Friday, December 5, 2014

To Block or Not to Block.....

This week a conversation came up in a meeting with some parents from my school.  The question was regarding Newsstand on Apple's iPad devices.  The issue is this: there is no way to block it unless you restrict all access to the App store.  This creates obvious problems for school time when students are trying to download the educational apps for class.

Solution: teachers send home which apps are to be downloaded for the next day.  Not a huge deal.  Right?

The reason for the Newsstand restriction IS a good one.  The app allows covers of all magazines and a preview before you purchase them.  Our Catholic school students then have access to the covers and first few pages of magazines which they should not be accessing for free.  The covers are censored.

The educator in me says that if we teach them appropriately they will use it appropriately.  The parent in me says if we restrict it, they will find it more interesting.  The level-headed me says that these are school devices and I can understand the restrictions.

What are your thoughts on this?  I have already contacted Apple regarding the blocking of Newsstand (or even option to restrict) and no answer as of yet.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

12 Days of Christmas and Appreciating Each and Every One

Jessica Johnson shared a Google Doc with me this morning on the topic of the 12 Days of Christmas. It was an idea she received from Melinda Miller and Jay Posick - a way to show your staff that you appreciate them each of the 12 Days before Christmas break.  I love this idea!  They don't have to be big, extravagant gestures, but just a little something to brighten their day. 

A few ideas are candy canes, personalized Christmas cards, letting them wear flannel PJs to school, etc.  I am sure my staff would LOVE this idea, and I cannot wait to get started.

How about our friends and family? Of course you can't buy a candy cane for everyone you know, but how about something simple like 3 compliments a day? Sending someone you haven't talked to in a while a quick note that you're thinking about them. I can guarantee that the person you compliment on their scarf or nail polish will keep that with them all day.  I sent a text to a few of my oldest friends the other day reminding them how excited I am to see them during our annual night out after Christmas, and how fondly I remember our previous ones. 

Who's day can you make today? What small gesture can you give that may turn someone's day around?

"Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day."

~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Google Hangout Tutorial (2min screencast) #PrincipalPLN

Pernille Ripp sent out a tweet this morning asking for help with Google Hangouts.  It was as simple as creating a hangout, inviting people and sharing the broadcast link.  We do it with #PrincipalPLN each week but I forgot how tough it was to learn the first time!  I created a screencast and shared it, and here it is for you, too :)

Have a great day,

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sending out an SOS!

I am sending out an SOS.  

This happens about twice a year for me.  I get involved in everything I possibly can (because that's what this job needs and deserves) and get emotionally invested in all of it.  I work my "side" job as a church musician which usually takes over my weekends.  This weekend had a wedding, our school auction, and all on the tail end of a week that I couldn't have found another second in if I tried.

I give up.

I cannot do it all.  I am not 16 years old.  I am 34, and I am tired.  Time for a break.

The auction is finally over, there is finally time to breathe.  Time for a break.  I need to get back to writing (because I want to), exercising (because I NEED to) and just slowing down a bit.  This week will be an 8-5 ONLY Principal week.  No evening meetings, no rehearsals.  Just a slight break so we can focus on what is really important and what comes next.

Do you need a break?  How and when do you take it?  As Ice Cube said: "Check yourself before you wreck yourself."  Be proactive.  We worry about everyone else, be sure to take a little time to worry about yourself, too.  

I guess it's more of a white flag than an SOS, but either way - thanks for the help :)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Time to #LoseTheSnooze


If there's one thing I do well it is hit the snooze button. I've done it as long as I can remember, I just really love to sleep! There really is nothing like feeling your body laying heavily in bed in the morning (especially on those cold Michigan mornings!) I've been trying my best the last few years to lose this habit. I just can't seem to shake it. No matter how much I know I need to get out of bed, I convince myself it makes more sense to sleep in and get those last few treasured moments, even though I know that I'll feel worse afterward.

That ends tomorrow morning with my alarm clock.

