Wednesday, January 3, 2018

MRVED Update - January 3, 2018

MELT Update

MELT registration closed before Christmas break.  This year we will have 600 teachers attending.  You will be receiving an email a couple days prior to MELT from Gloria Stotesbery with important information regarding everything you need to know about the day.  Please look for and READ that email.  Presenters will be receiving an email from Brandon in the next day or two regarding rooms, number of participants, etc...

The Biggest Education Stories of 2017 and 2018

NPR ran a story over Christmas break highlighting some of the biggest education stories of 2017 and what that means for 2018.  It's a quick read and will get you in the "know" on education issues at the national level.

Biggest Education Stories of 2017 and 2018 from NPR

In Minnesota one of the biggest changes will be teacher licensure.  You can read about what changes were made effective January 1 on the MDE website.

Resource for Cyber Bullying

In our world today it is important to talk to kids about the effects of cyber bullying.  Many of the lessons on this topic are cute, funny, childish, etc...  Many do not tug at your heartstrings.  This Was Louise's Phone will definitely show the harshness of cyber bullying today.  In full disclosure, there is bad language throughout the website.  What the site does is take you through the phone of a teenager that was cyber bullied and eventually killed herself.  This is a very powerful website to show how nasty cyber bullying can be.

Tech Tip - PDFCandy

Have you ever ran into an issue with a PDF file and wished it was in a different format?  Perhaps you wanted to take a file and turn it into a PDF, but didn't know how.  PDFCandy solves all your problems!  It is a super easy way to work with PDF's.  Give it a try today, it's pretty intuitive.

The Innovator's Mindset - Creating a Shared Vision

The next chapter in The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros is all about creating a vision statement for your organization.  The vision statement shouldn't just be a flashy catch phrase that looks good on your letterhead.  It needs to be something that all people in the organization believe and strive for.  Couros starts the chapter off with this quote from Wilferd Peterson, "Big thinking precedes great achievement".  That thinking needs to be laid out prior to any execution for people to have success.

Depending on a variety of different things, your current vision statement might need to be changed or tweaked.  If your vision statement was created in the 1990's, think how much the world has changed in 25 years!  The vision for your students today should be a little different than it was 25 years ago.  It's a good idea to revisit your vision statement every so often to ensure it still encompasses what today's students need.

Couros also talks about 8 characteristics of learning environments that inspire innovative thinking.

Students should have voice.  With technology today, we can help students amplify their voice through social media, YouTube, local newspapers, etc...

Students should choice.  Choice in what and how a student learns.  "Providing choice allows students to build on strength and interests to make learning relevant and fulfilling (Couros, 112)."

There should be time for reflection.  Much like a teacher goes from one class to the next without reflection, students do the same thing.  They jump from math to reading to science without ever having time to reflect on their own learning.

There should be opportunities for innovation.  This could be anything from "Genius Hour" to "Innovation Week" to embed daily into your classroom.  Bottom line, students need time to explore their passions.

Students are critical thinkers.  This one is probably easier said than done.  We should be teaching kids to respectfully ask questions and challenge ideas.  This helps everyone have a deeper understanding of the material and ideas and fosters innovation.

Students are problem solvers/finders.  Students should have the opportunity to not only solve problems, but also find problems that exist.  This goes hand-in-hand with being a critical thinker.

There should be self-assessment.  "Teaching students how to assess themselves rather than just do it for them, provides them another opportunity for reflection (Couros, 114)."  Teaching kids to self assess does not happen over night.

The learning should be connected.  How do we connect our content areas?  How do we connect with people/experts from around the world.  We, as teachers, need to reach outside of the box to make connections and show kids real world learning.


January 9, 2018           Title III ParaProfessionals
January 15, 2018        MELT
January 24, 2018         Superintendent's Council
January 26, 2018         Principal's Council
January 29, 2018         Technology Coordinator Networking Meeting