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Posts Tagged ‘edublog’

Looking back I am not sure where the time went.

I am certain that I wasn’t doing “nothing.”  I just didn’t write about the “something.”

It is time to push the publish button on a number of entries I have been crafting for some time.  Those ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) inside are not going to win the battle anymore.

I will endeavour to get back to the business of formal and public reflection on my practise.  A colleague unwittingly challenged me to do so.  Okay Terri.  Here goes.

My last published post was in April of 2013.  This is the embarrassing part.  Since the last post I began a new academic year, ran another marathon, rescued a dog from the pound, translated our 4 guiding assumptions to 4 leading intentions, celebrated my 40th, saw 60 point gains in standards based assessments at Eastwood (EQAO), taught the dog to use the treadmill, had reconstructive ACL surgery, started inquiry based professional learning for teachers in the school house, etc. etc. etc.

There has been a lot that has happened.  I don’t intend on using my “busyness” as an excuse.  There is no excuse.  As a lead learner in the year 2014 (almost) it is my obligation to share my learning and make my leadership transparent.

I will endeavour to do so, again, before any January 1st resolutions.

And here is the kicker….I am bringing 4 people with me.

Terri, Jodie, Lori, Kathleen.   Shhhhh.  I haven’t told them yet.

I taught Hawksley the dog to run on the treadmill in about 10 minutes.  He is up to 5.1 for 30 minutes.  All I needed was a clicker and a treat.  I taught him how to jump into the pool and swim in about 30 minutes.  Dogs inherently want to do these two things.  They just need to conquer the fear of the unknown environment and have a critical friend help them.  I recognize that I will not “teach” myself or my colleagues to write about their experiences just as I did not “teach” the dog to run and swim.Image

For human’s I have read that it takes 21 days to replace a bad habit with a good one.  I intend to blog and or convince another to blog at The Principaled Life for the next 21 days.

I am convinced that I have perspective and experiences that will add to the collective conversation and reflection on what it means to be an effective instructional leader.  I am also convinced that my colleagues have a similar strength of perspective.  The issue is the deconstruction of the moniker.  Effective?  Instructional?  Leader?  The term carries with it myriads of logistical, emotional, cognitive and innovation challenges.  Together with my critical friends we will work through this learning.

Tomorrow’s topic:  Getting into classrooms.  Logistics or Fear?

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I decided my life wasn’t busy enough to give up on my passion for writing. I realize that the only way I will get better at it is to do it. So. . . The 30 Day Blogging Challenge. . .

I’m making a commitment to write every-other day for the next 30 days. My wife is in this challenge with me. We will be taking turns blogging over the course of the next month. Who needs to wait for the first of the month to start a 30 day challenge. Not us obviously.

Writing has been difficult for me of late. I have not made the time to do so. I have a bunch to write about just haven’t made the time to write. I’ve come to understand that the longer I put this off the harder it is to just sit down and do it. I challenged @infinebalance in an attempt to support her writer’s block and in an effort to get me writing.

My wife writes over at InFineBalance.com. Her blog is a fitness, kids, work, mostly food endeavour. Go check her blog out and you will find a recipe for some delicious morsel that does no harm to animals or the environment. You can also follow her on twitter @infinebalance.

Tag you’re it.

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So you have a plan to unveil a school blog page for the start of this academic season. . .

The Eastwood School Blog

Now your question might be:  What is the best way to inform our families that it will be our primary communication portal?

Well, here are a number of strategies you could employ:

