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 Analogies/Metaphors, Guest Posts, Media, Servant Leadership

Lone Nut or First Follower: Building a Culture That Celebrates Uniqueness #WEIRDPRINCIPALS

The #WeirdPrincipals effort is all about energy and starting movements that inspire others. Similar to #PrincipalsInAction and #KidsDeserveIt, we seek to unleash leadership potential by inspiring others to be themselves, do their very best, and run into school to make magic happen every day! @_AndyJacks and @JessicaCabeen wrote this together to show how two principals from very different parts of our country can both lead through their own unique personalities, and that you don’t have to be perfect or always follow what the ‘textbook’ tells you to do in order to be successful. What better way to describe this than the Ted Talk on How to Start a Movement by Derek Sivers. But remember, it’s not just about being the lone nut, it’s also about being the first follower… Continue reading “Lone Nut or First Follower: Building a Culture That Celebrates Uniqueness #WEIRDPRINCIPALS”

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 Innovative PD, Media

“I Believe” Staff Video

When inspiration, reflection, and engagement comes together with your staff, this is an example of what you can accomplish. At our 1st staff meeting in January, we asked teachers to write what they believed for their students and then show it on video. The twist is that we played the video back in reverse! This was quick to make and didn’t take much time in the staff meeting, but the visuals are powerful.

Continue reading ““I Believe” Staff Video”

Posted in Media, Servant Leadership, Student Leaders, Technology

A Powerful Day as a School Principal

Whoa! What a day! I love my job, especially on days like this when I get to be with kids the whole day! I had somewhat of a plan, but I definitely woke up knowing that I was going to bring it today no matter what! Continue reading “A Powerful Day as a School Principal”

Posted in Analogies/Metaphors, Media

Use Cell Phone Videos to Make Instructional Hooks

 

Look closely. No, not at Jason Aldean, the country music superstar. Look at the crowd. What do you notice?

In a quick count, I see more than 70 lights from cell phones, let alone my own as I took this picture and probably hundreds behind me in the crowd. This really caught me as a wow moment for education as I was singing along last night to ‘Night Train’ at the top of my lungs. (and yes, I’m a big education nerd and was thinking about this during the concert)

Many of these cameras were taking pictures, but the wow moment for me was seeing all of the videos being taken, being sent to friends and family, and being streamed live online, capturing a somewhat typical experience but now using videos instead of just pictures. Continue reading “Use Cell Phone Videos to Make Instructional Hooks”