A Principal's Reflections

Knowing Where We Are Paves the Way for Change: The Impact of Coaching

A Principal's Reflections

I often tell audiences during keynotes and workshops that my role isn’t to tell anyone what to do, but instead to get educators to think critically about what they do.

Edtech Tools for SPED, Math, and Reading

A Principal's Reflections

Over the past two years, I have been blessed to partner with District 205 in Elmhurst, IL.

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Overcoming Fear of Change

A Principal's Reflections

" I have accepted fear as a part of life - specifically the fear of change. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back." - Erica Jong We are in the midst of disruptive times. Some might say that this has always been the case, and that is true.

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Great Leaders Embrace Multiple Styles

A Principal's Reflections

We have all heard the saying don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It represents a sound piece of advice for any leader, especially in the field of education.

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.

How to Improve Checks for Understanding

A Principal's Reflections

A great deal of time is spent developing and providing feedback on lessons with the goal being student learning. Regardless of the terminology that is used, virtually every plan follows a format to help achieve this outcome.

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10 Ways to Empower Educators

A Principal's Reflections

What motivates you to be your best, take risks, and seek out opportunities to improve? I’d be willing to wager that there are an array of responses you would give to this question.

The Stages of Innovative Change

A Principal's Reflections

Change isn't coming as it is already on our doorstep. Granted, this has been the case for thousands of years thanks to either discoveries such as fire and cultivated crops or inventions that led to the creation of electricity, manufacturing, and expeditious travel.

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Opening Lessons With a Bang

A Principal's Reflections

I t seems like ages ago that I was taking courses to become a teacher at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. My professors were huge proponents of the Instructional Theory into Practice (ITIP) model developed by Madeline Hunter.

Where is Your Learning Culture?

A Principal's Reflections

There are many factors that inhibit change. In some cases, comfort is the enemy of growth. We teach the way we were taught or lead the way we were led. Now I am not saying that this is bad per se, but the bottom line is whether or not the practice is effective.

Custom eLearning: What to Consider as an L&D Manager

A custom eLearning project is an exciting opportunity, but any L&D Manager will also tell you it can be challenging. Inno-versity shares 5 points to consider before kicking off your project. These concepts are critical to addressing the most common pain points which, IF addressed, will ensure success.

If It's Easy Then it Probably Isn't Learning

A Principal's Reflections

What is the purpose of education? To many, this might seem like a ridiculous question with the answer being quite obvious. Or is it? For this post at least, let’s go with learning. Some might equate this with the successful ability to be able to recall or memorize facts and information.

Don't Forget Closure

A Principal's Reflections

There are many pedagogical techniques that run the gambit when it comes to instruction and learning. In a previous post, I discussed the importance of opening lessons with a bang, using an anticipatory set. Whether you call it a set, hook, or bell ringer is not the issue.

Removing the Stigma of Observations

A Principal's Reflections

As a teacher, I always dreaded observations early in my career. It wasn’t because I didn’t find them valuable or was torn apart. On the contrary, I found them to be an excellent opportunity to see how I was doing.

The Right Questions

A Principal's Reflections

“ We get wise by asking questions, and even if these are not answered, we get wise, for a well-packed question carries its answer on its back as a snail carries its shell. ” - James Stephens Questioning techniques are one of the easiest areas of instructional design that can be improved, at least in my opinion. By looking at the question stems, one can determine the level of thinking our learners are expected to demonstrate. Low-level examples almost always begin with who, what, where, when. These aren’t bad per se as you need knowledge to move up any knowledge taxonomy chart. The problem is when questions reside here and don’t push kids to think and apply their thinking in more complex ways. Learners also don’t find much purpose with these beyond just getting them right. Herein lies one of my major issues with how I see many digital game tools used in the classroom as typically comprised of low-level, multiple-choice options. As I mentioned before, there is a time and place for this. However, it goes without saying that an emphasis on recall and memorization will not prepare kids adequately to thrive now and in the future. Disruption caused by the 4th Industrial Revolution , and living in a knowledge economy, continues to teach us this lesson. If a student can easily Google the answer, then it goes without saying that the question isn’t very challenging. In the end, questions are more important than answers if learning is the goal. More on this later. The image above provides a great visual to look at the types of questions that are asked in classrooms or on assignments and scaffold them in ways that empower learners to demonstrate high-level thinking as well as mastery of concepts. It is important to note that each and every question doesn’t have to be at the uppermost levels of knowledge taxonomy. The key is to try to bump them up when warranted, especially if they are at the foundational knowledge level. If question stems begin with who, what, where, or when then there is a natural opportunity to tweak them in a way to get up to at least the understanding level. Now don’t get me wrong; developing great questions that get kids thinking is excellent. However, the real goal should be the creation of performance tasks where learners are applying their thinking in relevant ways. This is where the role of instructional design is critical. When challenging learners through an authentic application where there is an underlying purpose, what results is natural inquiry. During numerous coaching visits with schools across the country, I have seen this play out over and over again. Students are so immersed in an activity that collaboration, creativity, and collaboration converge with thinking while they work to solve real-world predictable and unpredictable problems. What results is that the students then develop and answer their own questions. The Rigor Relevance Framework , of which an iteration is pictured above, is a great tool that can assist teachers and administrators develop better questioning techniques and learning tasks to engage kids with a higher purpose. What results is the process of inquiry, which fuels the learning process. The right question isn’t necessarily about arriving at an answer per se, but instead it acts as a catalyst for the development of more questions. inquiry questioning Rigor Relevance Framework scaffolding

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Teachers’ Guide to Plagiarism

This article provides teachers with a step-by-step guide on how to handle plagiarism in the classroom: it examines the definition of the term "plagiarism" and its types with examples, describes common reasons students plagiarize, and provides tips for teachers to detect and prevent plagiarism among students.

