The Pastoral Care systems at our school are simply amazing. I can say this because I see the great care our teachers take with our students. I have been thinking do we at school support the whole child? There are multiple ways to support the whole child. Some schools design curriculum maps and the teachers work in professional learning teams to share instructional strategies. Some schools post a mission statement.” As I approach the holidays I have been focusing on the whole child and factors that impact student understanding.
Wet and Cold
Recently, I drove to work in the dark and in the rain. I arrive at school each day at 630am. Hey I don’t want a medal it is my job. But some days I have students arrive just behind me. Is this right? I turn on the heaters and let these students in. It got me thinking. What does your school do for students who wait in the rain to catch the bus or arrive ridiculously early? Do you think it would be difficult to learn if you spent the first part of your day in soaking wet clothes or being at school since 7am two hours before the start time?
Some families know how to support tertiary institution readiness. There are several families who begin this process in primary school. As an educator Charlotte and I often talk of next steps. Several students enter College without an end in mind. They may receive counselling from a teacher or counsellor, but this varies from school to school. Some schools have an advisor/advisee program where students learn how to search for a school, what majors are available, how to complete an application, financial aid options, and how to apply for scholarships. Some people say that the path to tertiary institutions is a game. Based on my observations, some students know how to play the game and some don’t. Is this right?
Most educators would agree that reading is the cornerstone of education. Some students go home and they have three bookshelves, the newspaper, four laptops, and magazine subscriptions waiting in the mailbox. Thousands of students go home with their textbook and the book they checked out of the school media centre. How do we support students who do not go home to the equivalent of the “Teens” section at Whitcoulls? This is a topic that needs to be addressed in every school. Some schools have a library program in. Students receive books that are at their level or high-interest books. If reading is an essential life skill, then how are schools supporting students who don’t own books?
I my classes with a flipped learning environment in mind but I always check which of my students have access. It must be uncomfortable going home knowing that you will not be able to access the Internet to complete your school assignments. Some students are able to use Khan Academy to get academic support with their math assignment. What do the students do when they can’t connect with Khan? Not only is Khan offline is some homes, the student cannot text, FaceTime, Skype, or share a Doc with her peers. As schools move to more 1:1 classroom, it will be important for teachers, to consider that students have a different opportunity to learn. What does your school do to support students and to equal the playing field when it comes to access?
Would you send your own child to the school you teach at? When I have been walking the school this week I have been reflecting on the question, what makes my school special? Does my school focus on the whole child? Do my have a strong association with the community? Why should a family send their child to your school?
“In the field of education schools are considered a brand. They promise value to residents of the district in terms of academic preparation to succeed in society. Many families will choose to reside in a specific district if the schools have a track record of academic success” (Sheninger, 2010).
I have been reading about the “Tweetable Moment”- I encourage educators to search for a “Tweetable Moment.” That moment that you see something special an you want to share it. The things that make us unique.
So as I walk around searching out those moments I also consider our goals and our ERO visit this year. I think continuous improvement should be about answering questions, rather than checking off goals. School improvement plans provide teachers, SLT, BOT and other stakeholders with a rudder for supporting all students. The questions we ask are often more important than completing the school improvement plan. Students in the classroonm are the focus. They are the tweetable moments.
Professional developments are great opportunities to collaborate with staff members and meet educators with similar goals in nearby schools. Are some quick tips are for teachers looking to make the most of the knowledge within their own school building, maximize their use of social media, and connect with faraway teacher friends.
- Ask For Help
Be this person. Ask a question, borrow a resource, solicit advice, and just chat with my colleagues.
- Get Free Stuff
Traveling to a conference can be logistically and financially challenging. There are many live and recorded webinars that provide insight into how to effectively integrate a new learning tool or introduce a strategy to incorporate into a lesson. Gather a group of teachers after school, request coverage for a period, or host a lunch for your colleagues to watch a webinar together.
- Keep Track
Use a blog or a tool like OneNote to gather your evidence.
