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Listening to ALL Voxes Without Unlocking Your Phone

Twitter Version: this little hack allows you to tap settings, then Members and listen to all your unheard Voxes.

I really like Voxer. It is a great app that allows you to communicate with anyone who has the app via voice and text. Sure, there are other ways to do that same thing, but this is a worthwhile different way to connect. I use it mostly for group chats, which can be super overwhelming, especially when you fall behind in your listening. What's worse, if you have a lot to listen to, and your screen locks, you have to unlock it and press a tiny little play button! It is annoying.

Today I stumbled on a fix!

If you are in a group, tap settings (top right) then tap members, and lock your phone, or use another app. Voxer will continue playing all the missed Voxes even though you aren't in the app anymore! This will make my phone dry while walking to work in the rain, and make me drive safer by not having to look at my phone.

As a bonus, I have a better chance of staying up to date!

If you would like to connect with me on Voxer, my username is jethrojones. Also, I am doing a book chat with the book "Influencers" right now. Let me know if you would like to join.


Leading and Changing

Schools like AHS tend to talk about "incremental changes," let's just tweak something here and there to get a little bit better. We're already good, let's just keep making small improvements, fine tune around the edges and we'll maintain the status we've achieved over the last 50 years and everyone will stay happy. But here's the problem, you can't go from good to great by making incremental changes. You can't leap a 20-foot chasm in two 10-foot jumps.


Teachers Bullying Teachers

The Principal's Pet: A Cautionary Tale | Cult of Pedagogy

But my hurt feelings have definitely evolved over time. Instead of seeing myself as some kind of victim in that situation, I see my role in all of it much more clearly: I didn’t value relationships with my colleagues. I didn’t put time, energy, or creativity into building bonds with other teachers. Instead, I poured everything I had into my students, into the quality of my own work, into the pursuit of pedagogical excellence. I didn’t realize how much happier my work life could have been if I had put even a fraction of that time into building better friendships with my peers.

Interesting read. Jennifer offers some suggestions to admins and teachers for preventing poor relationships, but she fails to identify the real issue, at least in my mind: she was being bullied, and that is just part of being a teacher.

That is baloney. Nobody should be bullied, no matter what. Her advice to go to the teachers lounge and be brave, even though you know what is happening there is educational terrorism (h/t to Rob Carroll) is not good advice.

I've been around this entitled baloney that goes on in schools and it makes me sick. No wonder our kids bully each other, our teachers teach them how to do it.

What I hear Jennifer saying here is basically, "I could have done better." While that is always true, her coworkers and principal could have done a lot better, too. Her coworkers shouldn't have bullied her. He principal should have been there to stop that. Perhaps he did some things that allowed those things to happen, but what should he have done instead, given all the good energy and efforts to the educational terrorists? I sure hope not!

Jennifer is right on the money that relationships matter, and that they are two way streets, but at the same time, at some point you have to establish some boundaries and say "This is not OK! And we will not act this way at our school." Yes, still be respectful. Yes still work on the relationships. Yes, still treat them as human beings. But, please, let's put a stop to educators bullying educators.


Ideas about Health/PE

The Fischbowl: Idea #5: At Least They've Still Got Their Health:

The healthcare system in the United States has lots of problems, but some of our biggest problems are self-induced. So-called "lifestyle diseases," such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease are threatening to actually lower the quality (and perhaps duration) of our students' lives. So why wouldn't wellness education be just as high a priority as subjects we deem as "core"?

Karl Fisch has been writing some great ideas about how to change the focus of the school. This idea about health, and some conversations at my school have really made me think.


Real Math

Graduation & What It Means To “Model With Mathematics” | dy/dan

I plotted the first ten names and modeled their times with a linear equation. (“Time v. names read” was my model, though commenter Josh thinks “time v. number of syllables read” would be more accurate.) The calculation for cousin Adarsh’s 157th name is 19 minutes. I would be foolish to rely on that calculation, however.

Ask your students to “Assume your answer is wrong, that something surprising actually happens. Anticipate that something and fix your mathematical answer.”

George Box: “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”

As an adult, this is the only math I ever do. Why shouldn't our school math be more like our real math?


@JimmyCasas on Staying

PASSION...PURPOSE...PRIDE: What Makes You Stay?

Regardless of the number of times you are tested in your daily work as a school leader, I hope you take the time in these moments to focus on abundance and blessings rather scarcity and frustrations.  I want my thoughts below to serve as an encouraging word from someone who lives your life every day and who can empathize with the feelings you experience on a daily basis, whether they be feelings of joy, sorrow, gratification, stresses, or even doubt.

It is easy for those of us who are connected to see only te best sides of each other, but there is always struggle and doubt when you are a leader. I think the key is finding a way to deal with it in a healthy way.


More About #ModelSchools

I thought I would take some time while traveling home to reflect a bit more on the model schools conference.

I learned three important things:

It is important to get away There is some real value is going away physically from your building. I don't know that you need to go all the way to Georgia, but being in a new environment does something to help you think differently.

