Delegating #savmp

Delegating – Something that I have to work hard on. I just do not like asking people to do things for me. I feel like a burden when I have someone do something for me. The other problem I have with delegating is that once I give a job to someone, I am SO guilty of assuming they are going to do it! It was great to see in Amber’s post that I should be checking in and following up with people. I guess I have always hesitated because I don’t want them to think I am micromanaging them. Delegating and checking in are two of my biggest professional goals. I am working hard in these two areas and I see improvement every year.

I must say  that I am much better than I was even a couple of years ago. When I think back to day one as an administrator and compare it to today, I have come a long way. As each day passes, I understand more and more how valuable time is. I am coming to the understanding that I need to balance my time and prioritize where it needs to go. I am also learning that I will never know what my staff is capable of if I do everything for them. I need to allow them to show their strengths and give them the opportunity to be a leader within our school.

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (2008) states that Effective leaders know they must draw on the varied knowledge and capacities of people within the entire school community…leaders of learning communities create systems that enable a wide range of people to come up with ideas and carry them out to fulfill the school’s vision.

One way in which I see this happening within my school is through the use of Responsive Classroom and Guided Math. The staff in my school have become experts in various topics of these areas. They have led the training at staff meetings and have assisted other teachers in our school and the division implement these programs. It is great to share these successes with our senior level administration and other in-school administrators.

Knowing that my staff is willing and capable of leading helps me grow as an administrator.  I am able to trust in their skills and abilities and allow them to grow as educators and leaders as well.

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Minions in the News

Last week a reporter from the Moose Jaw Times Herald visited our classroom. He was interested in seeing the kids blog. It was a great visit and he was able to see the kids using their Chromebooks for the first time!

You can find the story here.

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Lurking #savmp

A couple of staff members have dubbed me “Lindsay Lurker”. When they told me the name they came up with, I could do nothing but laugh! I love the name because to me it means I am doing my job and getting out into the classes in my school. That was until I looked up the definition of lurker…I am not posting it here. It is nasty! So I chose to create my own definition…A lurker is someone who hangs around classrooms, participating, watching and checking out what is going on.

Lurking means I get to see all of the fantastic things going on at Sacred Heart. Although, when I am in classes, I am not just hanging out in the shadows watching what is happening. I love talking with the kids and finding out what they are learning.

There are so many great things going on at my school. The staff in my school all work so hard and go above and beyond on a daily basis. Many of the classes in my school run a guided math program that has gained a lot of attention. It started last year in one classroom and has grown to five classes this year. Teachers have been coming into our school all year to watch how the program is run. These teachers are also going to other schools to assist teachers in setting up their own guided math program. 

Another way our teachers are leaders within our school division is through the implementation of responsive classroom ideas. As a staff we have been implementing various strategies since the beginning of the school year. We all try to be on the same page when it comes to the language we use with students, how we deal with issues (whether they are students in our class or not), routines, interactive modeling and providing consequences when necessary. The change I have seen in our school culture is incredible. Our kids are so polite and thoughtful. They always ask how you are doing and always offer a smile!

I love lurking around my school and seeing all of the learning going on. Hanging out in the classrooms is the best part of my job. I get to share and learn with all of the kids and teachers in my school.

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Balancing Act #savmp

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Photo Credit: Viewminder via Compfight cc

Hard to believe that November is already here. This may be one of the quickest starts to a school year in my 11 years of teaching.

In my school division the Vice Principal teaches. I believe I teach approximately 60% and the remainder of my week is admin and prep time. This year is slightly different from the past. It is my third year as a Vice-Principal but my first year as a grade three teacher. I have primarily taught grade eight my entire career with a little bit of grade five thrown in the mix. It has been a really big adjustment for me. I am thankful that I have an awesome group of kids that just roll with me!

My worry is this: that I am not doing  a great job in either of my roles. I am trying to find that elusive balance between the two roles. As all teachers know, when teaching a new grade – there is so much prep work to be done. I have quickly learned that primary teachers are my heroes! The amount of work that goes into teaching primary is staggering some days. On the flip side of this is the fact that I still have administrative duties. Some of my duties include supporting teachers and being an instructional leader for them. I just feel like there is not enough time in the day and that I can quickly be wrapped up in my own planning and instruction. I have a young staff so I feel more accountable to them in terms of supporting and guiding them. I am searching for that middle ground but wondering if it truly exists.

For those of you out there that have both roles included in your job description – my question to you is how do you manage both roles? How do you ensure that you are giving your students all that they need while at the same time supporting your teachers?

