April, 2011

Managing For Success

A Principal's Reflections

The other day one of my veteran teachers came to my office to tell me that she had decided to retire. This was a bittersweet moment for me as I highly valued her commitment to the students of New Milford High School and knew I would have a huge void to fill, but was happy to see that she was at peace with her decision. During our conversation she told me how much she appreciated that fact that I never once micromanaged her, which promoted creativity in the classroom.

Taking organizing and planning lessons from Ben Franklin - great tips for educators too

Educational Technology Guy

I recently saw Ben Franklin’s daily schedule and planner on Larry Ferlazzo’s website (which is an awesome resource for educators). I was a long time user of Franklin Quest (now Franklin Covey) paper planners and used their planning software and methods on my first PDA and had heard that they had gotten some of their ideas for planning from Ben Franklin, but had never seen Ben’s planner. It was very cool seeing it.


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The Connected Administrator

The Web20Classroom

Most schools and districts spend lot of time and effort trying to get their teachers up to speed on technology and its use/place in the classroom. And honestly that is where a majority of effort should be spent; working with those on the frontlines of instruction. However, rarely, if ever, is much time spent with administrators, working with them on ways they use technology to enhance what they are doing. What can administrators do?

Test Pep Rallies: Good Practice or Waste of Time?

The 21st Century Principal

If you go into any elementary, middle, or high school this time of year, you are likely to hear shouting like “Ace that Test” or “Let’s rock that test!” emanating from the Gymnasium. For once though, the shouting is not part of a pep rally to try to pump up an athletic team for an impending contest. It is a pep rally to get students pumped up to take state standardized tests.

Intent Signal Data 101

Intent signal data helps B2B marketers engage with buyers sooner in the sales cycle. But there are many confusing terms used to describe intent data. Read this infographic to better understand three common areas of confusion.

Seriously Silly Speech Therapy with Silly Bandz: Guest Post By Janelle Albrecht, SLP


I am coming to think of SpeechTechie as a blog not solely about technology, but about innovation in materials, therapy and interventions. The power of context is profound, and providing activities that are meaningful and engaging to our students obviously extends beyond websites, laptops and iPads to anything we can do as clinicians to get our students in that "Zone" where they are stretching their speech and language development.

More Trending

Chrome Extensions for Educators

A Principal's Reflections

As a result of being off the entire week for spring break I have had the opportunity to explore the many extensions available for Google Chrome. These free extensions not only optimize my Internet experience, but also provide a great deal of enhanced functionality to my work as an educator (especially as a blogger). I have begun to compile a short list of extensions that I am currently using. Some are popular, but others are relatively new.

Contact the TX Senate Finance Committee ASAP! #txedbudget #txbudget #savetxschools


I received an email this morning from Save Texas Schools reminding me that the Texas Senate is expected to issue its budget bill tomorrow, Thursday, April 21st. It is important that Texans concerned about school finance contact these Senate members and thank them for and encourage them in their efforts to create a budget that does not cut as deeply as the House version of the budget does.

Skype In The Classroom

The Web20Classroom

Skype is a valuable tool that many teachers are discovering can break down the walls of their classroom. I have been doing several workshops lately to get teachers started with Skype and how they can connect their classroom to the outside world. Maybe you haven''t had a workshop where you are or you need more information. Here are several resources to get started using Skype in your classroom: First, what is Skype? In this video they try to explain it to you, visually.

4 Benefits of iPad Use for Administrators and Educators

The 21st Century Principal

I recently received a message from an administrator colleague who wanted to know how I use the iPad as an administrator. He was thinking about purchasing the device and was struggling with whether it would be a wise use of his money. I have been using the device for about four months now, and it is another tool in my educational device arsenal. The other tools include my two laptops and my Android phone.

The Guide to Accessible Learning for Associations

Speaker: Dan Streeter, Vice President of Learning Strategy & Development at Blue Sky eLearn

In this 45-minute webinar, we’ll share real-world accessibility solutions and hidden tools in the applications you use every day such as Zoom, Microsoft Suite, Adobe Acrobat (PDF), Articulate Storyline 360, and Articulate Rise 360. This webinar will help you evaluate the accessibility of your current learning efforts and learn about the tools needed to ensure your eLearning is in alignment with the latest Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (proposed WCAG 2.2).

