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Showing posts from January, 2017

Blogging; Picture This

"Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language." - Walt Disney
Readers are more likely to view and remember blog posts that include visual content. According to speakerBOX, content with images get 94% more views than content without pictures. 
Also: 90%of information sent to our brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text.Xerox researchers learned colored visuals increase people's willingness to read content by 80%.Facebook updates with images get 2.3 times more engagement than posts without images.
8 Reasons to Include VISUALS in Your Content

Storytelling is not limited to text, visual images help convey our message. I like to incorporate original content when possible, but the pictures I find on sites like Photopin, Pixabay, and Flickr, are creative and of higher quality than what I can typically take with my smartphone. Photopin is my first stop for images because most of the cont…

Leaders, They May Be Closer Than You Think

In 1964 while ruling on an obscenity case, United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously asserted that he would not attempt to define hard-core pornography, but stated simply, "I know it when I see it."Leadership can be a nebulous term for us to define, be we certainly know it when we see it.



My personal experiences with leadership are a mixed bag. Some endeavors have gone well, while others could have gone much better. Growth has been appropriately represented by a squiggly line. Carol Dweck's research on growth mindset appeals to me because it helps frame setbacks as learning experiences and opportunities to improve. I do not have to look far to observe stellar examples of leadership, I'm surrounded by them.

My wife, Natalie, a second-grade teacher of twenty-plus years, spends a couple hours each evening providing feedback on her students' classwork. She also spends several hours each Saturday at her school preparing lessons, updating bulletin board…

Board Games in the School Library: 3 Reasons Why It's a Winning Play

"Play is the highest form of research." - Albert Einstein

“Play is the work of the child.” – Maria Montessori
In our recently remodeled school media center, we have a space dedicated to active engagement in fun learning activities. Part maker space, part literacy lounge, board games are being incorporated to promote a culture of joyful learning. Whether it's a game of Rummy, Yahtzee, or Scrabble, family game night serves as a communication elixir and solidifies our domestic climate of togetherness. Shouldn't similar opportunities for interaction, challenge, and fun exist somewhere in our schools?
Broken families, cultural fragmentation, and poverty are impacting opportunities for children to play. As we unpacked and tagged our new media center games, I was more disappointed than shocked by the number of students who had never played Monopoly, Boggle, or Sorry. One skeptical teacher commented, "Oh great, now we're letting students play games instead of reading b…

Spaces and Places for Learning

"There is an opportunity to use design to craft a new invitation and journey for education and for learning." - David Jakes

It seems like yesterday, but it was actually two years ago when educator-now-consultant, David Jakes, led our district level workshop about designing meaningful spaces for the modern learner. After considering school climate and culture, Mr. Jakes's driving questions were, "What types of learning experiences do you want for your students? Can you design spaces that serve as invitations to inquiry and learning?" Those early conversations sparked discussions with faculty and staff, with students and their parents, and with members of our communities. In our high schools, the fruits of those conversations are becoming realities.



"Make it new - look at your space with 21st-century eyes: Does it work for what we know about learning today, or just for what we knew about learning in the past?" - The Third Teacher: 79 Ways You Can Use Desig…

Praising with Intent in the Classroom

"Praise, when used correctly, can help students become adults who delight in intellectual challenge, understand the value of effort, and are able to deal with setbacks. Praise can help students make the most of the gifts they have."- Carol Dweck


"Good job!"   "Way to go!"   "You're so smart!"   "You're the best!"
How many times have you heard yourself, or another teacher, lavishing this type of effusive praise on students? Praise like this may cause students a temporary feel-good moment, but in the long term, these forms of generic, inflated praise can have a detrimental effect on student achievement.


What is the purpose of praise in the classroom?

Praising students with intent can reinforce positive behaviors, raise academic performance, and improve classroom relationships. Effective use of praise makes the classroom a more inviting and supportive learning place, for everyone.

In many classrooms, negative or corrective remarks read…

My Blog Story; Learning Through Sharing

After three failed attempts at using Twitter for professional learning, I finally got the gist of it. Rather, I found a tweeting system that worked for me while supporting a growing professional learning network. Nearly five years ago, I was approached by a colleague who appreciated my growth in the microblogging realm of Twitter. He suggested that I try blogging to deepen my learning through writing, there are times when 140 characters just aren't enough. Two hundred posts later, me and "Nocking the Arrow" are still here!



I have long believed in the heutagogical powers of learning portfolios. I was helping students develop digital portfolios before the cloud became an ideal option as a repository of learning artifacts. Students created a file structure containing artifacts representing their learning journey, they burned their summative projects to compact disc. While colleagues were building their digital presence and professional portfolios using Google Sites, I was dr…

#OneWord2017; CARE

Reverse engineering took over as I contemplated my one word for 2017. Regardless of context, apathy is an unattractive option. I used Thesaurus.com to consider choices from a list of antonyms for apathy. Interest, concern, passion, sensitivity; care wraps essential pieces of these words into a multi-faceted, easily understood term. For further validation, I went to Dictionary.com to see if care is indeed expressing the tone I'm expecting and requesting, for myself and others in 2017.


Care is worth a minimum of six points in Scrabble, and seven points in Words With Friends. Care is worth a whole lot more to the people who consistently give and receive care. Couldn't the world use more care? Caring for my family, wishing the best for our students, and having concerns about environmental issues are just the beginning of how care will be a focus for me in 2017.
What is your #OneWord for 2017
Thank you for reading and sharing. Wishing you good health and happiness for the coming yea…