Beginning of the School Year Message

 CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)  by Gerd Altmann

CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) by Gerd Altmann

As the new school year is starting, I have so many things that I want to share with teachers. Here is my (for now) consolidated list.

1. Don’t be afraid to take risks in your classroom. We don’t learn and become better educators, or better people for that matter, unless we take a chance. There will be times that we will fail; it is in those times that we learn the most, though. Pick yourself up, be reflective, be transparent, and move on.

2. Build great relationships. Relationships are the first step to having a well-run classroom. Without trust from students and parents, it is difficult later to engage students in learning and discipline students when necessary. You don’t want me as the administrator to have to save the day often because that weakens what you have established in your own class. Also, build relationships between your co-workers. We spend so much time together and rely on one another. Collaboration and teamwork is imperative. You are one another’s most amazing resource.

3. Become connected. This term has a whole new meaning today! With Twitter it is so easy to collaborate with people across the country and the world. I have made friendships that I never before imagined due to social media. I have learned so much from connecting through Twitter; from read my feed and from participating in weekly chats. Find some that apply to you and it’s personalized learning at its best! Start small and follow a few people and lurk if you are unsure. Join in a content or grade level chat. You will be amazed at how much you will learn. Now I have discovered Voxer and Voxer chats which have opened up a new world of voice collaboration.

4. Find one new idea that you will try with fidelity and use well all year long. Maybe it’s Edmoto, Remind, Evernote, Padlet. Whatever it is, commit and use it well all the time –not just every now and then.

What do you think is the message we need to give teachers? What is most important as we open the new academic year?

Marketing Our Schools

I have been working to grow as an educator and grow my school in this area throughout the past year. In today’s world I cannot help but think that we must take advantage of social media to effectively market our schools in the positive light that they deserve. By tweeting, blogging, and using a variety of other apps we can quickly share with parents what is happening in the classroom almost in live time. Parents are able to share in their children’s experience. We have to capitalize on this.  Here are a few that I have started using; please share what you are using in your school.

Twitter: I tweet what is happening in classes, events to come, and live from events. I have made the decision to have two different twitter accounts. I use one for my “home account” and as my PLN and other things. The other one I use exclusively to tweet as a school administrator. Not everyone does it this way, but this is what is working for me.
Yapp: I post the school calendar on this free app; parents can download it and have access to the school calendar from their phone
SchoolCollabo: This is a private blogging site that parents from our school created, but they market it all over; it allows teachers to blog to about their classrooms as well as post their volunteer needs so that parents can sign up right there; then our front desk PA has access to that and pulls the volunteer list each morning to know who is allowed in the building; our principal blogs to teachers and only they can see that blog; she blogs to the community and they can see that blog; it’s nice because this is private so posting pictures isn’t an issue for some parents.

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