Sunday, October 4, 2015

My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (October 4, 2015)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

October Is a Great Month for School Leaders to Connect

As we complete the last full week in September and head into October, which is both Connected Educator Month and National Principals' Month, I want to use my weekly "Three for Thursday" entry to highlight resources school leaders should follow in the upcoming month. These three sites will help school leaders stay up to date on cutting edge ideas in leadership and education technology, and help them keep their school communities informed.
First is, the home base for all of your Connected Educator Month activities. The home page has a schedule of events for each day in October and links to countless resources to help you and others in your school community become better connected. If you are a Twitter user then be sure to follow the #CE15 hashtag.
The second site to check out is This is a collaborative venture by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA). The site has some excellent resources to help celebrate the important roles that principals play.
The final site to keep an eye on heading into October is This great website contains blog posts from principals from all over the world. During the month of October Connected Principals will team up with NASSP and NAESP and host a weekly Twitter chat on the #cpchat hashtag. Be sure to check the site for an announcement of the chats and the archives of each chat.
So whether you consider yourself a connected educator or not, take advantage of the opportunities in October and make some new connections.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Great Way To Connect Parents With Your Google Classroom - BPS Blog Update (Volume 2)

In an effort to share some great resources for you to keep on your radar, sometimes I miss the obvious ones right under my nose.  With this in mind, I want to make sure that you are keeping up the BHS Help Desk Blog.  This blog provides some of the most useful information that you will find in regards to technology integration. Two recent posts that have been widely viewed are the following:

Now You Can Share & Embed Your Google Classroom Calendars with Parents! and An Important “Wi-fi Assist” Warning for iOS 9 iPhone Users.

160 posts to go...

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Some Entry Points for Education Leaders To #GoOpen

This post originally appeared on my Edweek Blog

Riding the momentum of last week's announcement from the United States Department of Education regarding the appointment of my former colleague Andrew Marcinek as its first-ever open education adviser, I thought it would be a good idea to dedicate this week's Three-for-Thursday blog post to some Open Educational Resources (OER).  After looking at the impressive work done by Williamsfield Community Unified School District (highlighted in the video below), all school leaders should be putting the investigation of OER at the top of their to-do lists and begin preparing to #GoOpen.

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For starters, I wanted to share the Illinois OER site which was utilized by the Williamsfield School District. This site is full of great resources for schools looking to begin their OER journey.   
The second site I am going to share is Creative Commons which really should be the starting point for schools beginning to utilize OER. The site has a special section dedicated to OER including a blog which school leaders should be paying close attention to for all of the latest OER updates.
My third OER share is OER Commons. OER Commons has a great library of resources with materials for educators from preschool to college. The search page allows users to search by grade level, subject, as well as for materials aligned to Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

All of my OER resources are in My Diigo bookmarks tagged as "OER."  If you would like to share some of your favorite web-based resources for a future Three-for-Thursday post, you can do that here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Escape from Central Office - A Fun Visit To Fox Hill

There are always things to catch up on in Central Office, but the part of the day where students and staff are doing exciting things in our classrooms across the district is limited. With this in mind, Susan Astone (our District RTI Administrator) and I have made a commitment to get out into our schools more often. Yesterday we had the chance to spend time in classrooms at Pine Glen Elementary and today we spent a portion of our morning at Fox Hill Elementary.

Check out some of what we saw below:

The kindergarten classrooms were bustling with activity as students looked at words associated with apples. We could not believe these students were just kindergartners a few weeks into school!

Ms. Levesque's kindergartners were enjoying pajama day that they earned due to their great behavior.

We also were thrilled to see so many students enjoying reading from books. Mrs. Nolte's class was very comfortable cozying up with their books and taking notes based on Mrs. Nolte's guidelines below on the yellow chart paper.

More students enjoying some quality reading time.

We also got to see some impressive student working on self-portraits. 

Thanks to Mrs. Johnson and her staff for always having an open door for visitors from Central Office. We will back soon!

Blizzard Bag Discussion Begins - Will We Have Alternative Learning Time Assignments This Year?

At last evening's School Committee Meeting we began discussing the possibility of once again allowing students to complete assignments outside of school and having these assignments count for days missed due to extensive absences due to snow or other unforeseen circumstances. This initiative, which we called Blizzard Bags last year, was piloted across our district after receiving the go-ahead from our School Committee. 

The two slideshows below highlight the survey results of parents and staff members who responded. We had 221 staff members respond and 444 parents. Whether you responded or not, there is still time to provide your comments on this initiative and let us know whether you would like to see something similar in the future. This topic will be on the School Committee Agenda once again at our next School Committee Meeting on October 13. 

Nearly 70-percent of our parents would approve of a similar undertaking if the assignments were given on the day that their students miss school while over 90-percent of teachers also would support alternative learning assignments if they were structured differently from last year.

Due to this feedback on the surveys, we are certain the the following changes would be made if we continue with a similar undertaking this year:
  • The initiative will be called something other than Blizzard Bags since there are no bags involved and we could potentially miss school for something other than snow.
  • The assignments will be given on the day that school is missed (not afterwards as we did last year). In addition, the students would receive a brief window to complete the work and it would not be expected immediately upon return to school.
Please feel free to comment here in the comment section if you have questions or input that you would like to add to this discussion. We look forward to a decision on whether or not we will implement alternative assignments during our October School Committee Meetings.