Posted in Feelings Matter, Inclusive Practices, Instructional Tips

Good evening! How may we serve you at the Decimal Diner?

Education does not have to be miserable. All of those things we complain about in the great system of education can be improved. It starts with us. With our thinking, planning, and effort. Recently, two or our 4th grade teachers, Mrs. Clevenger and Mrs. Milleson took basic math decimals practice to a new level of engagement, fun, and efficiency. They called it the Decimal Diner.  Continue reading “Good evening! How may we serve you at the Decimal Diner?”

Posted in Inclusive Practices, Instructional Tips, Media, Student Leaders, Technology

What, Why, & How of Instructional Technology: Our School’s Story

Using new technology just because it looks cool or because it makes you feel innovative is not enough. Culture, instruction, and the needs of students come first, technology comes after. At Ashland Elementary, we have worked tirelessly to research and try new technologies but to also quickly re-assess usage for students. I talk every day with my superstar Instructional Technology Coach Mr. Benware and the rest of our staff about what is best for students and teachers. Many times we discuss what we will not do along with what we will do next.

Our educational philosophies drive our implementation of technology.

  • We believe in our shared school vision of Kind, Creative, Hard-working, Safe, and Fun.
  • We believe that ALL students should have access and learn through the best technology available and that it shouldn’t be dependent on if we feel like doing it or not.
  • We believe that technology should give students a voice and build confidence.
  • We believe that students and teachers should be supported emotionally and physically when taking risks and being innovative.
  • We believe in our school motto of Together We Soar Higher and that we all have a role in sharing our school’s story and best practices.
  • We believe in using video for motivation, fun, and creating special moments.
  • We believe that instruction and content should drive implementation.

Because of the hard work of our school team, our students are performing higher than they ever have (state performance results above 90%) and our student engagement and leadership is better than it ever. This post is a summary of the many ways we implement these tools at Ashland. I hope this shows the great efforts put in by our staff and the positive effects those efforts have on our students! Maybe you will find a new strategy to take back to your school! Continue reading “What, Why, & How of Instructional Technology: Our School’s Story”

Posted in Inclusive Practices, Instructional Tips, Media

Dyslexia is Not a Mystery

For many, dyslexia is a mysterious and strange word of a disorder that sounds like it is really difficult to support in school. The reality is much different. Parents have been bringing this concern for their child to our schools for years and finally we are addressing it in a more systematic and educated manner. Continue reading “Dyslexia is Not a Mystery”

Posted in Inclusive Practices, Student Leaders

Conner’s Leadership & Conner’s Law

What an opportunity I had today! As a father and as an educator, I was so inspired today by my new hero Conner Cummings!

If you don’t know Conner, you soon will. Conner is an up-and-coming 23 year old young man who is a nationally recognized advocate, connected to the top researchers in the world of Autism, and now has a law passed in his name! Oh…and by the way, he has the superpower of Autism. Continue reading “Conner’s Leadership & Conner’s Law”

Posted in Analogies/Metaphors, Feelings Matter, Inclusive Practices

All They Need Is Love

With Valentine’s Day approaching, the love that is in our classrooms has been amazing. But let’s not forget the power and importance of loving our students as we move past this holiday into the rest of the year! Continue reading “All They Need Is Love”

Posted in Inclusive Practices

Autism Resources by Sesame Street

I played this music video as I started writing and my kids swarmed me, halfway sitting on me, arms around my head! They were totally drawn to the sounds of Elmo, Abby, and Grover celebrating Autism! Continue reading “Autism Resources by Sesame Street”

Posted in Inclusive Practices

INCLUSIVE SCHOOLS WEEK IS EVERY WEEK

This week is Inclusive Schools Week and we celebrate what it means to be inclusive through activities, readings, and discussions with our students. But why do we only talk about inclusive practices during this week? Inclusive Schools Week should be EVERY week!

“Inclusive” is a powerful word. Remember that inclusive refers to mixed abilities but also diversity in cultures and backgrounds. How are we ensuring that every single student feels that they are included and wanted in our classrooms? It’s not just about what actions we take. It’s about the feelings and thoughts of our students. Continue reading “INCLUSIVE SCHOOLS WEEK IS EVERY WEEK”