Monday, February 27, 2017

Heart-driven education in the 21st century

Ask any good educator about their role... it's more than a job. It's who we are. It's our calling. Being an educator who is heart-driven and provides a heart-driven education is extremely important in today's times.

We must be willing and able to come alongside students to give whatever assistance we can to help those students become all that they can be. This can start at every level of education, no matter the age of the students. In heart-driven education, we must know our “why” and our “who” first.

Educators who are heart-driven are passionate about their roles. They strive to build positive, impactful relationships with their students and prepare them for their next stages of life. There’s never been a more important time for educators to embrace change, lead with their hearts, and model empathy for students.

Tonight (February 27), we will discuss heart-driven education in the global twitter chat, #ALedchat.

Here are some questions to inspire your own thinking about heart-driven education. The actual questions will be given during the chat.

  • Heart-driven educators have an unshakable sense of purpose. How do we find, hire, and retain heart-driven educators?
  • How do we teach kids gratitude?
  • The basis of a heart-driven education is the willingness to serve. How is this demonstrated in your classroom/school?
  • Heart-driven educators focus on relationships instead of tasks to motivate. 
  • What does cultivating intention and purpose look like in schools?
  • Heart-driven is learning to be vulnerable in a safe space. What does this look like in your setting?
  • What does this look like in your school → freedom and space to create, dream, grow, and explore
  • Where do stakeholder relationships fit in a heart-driven education?
  • How is heart-driven education different from servant leadership?
  • Heart-driven education can lead to meaningful change. What do you want your students to change in their futures?
  • Heart-driven education helps students find their passion. What does/can this look like at all levels?

Everyone is welcome to join us Monday nights 9-10pmCST for #ALedchat. We value the insights, perspectives, and experiences of those in our PLN.

**Here’s a time converter to assist all of you around the globe in converting 9pm CST to your local time. 

I'm one of the founders and hosts of this chat. If you have any questions, feel free to email me

Everyone is welcome. I hope you will all join us Monday night for #ALedchat.

Monday, February 20, 2017

My recent professional learning from a student

I love learning new things, and last week I got to learn from one our students!

Josh Cornett is one of our seniors at our school who is taking Internet Marketing. Josh has found out that he's 1) passionate about it and 2) he's good at it. He's also self-motivated, curious, and helpful - qualities of an entrepreneur. 

Last week, he sent me a DM on twitter.
"This is a work in progress, but before I went any further, I wanted to get your permission for using the content and before I posted it on my twitter account for the other Hoover Admins to see. Here is the link to the project I am working on."
It was a link to our Course Selection Guide that he had started working on in Adobe Spark. Can I just say it was AWESOME?!? 

Here's the final product... (Click the picture to see the page)

Of course... I wanted to learn how to do it, too! Here's part of my response;

Joshua, This is AMAZING!!! Is there a time when you can help me learn to use this?

And, just like that... we set up a personal PD session for me two days later. 

Josh came to my office before school and showed me the ins and outs of Adobe Spark.

It was easy to create a free account. I chose to sign up via email instead of Facebook or Google. I don't really like linking those accounts to other accounts. 

Then I clicked on the yellow "plus sign" to create a new project. 

The project Josh created was a "Page," so that's what he taught me. 

It's VERY user-friendly! I suggest just trying each and every feature to see what it looks like and if it's pleasing to you.

I was excited to create a promo page for a presentation I'm doing at ASCD Empower next month with 3 other ladies (whom I've never met in person!)

Leadership is a Team Sport

I would love to get your feedback on the presentations above and hear your ideas of how you could use AdobeSpark pages in your school. I would love to include your ideas in a future post. Just leave me a comment below or on my Facebook page

Monday, February 13, 2017

Digital Learning Day PD that teachers love!

The teachers at my school are amazing. 

I'm inspired each day by what they are doing in their classrooms and out of their classrooms for students and each other. 

February is the month for Digital Learning Day, so we had our own teacher-led PD last week in celebration!

Let me back up...

Once per month, our teachers attend a "Collaborative Hour" (we're trying not to call it PD) or a staff meeting during one of their off periods. Most months are about literacy strategies as part of our school-wide literacy focus. In November, our collaborative hour was called "Teachers' Toolbox: Diversity, Equity, & Equality." This month, the focus was Digital Tools

All of our Collaborative Hours (PD) are teacher-led. So when I was planning for February's Collaborative Hour, I emailed some teachers that I knew were using technology to do some cool things in their classrooms. I asked them if they would be willing to lead a session. 

Here's the email I sent:

***Please read this entire email!*** 😀

Good morning. I am emailing you because I know that you use digital tools either personally and/or professionally, and I'm inviting you to do a small-group presentation during 1 or both of your off periods on February 9th. (February 9th is our Collaborative Hour for that month and the topic is Digital Tools.)

Here are some potential ideas:
-How to use snapchat in the classroom
-How to use instagram in the classroom
-How to use Twitter in the classroom
-How to use Pinterest in the classroom
-Using social media to tell your classroom's story
-How to blog - you and/or your students
-Using video in the classroom (by students or for students)
-Using screen recordings to create tutorials/lessons for students
-Using Google Forms for formative assessments
-Using Google products for collaborative work
-How to create a digital BreakoutEdu
-How to use _______ (digital tool) to motivate or build relationships with students
-How _________ (digital tool) has transformed my classroom environment

IF you use a tool personally but not professionally yet, I am willing to help you and/or supply you with ideas on using it in the classroom. If you can show someone else how to use the tool itself, there will be opportunity within the session for the group to brainstorm ideas on how to use it in the classroom.