It is important to hear from others I've been a fan of the power of connecting with others to learn for many years. I am a naturally social person and I want to share with others. One way is through social media, obviously. Another very important way is face to face. One teacher said to me this week that she has heard me say things many times, and it meant something different when it came from someone else. I think hearing from others makes you realize that the person telling you something isn't crazy.

Relationships. Relationships. Relationships.

You just cannot do anything without relationships. We all know relationships are important, but we sometimes forget or get distracted from that.

I went out to dinner with Rob Carroll and his team of ten that came with him to present. I saw them present in February and I was captivated by their comraderie then. It was totally different this time. There were more of them and their bond was stronger.

What makes them unique is that they care so much about their students. They have a saying "school before self" that they really believed. They really knew that each of them would be willing to put their kids first at any time. They cared deeply about their students. Because of those two things, they cared deeply about each other. They come from a hard school. Someone from Florida wrote a story about them which is much better writing than I can do!

What I can say is this: you could feel the love and dedication! It was amazing.

I feel very fortunate to have been able to spend the time with them.

Recognize your awesome teachers

I wish more teachers could have come to this conference. The teachers that did come were incredibly dedicated and open minded. They were quick to learn, to ask hard questions and to be critical thinkers. They didn't buy into everything just because it was presented at a conference. They thought about it, asked questions, and then decided for themselves. It was great.

Big Ideas, then make a plan.

We took the first couple days to just think big, pie in the sky and not worry about any realities that may be facing us. We focused on vision. Then, as the conference came to an end, we dedicated sufficient time to make a plan. Because we took the time to make a plan, we know what we are doing when we get back to school.

District Alignment

If you go to a conference and come up with many new and different things, it is probably going to be hard to go to the district and tell them you are changing a bunch of things and going away from the district vision. What I loved so much about this conference was:

  • They weren't trying to get us to change, but to improve.
  • They weren't selling a system, they were communicating a vision, and leaving the details up to us.

It is easy for a conference organizing organization to get caught up in vendors and selling a product, but that is not what was happening here.

NOTHING that we learned at that conference was not aligned with our district vision. How amazing is that? What we did learn is that we can do it! We can make a powerful impact on our students' lives.

Talk to people

There are so many amazing educators out there. It was great to just get to know people and learn from them. So many people are doing so many inspiring things for our students. It was great to spend a weekend with them. One person talked about how his school has helped people in the community become more connected with each other. Another told me about helping kids whose parents were in jail. Another shared how she helped a student with muscular district ride a mechanical bull. Bother talked about a former student working a job an hour away from home so he could take the ACT enough times to be able to get a score good enough for a scholarship for college. Another said she was now willing to do whatever it takes to help kids. And the list goes on and on.

Ok, so I wrote about more than three things. There is so much more, but that is all that I can bring to the surface right now.

I'm very grateful to ICLE for organizing such an amazing conference and so grateful that our district sent me and four teachers to it. It will certainly make us better for our students.


Some Brief, Tired Thoughts about #modelschools

The first thing that I have to say, is wow! The model schools conference is amazing! What is so awesome about it is that there are real teacher is doing real things in real schools with real students and they are sharing the amazing things that they are doing! It is just incredible.

There are so many amazing presentations here that it is just incredible. I learn a ton when I go to conferences, and this conference is jam packed with useful and applicable information all over the place. I was able to bring a team of teachers with me and they have said multiple times that they feel so lucky to be a part of this, and that they feel so fortunate to be learning so much. They have not asked to take any sessions off, they are just excited to be here learning! And I'm stoked about it!

One of the biggest key takeaways is focusing on culture and trust in your school, and that this is definitely something that I have learned from the transformative principal podcast interviews that I've done. Everybody says you need to focus on culture, everybody says you need to focus on building trust.

Follow the #modelschools on Twitter to see about a lot of the things that are being talked about.


Model Schools Presenters on @TrnFrmPrincipal

There are some great presenters at the Model Schools Conference this week in Atlanta, Georgia. If you are here, and want to hear more from the some of the presenters, I have interviewed a few of them for the Transformative Principal podcast.

Bill Daggett: He talks about how to make schools more relevant for students.

Sue Szachowicz: She speaks about how to implement school-wide literacy.

Eric Sheninger: He talks about digital leadership for schools.

Tony Sinanis: He talks about recognizing your own skills and giving voice to your students.

Check them out, and learn as much as you can from these amazing educators.


Dogfooding

Jennifer Gonzalez:

I would like to propose that we start using this term in teaching, to make dogfooding a regular part of best practices in instructional design. This is not the first time I’ve tried to drag things from the tech world into the teaching world: Last year, I suggested we could grow more as educators by embracing the concept of teaching in beta, where we roll out a new teaching practice before it’s completely perfect, then work to improve it as we go. We can follow technology’s example again by dogfooding our lessons whenever possible. This means trying our own assignments. Taking our own tests. Doing our own homework. Attempting to actually complete those big projects. By doing this, we can detect all kind of problems that we’d never notice if we just created tasks and gave them straight to students.

Great suggestions. Also, film yourself teaching and ask yourself how you would as a student in your classroom.