- Hold an “Appy Hour”
We are often so caught up in our own day and schedules it’s hard to know what is happening in the classroom next door, let alone on the other side of our school building. Dedicate one afternoon a month to connecting with your colleagues. See the next two points.
- Follow Follow Follow
Twitter is an amazing resource for teachers, and it’s had an enormous impact on my professional growth as an educator. Once you’ve gotten started with an account and are checking in regularly, make a commitment to follow five new people every week.
- Join a Chat
Twitter chats are a wonderful way for teachers to connect with likeminded educators who have actionable ideas and advice to offer. By joining a chat, you can read through the tweets people are posting to a chat’s hashtag or dive in by answering and posing questions.
Have you any tip?
This has brought a great deal of new users to twitter so I thought it was time to revisit my TEN BASICS to get the most out of this tool.
- Organize your Twitter.Twitter has made it simple to keep things organized and makes looking through tweets a breeze. How? With the lists feature that lets you organize those you’re following into different groups.
- Flesh out your bio.You’ll get more mileage out of your Twitter account if you actually create a profile that says something about you, offering potential followers information about your interests, professional or otherwise.
- Educate yourself on the basics.Learn the basic terminology for Twitter and the major functions it can perform by doing a little reading on helpful social media blogs beforehand. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Link to your blog.If you’re the type of academic that loves blogging (and who doesn’t these days?) then make sure your posts are getting the exposure they deserve by sharing them through Twitter. Include a link to your blog in your bio, too.
- Get rid of the egg and get a photo.
- Create separate accounts.If you plan to use Twitter for your classes, yourself, or just for fun, you’ll probably need separate accounts to keep everything straight and to ensure that each is focused on just one topic.
- Learn how to use hashtags.It’s pretty much impossible to have not seen the hashtags that have been plastered on, well, everything in the past few years. But do you really know how to use them? A quick lesson can help you learn the ropes.
- Choose a recognizable Twitter handle.You want people to be able to find you on Twitter, right? So choose a handle that they’d associate with you, usually something close to your name, your blog, or your profession will work best. Get some pointers on choosing a username from this guide.
- Stick to a core topic.Ideally, you want to keep your Twitter account pretty focused on a single topic, whether it’s your class, your professional work, or even just stupid things you find on the Internet. The more focused it is, the more useful it will be to both you and your followers.
- Enjoy it
Twitter for educators in 60 seconds:
What’s a PLN?
I owe so much to the people I have connected with. I am sure you feel the same way. Just being at this Conference makes me realize I am part of something bigger, and pretty special.Whether face to face or virtually, I have been able to connect and work with dazzling people who have challenged me and opened my eyes up to so many possibilities. These people have challenged me and asked me am I being the best I can be?
I wonder sometimes just how different my career, and life for that matter, would have been if I wasn’t able to make those connections.
I have just explained why we should use twitter, or why we should blog, why we should join communities or even why we should join/create a PLN. I hope I have challenged others and got them to do/try something new. Try the Pond. Being an innovator.
I am not telling you anything you don’t already know. Connecting with other educators opens us…
In February I was part of the 29 in 29 blog effort. Winter is now here and that seems so long ago. So I thought let’s try it for June. So here we go the 30 days of blogging in June.
I have been thinking recently about my role as Deputy Principal.
I strongly believe that, as educators, we need to share who we are. Put ourselves out there. Let people in. Be more vulnerable.
I don’t meant that we need to do this solely through social media or indeed everything we do
We need to be comfortable with sharing more of our personal side – the moments of joy, sadness, success and challenge. I believe as a teacher there is nothing I love more that hanging out and chatting with the students every recess and lunch. I get to share a little bit of who I am and I get to see a little more about who they are.
My students check out photos of my family in my office and constantly ask how they are doing. I also really enjoy the informal dialogue with parents and staff at the end of the day.
Its really good when a parent or staff member comes to tell me something about an event or topic which they know I can relate. When we do this, we humanize us. Once this happens we are easier to reach out to. In our Catholic schools this common Catholic bond is a starting point always.