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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

MRVED Update - October 13, 2021

MRVED Business


MRVED Meetings

October 20, 2021 - MRVED Common Inservice (Virtual)
October 27, 2021 - Superintendents' Council
October 29, 2021 - Principals' Council
November 12, 2021 - Title III Teachers (Virtual)

October 20, 2021 Common Day

Jon Gordon will be our keynote speaker starting at 9:00 a.m. A link to the live presentation will be sent to your school a week prior to the event. If you are watching the keynote in your own classroom, please contact your administration for the link and ensure that Zoom will work on your computer. You can ensure Zoom will work on your computer by joining a Test Meeting Room.

October 20, 2021 Networking Groups

Following Jon Gordon, there will be virtual networking groups within grade levels or content areas.  The networking groups will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and will be hosted on the platform choice of the teacher hosting the meeting. To register for a networking group, please complete the Google Form:  Networking Group Registration.  Please complete this form by Friday, October 15, 2021.

The links for the networking groups will also be sent to your administration.  Once you receive the link for your networking group, please test your compatibility with the platform being used PRIOR to October 20th.  MRVED will not be able to assist in technical difficulties on that day. 

*Please note that we could NOT find facilitators for 1st Grade Math, 3rd Grade Math, 6th Grade Reading, and Elementary Social Studies.


MELT 2022 Call for Presentations

The MRVED is excited to announce the return of the MELT (MRVED Educators Learning Together) Conference on January 17, 2022 to be held in-person at LqPV High School. It has been 2 years since we were last able to get together as a MRVED and we are so excited to have this opportunity to learn and grow together. There are so many talented people in the MRVED and this is your opportunity to share those talents with others. We have learned so much since the 2020 MELT that I am hoping to have a record number of local teachers presenting this year. Presenters will receive a small stipend and be able to register for sessions early to ensure they get to attend the sessions they want to attend. Please consider presenting by filling out the form linked below.

2022 MELT Call for Presentation Proposals

**Please Note: You are not committing to presenting by filling out the form. You are providing your name and idea to be considered to present.**

Professional Learning

MREA (Minnesota Rural Education Association) will be holding their annual conference November 14-16 at Cragun's Resort in Brainerd, MN. They have also offered a virtual option for whole districts to participate. Check with your local district to see if they have purchased the virtual option.

Ron Berger & Dick Beardsley are the keynote speakers with many breakout sessions scheduled between as well as the legislative update from Sam Walseth.

The MREA conference is a great way to connect with other rural educators and learn about how to overcome some of the hurdles we face in outstate Minnesota. MREA does a fantastic job of advocating for our rural school districts.

MREA Annual Conference Information and Registration


Book Study

The Power of Positive Leadership - Chapters 3 & 4

I'm on my 2nd reading of The Power of Positive Leadership and I have picked up so much more than when I read it the 1st time! I highly, highly suggest you purchase this book if you haven't and follow along with my bi-weekly reflections.

At the end of chapter 2, Jon shares the framework for positive leaders. See the image to the left. Chapters 3 & 4 are all about mission and vision. Every organization has a mission and vision. Some have it plastered on the walls of their buildings and letterheads. Others can recite the mission by heart. Whereas, some people have no clue what the mission and/or vision is of their organization.

Jon uses the analogy of the Energy Bus, which is another one of his bestsellers. The analogy is that you can give your team the bus (the framework - or structure), but unless you have a driver of the bus, it doesn't move. Leaders are the bus drivers...you're either a positive leader, or a negative leader. The bus either moves or it sits still and spins the tires.

One of my favorite quotes comes on page 16, "Culture is not just one thing, it's everything. Culture drives expectations and beliefs. Expectations and beliefs drive behaviors. Behaviors drive habits. And habits create the future" (Gordon, 16). Culture is truly everything and is the motor the will move the bus. Like culture, you can feel if that motor is fine tuned or not. Listen to Jon Gordon address the Gopher Football team (https://twitter.com/Coach_Fleck/status/1430531056676057091?s=20). Did you catch what he said about feeling the culture in the room? Remember, you still need that leader to press the gas to get the motor to fire. It's up to the driver to ensure their motor is fine-tuned.

Driving a culture is hard! Sometimes we forget about it's importance because we become to laser-focused on results. Jon likens this to a tree. The fruit of the tree is the results, the things you can quantify. I can count the number of apples a tree produces and then make a goal to increase the number next year. But if I don't take care of the root system of the tree (the culture) among many other things, my quantifiables won't increase. If ultimately, you forget about the root system, your tree with wither and die. Spend time on the roots to see the fruits.

