Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"It's Worth It" (Adapted)

Credit goes to Christina DeCarbo for this idea! Instead of a box I made it a folder. Originally I was going to do this in October. That's the time of year that the "honeymoon" period of behavior is over:) It's conference time, Halloween, teachers are ready for a break etc. 
Well life happens and I didn't get to this in October. So it's going to be one of my "days of Christmas" treats this year.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Two Principals Reading With Kids - #tcrwp

Today's post is all about books and reading with kids. I've co-written with one of my favorite bloggers and good friend Adam Welcome who is an Elementary Principal in California. Please read, especially with and to your students. It's very powerful!
I vividly remember my grandma reading aloud when I was growing up. Every Saturday night we would spend the night and she would read The Mickey Mouse Picnic, Little Golden Book. Same book over and over. Her voice, her expressions, the laughter, it was magical! This was my first and favorite experience having books read to me.

My next favorite experience was in 6th grade with Mrs. Hagg. She was awesome! Her expressions were amazing. She could draw us into a book and the world would stop.

Then, as a teacher I loved reading aloud to my students. My first year teaching I read Where the Red Fern grows. Without giving the ending way completely let's just say it's "emotional." I could not finish the book. I was crying, my students were crying. One of my boys, Zach, just wanted to hear the end. It was killing him! During on of the "emotional" events he raised his hand and asked, "Can I just finish for you so we know what happens?" He was really into the book. He just wanted to know and it was going to take me a while. Students still come back and mention that 21 years later.

I LOVE reading! I have stacks of books at home and at work. My Kindle is full. Love it! So as a principal I want to pass on my love of reading to my school. Even principals can read to students!

So here's my list:

How Full is Your Bucket?: We recognize good character and this has been our kick-off book for years. Each teacher has a copy and sign up for a time for me to read to their class within the first couple weeks of school.

The Principal's New Clothes: When I cover a teacher's classroom this is a quick activity/lesson the kids enjoy. After I read the book I give the kids a piece of paper with my school picture at the top. Then they have to draw my "new clothes." It's so fun! I have been a princess, a football player, and even their mom. 

The Frog Principal: Just for fun the principal is turned into a frog and tries to run the school as a frog.   

The Principal from the Black Lagoon: Well first, I think I look like the principal in this book don't you? It's been 12 years since I read this one so I think I will have to bring this one back. 

You will notice a theme in the books I choose. But then I came across my good friend Adam Welcome's read aloud list. Holy cow! What a list! I am excited to incorporate his books and ideas this year. Check out his list........ (I added them to my wish list on Amazon so I can buy them all.)
You can find Adam's amazing blog HERE!

Reading is funny, why does it click for some kids and not for others. I was one of those kids, it didn’t click. The frustrating part is my dad was a teacher. He taught 2nd grade for 38 years and I virtually grew up in his classroom. When I did read at home it was always out loud, which frustrated my older brother.

Then, 3rd grade came along and I discovered Roald Dahl, it clicked! When I taught 3rd/4th/5th grade we'd always go outside to read after lunch. My class absolutely LOVED reading outside and would beg me for a few more minutes, it was the best. I also read myself, modeling is so important and showing kids how engaged I was with a book hopefully gave them more reading mojo! When I became a Principal reading with classes was a top priority. It started with a few books my first year and then morphed into one book each month that I read to every class on campus. I'd then donate that book to our library, which was always a hot checkout after I finished my rounds.

I just recently moved schools/districts and overwhelmingly the most common comment I received from kids was that they loved when I read to their class. Wow!
- Reading with kids works!
- Reading to kids is powerful!
- Having the Principal read to classes is even more powerful! - I have books all over my office, kids pick them up and read whenever they visit, parents do too!
- My email signature is below, I even lists books there as well!

- Connect with kids
- Model Readers Workshop strategies for teachers and kids
- It's fun
- You can foster deep conversation
- Gives teachers a chance to relax and list to a story
- A common story across the school allows for a consistent conversation amongst ALL students
Here's just a few of my favorites, come visit my office to see many more!

Reading Gaston with a French accent is the best, kids love it!

"I have nothing to write about"  - How often have you heard this? Ralph Tells a Story is hilarious and a great way to show kids that they do have a story, they just need to look for them!

Never judge a book by it's cover, look on the inside first before you make a judgement! Glamourpuss is excellent to read with all grade levels.

Randi Zuckerberg has written Dot Complicated which is a great read for all adults. Love reading Dot to kids, don't forget to balance all the amazing technology we have, get outside too!

