Friday, December 16, 2016

MRVED Business

Upcoming Meetings
December 21, 2016  Superintendents' Council
December 21, 2016  MRVED Board (7 p.m.)

January 6, 2017  Strategic Planning - Core Planning Team (American Legion)
January 10, 2017  Title III Paras
January 16, 2017  MELT

Happy Holidays From The MRVED

Holiday Book Recommendations

Holiday Book Recommendations
If you are looking for a couple books to read over the Christmas break, here is a short list of a couple great books by some excellent authors!

What Great Teachers Do Differently - Todd Whitaker

Better Conversations - Jim Knight

Fair Isn't Always Equal - Rick Wormeli

The Innovators Mindset - George Couros

Tech Tip - RocketBook

Thanks to Beth Jahn from YME for sharing this with me.  She saw this at the TIES conference this past weekend and passed it along.

Are you the type of person who loves your electronic device, but despises taking notes with it?  Would you rather just take notes on paper and then somehow get those notes to your device.  Well, now you have that ability with RocketBook.  They have free pages on their website you can download and use directly with the app.  This is a great idea and can be used in schools with 1:1 iPads, but the kids struggle to take notes on them.  Check it out today!

What Great Teachers Do Differently - Focus on Students First

Focus on Students First
Great teachers always put the needs of their students before theirs.  Whitaker states, " Great teachers focus on students first, with a broad vision that keeps everything in perspective" (Whitaker, 48).  This seems like a no-brainer that all teachers focus on students first, but in reality this is not the case for all teachers.  Most teachers get into
 the profession for their love of kids and learning, but slowly, usually over time, something happens.

Take a schedule change for example.  There's an all school assembly at 2:00 on Friday, the student-centered teacher says, "I think it's great that our students get to hear speaker X on this very important topic, what can I do to help?"  The teacher-centered teacher says, "Why does it have to be at 2:00, now my 7th hour class is going to be behind the 6th hour by a day.  What am I going to do?"  The difference is not compliance, it's about who is at the center, student or teacher.

Our natural instincts say to take care of ourselves first, others second.  As a teacher, we need to put the needs of our students in front of ours.  This may cause us discomfort or create small problems for us, but in the end, school is about and for the kids.  Great teachers know this and live it.

MELT Registration

MELT Registration is Open
2017 MELT Registration opened on Monday, December 12 and will close on Thursday, December 22 at 3:00 p.m.  Over 400 people registered on the first day.  Some sessions have been closed due high registration numbers with a couple more ready to close.  If you have not registered already, do so today!


Friday, December 2, 2016

MELT Information

The 2017 version of the MELT (MRVED Educators Learning Together) conference will be held on January 16, 2017 at Lac qui Parle Valley High School.  From the feedback we received from the MELT last year, you will see some minor changes:
  • Passing time will be lengthened from 10 to 15 minutes.
    • This is to allow our presenters to have ample time to set up.
    • This also allows people to visit the restroom or concessions between sessions and still have enough time to make it to their next session.
  • Lunch will be shortened to 45 minutes.
    • You spoke, we listened.
  • Concessions will be available in the hallways between sessions (pop and candy).
  • You will get the session brochure a couple days prior to being able to register.
    • This will allow you to go through all the sessions and choose what is best for you without being rushed to register.
    • The brochure will be released on December 8, 2016.  Registration will open at 7:30 a.m. on December 12, 2016.  Your building principal will receive the registration link and send it to all staff the morning of December 12.
    • Registration will close on December 22, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.
This will be the largest MELT ever as we are expecting 650 people.  So it is so important to register by December 22, 2016 as the number of people attending fuels a lot of additional decisions that are made over the Christmas break with respect to that day - room assignments, lunch, bussing, etc.

MRVED Business

Weather Policy
Since we are located in the Montevideo School District area, if Montevideo schools are open and on time, we will hold the meeting. If Montevideo has a late start, the meeting will be cancelled and rescheduled.

However, even if the meeting is still being held, if the weather is unsafe to travel in your area, stay home! We want you to be safe. If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 320-269-9297. 

MRVED will also submit meeting cancellations and/or updates on WCCO’s TV channel and website (See School Closings under Quick Links). We will be listed under MRVED (just our initials.)

Upcoming Meetings
December 5, 2016  District Assessment Coordinators
December 15, 2016  Teachers' Advisory Council
December 16, 2016  Principals' Council
December 21, 2016  MRVED Board (7 p.m.)
December 21, 2016  Superintendents' Council

January 6, 2017  Core Strategic Planning Team
January 10, 2017  Title III Paras
January 16, 2017  MELT

What Great Teachers Do Differently - Who is the Variable?

Who is the Variable?
This whole school year we have been looking at the book What Great Teachers Do Differently - 17 Things That Matter Most by Todd Whitaker.  Each chapter has examined simple things that separate the great teachers from the good teachers.  We all strive to be great at what we do, using some of the tips in this book can help all of us inch closer to that greatness.

This chapter by far has been my favorite!  This chapter focuses on who is the difference maker in the classroom.  Who is the variable? Whitaker starts with the example of the teacher who gets the award for sending the most students to the office.  It seems the same teachers win this award year after year and we can already predict who will win it next year.  How is it possible we could know this information already? We don't know what kids this teacher will have, but yet we know he/she will have the most discipline referrals.  This example shows that the teacher is the variable in the classroom.  When asking this teacher why there are so many office referrals, their answer will typically start with, "If the kids only...".  This makes the kids the variable, and they are not...the teacher is the variable in the classroom.

Great teachers recognize they are the variable and realize it is them who will need to adjust for anything to improve.  Great teachers know that they can only change things they have control of; themselves. Another great example is a teacher gives a spelling test, and over 1/2 the class fails the test.  Who is to blame?  Poor teachers will be quick to blame other variables...parents, the kids, schedules, snow days, etc...  Great teachers know what the variable is, themselves.  They look within first to realize what went wrong and then make adjustments within.

This variable idea does not only apply to education, but the business world as well.  Great store managers know they are the variable that makes a business successful or not.  Poor managers are quick to blame customers, location, weather, employees, corporate, etc...

Be the variable in your classroom!

Tech Tip - Quizizz Chrome Apps

Quizizz Chrome App
One of the newest formative assessment tools Quizizz, just got better (if you use Google Chrome).  They have now created a Quizizz Chrome App for teachers and for students.  This will now allow for users to get to the games quicker.  If you have Chromebooks in your school, talk to your tech coordinator today about getting the App pushed out to your devices.

You can read more about the App and download it HERE.

Newspapers In Education

Newspapers In Education
The Pioneer Press has partnered with a variety of businesses, individuals, and schools to provide the Pioneer Press Sunday edition for free to schools for the 2016-17 school year.  Newspapers In Education also has a variety of different web tools for education.  Schools can also subscribe to the daily paper for a fee.

Pioneer Press Free Sunday Edition Order Form