The Collaborative Hour is about teachers DOING and not just hearing about a topic. For example, if you're teaching on snapchat, teachers who attend your small group would have to already have their snapchat account set up. For example, #booksnaps are one way to connect with kids on snapchat. There are many more ideas that I am happy to help you find if you need it. 

Part of the collaborative hour would be spent brainstorming ideas in the group of how it could be used in a teacher's classroom - either their own or someone else in the group. 

--I would like to have 6 teachers per period to offer small group sessions. This will give us no more than 6-7 members in each group.
--The teaching staff will get the "menu" of options by February 2, so that they will know what is offered during each period so that they can choose which one they want to attend.

If you know of someone else I could reach out to, please share their name so that I can put them on the waiting list to see if we need help in any of the periods.

If this email fills you with fear because you've "never done anything like this before," then 2017 just might be the time to try. Keith and I will help/support as much as you want or need. :-) 

Please let me know if you can help out. 

All of you rock! Thank you for what you do!

Most teachers accepted, and some even stepped outside their comfort zone to lead a session. I am so proud of them! 

I asked them to let me know which period(s) they could lead a session and what their topic would be. I started plugging their names and session titles into the schedule, which was a shared Google Sheet. I also gave them editing rights to the Google Doc, in case they wanted to tweak their session title.

I then asked Keith, one of our incredible tech coaches to see if some of the tech coaches from the other schools in our district would be able to fill in the "holes" in the schedule. They came through like champs! We had a full schedule, and we were ready to go!

I emailed the schedule to the staff the week before the date of the Collaborative Hour so that they could take a look at the sessions that were being offered and which periods they were being offered. 

To help teachers navigate when they got to the library, I created "table schedules" that the librarians put in acrylic holders for us. A person could look on the table schedule and see the different sessions that were being offered at that table throughout the day. 

I also provided a few hard copies of the schedule by the sign-in sheets. I didn't want anyone to waste time trying to find their session. 

And of course, I provided chocolate! 

The day went great! Lots of laughing and talking and trying new technology tools. I can't wait to see how our teachers use what they've learned!

(You know it's been a great day when a teacher tells you how disappointed she is... she wanted her entire PLC to go to the BreakoutEDU session but it wasn't offered during that period!)

While our teachers will have some fun competitions offered to them during the week of Digital Learning Day 2017, our Digital Tools Collaborative Hour was a great way to kick off a month of digital learning!  (You can also read about how 25 schools visited us in for Digital Learning Day 2015

What do you have planned for Digital Learning Day?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

What I wish I would have said when my boss was dead wrong about me

My philosophy and experiences are that competition and collaboration are not mutually exclusive. Below I share one of my experiences and wonder if you have experienced anything like what I describe. 

“You’re competitive, not collaborative.”

That is what a former boss told me. 

How did I respond? I didn’t. I was so shocked at being told this that I was silenced.  (I had been given many other shocking “critiques” while working for this boss.)

Here’s what I wish I had said:

Yes, I am competitive. You know who I compete with? Myself. I want to be great, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Most people I know don’t want to just be mediocre. 

When I belong to a team, I want our team to be the best. So I will do everything I can to make sure that I contribute in a way that will help the team (school, organization, group, etc.) to be successful. So, yes, you’ve seen my competitiveness come out. I wanted our school to be great... better than the rest, in fact. 

Do you call me competitive because I don’t agree with you all the time? Or because I don’t agree with others all the time? Doesn’t that make us stronger… when we share our ideas and opinions and find the “best” idea for the team, no matter whose idea it is?

My track record is one of competitiveness and collaboration. They co-exist. I have spent a career and life working well with others -- contributing, listening, designing, sharing, pushing, pulling, and creating with others. 

You've never seen me resist collaboration. You did see me encourage it. 

So get it right. I am competitive. I’m also collaborative. 

Have you ever experienced anything like this? If so, how did you handle it? Do you agree that competition and collaboration can co-exist?

Monday, February 6, 2017

How can I use Voxer as a school leader?

How to Use Voxer

Have I told you lately how much I love Voxer?

I love being able to hear other people's enthusiasm and passion for a subject, and it's also fun to hear so many different accents from educators across the globe. It was intimidating at first to jump into conversations where it seemed that everyone was so comfortable talking with each other. I sort of felt like an eavesdropper, then as someone "butting in" a conversation. Now that I've been on Voxer a while, I know that when a new person is added to a group I'm in, no one feels that way about the new group member. We welcome the diverse viewpoints and the enrichment to the conversation. So if you're just dipping your toes in the Voxer water... I encourage you to jump on in!

Today's post is specifically for school leaders, current or aspiring. I would also love to hear other ideas in the comments or on The Compelled Educator Facebook page

Ways to use Voxer as a school leader:

  • Communication with other administrators in your building or district
  • After visiting a teacher’s classroom, send him/her a Vox describing the good things you saw happening
  • If a teacher doesn't have Voxer set up, send a Vox to yourself after visiting a classroom, then forward that Vox to the teacher in an email.
  • Build relationships with administrators across the state, country, or globe to share ideas, solve problems, and gain leadership/management strategies
  • Create or join a book study. This can be done with people you know in person or educators you've met on social media.
  • Reduce face-to-face meeting time with your administrative team by discussing issues on Voxer prior to meeting
  • Join or create a Voxer group to increase professional learning
  • Reach out to others on Voxer for resources on new programs and initiatives

What else would you add? I would love to hear from you in the comments below, on Twitter, or on Facebook