  1. Word of Mouth.  Have a few contests where the kids login and answer some questions in the mornings.  The info they need to answer can only come from the blog.  Better yet, have them leave their answers on the blog as a comment and award a few winners each morning for a couple of weeks.  This will wear off eventually so be careful with the carrot at the end of this stick.  You want the reward to attract them to the blog and once there the information has to be rich in order for your visitors (parents and students) to want to come back.
  2. Get a digital club together and make sure the kids are talking the talk.  Have them adorn the hallways with posters.  Make sure there is a Digital Club blog to go with the school blog so that kids are attracted to the work of their counterparts.  Make sure you are embedding Dig. Cit. into your days as someone will test the boundaries and make some faux pas.  That is okay.  It is all about the learning.  Careful…don’t want to scare them away with punishment, on the contrary you want to attract them with learning.
  3. A Facebook and Twitter account with a brand page or school page helps and be sure to link both to your blog.  Facebook will get your blog in parent circles the fastest.
  4. Decide on a strategy ahead of time for dealing with comments.  Moderating comments maybe the best way to go in the interest of preserving everyone’s Digital Footprint.  Better to have a moderated comment to talk with a student about rather than a public one.  After a meaty discussion on Dig. Cit. allow the student to then make the decision about whether the comment need be public or edited.  Interpretation learning is always so rich.  When students and parents see their comments they are empowered to join the conversation.
  5. Use the school sign to advertise the blog address all year!  Order a large banner from the school photographer if you don’t have access to a school sign.  They offer these for free with your yearly contract.
  6. Send a newsletter until January and advertise the blog in every issue on the front.  Let the community know the timelines.
  7. Give the Whys of the Blog: eco-friendly, fiscally responsible, up-to-the-minute, always available, more interactive, read/write, etc.
  8. Keep your posts up to date.  The longer they are stagnant the more readers you lose.  Keep your posts short and tidy.
  9. Don’t be afraid to move beyond information items and include some important stuff on the blog with decisions to be made.  Increase the value of the visit.
  10. Add pictures to all of your posts.  Make sure all consents are up to date and signed! Call parents when you are showcasing or naming a student.  This double redundancy is so appreciated by parents and puts safety and courtesy first.  Adding the Flickr widget is a great help especially when combined with the iPhone app!
  11. Add polls to some of your posts.  Let the community vote on some items.
  12. Add video to some of your posts.  Keep them short and to the point.  (My first couple “From Mr. Cowper’s Desk” were dreadful!  Too long and wordy.)–you need a safe YouTube channel to do this right.
  13. Allow students to contribute writing to the blog.  This increases your word of mouth traffic.
  14. Enable the Post from Email function.  This allows you to update from anywhere with no app required.  Make sure parents can subscribe to the blog via email.
  15. Install the WordPress App on your iPhone.  This way you can quickly and quietly fix spelling errors or delete posts.
  16. Put the blog address everywhere.  Let the community know that this is where the stuff is and if they aren’t reading it they are missing out……not in these words of course…you get the point.
  17. Use tags!  This will help your readers find the blog when they lose the address.  They will lose the address.  Make sure the blog has the school name in the address and make sure you tag with the school name each time.
  18. Change the phone message and have the message state the blog address for the most recent and up to date information and “goings-ons”
  19. Think Multimedia: video, pics and audio.  Audioboo is another great little iPhone app that lets you add real-time conversations and audio from around the school with three clicks!
  20. Add a Clustr-Map widget to the blog to track visitors.
  21. Get the staff Blogging!  The more familiar it is to all stakeholders the more it will “stake a hold!”

I hope these ideas help you increase your communication level with your school community.  Enjoy the analytics that WordPress offers.  This will help you track the most interesting posts and the times that your blog is used the most.

Happy school blogging in 2012-2013 everyone!

If you have other ways that you have increased the school blog use please comment!

Thanks.

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It seems that in recent days I have devoted all my time and energy into the creation and upkeep of my school Blog site.  This has been a rich and rewarding experience.  The stats indicate that my learning community is using the resource.  Teachers have joined the march and I have 8 teachers with their own classroom blogs.  Students are engaging in the process by adding content such as journal entries, pictures and opinions.  The time it takes to post an update is equal to the time it takes to send a text message!  The energy it takes to moderate comments and add new content is equal to the energy it takes to send an email.  I am amazed by this medium.  It is certainly catching on among faculty.

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For this school year one of my goals is to embrace the power of technology and use it to better equip our community with information and knowledge.  What the inclusion of a Blog is doing to our school however goes beyond knowledge and information.  Considering technology as a vehicle to spread information is rather linear of me.  Instead our Blog  is creating a culture of collaboration and of content creation.  Using a blog is a creative process.  Teachers have responded with enthusiasm and interest.  Children have been commenting.  Parents have been volunteering via the web!   Old methods of sending messages home on paper is wasteful and one dimensional.  Our school blog is totally interactive.

In 7 days of Blogging our stats are as follows:

  • 418 total visits to the site
  • 88 visits on our busiest day
  • 26 posts from the staff
  • 3 teacher created blogs linked

We are excited for what the coming months hold.  We feel quite comfortable saying that the existence of the School Blog and related Classroom pages will transform the results of better communication with homes and community.  Our teachers will also certainly view the medium as a valid learning and teaching tool.

Can’t wait to see where this goes!

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