Chapter 4 is all about vision. In a nutshell, share your vision, share your vision, share your vision! Every leader has a vision for what they want to see, but if others can't see that vision with you, or you don't show them your vision, they are following you blindly. Blindly following someone makes people feel really uncomfortable. Jon gives lots of great examples of people that have created and shared their visions. One of my favorite quotes from this chapter is, "Martin Luther King Jr. said, "I have a dream." He didn't say, "I have a strategic plan that I think might work." (Gordon, 32). Think about that!

My challenge for you this week is to think about the culture of your organization, your classroom, your home? Is it a positive culture as described by Jon Gordon? Who is the bus driver in each of these situations? Can your riders see where they are going? Or is the front window full of mud? If it has mud on it, how do we clean it so everyone can see where we are going?

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

MRVED Update - September 29, 2021


MRVED Business


MRVED Meetings

October 20, 2021 - MRVED Common Inservice Day
October 27, 2021 - Superintendents' Council
October 29, 2021 - Principals' Council

October 20, 2021 Common Day

Jon Gordon will be our keynote speaker starting at 9:00 AM. A link to the live presentation will be sent to your school a week prior to the event. If you are watching the keynote in your own classroom, please ensure that Zoom will work on your computer. You can ensure Zoom will work on your computer by joining a Test Meeting Room.


October 20, 2021 Networking Groups

The MRVED is also looking for teachers to host networking sessions within their grade level or content area. The networking groups will take place from 10:30 to Noon and will be hosted on the platform of the teacher hosting the meeting. Facilitators will be paid a stipend of $100. If you are interested in being a networking facilitator, please sign-up HERE, prior to the end of the day October 1st.


Standards Update

There is much to share in the world of standards! Due to COVID & legislative action, many of the standard implementation dates have been extended. Below you will find a listing of new standards and implementation dates.

Arts Education - 2023-24

Physical Education - 2023-24

Science - 2024-25

ELA - 2025-26

Social Studies (Draft 2) - Currently Under Review

Math - Going under Review


Social Studies Standards Update

If you have been following the news over the summer, you should know that the Minnesota Social Studies Standards are currently under review. In fact, the committee just met yesterday (September 21st) to finalize their 3rd draft. The draft will then be sent to the commissioner for approval before being sent to rulemaking for an implementation date. Much like the last revision, 11 years ago, expect these standards to be litigated in the courts and implementation delayed.

One of the biggest changes in the new standards is the addition of a 5th strand, Ethnic Studies. Ethic Studies joins US & World History, Civics & Government, Economics, and Geography as strands in Minnesota Social Studies Standards.

Before reading through the final draft of the new Minnesota Social Studies Standards, I encourage you to read through a guest blog post I wrote for edUconnections for my good friend Dr. Wendy Schoolmeester. Whether you agree or disagree with the direction of the new standards, please become as informed as possible and then form your opinion.


The Power of Positive Leadership

Jon Gordon will be our keynote speaker on October 20th and will center his talk on positive leadership and building leadership qualities in people. The following book study and reflection is in no way a replacement for buying the book. I highly recommend buying the book and following along. Below is my synopsis and reflection on the first 2 chapters in the book. My hope is that by reading my reflection it will spur other thoughts and dialogue amongst your colleagues.

Jon lays the groundwork for the book in chapters 1 & 2. The quote that most resonates with me from either chapter comes from page 5, "I know that being a positive leader doesn't just make you better; it makes everyone around you better." I don't think anyone can name a single person they consider to be a positive leader that is leading an organization that has a negative culture or reputation. They don't exist, because the positive leader rubs off on all aspects of the organization. And it's true, genuine positivity. People can see right through fake positivity.

Another quote that stuck with me comes from page 4, "every one of us will have to overcome negativity, adversity, and challenges to ultimately define ourselves and our team's success". The reason this resonates with me is that we often times see these positive leaders, the leaders we look up to, and think they NEVER face adversity. Everything is perfect for them. This idea couldn't be any further from the truth. The truth is, in the words of PJ Fleck, positive leaders keep rowing the boat. They row through adversity. They weather the storms and the positive attitudes carry them. They keep their oars in the water and keep pushing. Jon Gordon says it best in his introduction to chapter 2, "We are positive, not because life is easy. We are positive because life can be hard".