When I read One last year to our classes there were numerous parents in different rooms at times, they all cried. I had 5th graders cry........a must read, everyone is important and should be included!

And I just ordered these this week!

Super excited to read Happy by Pharrell Williams

At our school auction every year I do a Principal of the Day! What's their favorite thing to do, read to classes, it's contagious! 

Have had SO many parents send me pictures of their kids reading, the exact same book that I read that month. Kids love it so much they have their parents buy a copy for home, and they READ!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Back to Work Principal To-Do List

Get ready for the scroll of death! Not sure what better way to share my back to work to-do list other than to just start typing it. Actually it's easier to screenshot most of my lists.

First, I really do empty my head onto whatever device I have at the time. Evernote, post-it note, Reminders, iPhone notes, clip board next to me, etc. Getting it out of my head and onto paper relieves more stress than whether or not I actually do the item. In the end, everything ends up in my Evernote "reminders" even if I have to retype a paper list.

Let the images do the talking for me:
This is pulled up on my computer all the time.

Click HERE for link to actual list.
When things happen too fast.....just write it down!
What's on your to-do list? Did I forget anything?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

#EdcampLDR Women in Leadership Session Reflection

Even I was intimidated by the quality of female leadership at #EdcampLDR! After the session a couple of women came up to share they loved the session and wanted to carry the conversation on in a more intimate environment with a smaller group. Well......the conversation has started and we ALL need to carry it on:) 
Facilitating the session: We started a group on Voxer a couple days before #EdcampLDR. Our purpose was to be able to connect and plan a little bit before the craziness of an Edcamp started. We wanted to make sure there was a space for us to talk about women tips, tricks, organization, and challenges we have in our leadership rolls. +Jessica Johnson and I put our session on the board as soon as we got a chance. After that we had no idea what would transpire:)

During the session: AMAZING! How awesome was it to hear from female principals, teacher leaders, aspiring principals, and many more?! We basically just threw it out to the group to talk and ask questions. 
I think it is important for women to know each others support systems so we can better serve each other. 
  • Single moms with 4 kids with or without  support.
  • Women with 1 child, no children, 6 children.
  • Women wondering if they should have more kids.
  • Women with no family support.
  • Women with family support that sneaks in criticism about their job.
  • The women in the room that we have no idea what successes and challenges they are facing.
The male voices in the room: Yes! We had some male leaders attend our session. AND they spoke out.  +Jimmy Casas shared with us that we should embrace our roles. Both men and women. We chose this career and we love it so let's support each other. +Tony Sinanis talked about how much he understands what women and mothers are accomplishing and how he supports his female staff. I don't remember what +Joe Sanfelippo said. LOL!

Session take-a-ways: 
  • Support each other! 
  • Share anything and everything that will help other leaders, men or women, feel validated in the work they do.
  • Keep the conversation going!  
I am not necessarily a fan of women beating their chest and yelling, "I am woman, hear me roar!" If that's your conviction then, YOU GO GIRL!!! We can support that too. I started the session by confessing that I have lived a charmed life as a woman in leadership. My immediate family is 6 hours away but I have developed other support systems. My husband is very supportive and picks up where I leave off. My hope is always to gain practical tips, ideas, and solutions to every day challenges so that I can serve others.
  • My daughters ate cereal and ramen noodles while I was on the phone helping a teacher with a family situation. My daughters will live.
  • I missed a day of laundry so I could watch Pitch Perfect with my daughters. No on has to know I wore my Friday T-shirt twice:) 
  • I ordered 3 meals worth of food from the Schwann man because we had softball games then pool party. But I didn't have to go to the grocery store. SCORE!
We are all in this together! 

#EdcampLDR Chicago

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sharing Presentation Resources Through @Remind

My good friend +Kyle Pace started a Remind.com community last year to share all things Googley. Well of course I signed up, it's Kyle Pace. I have been using Remind for a little over a year so I am familiar with the platform. Seems like most people have their cell phone with them all the time regardless of all the other devices in their possession. 
What's the fastest, best way to share presentation resources before/during/after you give a presentation?
This summer I am giving Remind a try. Below is the first slide in my presentations this summer. While we are waiting to get started and the room is filling up (or hopefully filling up:) attendees can sign up to receive presentation resources delivered directly to their mobile device. My secret strategy is to have the text messages scheduled through Remind the night before. Then 5-10 min. into the presentation....BOOM!
What other ways are you using Remind?