If there's one thing I've learned it's that tomorrow isn't guaranteed. It's time to stop putting things off, getting them done, and living and working like there's no tomorrow. That includes losing the snooze.


Special thanks to Jessica Johnson for the kick in the pants I needed!

Watch this video, and you'll want to #LoseTheSnooze with me: 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

#PrincipalPLN Episode 5 - Safety Principles for Principals

Episode #5: Safety Principles for Principals
What’s been happening?

On to our topic…
-“Safety 10” -Talk about it for 10 minutes at each staff meeting after they’ve all been in their classrooms.
-Have a way to notify parents instantly (auto-message system). ex: SchoolReach, BlackBoard Connect, Remind
-Monthly Mentor Checklist - applies to entire year, but have mentors discuss safety protocols with new teachers before the start of the year.

#PrincipalPLN Episode 5 - Safety Principles for Principals

Episode #5: Safety Principles for Principals
What’s been happening?
On to our topic…
-“Safety 10” -Talk about it for 10 minutes at each staff meeting after they’ve all been in their classrooms.
-Have a way to notify parents instantly (auto-message system). ex: SchoolReach, BlackBoard Connect, Remind
-Monthly Mentor Checklist - applies to entire year, but have mentors discuss safety protocols with new teachers before the start of the year.

Monday, September 1, 2014

#PrincipalPLN Season 2 Episode 4 - Twas the Night Before the First Day of School

In this episode we catch up on what we've each been working on, what we wish we would have done earlier so we aren't stressed now (the story of principals' lives!) and what is most important the first week of school.

Need some ideas on books to read in classrooms the first week of school? PrincipalJ shares ideas HERE.

Stay tuned for future podcasts on...

Staying Healthy to Outlast this School Year Marathon

Guest Hal Elrod, Author of The Miracle Morning

Series of podcasts on tips for being efficient


Sunday, August 24, 2014

New Episode - Let us help plan your first staff meeting (Part 2)

 Great resources for planning your first staff meeting of the year:

First Staff Meeting Ideas:

Pass the Buck

Notes to prepare for my first staff meeting (includes what I learned from What Great Principals Do Differently by Todd Whitaker)

Mr. Bean idea then have teachers “pack their suitcase”

Example of a staff meeting agenda

Personalities Matter--Tools

Example of agenda/plans for new teachers/mentor day

Flipped meetings

The First Five Days of School

Youtube Clips are always good to include: (go to presentation videos) (blog post with a few and links to other posts with videos)

The Fun Theory

Kid Snippets Too Sick for School (search youtube for other funny “Kid Snippets”)

Penguins (for teamwork)

What Teachers Make

When I Become a Teacher (use with new teachers)

Kid President: Pep Talk for Teachers and Students

The Principal Meltdown


The audio is available for download here:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My contribution to the ALS #IceBucketChallenge

I have completed my #IceBucketChallenge as challenged by Dr. Spike Cook.  I am not nominating anyone, but I challenge you to donate to a cause close to you and please send in a few extra supplies to your classrooms this year - either for the teacher to use or for the students who may need them.  You can visit the link below to view my challenge if you'd like.  


Friday, August 22, 2014

New Podcast Episode - Let us help you plan your first staff meeting!

Great resources for planning your first staff meeting of the year:

The most important meeting of the year is your first staff meeting. Don’t make it be a sit and git...staff meetings should inspire teachers for the work they have to do, give them ideas to implement in their classroom and be a chance for ongoing professional learning.
Ice breaker suggestions:
You can also use the spider web ice breaker to show strengths and how the school is better as a whole than individually.  Have each staff member share a strength or a special talent instead of what is suggested in the site.



The audio is available for download here:

Friday, August 15, 2014

#PrincipalPLN Episode 1 is LIVE! (6/30)

Join us for #PrincipalPLN Episode 1.  We hope you enjoy and can't wait to have you join us for future episodes!


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What is the #PrincipalPLN?

