Friday, February 28, 2014

MRVED Business

Check out the MRVED website
Click here for an article on the MELT along with a slideshow set to music.  After tallying the evaluations, overall the MELT received very positive reviews.  Thank you for your feedback.

Upcoming Meetings
March 4  Agriculture
March 6  Industrial Technology
March 11  FACS
March 14  Title III Paraprofessionals
March 18  Guidance Counselors
March 20  Social Workers
March 21  Business (rescheduled from March 10)
March 26  Superintendents' Council

Brandon's Brainwork - Instructional Coaching

Instructional Coaching
Instructional coaching has been a hot topic lately in Minnesota, due in part to the legislation on teacher evaluation.  If we are to truly make our peer review or instructional coaching models effective, we need to think deeply about the process we have in place.  Here are a couple questions to help guide the discussion in your district.
  • Who should the instructional coaches or peer reviewers be?
    • Should there be more than one coach?  Should everyone have to observe and provide feedback?
  • Who will see the observation notes and feedback?
  • Is everyone getting constructive criticism, or is it merely "pats on the back"?
  • Do all the teachers have a clear understanding of the framework being used?
  • Do all instructional coaches and peer reviewers have a clear understanding of the framework?
  • Is there ample time given for reflection and feedback?
As your district embarks on looking at peer review as part of the evaluation process, take a moment and reflect on the process you have put in place.  Will it really make a difference in the classroom?

A good activity to do as a whole staff, grade level or content team is to find a video of a teacher teaching a lesson.  It can be a video of someone you know or a complete stranger.  Watch the video together and take observation notes.  See where you have agreement and/or disagreement.  This activity really gives a good test to your rubrics and/or model.  It also gives you a great opportunity to talk about what good teaching looks like.

The Kansas Coaching Project with Jim Knight is an excellent spot to go when looking for instructional coaching resources.  He has also authored a number of books on instructional coaching that I highly recommend.
Reflection Questions
1. Am I capable of providing constructive criticism to my peers?
2. Do I know what good teaching looks like?
3. Do I have a "toolbox" full of ideas to help a colleague?
4. Am I in the right mindset to be able to accept constructive criticism and then make a change based upon that feedback?

Looking For Ways to Raise Money

If you are looking for different ways to raise money for classroom technology or supplies, here is a great article from t h e Journal that provides examples as well as resources to go to for fundraising.  The scavenger hunt example is a fun and amazing way to raise funds for anything as well as include community and businesses in your venture.

Tech Tip

Screencast from Chromebook
One downfall to using a Chromebook was that you could not do any screencasting on them.  Websites like screencast-o-matic and screenr did not work on the Chromebooks.  Then I came across a post on FreeTech4Teachers and Richard Byrne introduced me to Screencastify.  Being able to screencast on the Chromebook now opens up a variety of activities you can do in your classroom.

You can now screen record straight from your Chromebook, allowing you to record directions or lessons.  Students can record projects, processes, and if they are having issues with their device, they can record their screens to demonstrate their issue.