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From the Heart

Tony Sinanis:

Although I have no research to support the following statement, I will always stand behind it based on my own experiences... if we keep our heart at the center when educating a child, the chances that we impact that child in a positive way increase exponentially!

The always-insightful Tony Sinanis goes on to give some great tips on educating from the heart.

Substandard Systems of Support in Sandy Hook Shooting

Charles Fox:

The report is a sad, lengthy treatise depicting numerous lost opportunities and failures to communicate and coordinate care among the school system, parents, pediatrician, community psychiatrist, emergency room, and ultimately the Yale Child Study Center, which raised an urgent alarm about Adam Lanza’s deteriorating mental health—an alarm that went unanswered and unconsidered in Adam’s subsequent IEPs

So tragic. It is so important to have good communication between service providers.

Tips for Battery Management during Holiday Travel

Gabe Weatherhead:

Reduce the fricking screen brightness! They even put shortcuts on the keyboard to do this. They're trying to give you a hint. Lowering the screen brightness is the single biggest change to cut power consumption. Don't just lower the brightness. Try to go as dim as you can without squinting. I suggest lowering the brightness several days before you leave. Get used to it and then lower it more. You can always increase it with the keyboard shortcut.

Six Reasons to Not Use Class Dojo

Joe Bower:

Poor Pedagogy + Technology = Accelerated Malpractice

This can be said about any technology we use in education.

Joe then goes on to describe 6 very good reasons why we should be wary of Class Dojo. As a young teacher, I was very excited about Class Dojo. As I have seen how ineffective that tool is at motivating real change, I have learned that relationships are a much more powerful way to enact change. It takes longer, but also works longer.

Via @ChrisWejr

Moving from Technology to Leadership

I'm really fascinated when I hear that people want to change their identity. I applaud Amber.

Amber Teamann:

The evolution of this blog has come a long way. It began as a tool I used in my fourth grade classroom. It then became a place I could share all of the great things I was seeing in classrooms and share techie resources as a technology facilitator. It then became a place to share weekly happenings as an administrator. It became less and less about “technology” and more and more about leadership…about quality instruction…about all the things I am passionate about.

Amber realized that her leadership in technology was not enough. Becuase it isn't. Anytime we focus on the technology, we lose.

The leader who tweets and blogs is simply using a tweet and blog vehicle for helping accomplish the goals of the principal. It’s not bad. It’s a choice. The standards are standards. They don’t define the tools used to address the standards.

Using the technology is about helping us be better principals. It is certainly not about what we use, but rather what we do every single day.

Focus on the verbs, not the nouns.

This is one thing that I strive to do with my interviews for Transformative Principal. Yes, we talk about technology on there. Yes we talk about Twitter, blogs, etc., but what I hope we really focus on is what we are doing with those tools.

Let's talk about the verbs, not the nouns.

First Grade Teachers Risk Jobs by Opting Out of Testing

John Thompson:

Miss Hendren and Mrs. Jones explain how this obsession with testing “has robbed us of our ethics. They are robbing children of their educational liberties.” Our poorest kids are falling further behind because they are being robbed of reading instruction. By Hendren’s and Jones’ estimate, their students lose 288 hours or 72 days of school to testing!

Via @Kdumont

The Creative ADHD

Scott Barry Kaufman:

In his 2004 book “Creativity is Forever“, Gary Davis reviewed the creativity literature from 1961 to 2003 and identified 22 reoccurring personality traits of creative people. This included 16 “positive” traits (e.g., independent, risk-taking, high energy, curiosity, humor, artistic, emotional) and 6 “negative” traits (e.g., impulsive, hyperactive, argumentative). In her own review of the creativity literature, Bonnie Cramond found that many of these same traits overlap to a substantial degree with behavioral descriptions of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)– including higher levels of spontaneous idea generation, mind wandering, daydreaming, sensation seeking, energy, and impulsivity.

If we can find a way to channel the intensity of our students with ADHD, we could probably do some pretty amazing things in schools.

Via Dave Kimball

Instruction-based Staff Meetings

Spike Cook:

Here is the deal… if you are not modeling life-long learning as a leader in your organization, than how can you expect your teachers to learn? Adult learning is the key to improvement, and lets face it, the staff meeting is your time to lead or it is your time to lose. The choice is yours…   How can you lead the learning….

I could improve my staff meetings.

Morning Walks at School

Every morning Anastasis Academy students start with a mile walk. Together. We don’t walk by class, or by age. We walk together in community. Sometimes (when the weather is nicer) whole families join us, dogs included. It is a great way to start off the day. Directly following the walk, our students come together for a morning meeting.

This Anastasis Academy sounds better all the time.