The PrincipalPLN is a weekly podcast hosted by Theresa Stager, Jessica Johnson and Spike Cook. We are committed to creating podcasts that are informative, innovative and fun!

The concept of the podcast was developed by Theresa Stager, who at the time, was a first-year principal seeking ways to learn from others. Theresa reached out to Jessica Johnson, and they invited Spike Cook to join. The crew began podcasting in September of 2013. During the first year they had 35 episodes that are available on Itunes.

Each week we interview teachers, principals, superintendents, authors and presenters to learn  how to become more effective educators! We are dedicated to being the lead learners in all that we do.

As we prepare for our second year, we decided to challenge ourselves and learn more about the art of podcasting, so that is why we are branching out on our own. We will continue to provide high quality, engaging podcasts that will benefit all types of educators.

Stay tuned for more details as we organize our schedule! Follow us on Twitter or visit us at!



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

(4/30) The Forefront of Technology on a Scale of 1 to 4

If you asked 100 teachers if they were on the edge of technology in education right now, how many of them would answer a "four" on a 1 to 4 scale if "four" were the highest?

I have always seen myself as being on the forefront of technology in education, but when we interviewed Brad Gustafson a few weeks ago on PrincipalCast, he started speaking to us about augmented reality. I had never heard of augmented reality let alone used it in school.  (View the episode and show notes here.)

Do you think that some teachers who have a one-to-one iPad program and use Edmodo in their building believe that they are on the forefront of educational technology? Do you think that students who tweet in their classroom would give their school a "four"on that scale? What exactly is the forefront of technology in education?

What would you consider to be a "four"? More importantly, what would your students consider a "four"?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

#PrincipalCast Summer Series - What is coming up? (Day 3/30)

The #PrincipalCast summer series is winding down, but it has been amazing so far!  We were fortunate enough to discuss Life After the PrincipalShip with Peter DeWitt (he also helped with some travel tips!).  We spoke with Kelly Tenkely on how she started her own school and the way she differentiates and individualizes everything.  We had the ability to speak with Daisy Dyer Duerr (special guest host Drew Frank) about opportunities for summer learning that are available.  So much information, and such wonderful and amazing people to have the option to learn from!

What do we have coming up, you ask?  AMAZINGNESS.

On August 10, we speak with Ben Gilpin after #Edcampleadership.  We are working with Chris Wejr on August 24 on the topic Preparing for the New School Year.

August 31 is a Special Mystery Guest that you DO NOT WANT TO MISS!  We will be releasing information very soon, but trust me, you want this on your calendar!

Which has been your favorite episode so far?

Don't forget to subscribe via iTunes (and leave a review if you would!): PrincipalCast (video) and PrincipalCast (audio)


[googleapps domain="www" dir="calendar/embed" query="mode=AGENDA&height=300&wkst=1&bgcolor=%2366cccc&" width="300" height="300" /]

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Brainstorming and Drafts (2/30 Blogging Challenge)

I am very glad that Akevy (@Akevy613) started us on this blogging challenge after the interview with Kelly Tenkely (@Ktenkely) on PrincipalCast last week.  For some of us, the challenge is simply sitting down to write daily.  It's been a struggle for me in the past but it is something I truly need to do for myself.  I am glad this challenge started!  Though I have not spent a lot of time blogging thus far (this is my second post due to a stomach virus) I have been working on it in parts that have not yet been published.  I have been much more conscious of writing down ideas that may possibly become blog posts. 


I utilize Drafts by Agile Tortoise for my iPad and iPhone.  It is by far the best app I have found for capturing and saving information.  Once you create a draft, you can send it to OmniFocus, Evernote, Twitter, FaceBook, and many other apps.  It truly is the missing link between the iPhone/iPad and everything else in the universe ;)

What is your favorite catch-all for brainstorming?  

image credit:

Friday, July 25, 2014

When did Social Media become THE place for debate? (Blog a Day 1/30)

The other day, I posted a Common Core (CCSS) video (embedded below) by Kelly Tenkely (@ktenkely) on my Facebook profile. I know that CCSS is a hot topic for a lot of people. I understand that it is something that incites anger in some people. See the original post below. Within 5 minutes, the first response was a HUGE debate, talking about the deficiencies and mentioning that they were sure the video did not address them. It continued about the same way for the duration of the comment. Unfortunately, the debate continued within the comments.

