Monday, August 28, 2017

Let the teachers teach!

Last week was an awesome week for me.  You all came back to work, ready to prepare your rooms, ready to work with your teams, and ready to learn together.  Thanks to Jessica, Brenda J., Mary, Andrea, and Martica for putting together a fantastic Harry Potter themed learning experience for all of us.  As I sat back and took it all in on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, it was great to see us learning from each other.  As we have heard before, we are our greatest resource.  Thanks for sharing in the learning this week!

Tuesday, August 29th
PD all day! (8:00-4:00)
School board meeting 7PM
Wednesday, August 30th
Get ready for the families! (11:00-7:00)
Staff photos at 4:00
Thursday, August 31st
Training all day! (8:00-4:00)
CPI training in the gym starting at 8:00
Other mandatory trainings to follow
Friday, September 1st
Work day (8:00-4:00)
Staff meeting 8:30 in the Little Theater
Lunch and learn- financial planning (12:00-12:45)

Tweets, blogs, and quotes
What's Your Compelling Reason? (from George Couros)

 (from Pinterest)

Investing in the Future (from George Couros)

(from Pinterest)

(shared by Megan Mastrocola, Mike's daughter)

(from Pinterest)

(from Facebook)

I had a chance to take some more photos of the school so I updated our YouTube video about the changes around the school.  Here it is!

I can't wait to see you all tomorrow, and I'm looking to seeing all of our students and families on Wednesday.  I am ready for a great year.  Are you?
Be the one!
Take care of the kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself.- John Gunnell

Friday, August 18, 2017

It's time to learn together!

I can't believe it.  We'll be back together on Monday, getting reconnected, building new connections, and learning with one another.  Just so you know, here's the plan for next week.
Monday, August 21st
*All staff breakfast/ introductions of new staff/ meeting beginning at 7:45 in Primary Cafe
*Work time/ grade level meetings?/ individual meetings with me following the meeting
*Lunch on your own
Tuesday, August 22nd
*All staff meet in the Intermediate Library ready to go at 8:00
*Taco bar for lunch
Wednesday, August 23rd
*8:00 start time
*Pasta bar for lunch
Thursday, August 24th
*8:00 start time
*Lunch on your own
*3:30 at my house for a tailgate party!

This link below is the sign up for dinner for Open House night, provided by our wonderful PTO!  Please complete before Friday, August 25th!
Dinner for Staff at Open House

Tweets, blogs, and quotes
Things Change and Things Stay the Same (from George Couros)

(from Pinterest)

On the First Day (from Pernille Ripp)

(from Pinterest)

Power of Hope and Education (from Tony Sinanis)

(from Pinterest)

(from Pinterest)

So, I learned something new and made an iMovie trailer
This shows some of the updates to our school.  I'm going to be adding some more new pictures once you all have some rooms set up so that I can share it with our families the week of Open House.  If you have some ideas for other pictures (I think the picture of the table and green wall is in this three times), just let me know.

Enjoy the next three days with your family and friends.  Your room will be there on Monday.  I look forward to seeing you all on Monday, and don't forget your flipgrid!
Be the one!
Take care of the kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself.- John Gunnell

Thursday, August 10, 2017

It's the last week of summer...

It's the last week of summer,
And all through the school,
The custodial staff and others,
Are making the building look cool.

New furniture, new paint,
And a fresh coat of wax,
The building looks great,
Soon the kids will be back.

I can't wait to see you,
And of course the kids, too,
Don't forget to schedule a meeting,
And do your flipgrid, too.

