5 Ideas for Literacy Centers

Empirical research informs us that students retain more information when performing hands-on tasks and getting actively involved in the learning process. Active learning increased student engagement, student learning outcomes, and helps students develop teamwork and collaboration skills. Creating and utilizing literacy centers is a great way to engage young students in active learning. Center work allows students to be more autonomous, problem-solve, and to self-direct all under the watchful eye of the teacher in the classroom.Continue reading “5 Ideas for Literacy Centers”

5 Things New Principals (and principals that are new to their school) Should Never Do Their First Year On The Job

Becoming a principal for the first time, or moving to a new school, is an exciting venture for any educator. Principals must do everything in their power to set themselves up for success. According to the 2012-13 principal staffing survey from the US Department of Education, over 20 percent of principals left their schools and over 70 percent of principals have less than five years at their current schools. In 2014, a School Leaders Network  report found half of new principals leave by their third year. In 2012, RAND researchers found that when principals leave, the school underperforms the next year.Continue reading “5 Things New Principals (and principals that are new to their school) Should Never Do Their First Year On The Job”

The 5 Elephants of Education

Education has many 800 pound gorillas, elephants in the room, and barrels full of monkeys. One can say that it is a regular zoo.

1. Teacher Pay

I believe that the biggest elephant in the room is the lack of adequate pay for our nation’s teachers. Continue reading “The 5 Elephants of Education”

5 Ways to Finish Out The School Year Strong

The end of the school year can be an emotional time for teachers, students, and administrators. All parties are tired, but hopefully satisfied with the progress made during the past nine months. While it would be easy to coast through the last few weeks of instruction, it is best for all to push through and to finish out strong. Every day counts. Every day is another opportunity to to engage, connect, and inspire. Continue reading “5 Ways to Finish Out The School Year Strong”

5 Ways to Create an Enriched Learning Environment for ALL Students

It is imperative that building principals create a school environment that is inviting, engaging, and conducive to learning for ALL students.  One fundamental belief based upon the work of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences is that ALL students are gifted and talented in some (many) area(s) beyond the findings of any formalized assessment measure. Sadly, with all the demands of local, state, and federal mandates, an enriched learning environment for ALL students can get lost in the noise of bureaucracy and a false sense of accountability.Continue reading “5 Ways to Create an Enriched Learning Environment for ALL Students”

How A School Administrator Can Deal With Unexpected Hiccups

Principals plan for every possible situation that can happen during a regular school day. By doing so, they can prepare to pivot on a dime to meet the current needs of staff, students, parents, and the school at large. Principals worth their salt can quickly organize recess on a rainy day, serve lunch when the cafeteria staff is down a worker, and teach a 7th grade History lesson when the substitute teacher doesn’t show up, all on a moments notice. Continue reading “How A School Administrator Can Deal With Unexpected Hiccups”

5 Ways to Reimagine Your School’s Vision Statement

A school’s vision statement is often overlooked, hidden, or inexplicably non-existent. It can be found on most school’s websites, hidden among bells schedules, lunch options, teacher websites, and PTA pages. Teachers, administrators often don’t know what is written in their school’s vision statement. Parents don’t either. Students … well, you get the picture. However, shouldn’t we all know the ideological foundation of the institution that we send our children to or work at each and every day?Continue reading “5 Ways to Reimagine Your School’s Vision Statement”

5 Ways to Increase The Wellness of Teachers

Wellness is a hot topic these days. Educators are under more stress than ever before. It seems like every time we turn around, schools are in the news for all the wrong reasons: abuse, poor performance, scandals, violence, and crime. This list goes on and on. Working under these conditions can be very stressful on a teaching staff, as they have been tasked with curing our society’s ills by reaching out to one child at a time. These stressful conditions have led to teachers getting sick more often, taking leaves of absence for stress, and for some, quitting the profession all together. Continue reading “5 Ways to Increase The Wellness of Teachers”

5 Ways To Increase Technology Use for Teachers and Students

The educational technology business is a multi-billion dollar industry. Every year, districts spend tens of thousands of dollars on new programs, devices, tools, and gadgets. Sadly, many schools receive these new programs, devices, tools, and gadgets, and let them sit in boxes or unused on desktops. Not only are precious funds being wasted, but opportunities for dynamic teaching and learning are being lost. Technology must be seen as a tool to enhance the learning process, not a hindrance, annoyance or distraction.Continue reading “5 Ways To Increase Technology Use for Teachers and Students”

5 Ways to Foster Teacher Leadership

The bedrock of a great school is shared leadership. All stakeholders must have a seat at the decision-making table. This ensures that the vision and direction of the school is decided upon collectively and in the best interest of all parties. Teachers are key players in the process and need to be encouraged to step into leadership roles. After all, great leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders. Continue reading “5 Ways to Foster Teacher Leadership”