Like I said, I understand COMPLETELY that this is a sore subject. In fact, I specifically said I wasn't looking for a debate. Only sharing information. When did Social Media become THE place for debate? Yes, it is more safe than in person, it is easier when you're typing as the pressure is much less. I just have a really hard time when I specifically ASKED for there to not be a debate, and the first response was just that.

The person who responded has had a very difficult time with the CCSS implementation in their district. They have since pulled their students and have been home schooling. I understand the difficulty. I REALLY do. I just don't understand this.

Just so this is clear: I mean this person NO ill will. I understand the difficulties behind the subject. This was just a good example of what I have seen lately. Be it comments on a news article, responses to a status, etc. It happens everywhere. I enjoy myself a good debate, but sometimes I just want to share information.

br />


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Why is it important to create digital media in your professional career? Reform Symposium Keynote Panel 2014

Originally posted on




On Saturday July 12, 2014, TeacherCast was featured on a Keynote Panel at the Reform Symposium.  In this videoJeff BradburyDr. Spike CookChris NesiSam Patterson, and Theresa Stager discuss how they first learned how to create digital media that led them into becoming amazing podcasters.  We wish to thank Peggy GeorgeShelly Terrell and Steve Hargadon for inviting us onto this years Reform Symposium.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

PrincipalCast Summer Series

Originally posted by Dr. Spike Cook:

This summer the Principalcast Crew will be continuing the learning process with some of education’s greatest minds. We are making a few changes to our schedule. Our Summer recording time will be 8:15 PM EST on Teachercast. Since it is the summer, we are planning to take some Sunday’s off to spend with our family.

The Principalcast Podcast is  weekly round table discussion about current topics in educational leadership. The concept was developed by Theresa Stager, who at the time, was a first year principal seeking ways to learn from others. Theresa reached out to Jessica Johnson, and they invited Spike to join. Principalcast began podcasting in September of 2013.

Each week we interview teachers, principals, superintendents, authors and presenters to learn about how to become more effective educators! We are dedicated to being the lead learners in all that we do. During the first year we had 32 episodes that are available on YouTube, Itunes, and at Teachercast.

Make sure to connect with the co-hosts Theresa Stager, Jessica Johnson, Spike Cook, and our producer, Jeff Bradbury!

Check out the schedule below and we look forward to connecting with you!

All Times 8:15 PM EST
July 6 – (Episode 33) Peter DeWitt – Life After the Principalship
July 20 – (Episode 34) Kelly Tenkley Want to start your own school?
July 27 – (Episode 35) Daisy Dyer Duerr Summer Learning Opportunities

August 10 – (Episode 36) Ben Gilpin: #Edcampleadership
August 24 – (Episode 37) Chris Wejr Preparing for the New School Year
August 31 – (Episode 38) Special Mystery Guest (s) Preparing for the New School Year Part 2

Tune into Teachercast to catch all the action. Follow us on Twitter and check out the Principalcast website

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

RSCON Panel: Revolutionize Your Classroom by Producing Mindblowing Media



Join the annual Reform Symposium Free Online Conference (RSCON) – an online global event highlighting “wow” moments in teaching and learning. RSCON5, will take place July 11th – 13th, 2014 and will feature 60+presentations, 11 keynote speakers from across the globe, panel discussions, tech/app/lesson swaps, the EdInspire Awards, and plenaries Dean Shareski and Kevin Honeycutt. Join the Future of Education community to keep updated with these events and connect with over 10,000 educators worldwide. See more information at

For those interested in hearing an AMAZING panel of Connected Educators discussing how they  are using Digital Media in their schools and classrooms, check out the TeacherCast Keynote Panel Revolutionize Your Classroom by Producing Mindblowing Media on Saturday July 12 at 3pm EST featuring Jeff Bradbury, Dr. Spike Cook, Theresa Stager, Sam Patterson, and Chris Nesi.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

iPad 1:1 and Summer Learning

I am in the process of wrapping up my school year, but still a huge question remains: will the students take the iPads home in the summer?