Speckle Games


Speckle Games is a page of interactives from Scholastic based on characters from Clifford. Younger or developmentally younger students would really enjoy these games! Technical Note: The site is Shockwave-based, and you may need to run an Adobe Shockwave update for the games to load. Language Lens: The games hit on cause-effect relationships and a variety of other concepts, categories and skills. They would be a great followup to interactive reading of any of the Clifford books.

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An Introduction to the Flipped Classroom

The Electric Educator

Last week I was asked to present on the Flipped Classroom at the Troy University e-Colloquium. Here is the screen cast of my presentation. If you''d like to click on the live links, use the presentation below. Thanks for subscribing to my blog. I always appreciate feedback on my posts. You can find me on Twitter (@jrsowash), Google+, Linkedin (jrsowash), and YouTube (jrsowash). reverse instruction

Cultivating Authenticity in Learning

A Principal's Reflections

A slightly altered version of this post entitled "Learning Like Never Before" is cross-posted at the Huffington Post. Let me start off by saying that I work at an incredible school. When I came to New Milford High School in 2004 there were many amazing programs in place. One was the Holocaust Study Tour. This global learning endeavor provides some of our students the opportunity to travel to Europe for at least 10 days and study the Holocaust in depth.

Texas HB 400 is Bad News for Teachers and Students #txedbudget #savetxschools


The more I read about Texas HB 400 , the more concerned I become about its provisions, and the more grateful I am that it was sent back to committee on a technical point of order yesterday. I hope that time runs out on this bill before it passes. After reading the information below, if you agree that HB 400 is bad news for teachers and students, be sure to contact your representative today and let him or her know how you feel.

Increasing Equity and Access: A Canvas Case Study of Virtual Arkansas K-12

Virtual Arkansas, a fully online school, had a mission to provide high-quality courses in rural and urban areas throughout the state. How would they simplify content creation while enhancing learning? Discover 3 key insights to transform your classrooms.

Meeting Parents Half Way

The Web20Classroom

If you have read any of my leadership posts in the past you know I am all about reflection. One of the most important things good leaders do is reflect. Time must be taken to think about the direction our organizations are going and if any adjustments, at any level, need to be made. Many leaders, schools and districts have done a great job with reflection.

Politicians Don't Get It: Merit Pay Won't Work

The 21st Century Principal

In response to those politicians in Florida and elsewhere who have pushed their merit pay bills through in the face of research that says it won’t work, and also in the face of many experienced educators who tell them the same, I post Daniel Pink’s TED video “The Surprising Science of Motivation.”

My Garden


My Garden is a great springtime activity that is part of the incredibly rich Busytown Mysteries site, based on Richard Scarry''s books. I think this site would be great to explore further and implement as part of programming for K-1 or developmentally equivalent students. When you arrive in Busytown, to get to this activity, pick Countryside, then the Barn!

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Surprising data on the growth of K12 online learning

The Electric Educator

I have been doing a lot of research on online learning lately. I''ve read several reports on the state of online learning across the country and around the world. Most of what I have read I had heard anecdotally from other sources.

Keeping Students Safe and Productive on Devices

Speaker: Aaron Webb, Jamf

In our webinar, we’ll explore the full range of Jamf education products to protect students, including quick and easy tools for IT admins, powerful apps for teachers to ensure student safety anywhere, and parental engagement tools.

Spicing Up Spanish

A Principal's Reflections

This past week as I was collecting information for my monthly Principal''s Report I was happy to learn about how technology was being integrated into some Spanish classes. For example, students in Ms. Schwarz’s Spanish 1 class had to write a dialogue based on the following situation. This is your first day of school and you are introducing yourself to a bunch of classmates. You are in a Chemistry class and your teacher gives you ten minutes to get to know the person that sits next to you.”

ACTION ALERT: Texas HB 6 With Vital Instructional Materials Funding- House is Voting April 6th!