I challenge you to identify a REAL positive leader in your life. What aspects make him/her a positive leader? Has there been a time the leader has faced adversity? How did they "row" through the adversity?

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

MRVED Update - September 15, 2021

MRVED Business


Upcoming Meetings


September 21st - Title III Paraprofessionals
September 22nd - Superintendents' Council
September 23rd - Teachers' Advisory Council
September 24th - Title III Teachers


Welcome Back

Welcome back to the 2021 school year! The MRVED hopes the best for you in the 2021-22 school year. After a full year of bouncing in and out of distance learning due to COVID, people are hoping for a "normal" school year. We challenge you to think about what the new normal will look like. Although COVID teaching was not fun, what can we learn from last year that will make us better educators, leaders, and students for the 2021-22 school year?


Paraprofessional Conference Recap

The 2021 Paraprofessional Conference was held in Benson on August 18, 2021. Over 150 paraprofessionals attended the training and had the opportunity to partake in over 20  sessions. There were many positive comments about the training from the attendees. Thank you to Benson schools & staff for helping the MRVED put on this successful annual conference. Thank you to the MRVED superintendents for investing in training for the people that work closest with some of our most precious cargo - our kids.


Looking Ahead

Planning for the 2021-22 MRVED Common Days began in the Spring of 2021. Our Teacher Advisory Council met and discussed format and topics for the day. The following was sent to the Superintendent Council for approval.

October 20, 2021 - Virtual (Topic - Leadership)

January 17, 2022 - In- Person MELT Conference at LQPV

April 14, 2022 - TBD

Obviously, with the ever changing COVID pandemic, even the best plans could be disrupted. 


October 20, 2021

The October 20, 2021 MRVED Common In-service day will be held virtually this fall. The MRVED is excited to announce that Jon Gordon will be our keynote speaker in the morning. Jon is a best-selling author and world-renowned keynote speaker. Jon has worked with sports teams ranging from the L.A. Dodgers to Clemson Football and Fortune 500 companies such as Campbell's Soup, Dell, and Snapchat. He is a highly sought after speaker.

More details on accessing the Keynote will be coming in the near future.

There will also be time throughout the day to collaborate virtually with others in your grade level and/or content area. Please see the network facilitator sign-up information below.


October 20, 2021 Networking Groups

The MRVED is also looking for teachers to host networking sessions within their grade level or content area. The networking groups will take place from 10:30 to Noon and will be hosted on the platform of the teacher hosting the meeting. Networking facilitators will be paid a stipend of $100 for their time and effort. If you are interested in being a networking facilitator, please sign-up HERE, deadline to register to be a facilitator is the end of the day October 8th.

Facilitator Expectations

  • Start & End the meeting on time
  • Provide the virtual meeting space (Link to the meeting)
  • Keep the meeting time positive
  • Facilitate a brief Jon Gordon follow-up
  • Attend a short virtual meeting with Brandon on October 13th at 3:15


Book Study - The Power of Positive Leadership

Through popular demand, we'll bring back the MRVED Update Book Study. This fall we will go through Jon Gordon's book, The Power of Positive Leadership. If you wish to follow along with the book study, please purchase the book. We'll start discussing the book in the next MRVED update. In the next update, we will go through Chapter 2. The discussions questions and reflections in this blog are in no way a replacement for purchasing the book. The Power of Positive Leadership is a quick and easy read. You will not be disappointed in purchasing this book...in fact, I'm also reading Row the Boat by Jon Gordon and PJ Fleck at the same time!


You can sign up for Jon Gordon's Positive Leadership Challenge. It's a free 7-day challenge to help you become a better leader and create positive results.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

MRVED Update - March 17, 2021

MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings

March 18, 2021 - Title III (Virtual)
March 19, 2021 - Principals' Council (Virtual)
March 25, 2021 - Superintendents' Council
April 1, 2021 - MRVED Common Inservice (Virtual)

April 1 Common Day

With warmer weather on the horizon, April 1st will be here before we know it. The MRVED will continue to work towards our Social Emotional Learning goals for our common days. Since we can't all come together again, the MRVED is creating a website that will include SEL activities, as well as a handful of webinars that teachers can watch with specific discussion questions. Teachers are encouraged to utilize the activities and/or videos in groups (PLC, Grade Level, Content Area). There are some excellent, high quality activities, and videos for teachers to access. Look for the website roughly a week prior to the event.

