I had an incredible experience this past weekend at my first EdCamp in Navasota, TX. Amazing experience! Highly recommend attending an EdCamp if you know of one coming up in your area. I've shared small nuggets of what I walked away with. There was so much more but this is just a snippet. Hope you benefit as much as I did. My advice: jump at the chance to participate in an EdCamp in your area.
Thanks to Todd Nesloney (@techninjatodd), and his team at Navasota Intermediate for putting this together. Looking forward to doing it again soon!
Professional Relationships w/ Students & Parents
*Get to know your students. REALLY know them. What do they like? What are their hobbies? Don't let them feel like a statistic in your classroom.
*Parents need to feel valued. Seek input from them. Allow them to help guide campus vision.
*Students also need to feel valued. Seek input from them in planning lessons.
*A simple "hello" and calling your students by name in the hallways holds more weight than you can imagine.
*Find creative ways to get parents involved. Hold parent meetings of campus at familiar locations (churches are a great option).
*Host family game nights. Create an environment where parents can come and not only have fun with their child(ren) but also have their minds blown by what their child is capable of doing.
*Create value in students by allowing them to facilitate these game nights.
*Allow students to facilitate faculty meetings. Get ideas from them. Present your ideas to the students and allow them to critique/rip them apart.
*You may be blown away by what you feel is a great lesson or idea that turns out to get ripped apart by your students. THIS IS OK!!
*Before solving the problem of getting more parents involved, you may have to first work on getting your staff to buy into the vision.
“Blogging is the first thing we should be doing. Post students’ work! Whatever it is they’re working on, put it out there.”
*Gives kids an open platform to share their learning. Publishing students' work encourages them to work hard to create high quality work.
*One great resource is kidblog.org. It's free and gives kids an individual account. It's customizable and can be as public or private as you want it to be.
*Quad blogging is a concept where 4 classes shared blogging. Each one posts for a week while the other three read and post comments on the posts from the blogging class.
*Use the hashtag #comments4kids (share your blog and search for examples of others to leave comments on)
Follow @lindayollis & @dunkinthebunny for examples.
Building a Positive Campus Culture
*Social media gives you complete control over your campus image. Flood it with what's good on your campus.
*Observe other teachers with a mindset of "what can I learn from this person?"
*COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE
*Good communication is the key, no matter good or bad. It MUST happen.
*Find ways to serve your community. Have a cookout for a local neighborhood or apartment complex.
*Positivity breeds positivity. Negativity breeds negativity; it will eat away campus culture if you let it.
*Positive Post-it day (post-it notes around campus with encouraging notes for random people)
*Allow others to compliment you. It's awkward, but take it and appreciate it.
*Set up a placard for each teacher on your campus during a faculty meeting. Use that time to allow teachers to go around and write specific praise for their colleagues. It's one thing to hear praise about yourself. It's incredibly encouraging to see it.
*As an admin, take time to truly KNOW your staff. What they're dealing with outside of school will affect their ability to be a great teacher. Know them well enough to help them be the best teacher possible.
*Navasota Intermediate's "You Matter" Google Form as an example
Project Based Learning (PBL)
*Do NOT make PBLs a group grade. Parents don't like this and it's not fair to the students. Grade based on effort and content.
*Share the state standards with your students. This will help them have a clear vision of what they should be learning and what their product should show.
*Allow freedom of choice. Students will be FLOORED when they realize that their product can be what THEY want rather than what YOU want.
*Follow @BIEpbl (Buck Institute for Education)
Teachers Pay Teachers has some pretty good resources for younger students.
Come up with real world problems for your students to solve. Make the learning authentic and the product matter.
Brent Clarkson, M.Ed.