Our STEM Summer School is underway! I am so excited about how teachers and students have embraced robotics and the PBL model. Through the use of Google Apps, students and teachers are collaborating, problem-solving and creating. Students are engaged in learning and teachers are applying project-based learning in the classroom What more could one ask for?
After months of planning (curriculum, ordering materials, logistics) and anticipating, the big day is here.
This evening I revisited the TExES Principal Domains and Competencies as I prepared a three hour study session for aspiring principals. Since I scored pretty high on the exam, I now have the opportunity to share my strategies with others. What are my words of wisdom? 1. Think like the ideal school leader. 2. Read Elaine Wilmore’s book- twice. 3. Apply the domains and competencies to your current educational setting. 4. Read Vorberg’s book. 5. Study the TExES Preparation Manual. 6. Engage in dialogue with other test takers. 7. Analyze the practice questions, understand why the correct answers are correct and why the incorrect answers are incorrect. 8. Make time to study and review class material. 9. Become familiar with the TExES website (registration, score reporting, testing schedule, etc.). 10. Pray.
The newest book on my bookshelf is More Than a Smart Goal: Staying Focused on Student Learning by Anne Conzemlus and Terry Morganti-Fisher. I have tweeted and reflected on several principles in this book already
My team has a unique opportunity this year to provide a STEM summer school for elementary and middle school students. Today we constructed our robots and began to start programming. I will post video of my robot soon!
I had the opportunity to network with some instructional leaders from districts in the metroplex today. We began talking about professional development and sharing some of our best practices. Project Share has been the portal for many of the elementary professional development sessions I created this year and I would like to start aligning the Technology Applications Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and the National Educational Technology Standards to my professional development sessions. I think this well help teachers make the connection that the Tech Apps TEKS and NETS can be integrated into their curriculum. Looking forward on alignment and making connections!! Check out the NETS Family! (The NETS for Coaches and CSE are new to me!)
Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals, (this is more than the intersection of common goals seen in co-operative ventures, but a deep, collective, determination to reach an identical objective— for example, an intriguing, endeavor that is creative in nature—by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. (from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaboration)
Today I had the opportunity to see the result of collaboration. The classroom teacher, Instructional Technology Specialist, and Librarian collaboratively planned a lesson that was engaging, relevant, and focused on student writing about personal experiences. Students created digital postcards using the Bill Atkinson PhotoCard app for the iPad to send to Jerry Jones. Their postcards were about their field trip experience to Cowboy Stadium. They also shared thoughts on how to make the field trip a better experience for future students. The ITS created and shared a Google Presentation with all students. Students reviewed field trip photos and and used the comment feature to simultaneously comment on their favorite photos. I asked students to analyze the comments on the photos and draw conclusions about the quality and quantity of comments. I enjoyed seeing the “Keyes” to collaboration in action today!
One success this year is the opportunity to integrate technology into the curriculum. We are starting with student performance indicators and hope to grow into connecting model lessons in the curriculum. The philosophy we have tried to instill in our teachers is that technology is not an add-on. It is not an additional subject to teach. It is not an afterthought at the end of a lesson. It IS about integrating technology into the teaching process and products.
Integrating technology into the the teaching process allows teacher the opportunity to become proficient with using a variety of technology tools (software, web 2.0 tools, etc.). The teacher is also modeling technology use for students as a part of the active learning process (beyond the typical slideshow presentation, showing a website, or using to document camera to project objects). Integrating technology into student products allows students to apply learning in meaningful ways using technology as a tool to create products. This is purposefully planned and is aligned with TEKS and performance indicators in the curriculum.