Melinda and I had a blast recording our most recent episode. In it, we kick around the whole Mac vs. PC thing, talk about Brad Paisley, and discuss some of the technologies that make our lives better and easier, both on and off the job.
I hope it’s as fun to listen to as it was to record!
The only question left is, Why are you still here? Go get it!
[Cross-posted at LeaderTalk]
This year marks the third time I’ve started an administrative job in a new district. I’m not that old, nor am I fickle, but every move has involved exactly the “right” set of circumstances at the time. As such, I’m now entering my third different administrative induction program in my new district. They’ve run the gamut, mind you, from rigorous to basic hoop-jumping, but I’m pleased that this district has taken a relatively moderate approach with all new admins meeting monthly for two hours to get us up to speed with how they do things differently here. Most of it is need-to-know, procedural stuff like how to conduct classified and licensed evaluations and how to get the appropriate signatures on purchasing requests.
We did end up in a great discussion yesterday based on the book
“Change Leadership” which is required reading for all administrators this year. From
The realities of today’s economy demand not only a new set of skills but also that they be acquired by all students.
The skills cited by the authors are:
Basic Skills (Reading, Writing, Math)
Foundation Skills (Knowing How to Learn)
Communication Skills (Listening and Oral Communication)
Adaptability (Creative Thinking and Problem Solving)
Group Effectiveness (Interpersonal Skills, Negotiation, Teamwork)
Influence (Organization Effectiveness and Leadership)
Personal Management (Self-Esteen and Motivation/Goal Setting)
Attitude (Positive Cognitive Style)
Applied Skills (Occupational and Professional Competencies)
Our little group of nine – some brand, brand new administrators and some like me who are just new to the district – sat for a while after we read the list. We all agreed that in most cases we do a pretty good job of doing the first thing. Of course, that’s what’s measured on our state tests.
What was pleasantly surprising is that the conversation actually got beyond the typical, “Well, that’s because our schools still operate on a factory model that follows an agrarian calendar” stuff that we’ve all heard ad nauseum and got into discussion about what that kind of education would look like in practice. Some of that revolved around the elementary model where (if it’s done well), students are barely even aware that the math lesson has ended and now it’s time for science. Learning doesn’t happen in discrete periods between bells, but lessons are often carried thematically through a day, week, or longer.
I realize this probably isn’t a news flash for most folks. Maybe I’m behind in this. But it was nice to be around a group of folks for a few hours that were interested in “reframing the problem” instead of simply re-hashing how we got here. I wonder what high school will look like when my kids get there. I wonder if this will all be just talk. I wonder where I can start. What are the leverage points in my school where the biggest differences can be made?
We spent some time this summer going through this, but I need to re-open this can one more time for a presentation I’ve been invited to give to some pre-service teachers who are doing their practicum at our school.
It’s a neat program, really. The college undergrads are on our campus Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 until 11:30 during which time they spend one 90-minute block with a cooperating teacher and the rest of the time in class discussion.
So I’ve been invited to come to the class next Thursday for 90 minutes. The topic the professor would like me to address is, “Lecturing: Must we? Why or why not? How to involve students.”
Just so that I’m completely transparent, I’ll be borrowing liberally from Dan and Merlin and Garr and others. Standing on the shoulders of those who have done such a great job of articulating what it means to present well rather than build a slidedeck that serves as nothing more than enormous version of index cards that help the presenter and not the audience.
I’ll also be borrowing from this Washington Post article.
Now help me out because you never know whether some of these folks will leave Colorado and be looking for jobs in your school or district… What should new teachers know about lecturing?
I’ll happily share the results with you after my – ahem – lecture…
Thanks to Angela for making me think about literacy at the high school level.
If I could pose one literacy question, it would probably be something like:
What does literacy look like in your content area?
Sounds simple, right? But when I was teaching math I would have had no idea how to answer this. Getting teachers to think about what they’re looking for is a good start. You know – beginning with the end in mind.
The first round of the long-anticipated OLPC laptops is in final testing and David Pogue of the NY Times has posted some first impressions. Of note, if you visit xogiving.org you can spend $400 and get one for yourself and one for a child overseas.
In a follow-up to the original article, Pogue blogs about a reader comment that was particularly thoughtful.
Fellow blogger (and fellow Dad x 2!) Brett has posted a great list of the 10 Ways You Will Change When You Become a Parent. My personal favs:
2. Keen awareness of the location of potentially dangerous items.
5. All of a Sudden, Everybody Driving Faster than You is a Fricking Maniac.
8. Sleeping In? HAH!
I’ve been a loyal GMail user for almost 3 years. And today I get this:
Essentially, it says I’ve done something wrong and as such I’m being barred from access to my email for “up to” 24 hours. I’ve done nothing wrong — I’m not running Gspace or anything like that. Other than leaving a Gmail tab open in Firefox all day, I’m a pretty low-volume Gmail user.
The trouble is, I have evidently become too dependent on all things Google to run my life. I use Gmail for my non-work email (in fact, that’s what precipitated this whole thing – I ordered some jackets for the administrative team and needed to go into my account and find the receipt so I could be reimbursed…), I use Google Docs for a lot of basic scratch-pad stuff to flesh out ideas and such before I bring them into Pages or Word (if necessary) to apply formatting, and I use Google Calendar to keep my life in order.
I guess it just never hit me that losing access to that stuff for a significant length of time could leave me blowing in the wind. Today’s Gmail “lockdown” is only affecting one piece of this, but I had a moment of panic as I went to refresh my calendar and my Google Docs to see if they’d been affected.
Has anyone else been a victim of this? How long did your “time-out” last? I’ve read some anecdotal evidence on the web of people being allowed back in after 5 or 10 minutes, but I’ve been down over an hour now. Strangely, though, my Google Notifier is working. That’s just odd.
So why are you still here? Go download it!
Melinda and I had a great discussion with Julie Germann of the MO Association of Elementary Schools about how newer administrators can involve themselves in educational politics. Pretty good stuff!
Plus, I also spend a few minutes touting the virtues of my new iPod touch… You know you want one….