Tweets, blogs, and quotes
3 Quotes on Becoming Successful (from George Couros)

What Parents Wish We Would Ask Them About Their Child (from Pernille Ripp)

I'll be sending something like this to families.  Anyone want to co-write it with me?
Education Decision Making Flowchart (from George Couros)
@Joesanfelippofc: When you ask your kids how school was do they say "I don't know" or "I don't know where to start?" Change the narrative people!!!
Are.You.Ready? (from Jeff Kubiak)

Calendar (Please remember to find a time to meet with me, and don't forget your flipgrid video!)
Monday, August 14th
In all day
11:45 with Carrie R.
12:30  Online registration begins
Tuesday, August 15th
In all day
9:00  Garden
11:15  Boosterthon meeting (more to come on this)
Wednesday, August 16th
In all day
New staff meetings
Thursday, August 17th
In all day
9:00  Garden
Friday, August 18th
In until noon

I can't wait to see all of you.  I have enjoyed the meetings with those of you who have been able to stop in during your busy summers.  The conversations are great, and they are all about getting better for our kids.
Be the one!
Take care of the kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself.- John Gunnell

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What is this #PIAchat thing all about?

#principalsinaction is a wonderful group of principals who are always working to be better for their kids and their schools.  There is a running hashtag on Twitter where principals, and others in and out of education, can see the wonderful things that principals are doing every day. The group consists of about 100 principals that stretch from coast to coast across this beautiful nation.

But there is also a Twitter chat that occurs on Tuesday nights at 8CST that is what we consider the fastest 30 minutes on Twitter.  Moderators post a few questions and principals from all over the country respond.  We end with a call to action or a challenge that many of the principals take on as the focus of sharing the great things principals do.

For me (Mark), engaging in Twitter chats has provided some of best professional development I have received, and it's free! I started as a lurker, advanced to answering questions and contributing, to these days volunteering to facilitate and lead Twitter chat discussions. After four years of Twitter chats, I can even engage in two chats at once provided I'm using the TweetDeck tool.

For me (Ryan), Twitter chats have been a way to constantly push my thinking and hear what others have to say on topics that I am not so comfortable with. It took my awhile before I felt comfortable with jumping in and actively participating in the chat. I would sit and watch the chat, but thought that no one could learn from me. I was wrong! There is so much power in sharing your thoughts and your story. Your answer to some of the questions might spark a thought of another person and that is what it is all about. Pushing each other to better leaders and better people.

For me (Jay), Twitter chats really got me started in the Twitterverse. I initially was a lurker, like Mark, but when I jumped into the discussion, I realized I could learn so much more. The connections began and with it came a comfort level to connect with others face to face at conferences and EdCamps. Before Twitter, I either wouldn’t have known other attendees or I would have been nervous to walk up to speak with them. Twitter became the conduit to deeper professional relationships that fostered learning unlike any other learning before.

Why take part in a chat?
  1. Chats help to focus a conversation.  Moderators or co-moderators post questions that pertain to a topic, often in a Q1 (Question 1), A1 (Answer 1) format.  Chat participants answer the questions and this oftens provides ideas and suggestions that hadn’t been thought of before.
  2. Chats provide connections to others with similar and different perspectives. This allows the participants to grow and learn in ways that don’t occur in other ways, like reading books or blogs.  Participating in chats helps to grow your professional learning network, or PLN.
  3. Chats can be searched by hashtag. Our hashtag tonight is #PIAchat, short for #principalsinaction chat. If you happen to miss the chat, you can always go back and search for the hashtag to see what you missed.

Hopefully you can join us for #PIAchat at 8CST tonight (August 8, 2017) and get to learn what this #PIAchat thing is all about!

Friday, August 4, 2017

What can we learn from each other?

In a couple of weeks, we'll be back together learning from one another.  There is truly no preparation needed, except for making sure that you complete your 30 second flipgrid video.  Don't know what I'm talking about?  Check this link to last week's nuts and bolts.  And please don't forget about setting up a time to meet with me before school starts.  I'm talking to all of you here no matter what your title.  There are three questions we'll be discussing which can also be found in last week's nuts and bolts.  Be open to stretching your thinking, sharing your ideas, and having deep conversations about what we can do a little better for our students and each other.  Be ready to share any summer learning with one another, no matter where or how that learning took place.  Let's make sure that we model our learning for one another but, more importantly, for our students.  They need to see that we continue to learn all the time.

