A new year is upon us and with that comes an opportunity for educators to find new ways to enhance their effectiveness and promote the success of all students. Evolving as an educator should be something that is ongoing, that not only helps yourself grow, but others as well. Make it your mission this year to share the ideas and resources of others in the field of education, more than sharing your own ideas and resources, in order to underscore the importance that the world of education is no longer in isolation. Truly reflect on the ratio of what you put out there related to you as an individual versus others that you work with or that are part of your PLN.
Truth be told, I really try to share the great work and ideas of others more than my own work. Social media posts, blogs, books, podcasts, events, instructional practices, leadership methods, and other educational items can be shared out both in the physical and virtual worlds. Whether at a faculty meeting or a tweet, great things are going on and other people need know about it. I really believe that every single educator out there has something great to share. Over the past ten years or so it has become easier to share out ideas and resources to the masses through various devices and web applications. I implore you to take it upon yourself this year and commit to sharing the ideas and resources that others have to offer.
Don't get me wrong, it's still important to share out the wonderful things that you are doing as an educator. In fact, each morning I look forward to reading blogs and social media posts that others put out there. One tip that I like to promote is using a tool like Feedly to keep track of all your favorite online content. Most of what I share out across my social channels comes from Feedly. If I see a post from someone like Eric Sheninger or Monica Burns, I share it out directly from my Feedly feed. Other times I scroll through Facebook groups or Edsurge email insights to stay current with innovations. Once a day I really try to commit to sharing someone else's idea or resource. More often than not, I am able to share someone else's work two or three times a day. It could be on social media, via email, in an observation report, or through an informal conversation.
One thing I do twice a month is push out a list of five educational resources to my colleagues. When I come across a great blog post, article, or tool I make sure to bookmark and include in the next blast. It's called the Bulldog Bulletin, as our mascot is the Bulldog. Staff enjoy reading it for the most part and will sometimes send me resources they come across to include in the next blast. On the same note, you might want to subscribe to the Evolving 8 which comes out on a monthly basis and contains many great resources.
Right now take a few moments to reflect on how often or how little you share the work of others. Either way, somewhere around five shares a week is a good starting point. Pay special attention to what is going in your classroom, school, district, or organization and think about how what you experience can help other educators. At the end of the day people don't know what they don't know and it's up to you as a lead learner to let others to stay in the loop of best practices. Sharing brings inspiration to so many and motivates the unmotivated to try something new. It all goes back to helping students and the only way this can be accomplished is continuously sharpening your own saw and the saws of others.
I recently wrote a digital playbook for Think Through Math on building a digital curriculum. You can access it by clicking on the pdf file below. Enjoy!
The 2nd Annual Better Together California Teachers Summit is taking place on Friday, July 29 at over 30 locations around the state of California. Last year over 15,000 educators attended this event to share, collaborate, learn, and network with one another. This free event will inspire and push educators to impact student success in ways once thought unimaginable. Want to get a glimpse of what this unique experience will be like? Check out the event YouTube channel, follow the #CATeachersSummit hashtag, or "like" the Facebook page.
So how can educators be "better together" in 2016? There are so many ways that resources and ideas can be shared in the physical and virtual world. For some, Twitter is the "go to" resource to stay current with educational trends and connect with like minded educators. Others prefer attending their local Edcamp so they can share insight and speak with people face to face about topics that are near and dear to their hearts. Another great way for educators to collaborate and learn from one another is right in their very own schools by way of the Pineapple Chart initiative. Finally, educators can utilize Periscope to watch live or archived shows about best practices that are taking place in classrooms, schools, and districts.
There are so many ways that educators can be "better together" through tech and non tech methods. A commitment to growing professionally and risk taking are two key ingredients that go a long way with being entrenched in this way of life. Start today by choosing one of the "better together" options listed above and watch how you move from good to great. This will not only change who you are as an educator, but ultimately impact the success of all students.
Brad Currie is the author of the newly released 140 Twitter Tips for Educators. His other books include All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities and Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development. He is one of the founding partners of Evolving Educators LLC. Brad is a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader and Google Certified Trainer. Brad currently serves as a K-8 Supervisor of Instruction and Dean of Students for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. He speaks and presents nationally about technology integration. Learn more about Brad by following him on Twitter@bradmcurrie or visiting his website at www.bradcurrie.n
Over the past year Google Classroom has taken the educational world by storm. Teachers and students are now able to thrive in a paperless world. School leaders must support this new way of life while respecting the transition from traditional methods. So how can a school leader leverage the power of Google Classroom to promote student and staff success? Let's take a look...