Personalized Learning in Action

A Principal's Reflections

Over the past year, I have been blessed to support the Davis School District in Utah with their personalized learning initiative across the district.

Flexible Spaces Need to Lead to Flexible Learning

A Principal's Reflections

Do you remember the classrooms that you learned in as a child? I sure do and not for many positive reasons. Each room was a carbon copy of one another, where you would have as many uncomfortable desks lined up in cute little neat rows. The exception was science classrooms flush with lab tables.

Questions to Guide a Reflective Conversation on Learning

A Principal's Reflections

Most educators desire meaningful feedback that can be used as a catalyst for growth. When it comes to improving learning, criticism will rarely, if ever at all, lead to changes to professional practice.

Learning Never Stops

A Principal's Reflections

“ Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” – Abigail Adams How do you make, not find, the time to learn and get better? Often the number one impediment in this area is fitting it into our busy schedules. Trust me; I get it.

Key Elements for Successful eLearning Projects

Discover how this rapid development process creates engaging, custom learning solutions on a timeline that works for you, why a strong learning culture is important, and how to showcase your Return on Learning (ROL) using data to tell the story.

The Future of Work

A Principal's Reflections

The future of work should be on the top of everyone’s mind as it is smacking us right now in the face. As I have previously written, we are in the midst of the 4th Industrial Revolution, where rampant innovation and exponential advances in technology are changing the societal landscape.

Buncee and Immersive Reader: A Winning Combination for Assistive Learning

A Principal's Reflections

I am a huge fan of Buncee. The following is a guest post by Rachelle Dene Poth ( @Rdene915 ), Spanish and STEAM Teacher at Riverview High School in PA. For several years, Buncee has been one of my favorite creation tools; both for personal use and for classroom instruction.

The Problem With Zeros

A Principal's Reflections

The dreaded zero. For many students, this number elicits a certain amount of fear and anxiety that all assignments are turned in on time. I, for one, felt this way and made sure that everything was turned in when it was due.

It Won't Work.Or Will It?

A Principal's Reflections

When we look at various aspects of society, there is always an innate desire to improve through innovation. However, there seems always to be impediments to this process. Perhaps it is the little voice in your head that says any new idea or strategy is a waste of time, as it has no chance to succeed.

The Ultimate 12 Step Guide For Choosing The Perfect Learning Management System

Picking the wrong LMS can cost you. Don’t settle for a disconnected, hard-to-use, expensive system that doesn’t meet your needs. Follow these 12 steps crafted by Lambda Solutions' LMS experts, and find your perfect eLearning solution!

Education for the 4th Industrial Revolution

A Principal's Reflections

“ Don’t prepare kids for something. Prepare them for anything !” I remember a world without the Internet, smart devices, mobile phones, 3D printers, and 4K televisions sets. After all, this was the world that many of us grew up in.

Lead in the Now

A Principal's Reflections

“ When you finally let go of the past, something better comes along.” – Anonymous There are many reasons why we tend to fall back on what we are either comfortable with or have always done. For one, comfort tends to be the enemy of growth.

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The Ascent to Growth

A Principal's Reflections

I genuinely believe that most people want to get better in their professional role and they find comfort in growth. Who doesn’t want to make a difference while moving up the career ladder?

Bringing Out the Best in Others

A Principal's Reflections

It’s no secret that great cultures bring out the best in people and in turn, this leads to systemwide success. Success is a fickle thing, though.

Leveraging Learner Variability to Elevate Equity in EdTech

Speaker: Vic Vuchic, Chief Innovation Officer & Executive Director, Learner Variability Project

In this webinar, Vic Vuchic, Chief Innovation Officer of Digital Promise, will share his insights into the modern boom in neuroscience and learning sciences research. You'll discover how much more we know now about how students learn - and how we can use that knowledge to create EdTech-enabled classrooms that can meet the diverse needs of all students.

Digital Leadership: Leading Change from Where You Are | #DigiLead

A Principal's Reflections

A great deal has changed over the past few years not just in society, but also in education. Many of these changes are a result of the exponential advances in technology and the role these tools play in shaping both our personal and professional lives.

Return on Instruction (ROI) Revisited

A Principal's Reflections

The pursuit to improve never ends and nor should it. With all of the disruption we see as a result of the 4th Industrial Revolution, changes to how we educate kids have to be considered.

The Point of a Lesson

A Principal's Reflections

I am not a huge fan of collecting lesson plans and have not been for years. It is my opinion that you can learn a great deal more by collecting and looking at assessments. Regardless of where you stand on the whole lesson plan debate, the intent is what really matters.

5 Ways to Create Relevant Cultures of Learning

A Principal's Reflections

Education can seem like a balancing act between what we as adults feel is essential and what interests our learners. The struggle is real as the former is sometimes emphasized as a result of a school or district’s focus.

EdTech at School

This E-book is designed to support educators with case studies of education technology use at school.