The following is a legislative action alert I received today from Jennifer Bergland and TCEA Advocacy. It is reposted here with permission. HB 6 is the companion bill to SB 6 which I testified on before the Senate Education Committee last week. Even if you are reading this late in the day Tuesday, call your rep! I called last week on a different matter at 7:30 PM thinking I''d get voice mail, and I got a live person! ACTION ALERT: Call your Representative today!

Making Complex Ideas Simple

The Web20Classroom

Whenever I do a workshop, training or talk I like to start out with a video. And I always try to find one to capture what I am going to be doing or saying. For example, in a recent talk about teacher leadership I showed this video to a group of administrators to get them thinking about how they lead and how teachers in their buildings might lead as well.

April 28 - Dale Stephens on "UnCollege"

The Learning Revolution Has Begun

Join me Thursday, April 28th, for a live and interactive FutureofEducation.com webinar with Dale Stephens, who has received a great deal of public notice lately for his launch of UnCollege - a "social movement supporting self-directed higher education." Date : Thursday, April 28th, 2011 Time : 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am GMT (next day-- international times here ) Duration : 1 hour Location : In Elluminate. Log in at [link].

Unlock the Power of Formative Assessment

Learn how a thoughtful formative assessment approach can help teachers understand where students are in their learning, inform instruction, and in turn, positively impact student learning outcomes. Get the guide today!

Garageband for iPad


This post originally appeared on TherapyApp411 App Name/Publisher: Garageband for iPad/Apple Description : Garageband’s app allows you to explore musical instruments, make recordings of digital instruments and voice, and combine your recordings and prerecorded loops into songs. Songs can be saved to the iPad, sent to iTunes or via email. Therapy Use : The app allows students to have hands-on, multisensory experience with musical instruments, a key language category.

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Are You an Artist?

The Electric Educator

Flickr Via Tomroid Are you an artist or a day-laborer? A day-laborer does the bare minimum, follows the rules, doesn''t go outside of his job description, clocks in on time and clocks out on time. An artist goes well beyond what is expected, rarely follows the rules (in a good way), extends his role, creates unexpected value, and doesn''t keep track of time because he loves what he does.

Time Well Spent

A Principal's Reflections

A slightly altered version of this post entitled " The Social Media Time Debate " can be found at the Huffington Post There has been a great deal of discussion lately as to the necessity of Administrators utilizing social media as a part of their professional practice. There was even a comment on the Facebook page that I manage for my high school stating that I spend too much time on Twitter.

A Message for Texans


This is why. Why I have been thinking and blogging about budgets and politics and legislation lately. Because the thousands of Juliannas and Matthews and Amandas and Seans in Texas schools deserve educations that are adequately funded to provide rigorous instruction in core courses, enrichment classes to broaden their experiences and tap into their talents, and support programs to fill in the gaps in areas where they struggle.

The Best Ways to Use Managed Apple IDs at Your School

Speaker: Aaron Webb, Jamf

In our webinar, How to Best Use Managed Apple IDs at Your School, hear the real-world experience of Steven Palomo, IT Director at Beverly Public Schools, regarding how he successfully managed his entire tech stack.

New Posted Resources 04/24/2011

The Web20Classroom

Using Voicethread TO Promote Learning Engagement and Success For All Students tags: voicethread favorite Eleven More Incredible iPad Resources Waiting To Raise Your iPad App…titude! |

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Special Webinar - Live from the Middle East: Classroom Connections Amidst Political Changes

The Learning Revolution Has Begun

Join us on Wednesday, April 20th, for a very special live and interactive event with educators from Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Morocco. We''ll be discussing the political changes taking place in the Middle East, the impact of technology on both politics and education, and student-to-student interactions worldwide. Hosted by Ed Gragert, Executive Director of iEARN-USA, this event is jointly sponsored by iEARN-USA , the Global Education Collaborative , and the Global Education Conference.

Sensory Garden


Sensory Garden is one of those great resources you can return to for many thematic lessons, with countless opportunities to model and elicit a skill. This interactive website presents you with a garden scene that changes across all 4 seasons, with each season providing different activities. In the " Activities ," um, activity, students are tasked to find all the actions one can do in the garden.

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