1. Flip the faculty meeting and create a Google Classroom for staff members. Instead of wasting teacher's time with boring agenda items, post this information on a Google Doc or Google Slide in Classroom. Then actually utilize this additional time for meaningful professional growth opportunities.
2. Promote sharing of best practices with a Blog of the Week PLC. Send out a Google Form that provides staff members with an opportunity to nominate their favorite blog post. Once the blog posts are submitted, send out an another Google Form for nomination purposes. Once the blog post with the most votes is selected, begin a conversation utilizing the new question feature in Classroom.
3. Move your school forward with a Student Roundtable. Once a month a select group of students meets with administration to be informed of school happenings, but more importantly share insight on how to make the learning environment better. The Google Doc agenda leading up to the meeting can be shared out to students and crowd sourced in Classroom. Additional conversations and resources can be posted within the Student Roundtable Google Classroom throughout the school year.
4. Create a Google Classroom for best practices in technology integration. In particular, Google Apps for Education. Each week have staff members share different ways they are utilizing different apps and extensions to promote student success. Often teachers who are in the same hallway, let alone the same building, have no idea what great things are going on in their colleagues' classroom. This sort of sharing will be a game-changer.
As you can see their are countless ways that administrators can utilize Google Classroom. It's a great way to mode technology integrationl for students and staff. Make it a goal this schoo lyear, if you are working in a GAFE school district, to find one consistent way to utilize Google Classroom. It will make a world of difference.
Brad Currie is the author of All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities and the newly released Personalized PD: Flipping Your Professional Development. He is one of the founding partners of Evolving Educators LLC. Brad is a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader and Google Certified Trainer. Brad currently serves as a K-8 Supervisor of Instruction and Dean of Students for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. He is a Google Certified Trainer and speaks nationally about tech integration. Learn more about Brad by following him on Twitter @bradmcurrie or visiting his website at www.bradcurrie.net.
During a presentation or while conversing, people will often ask me how being on a tool like Twitter or LinkedIn can help educators improve their craft. Providing concrete examples to people will help them see the power of being a connected educator. I also emphasize the importance of differentiating the way people obtain and share best practice resources. In the end, the more educators share ideas and information, the more student success will be impacted. Here is an example of the sharing process....
I follow Derek McCoy, school leader from North Carolina, on LinkedIn. Early one morning before getting ready for work I scrolled through my LinkedIn feed and came across a great resource that Derek shared. It was a blog post written by John Spencer titled 8 Ways to Keep Informational Text Engaging. I was so impressed with its content that I decided to tweet it to my followers. I then proceeded to put it in my weekly email blast to staff called the Bulldog Bulletin that is chock full of best practice resources. The hope here is that my PLN and fellow colleagues will continue to share out this wonderful blog post by John Spencer. As I said earlier in this post, sharing is contagious and will ultimately impact the success of students.
Another example relates to our district's transition to Google Classroom. Alice Keeler, an adjunct, author, and edtech guru from California, consistently puts out great content related to GAFE on her blog titled Teacher Tech. I use a service called Feedly that stores all my blog subscriptions which can be accessed through an app I have on my iPhone. On a weekly basis I will got to Alice's blog through Feedly knowing that she will have timely and relevant content related to GAFE. I can then share her content on my various social media feeds and with my colleagues. In the long run it helps everyone stay current and helps integrate the various tools students use in the most efficient way possible.
So what do you say? Take a few moments each day to consume and share best practice resources. It will make all of us better educators in the long run and push our students to places once thought inimaginable. As the old adage says: Connect Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself.
Brad Currie is the author of All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities. He is one of the founding partners of Evolving Educators LLC. Brad is a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader and Google Certified Trainer. He currently serves as a K-8 Supervisor of Instruction and Dean of Students for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. Learn more about Brad by following him on Twitter @bradmcurrie or visiting his website at www.bradcurrie.net.
Sometimes I wish educators had a little more time to engage in true professional growth opportunities during the work day. All it would take is 100 minutes a week or 20 minutes each day to just close the classroom or office door and simply learn.
Weekend (Bonus Points!)
Obviously there are a plethora of other ways to stay sharp professionally. As this school year winds down and we gear up for the next, time should be put aside in the master schedule that allows for educators to grow on a daily basis. Modeling what it is to be a lead learner becomes contagious and will ultimately impact the success of all students.
Brad Currie is the author of All Hands on Deck: Tools for Connecting Educators, Parents, and Communities. He is one of the founding partners of Evolving Educators LLC. Brad is a 2014 ASCD Emerging Leader and Bammy Award Finalist. He currently serves as a K-8 Supervisor of Instruction and Middle School Vice Principal for the Chester School District in Chester, NJ. Learn more about Brad by following him on Twitter @bradmcurrie or visiting his website at www.bradcurrie.net.