if you diligently take into account many potential variables, things might not still work out.

Backchanneling: The Why, How, and What (Best Tool)

A Principal's Reflections

As I wrote previously, digital tools can support and enhance discussion among learners and adults. As a supplement to traditional discussion strategies technology can serve as a catalyst to increase engagement by getting more people actively involved during lessons.

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Preparing Learners for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

A Principal's Reflections

Do you like change? If you do, then living in the present is an exhilarating experience. For those who don’t, buckle up as we are only going to see unprecedented innovations at exponential rates involving technology. You can’t run or hide from it.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A Principal's Reflections

In the past, I have written about my journey from digital nomad and detractor to leader. The catalyst for this transformation came in part from Twitter. My experiences in this social space forced me to take a critical lens to my professional practice as well as that of my staff in my school.

The Case for Coaching Leaders

A Principal's Reflections

Growing up as a child I played numerous sports recreationally and in high school. Upon entering high school I was not the best athlete by any means, but football was one sport where I excelled more than others, and this led to some time playing in college.

A Pedagogical Shift Needed for Digital Success

A Principal's Reflections

In a previous post I discussed in detail strategies to help ensure the effective use of technology to improve learning outcomes. You don’t have to be a fan of technology, but you do need to understand that it’s a catalyst for some exciting pedagogical changes.

Who Should Facilitate Professional Learning?

A Principal's Reflections

Have you ever paid money to go and watch a professional sporting event, play, or musical? Your answer is probably a resounding yes. If you are like me, then you have gone too many times to count and have lost track. What drives you to spend money and attend these events?

The Pedagogy of Digital Discussion

A Principal's Reflections

I wasn’t an overly confident student when it came to engaging in open conversations during class. If one of my teachers posed a question, I only raised my hand if I was 99.9% sure that I knew the correct answer.

Selfless Acts Exemplify Who We Are

A Principal's Reflections

" A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. " - James Keller The other day I headed out to run some errands. It is common practice for me to use this time listening to a variety of radio stations.

Reflective Learning as the New Normal

A Principal's Reflections

The quest to improve pedagogy, and in turn learner outcomes, is a focus of many schools. We toil away at chasing the next big innovative idea, trend, or tool as a path to improvement yet little changes. Maybe success lies in taking a more detailed look at daily practice.

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Using Feedback Logs to Empower Learners

A Principal's Reflections

The most successful companies are successful because they are always looking for ways to improve. When it comes to their employees, there is no ceiling as they are continually pursuing pathways and allocating resources to help the best get even better.

Tic Tack Toe in the Blended Classroom

A Principal's Reflections

The other day I was conducting some learning walks with the administrative team at Wells Elementary School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District (CFISD).

Listen. Reflect. Decide.

A Principal's Reflections

Conversations on effective leadership are varied although they focus more or less on the same general points, yet in different contexts. One saying revolves around the notion that the buck stops with the leader.

The Purpose of Content

A Principal's Reflections

When I think back to my days as a learner, the content seemed to be at the forefront of every class. Whether it was disseminated during a lecture in college, through direct instruction in K-12, or at times consumed from a textbook or encyclopedia, it was everywhere.

Student Agency is More Than Voice and Choice

A Principal's Reflections

Educators and schools across the globe have embraced the concept of student agency. It is a relatively simple concept in theory, but much more difficult to implement in practice.

Digital Leadership is Not Optional

A Principal's Reflections

“ Leadership has less to do with position than it does disposition.” – John Maxwell I am currently working on a new edition of Digital Leadership for Corwin and I am very excited, as it will be in color.

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Relevance is the Fuel of Learning

A Principal's Reflections

In a previous blog post, I wrote about the importance of focusing on the why as it relates to learning. Here is a piece of my thinking that I shared: The why matters more than ever in the context of schools and education. What all one must do is step into the shoes of a student.

Cognitive Flexibility: Paving the Way For Learner Success

A Principal's Reflections

A few years back the World Economic Forum came out with an article titled The 10 skills you need to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Teachers are the Driving Force of Change

A Principal's Reflections

During virtually every keynote, presentation, or workshop that I give, the topic of change is very much a part of it. Leading the effort to uproot the status quo and prepare kids for anything as opposed to something is easier said than done.

Shifting from Passive to Active Learning

A Principal's Reflections

“ Nothing could be more absurd than an experiment in which computers are placed in a classroom where nothing else is changed. ” - Seymour Papert When it comes to improving outcomes in the digital age, efficacy matters more than ever.

Scaffolding Questions to Develop Deeper Understanding

A Principal's Reflections

Over the past couple of months, I have been working with a variety of schools and districts in the role of a coach.

To Improve Outcomes, We Need to Take a Critical Lens to Instructional Design

A Principal's Reflections

No one can deny the fact that we are seeing some pretty exciting changes to teaching, learning, and leadership. Advances in research, brain science, and technology are opening up new and better pathways to reach learners like never before.

Ownership Through Inquiry

A Principal's Reflections

As a child, I was enamored by nature. My twin brother and I were always observing and collecting any and all types of critters we could get our hands on. Growing up in a rural area of Northwestern New Jersey made it quite easy to seek out and find different plants and animals on a daily basis.

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Five Components of Good Feedback

A Principal's Reflections

Everyone needs feedback in order to improve. You would be hard-pressed to identify any profession where it isn’t a central component to success.

Pushing Learners to Think with Performance Tasks

A Principal's Reflections

Pedagogy has been at the forefront of my thinking and work as of late. Decades of solid research have laid the foundation for current studies that bring to light how we can improve teaching, learning, and leadership.

TTWWADI - A Culture Killer

A Principal's Reflections

In some cases, change has been hard to implement at scale or at all for that matter. Sometimes we are blinded by perceived success as is the case for many high performing school districts that have high test scores.

Preparation for the New World of Work

A Principal's Reflections

A great deal has been written about the future and the importance of preparing students with the skills, mindset, and attributes necessary for success in a rapidly evolving world.

Stop the Homework Insanity and Let Kids Be Kids

A Principal's Reflections

I have so many fond memories of my childhood. Growing up in a relatively rural area of Northwestern New Jersey sure had its benefits. As we returned home from school each day, my brothers and I would jump off the bus and diligently make our way about a half-mile back to our house.