Friday, July 26, 2013

Are you following my new blog?

I've got a couple of new posts on my new blog. You won't find them here anymore. Please make sure you've followed me over to my new place at

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tips for Formal Observations

I have a new post on Tips for Formal Observations, but you'll have to go to my new blog to read it:

If you haven't already done so, please change your email subscription, feedly account, or RSS reader to my new blog site so I don't "lose" you as a reader.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Moving out (my blog that is)

Image from r2rdesigns
I have maintained this blog for over four years. In that time I have shared 128 blog posts and have received a great deal of valued support from my readers. The time has come for me to move out (from Blogger) and get a "place" of my own. Please follow my new blog at I have copy/pasted all of my posts from here to the site, but I am still working on the layout/design of it. I will likely cross-post my next few posts before being completely done with this blog to make sure I don't lose any readers.  If you are a "subscribe via email" reader, I am still working on figuring out that feature on my new blog site.
If you have a suggestion for my new site, please feel free to let me know by commenting on a post on my new blog.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Don't Bench Coaching

If you don't read ASCD's Edcuational Leadership, then I highly recommend that you start. The current summer edition is filled with great articles, as it always is. There is an article by Christina Steinbacher-Reed and Elizabeth Powers titled Don't Bench Coaching as a result of the numerous budget cuts that often mean cutting coaches (which is a HUGE loss). Their article gives a great plug for the weekly #educoach chat so I just had to share a link in my blog for others to be led to this great article: Don't Bench Coaching.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

What does it mean to be the "Lead Learner"?

Image from Thornhill Primary School

  When people hear the word "Principal" I am sure that most picture someone sitting in the principal's office, waiting for students that have been kicked out of class.  As our roles change, the term principal no longer seems to fit.  I have found "Lead Learner" to be an ideal role title that I strive to achieve each day. "Lead Learner" is a term that I have often read from others on Twitter, although I believe this term was first coined by Principal Joe Mazza (who calls himself a Lead Learner, not a principal).

Doug Reeves states that “expertise is not developed based upon the mystical ability of professionals to get it right the first time. Rather, it is based upon the willingness to try techniques, get feedback that is honest, accurate, specific, and timely, and then improve performance" (Elements of Grading, p.69).  As administrators and “lead learners” of our schools, we need to model and nurture this idea for it to become a “way of life” in our buildings.  If teachers see us in their classrooms only with the “evaluator’s hat” coming into their classrooms with a “gotcha” each time, then they will not be as willing to try new techniques, they will just continue to perfect the techniques that they know and have already been using for years (whether they are effective for student learning or not). 
By acting more as a "Lead Learner" we are not only "talking the talk" by telling our teachers to continue their professional learning, but we are also "walking the walk" by continuing our professional learning and being transparent about it.  What does a Lead Learner do?
  • Join teachers to outside conferences they attend to help support their implementation of new things learned. 
  • Start/join teachers in a faculty book study. 
  • Join a Twitter book study...#Educoach will start chatting about Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess on July 10th. 
  • Read professionally and share what you are learning with teachers.  I also like to be the Lead Reader in my building by having my email signature include "I am currently reading:______" and update this with each new book title I read. I also have a sign on the school library door that shows what I am currently reading so that all students see me as a reader. (These ideas were from Donalyn Miller)
  • Share your professional learning/reflections in a blog.  In addition to my personal blog, I also share a weekly post on my staff blog called "Monday Musings." In this weekly post I share reflections on something I am reading, learned or reflections on what is happening in our building. 
  • Connect with other educators outside of your building. Twitter is one of the best tools to build a Professional Learning Network (PLN) to see what others are doing, learning and sharing.  You cannot search on google for something that you don't even know is happening on other schools, but you can often learn about it from what other educators are tweeting. 
  • Be a resource finder. If there's something that a teacher wants/needs to improve on or learn more about, find resources to help support them.  Learn about it with them. 
  • Have "No Office Days" where you are actually teaching in classrooms, not just observing. 
  • Listen/reflect on feedback given to you from teachers and use it to improve. 
What else do you see Lead Learners doing? What else should they do?

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Summer Reading Bucket List

If you follow my blog then you know that I'm an avid reader with a goal to read 55 books this year(you can read it in this post). So far, I have read 31 books since January and have a stack of books that have piled up that I look forward to read this summer. My only problem is that I have so many stacked up, it's hard to make a "what's next" plan.

Here's my professional reading stack:

I am currently reading The Multiplier Effect with our district admin team and we will be moving on to Cultures Built to Last as we attend the PLC Institute in July. I will also be reading Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess (who I was so fortunate to meet at the ASCD conference) for the #educoach chat starting on July 10th.

As I've previously written about (in this post), I'm trying very hard to not be so boring and also make sure that I read fiction, so here is my "reading for pleasure" stack for the summer:

What's on your summer reading bucket list?  Can you read any in either of my stacks to help persuade me to move it to the top?

Friday, June 14, 2013

My Twitter Video

I just discovered a neat new Twitter tool this week thanks to others in my Twitter PLN.  It's just for fun, check it out:
Click HERE to watch it