Monday, August 7th
In most of the day
Tuesday, August 8th
In most of the day
Garden 9-11
New Principals with AWSA in Pewaukee at 2:00
Wednesday, August 9th
In most of the day
Meeting with Heidi 9AM
PTO meeting 10AM
Thursday, August 10th
In most of the day
Garden 9-11
GHO at 11:00 (I'm starting a podcast!)
Friday, August 11th
In for the morning (if necessary)

Tweets, blogs, and quotes
A Different Gift (from Brad Gustafson)
What is your 2.0? (from Spike Cook)
Perfect on Paper? (from Ben Gilpin)
Finding Inspiration in Yourself (from George Couros)

Time for a challenge
I'm part of a group of principals that follow the hashtag #principalsinaction.  We have a weekly challenge so I thought I'd give you all one for next week.  Ready- Get outside as often as you can.  Go to the State Fair with family and/or friends.  Leave your phone or other device in another room when you invite over family and/or friends.  Read the book you've wanted to read all summer long.  Do I expect you to do all of these challenges?  No way, but wouldn't that be a great summer week?

Be the one!
Take care of the kids.  Take care of each other.  Take care of yourself.- John Gunnell

Thursday, August 3, 2017

How do you challenge yourself?

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With school starting back up around the country it is important to start thinking, How do you challenge yourself? Jay Posick, Mark French, and I (Ryan Sheehy) are principals that have connected through being in a PLN called Principals In Action. Principals in Action is a group that was started by one of the Kids Deserve It authors, Adam Welcome. It started with a challenge by Adam to ride the slide with kids then tweet the picture using the #principalsinaction hashtag. The group is now so much more than a hashtag. Using Voxer as our communication platform, we communicate on a daily basis, discussing triumphs, struggles, and the everyday occurences of being a principal.  We currently are a group of over 100 administrators that have made a goal of being out of the office and truly being a principal in action. Our group stretches from coast to coast and everywhere in between.

One of the ways we have been able to challenge each other on a daily basis is through creating challenges that everyone participates in then tweets about using the #principalsinaction hashtag. These challenges come out each week and are posted all over Twitter by using the hashtag. This past year some of the challenges included: ride a tricycle, ride the bus, serve food in the lunchroom, eat lunch with students, play on the swings, and read to students. These challenges are constantly pushing administrators out of their office and out with kids and staff.

For me (Ryan), last year was my first year as a principal. Being part of this PLN provided me a level of encouragement, professional development, and outside thinking that I was not getting in my district. The challenges provided me an excuse to document some of the fun things I was doing outside of my office. I have shown up to principal meetings and other principals look at me and say, “Ryan, it always looks like you are having fun.” I am and I show it off because school should be fun and the challenges had that component for me. I have enjoyed riding tricycles, slipping down slides, serving lunch in the cafeteria, and just being with kids. We need to be the one that shows teachers, students, and parents that principals need to be with kids, not in their office.

For me (Jay), I was in my tenth year as principal in the same building. #principalsinaction provided the inspiration and support to get out of my office, interact with students and staff, and accept challenges. I honestly don’t remember all of them, but I do remember my favorite one, shadowing a student for a day. I actually shadowed two students- a 6th grader in the morning and a 7th grader in the afternoon Lunch and recess duty were sandwiched between the two shadowing opportunities. The day was spent in classrooms learning right alongside the students. Interested students filled out a Google form and then a random number selector determined who I shadowed. The students and staff were awesome that day and it was amazing being in the classrooms with them as a student. I think the staff enjoyed me being in their classrooms far more than an observation or a walkthrough, too.

For me (Mark), last year was my 35th as an educator and 20th as an elementary school principal. Being connected with other leaders across the country has revitalized my attitude and energized my spirit. I have a group of colleagues who inspire, motivate, encourage, and hold me accountable. The challenges get me out of my office and connecting with students, teachers, food service team members, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, custodians, parents, and other stakeholders. I am excited to be a principal in action at this point in my career.

We challenge you to get out of your office and interact with your students and staff members. We encourage you to follow the #principalsinaction hashtag and participate in the challenges. Find ways to share your experiences with your school community through your newsletter, blog, and social media accounts. Join the movement, get out of your office, and show others how much fun being a principal can be!