Lead Reader

February 16, 2019

This week I share about my reading history and how it influences my personal and professional life.

  1. What books shaped you as a reader? I highlight three titles in this post from my K-12 education experience.

  2. I’ve shared this already, but worth repeating: a book that persuaded me to pursue the principalship is Improving Schools From Within by Roland Barth.

  3. Ever wondered what school leadership truly entails? You might appreciate reading the vignettes from Repositioning Educational Leadership: Practitioners Leading From an Inquiry Stance.

  4. I attended the Wisconsin State Reading Association Convention last week. In this post, I describe author Matt de la Peña’s session and how he “writes from the outside”.

  5. A book I believe should be in every K-12 classroom is Matt de la Peña’s award-winning picture book, Last Stop on Market Street.

  6. Other worthy titles by the author include Love and Carmela Full of Wishes. These books could be read aloud at the beginning of a staff meeting or professional development session before discussing topics such as equity and diversity.

  7. This morning I shared about the importance of teaching literacy from the middle in this post. The example I describe is a lesson on debate and persuasive writing.

  8. A recommended professional resource for teachers looking to embed speaking and listening plus persuasive techniques into their instruction is Good Thinking by Erik Palmer.

  9. Related, check out Deep Discourse by Sandy Novak and Cara Slattery. One of our teachers is exploring it right now and is finding it helpful.

  10. Recent read alouds with my kids include Black and Blue Magic by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (my son) and Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (my daughter).

What books have shaped you as a person and a professional? What are you reading right now? Please share in the comments.

Leading with Inquiry

February 2, 2019

This week we examine how curiosity can improve our capacities as school leaders.

  1. In this post, I share my current theory of practice on how to build a literacy culture with other school leaders.

  2. It speaks to the power of reflective writing that the previous post was a response to a blog post I published six months ago: Choices, Priorities, and the Power of “What if…”.

  3. Often the barriers to our work as leaders are the ones we create for ourselves, something I wrote about in this post.

  4. How do we rethink our routines and be more mindful of our habits in school? Connect with other administrators next week Thursday, February 7 at 8 P.M. CST for an #AWSAConnect Twitter chat.

  5. I wrote a short reader response to a new principal’s resource, Repositioning Educational Leadership. I think it would serve well as a textbook for a graduate level research course.

  6. The book that piqued my interest in the principalship was Improving Schools From Within by Roland Barth. It’s a classic!

  7. Once every month or two, I write a column for our local newspaper, The Democrat Tribune. They don’t have an online version, so I posted my article “Screen Time and Kids” on my website.

  8. This New York Times article by Benedict Carey provides a nice summary of the current research on screen time and potential effects on children.

  9. How do we measure school culture in order to celebrate and grow? Check out my response to the main characteristics of a healthy school culture in this post.

  10. These characteristics are described in more detail in Regie Routman’s newest book, Literacy Essentials: Engagement, Excellence, and Equity for All Students.

The Literacy Experience

January 19, 2019

This week we explore the literacy experiences we bring to our classrooms and schools.

  1. In the first post of 2019, I try to put into perspective what a new year really brings to our lives professionally and personally.

  2. A book that I referenced (and I believe should be required reading for all leaders) is Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins.

  3. We - students, teachers - tend to remember our experiences more than any resource we might bring to the classroom. This post examines that idea.

  4. I thought the article Buy Experiences, Not Stuff by James Hamblin for The Atlantic offered a nice take on the previous post’s topic.

  5. Can our instruction be too targeted toward expected outcomes and not allow for deeper thinking? This post from Lustre Education shares that concern, citing evidence from recent studies.

  6. One of the researchers referenced in the previous post is Dr. John Hattie, author of Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning and other resources that offer meta-analyses on the effects of instruction on learning.

  7. What are your thoughts on commercial literacy products? I shared a recent experience in this post when boxes of these resources showed up at our school.

  8. The quote at the beginning of the previous post comes from the business book Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.

  9. It’s hard to lead a literacy initiative if we don’t know reading or writing instruction. In this post, I relate this idea to a recent visit to a kindergarten classroom studying penguins.

  10. The quote at the beginning of the previous post comes from Read, Write, Lead: Breakthrough Strategies for Schoolwide Literacy Success by Regie Routman. Another necessary resource for school leaders!

Are you exploring implementing digital portfolios in your classroom, or looking for support to deepen this promising assessment approach within your instruction? Join me at CESA 3 in Fennimore, WI on March 12 for a one-day workshop on this topic. Click here to register (scroll down to March 12).

The Gift of Literacy

December 22, 2018

This week we examine the gift of literacy in our lives and gain some perspective.

  1. In Wednesday’s post, I explore ways of bridging the holidays with authentic literacy instruction.

  2. Teaching Tolerance offers a variety of ideas and information regarding the balance public education needs when teaching about the holidays. Click here to see search results within their website on this topic.

  3. Educator and attorney Scott McLeod has written articles on this topic. In this post for his blog Dangerously Irrelevant, he argues for inclusiveness when preparing for instruction the holiday season.

  4. One avenue for developing curriculum that could address these issues is place-based learning. Check out Place-based Curriculum Design: Exceeding Standards through Local Investigations by Amy Demarest for guidance.

  5. Educational Leadership published an article, “Home Grown Citizens”, that offered ideas for using place-based education as a framework for developing students’ abilities to take new perspectives and increase compassion. ($)

  6. In yesterday’s post, I encouraged educators at all levels to share their reading lives with those whom they work and learn with.

  7. Click here to view my newsletter to staff describing my reading life for 2018. What books would you recommend that you read this year? Please share in the comments.

  8. I mentioned that this year I am reading a poem before every staff meeting. The poetry and responses come from Teaching with Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach.

  9. You can view my most recent staff meeting agenda, which includes one of the poems I read aloud, by clicking here.

  10. One of the books I recommended in my Reading Life newsletter is Upstream by Mary Oliver, a series of essays by the well-known American poet.

No newsletter next week; I’ll be taking time to relax, read and recharge. Happy holidays!


Celebration and Change

December 15, 2018

This week we focus on celebration and change.

  1. In my first post this week, I describe a process of reflection the staff and I facilitated based on our shared beliefs about literacy.

  2. The “Four Stages of a Learning Progression” document was a popular tool that readers could download; you can access it here.

  3. This work is heavily influenced by the Regie Routman in Residence professional development program. When other school leaders ask me “What program do you use?”, I recommend this one.

  4. Examining beliefs and practices is an effective way to ensure equity in schools. Regie Routman wrote about why equity matters in this article for CCIRA.

  5. Earlier this year, I wrote a post in which I shared a story of a student’s low expectations for himself and related the short experience to the importance of connecting beliefs and practices.

  6. Today, I wrote a post that offered three simple ways for celebrating our teachers. How do you recognize faculty members? Share in the comments!

  7. Celebration is an essential part of building trust schoolwide. Contributor Michelle Olson wrote a post this summer on the topic of trust in schools.

  8. This New York Times opinion piece by David Kirp addresses trust and relationships as essential for change vs. a business model used in schools.

  9. An Education Week article came to my attention also touching on the importance of supporting teachers as they do the best they know how in the classroom.

  10. I thought this short research article from Harvard Business Review offered a helpful strategy when guiding people through change.

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