Also, as part of the April 1st date, the MRVED will be piloting an idea to try to effectively collaborate amongst our districts from a distance. The collaborative time will take place between 10:00-12:00 on April 1st. Instead of the MRVED controlling which virtual platform will be used, we are leaving that up to the teachers who wish to start a collaborative meeting. Teachers will have the power to decide what and when they want to collaborate, all you have to do is place a video call link into the document listed below. Please have your collaborative group and link listed on the document no later than Friday, March 26 at 3:00 PM.

If you wish to collaborate around a certain topic, or grade level, or even content area, please sign-up using the document linked below. 

Collaboration Zone Sign-Up

Look for more information from your district pertaining to a schedule for the day. The SEL videos and activities can take place at any time during the day or even after. The Collaboration Zone will take place from 10:00-12:00 on April 1st.

Professional Learning Opportunities

The Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Symposium

The annual Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Education Symposium provides an opportunity for educators, counselors, administrators and parents to gain greater understanding of the unique needs of gifted and high potential learners. Participants attend in-depth sessions focusing on foundational knowledge, creativity, curriculum strategies, and social/emotional needs of gifted and high potential learners provided by the field's finest regionally, nationally and internationally recognized presenters. All are welcome to register and attend the symposium.

When: June 15-17, 2021
Where: Virtual
Registration: $100


What Have We Learned From COVID - 1 Year Later

As we soar past the 1 year anniversary of COVID-19 shutting down our schools, I have begun pondering the question, "What have we learned?" I have also wondered what aspects of COVID teaching will we take with us into the future? What things will we leave behind? What shifts have we made? The questions go on and on. As I was thinking about this, a very succinct article about this very topic scrolled past my Twitter feed, so I thought I would share it here. I would like to hear your thoughts about what we have learned one year later.


Resources

Supporting Students During the Derek Chauvin Trial

The upcoming trial of Derek Chauvin might be one of the biggest trials in the lives of your students. This case has the potential to be as big as the OJ Simpson case, although the contents of the trial are much different. The one thing we, as educators, need to remain cognizant of is how different groups of people will react to the trial and eventually the verdict. Some people will simply ignore the trial and not want to talk about it in their classrooms. Others will see this trial as a teachable moment for our students. With the contents of the trial being racially charged, it's important that we provide accurate information as it is presented. Intermediate District 287 has put together a variety of resources about supporting students through the trial. The bottom line is that as educators, we don't need to force our opinions of the trial on to our students. Our job is to support them through their emotions about the trial as well as provide them with accurate information. You can sign-up to receive updates about the trial by going to the trial website.

New Test Specifications for English Language Arts & Science

With new standards released the past couple years in Science and English Language Arts (ELA), means a new MCA test eventually. The ELA test will first be administered in the 2024-25 school year and the first administration of the Science test will be the 2023-24 school year. With each test, MDE must create a test specifications document. This document in the legislatively controlled document that guides the test creation. You can access the drafts of the new ELA and Science Test Specifications below. Please note, both documents are still considered to be in "draft".

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

MRVED Update - February 24, 2021

MRVED Business


Upcoming Meetings

February 24, 2021 - Superintendents' Council

March 12, 2021 - Title III Paraprofessional 

April 1st Common Inservice Day

With warmer weather on the horizon, April 1st will be here before we know it. The MRVED will continue to work towards our Social Emotional Learning goals for our common days. Since we can't all come together again, the MRVED is creating a website that will include SEL activities, as well as a handful of webinars that teachers can watch with specific discussion questions. Teachers are encouraged to utilize the activities and/or videos in groups (PLC, Grade Level, Content Area). There are some excellent, high quality activities, and videos for teachers to access. Look for the website roughly a week prior to the event.

Also, as part of the April 1st date, the MRVED will be piloting an idea to try to effectively collaborate amongst our districts from a distance. The collaborative time will take place between 10:00-12:00 on April 1st. Instead of the MRVED controlling which virtual platform will be used, we are leaving that up to the teachers who wish to start a collaborative meeting. Teachers will have the power to decide what and when they want to collaborate, all you have to do is place a video call link into the document listed below. Please have your collaborative group and link listed on the document no later than Friday, March 26 at 3:00 PM.

If you wish to collaborate around a certain topic, or grade level, or even content area, please sign-up using the document linked below. 

Collaboration Zone Sign-Up

Look for more information from your district pertaining to a schedule for the day. The SEL videos and activities can take place at any time during the day or even after. The Collaboration Zone will take place from 10:00-12:00 on April 1st.