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One Second Everyday

This July in Vermont, Steve Dembo introduced me to the app One Second Everyday during our bus trip to Shelburne. I absolutely loved this app but was sad to see that it had not been released on Android. Taking Steve’s advice, I started taking video everyday (well almost everyday). Now that the app has been released on Android I have been more consistent thanks to the reminders offered. The only problem I have run into so far is the fact that I have had vertical video syndrome  a couple of time thanks in part because of too much gliding.

I love this app and I love watching the short clip I have already compiled. The app is insanely easy to use. You take video everyday and within the app you can trim it to 1 second. If you miss a day, you can put a picture in place of the video. Whenever you want you can create a compilation and share your video out.

I plan on putting this app on my iPad and using it in my classroom this year. How amazing would it be as a parent to receive a video of your child’s school year!

Here it is – Check it out.

If you are interested in learning more about the app and the creator, check out this TED Talk by Cesar Kuriyama.

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Why I Lead #savmp

It is with great excitement that I have started the School Admin Virtual Mentorship Program (#savmp) which has been organized by George Couros. While I do not know George, I have known his brother Alec since 1998! I know of Alec’s passion for education, technology and connecting with people around the world and I have learned that George shares the same passion.

I have been matched with a mentor and two other individuals. This small group represents Canada, US and South Africa. It is going to be great! I am really looking forward to connecting with and learning from Derek, Nigel and Natasha.

September marks the beginning of my third year in administration as a Vice-Principal. From the beginning of my career (2002), I knew that I wanted to end up in administration. Actually, I knew this in grade eight. Paul Ellis was my Vice-Principal and taught Math and Science as well. He is the reason I became a teacher! I (as did everyone) respected him more than anybody. He was an amazing teacher and administrator. He is the person that I can credit with my love of learning and leading because he sparked an interest in these things within me that had not been there prior.

Truthfully, I love being a leader. I love helping people learn, understand and grow. I want people to feel successful and I want them to know that they are capable of accomplishing whatever it is they are striving for. I have felt this way for as long as I can remember. I also love learning. Whether it is in school or from other people, I am always striving to grow and expand my thinking and how I do things. Being in a leadership position has opened so many doors for me and allowed to me to work with some pretty amazing people.

I am a leader because I love people and I love helping them grow! 

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DENSI 2013 – Burlington, Vermont

Imagine bringing 150 educators from across Canada and the United States together for a week of connecting and collaborating like no other. Now imagine it in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. Sounds great right? The answer is yes!!!! This was the scene for The Discovery Educator Network’s Summer Institute (DENSI).

group shotPhoto courtesy of Discovery Education

 I just had the most wonderful week learning, laughing and collaborating with some of the most amazing teachers courtesy of Discovery Education and the Discovery Educator Network.  Throughout the week there were keynotes and sessions, capped off by an unconference day. An unconference day is planned by the participants – you might have something to offer or you might be looking for someone to explore an idea with you. You can come and go or just hang out and talk with other people – some of the best conversations happen here! This year we also had an Unclosing – where people could just get up and share their thoughts. It was great to hear everyone’s experiences!

I have been incredibly fortunate to grow my network over the past two years because of the Discovery Educator Network (DEN). The talented and passionate people I have met have allowed me to grow as an educator and they have given me more ideas than I could have ever imagined. The best part about these connections is that these people live all over the US and Canada. So many different perspectives and talents to learn from.

It is really hard to pin down my favourite moments of the week because there are so many! Here are a few but there are many, many more.

  • The people – The other participants and the DEN team make this week what it is. This is a community of educators that elevate each other and make each other better teachers.
  • The sessions – Whatever you want to learn about happens here. And if you can’t make it to a session you can be sure you will still be able to learn from any person that attended.
  • The location – Vermont is gorgeous! And the tree hugger in me loved this place! They recycle and compost almost everything. When the temperature gets too hot (it got too hot), the university turns the power off and runs on generators.
  • The activities – The DENmazing race is the highlight for my competitive self. Last year my team took first and this year second! It is sooo much fun. We also had the chance to attend the Vermont Lake Monsters baseball game.  I had a great time with my back row crew! Face the Music and Name that Tune were a great addition this year! Although the girls lost by a slim margin both nights, we will be seeking redemption next year!
  • The fun – Aside from all of the activities and sessions there is time for everyone to just hang out and get to know one another. I laughed more during this week than I have in a long time! Being able to connect with friends from last year and adding new ones this year was a highlight for me!

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Now what? Now I sift through all of the amazing information and resources from this week and figure out what will work in my classroom. I can’t wait to meet my kids and see what adventures we will go on this year! I also cannot wait to share with the teachers in my division and school!  It is going to be a great year.

Thank you Discovery Education and thank you to all of the participants that made this week amazingly awesome…yah I said amazingly awesome!

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