#EdcampLDR July 13th 10+ Locations

Don't miss out! If you are a school leader, aspiring leader, former leader, or teacher leader this event is for you! It's free! This un-conference is devoted to K-12 education issues, ideas and reform. Gather with foward-thinking school administrators, teacher leaders, parents/community members - ANYONE interested in K-12 public/private education.
Click here for more info and registration
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Opening Most Used Tabs Quickly - Tabcloud

Summer time is organizing time. It's nice to see if some of the tips learned/heard over the year can be applied with purpose. Let's take Tabcloud for instance. If memory serves me correctly +Kyle Pace shared this during a workshop.
Any time I can simplify or speed up my workflow.....I'm in! When first learning about Tabcloud it was cool but I couldn't put my finger on how best to use it. Fast forward one year and I think I got it.

Currently, I am only using 3 "clouds." After posting this I hope some of you will share other ways you use Tabcloud.

Tabcloud 1: Googley Tabs - These are the Google apps I use most often. Probably this will be the window I live in the most.

Tabcloud 2: Willard/East/Preschool - These are the district website tabs that I get the most questions about or that I am always opening to find things during the day.

Tabcloud 3: Social Media - This will probably run in the background so I can update school social media during the day.  It will be convenient to see all our social media channels with one click. Then on my personal time I can use this for my personal accounts.

Bookmarks? Tabcloud? Google site with list of links? How do you get to those websites you use every day?

Check out this video by Amy Mayer @friEdTechnology:

The Power of the Thank You Note

 Willard East Thank You notes.
The most unspoken words in school might be "Thank you." We mean to say it, we want to say it, and we always remember.....after the fact. Sooooo many people are doing soooo many thoughtful things that it's hard to keep track. What a great problem to have!

"Oh, I need to write them a thank you note."- forget
"That was so thoughtful! I have to remember to send them a thank you card." - forget
"I need to add them to my to do list for a thank you note." - forget

The past 3 years I have tried to use my time at the end of the year, after teachers and students are checked out, to sit down and write thank you cards. It's still easy to forget some people but at least I try. There was a time I was so scared I would forget someone that I wouldn't write any. Well that's ridiculous! It's better to thank a few than to thank none.

Here's my thinking:
  • We write thank you notes after each even during the year that parents sign up for using VolunteerSpot.
  • The end of the year thank you notes are a "global" thank you for everything.
  • Look through each class list.
  • Has that family done anything over the year I need to thank them for?
  • PTO, volunteer, donations, brought freshly baked treats, etc.
  • Takes me about one full day.
Custom made:)

#EdcampUSA - It's About the Conversations

Edcamp energy is hard to beat! Take it to the national level and insert a surprise visit from the Secretary of Education himself??? How do you compete with that? You don't! That's the beauty of the Edcamp phenomenon. The energy level is the same everywhere and it's very high.


For me, it's about the conversations. I genuinely look forward to getting to know new people and hearing their stories and ideas. Sit and get has a time and place. (I am not sure where now that I have caught the Edcamp bug.) Meeting people from my PLN was very exciting. But it's what I learn during the conversations that matters the most.

Initial pleasantries: Everyone wants to meet everyone in their PLN. Some want to meet and take a photo. I'm glad they take photos. I am too selfie self conscious.

@amandacdykes +Tim Lauer @magicpantsjones @curriculumblog

It's not realistic to think that we can spend the same amount of quality time with all 100+ PLN members. But those initial encounters matter. We will meet again. Whether it's online or in person. Then there are those deeper connections. Those PLN members that you can genuinely call friends. Not the fleeting friends you meet once and never connect with again. The PLN members that you have gotten to know for YEARS maybe.

My social media birthday is in 2009. I met THE Tim Lauer through social media almost 8 years ago through a leadership podcast I hosted with Scott Elias. Here a tweet, there a tweet, everywhere a tweet, tweet! (Ok, it's more than just a tweet here and there but that's funny:) We have grown up as principals together over the years and we got to meet face to face and talk shop for the first time. Again, it's about the conversation.

Fist time in D.C.

The conversations: Conversations are the heart of Edcamp. It's not about a PowerPoint or presentation. It's about throwing a question out there and watching the learning unfold around you.
  • Conversations before arriving at the event.
  • Conversations during morning opening.
  • Conversations during morning sessions.
  • Creating your own conversations outside of session.
  • Conversations at lunch.
  • Conversations during afternoon sessions.
  • Conversations at closing.
  • Conversations after the event.
Do you realize how much conversation goes on around an Edcamp? If you like to talk....Edcamp is for you. If you like to listen......Edcamp is for you.

Next steps:
Kids and conversations: How much conversation do we facilitate with students during the school day? Can you imagine how much kids can learn if they are just given an opportunity to have purposeful conversations? There is a difference between talking and having a conversation. Believe me, I know kids talk a lot! I have two daughters who literally do not take a breath on the car ride home from school.