Updates

MN Social Studies Standards Update

Since releasing the first working draft of the social studies standards in December, the Minnesota Department of Education has received significant feedback from throughout Minnesota. To provide time to review all of the public comments, the department is building more time into the process of revising the standards. The Social Studies Standards Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 2, is canceled. The second draft of Social Studies Standards will be published later this spring. This will provide the time needed to thoroughly review the feedback received. The next Social Studies Standards Committee meeting will be held Thursday, March 25. Watch the social studies standards page for updates on the Social Studies Standards revision process, future public comment periods, and meetings. With the extended time period to provide time for feedback, review and revision, the final draft of the standards will not be completed until fall of 2021.

There are also two bills working their way through the MN House and Senate. One calls for the complete disbandment of the committee, while the other calls for a halt in activities until next year. There was also a bill introduced to completely stop ALL standards review. It is not known at the moment if any of these bills has enough support to make it to the Governor.

Online Relicensure Webinars

With the cancellation of MELT, I have had a handful of teachers contact me looking for places to watch webinars to meet relicensure requirements. Be mindful of any "free" professional development websites. Many are filled with advertisements and/or not good quality. I have been recommending the following resources:

ASCD - ASCD is one of the leaders in professional development for education.
MDE - Minnesota Department of Education offers training on a variety of topics throughout the year.
Learning Forward - Need to be a member to access, but membership is not too expensive

Always check with your local continuing education committee to ensure the webinars meet your local requirements.

Resources

Relationship Article

Many of our students are back in the classroom. One of the most prominent phrases I hear from teachers is, "The kids are so happy to back with their classmates." You can really tell the kids lacked peer to peer relationships throughout distance learning. Now that most are back, we also need to remember those that continue with distance learning. How are we creating relationships with those students? How are we helping foster the peer to peer relationships. Edutopia provided a great article by Liz Kolb, titled A Focus on Relationships When Students Aren't Together. The article provides some good activities for teachers to reach those students at ta distance. Give it a read today!


Editing Videos in Google Slides

I was recently asked about how to shorten a video that is stored in Google Drive. There are different options for this. You can upload the video to YouTube and use the YouTube studio editor. You could also use another web application like WeVideo. While researching the topic more, I also found another way to edit Google Drive videos; use Google Slides! Check out this post from Jeffrey Bradbury on how to do it. Sometimes the most complicated problems have the simplest solutions.



Wednesday, February 3, 2021

MRVED Update - February 3, 2021

MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings

February 5, 2021 - Principals' Council 
February 10, 2021 - MRVED Board
February 19, 2021 - Title III Teachers
February 24, 2021 - Superintendents' Council


MDE Science Call with MRVED Recap

John Olson from MDE met with MRVED teachers on January 18. John talked about implementation timelines and standards rollout.

John shared the following documents

MDE Science Documents



Social Studies Standards Update

The 2nd draft of new Minnesota Social Studies standards was scheduled to be released sometime in February has been delayed until spring. MDE cites the reason for the delay is for MDE and the committee to review a "significant" number of public comments. With this delay, it was subsequently delay the final adoption of the standards into next school year. The first draft of the standards can be found by going to the MDE Social Studies website. It is high recommended that if you are a teacher and/or parent of school-aged children that you review the document to become fully informed of the proposed changes. The next public comment period will be available after the review of the 2nd draft this spring.


Hot Topics

Grading During the Pandemic

Talking with educators, one of the common questions many people are wrestling with is "How do I grade kids during the pandemic?" With gaps in learning, kids at different spots academically, some kids learning from at home, etc...How do you fairly grade everyone and everything? Below you will find a short, but powerful article from Joe Feldman and Doug Reeves.

ASCD Educational Leadership Article on Grading


Children's Screen Time Has Soared During the Pandemic

The headline is probably not shocking to anyone, but as we revert back to "normalcy" what effect has all this screen time had on our kids? The New York Times published an article in mid January about this very topic. It is a very thought-provoking piece, one that has ramifications in the classroom. How do we "detox" our kids from their screen time addiction?

Children's Screen Time Has Soared During the Pandemic - Matt Richtel


Technology

13 Virtual Games to Play in Your Elementary Classroom


Now that many of our elementary schools are back to in-person learning, the question now shifts to, "How can we utilize the at home devices effectively in our classrooms"? Here is a great article from Emelina Minero from Edutopia with 13 virtual games for the elementary classroom.

https://www.edutopia.org/article/13-virtual-games-play-your-elementary-classroom