Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer PD

So far, the summer professional development that I have been a part of has been both informative and reassuring that we at NSE are doing what is best for students. My summer started with the RSD2 administrator inservice. At the inservice, we were all challenged to choose a book, read it, and either facilitate a conversation about the book or be a part of the conversation. I chose the book, The Power of Protocols. The reason I chose this book is because, I believe that I need to do a better job of facilitating productive conversations about our school and student work.

Later that first week out of school, along with a number of other NSE folks, I attended the SC Midlands Technology Summit. You can read more about my experience at the summit in a previous post below.

This week Mrs. Germann, Dr. Catoe, and I attended the annual South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) conference. This conference proved to be very inspirational and informative. Two of the most beneficial sessions I attended were a session called, Suspension Doesn't Change Behavior - Now What? and a presentation from the four Palmetto Finest 2014 winners.

In the session about student behavior, I was reminded that consequences without reinforcement and support for learning does not change behaviors. Students need to feel successful and safe in their school environments. When they feel uncomfortable either academically and or socially, their behaviors can change for the worse. If they do mess up, they need to know that it is a teaching moment, that a natural consequence may be necessary, and that they have your support (the teacher) after the fact or when they return to your classroom. Too often, students feel like they cannot return to class without ridicule or a chance to be successful. Therefore, they continue to mess up because this has become their reputation and they are successful at the negative behavior.

The Palmetto's Finest award is a heavily coveted award in South Carolina. North Springs won this prestigious award back in 2000-2001. I attended this session for two reasons. One, I wanted to find out what the criteria was to be recognized for such an award so that we can begin working on areas related to its criteria. Second, I wanted to know if this was something that we could strive for in order to once again give NSE the recognition it deserves. As I listened to the presenters, I was encouraged by the things that we are doing and plan to do this coming school year. Our students continue to perform above the district and state levels in PASS. We have tremendous programs and organizations that engage our parents and community in the educational process. We have highly qualified and dedicated teachers who know their students and help them grow academically, socially, physically, and emotionally.

What a great start to a summer of learning and reflection. I am already looking forward to the start of a new school year. Please share your professional development opportunities on the Google Docs form.

Continue to have a fun and safe summer!

Leaders of Their Own Learning (Dr. H's reflections)
The Power of Protocols (Dr. H's reflections)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

SC Midlands Summit - Day 2

North Springs had the largest number of teachers and teaching assistants attend the SC Midlands Summit hosted by Richland School District Two this year. I was very proud of our district as well as NSE for the quality of the conference and representation of NSE.

I strongly believe that what makes a conference so successful are the keynotes and last day activities. RSD2 (IT Department) did a fantastic job of scheduling incredible keynote speakers (Steve Dembo, Lisa Fischer, and Catlin Tucker). I highly encourage everyone to attend this conference next year. The quality of sessions was impressive as well. I have a lot of ideas, apps, gadgets, etc... that I want to tryout as a public school educator.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

SC Technology Summit 2014 - Day 1

I am so glad that I decided to attend the 2014 SC Technology Summit hosted by Richland School District Two. This morning's keynote speaker, Steve Dembo, was an inspiration for all of us. He taught me that the use of technology in the classroom is virtually unlimited. He also gave a great perspective as to why using technology in the classroom effectively is so important in today's society. You can learn more about Steve at Discover Education.

I also had the fortune of attending three sessions today. The first session was about Discovery Education Builder Tools. The session was taught by North Springs' very own Technology Learning Coach, Mrs. Nikki Allmann. I had know experience with the DE Builder Tools and was able to create a class, create a lesson, assign the lesson, and view the lesson from the student's perspective.

I also attending a session about North Springs' very own Culinary One on One program and it's R2 Innovates initiative. Mrs. Rosemary Duck and Mrs. Allmann shared the collaborative effort that they took to create such a successful and inspirational program for all students and many adults. I learned some things that I was not aware of that they have incorporated into the program. Great job!

Later, I attended a session by keynote speaker, Catlin Tucker. Catlin shared 10 tips for using Google to enhance and engage students in research methods. I learned a great deal about the Google research tool.

Overall, today was a great success. Great job RSD2!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

White House Science Fair 2014

President Obama recently hosted the fourth annual White House Science Fair. In his address, President Obama, emphasizes the importance of STEM education in America. He talks about the fact that when he was growing up his science fair projects did not look anything like the ones that he saw at this event. Students today are designing and creating projects that are much more complicated and meaningful to society than ever before.

Information, resources, and technology are more readily available than they were when many of us were growing up. In addition, children see things differently than we did when we were their age. Children interact and play together differently than we did. The neighborhood play of yesterday has gone global with social media. Kids are playing with kids from other countries rather than the kid next door or down the road.

I am happy to say that the boys and girls who attend North Springs Elementary School are exposed to 21st Century Learning and participate in activities, events, and field studies that will prepare them for the future. Whether you are part of the STEMS program at NSE or not, being at our school and interacting with staff, students, parents, and community members who are committed to such an education is beneficial.

Creativity, communication, collaboration, and 21st century skills are at the forefront of public education today. Reading, wRiting, and aRithmatic are still important. They just look a little different. While memorization and regurgitation were important back in the day, application and collaboration are more important today.