The iPads are school-owned and we are Pre-K to 8th grade (only K-7 will take them home). The difference is that we are a private school, so students do not have to return.

I'm also starting a summer learning program where I plan to send home an "assignment" each day, a different subject per day of the week. It would go home via email. We send all of our information that way right now as well.

I'm not sure that the students would 'need' the iPad for this process. Plus, I really need the time to reimage them and get them set up for next year. I just really feel like they should have them. Just not sure it's the best plan.

I would LOVE feedback!

Monday, May 26, 2014

"Crack the Books" Creator Interview

I had the opportunity to interview "Crack the Books" creator Kyle Thomson. This is a tremendous resource, using an iPhone app be able to create a textbook that is not only interactive but can change reading level!

There are 5 different reading levels for each of the sections. The content doesn't change, only the level. All vocabulary exists in each level.

How amazing to be able to keep your entire class utilizing the same material! You really MUST check this out. I am a fan and I know you will be, too.

Read more about the series here:

Saturday, May 10, 2014

So little time!!

I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone. It is SO cliche, but it literally was Christmas, then 10 snow days, and now it's the middle of May! Unreal! I feel like there was so much time, and now I can't seem to grasp on to anything. The days are slipping away and the task list is growing ever longer.

Principals: What is your end-of-the-year strategy for making sure to get everything done (that doesn't include working until 11PM every night!)


Monday, April 21, 2014

“But remember, boy, that a kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword.” ― Rick Riordan, The Battle of the Labyrinth

“But remember, boy, that a kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword.” ― Rick Riordan, The Battle of the Labyrinth

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
― Henry James

In the last three weeks, I have seen and experienced more than I care to. I had two family members who were terminally ill and died within 2 weeks of each other. The most difficult, however, was a 52-year-old family friend who passed away from cancer. The difficulty with this was in the fact that no one knew she was sick except immediate family and very few close friends who were sworn not to reveal. She had been Stage 4 from the beginning, yet chose to tell almost no one. We saw her weekly at church and around town, but had no idea other than her wig, which really just looked like a new haircut.

Everyone is walking their own road and is fighting their own battle. Know that things are deeper than they seem. No matter who it is or what it looks like, you have no idea what someone is dealing with. Tread lightly and compassionately, and those who need it will thank you for it. I promise.

Bill Hemmer: "You said cancer changes your life, and oftentimes for the better."
Joel Siegel: "Yes.... Gilda Radner... said this in her book. What cancer does is, it forces you to focus, to prioritize, and you learn what's important. I mean, I don't sweat the small stuff. I used to get angry at cab drivers. It's not worth it.... And when somebody says you have cancer, you realize it's all small stuff. And what Gilda said is, if it weren't for the downside, everyone would want to have it. But there is a downside."
~American Morning, CNN, 13 June 2003


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sick and tired of being sick and tired

How often have you felt this way? I have a pretty crappy immune system, so I find myself sick pretty often. My family has been sick for the last two weeks and I have managed to avoid it. Until today.


It's just a head cold. Other than making me tired and having to blow my nose, it's really not that big of a thing. However, I'm still more than motivated to sit on my couch and watch the NCAA Tournament. With Michigan AND Michigan State being in the Elite 8 for the first time ever, it's a pretty big deal for our household. I am an alum of the University of Michigan and my husband is an alum of Michigan State University. (note: as of this post, there is 1:13 left in the Michigan State game, so the Final Four may be Spartanless).

I was thinking about a PrincipalCast episode we did about ways to keep yourself fresh and healthy. Some people exercise, some write, some read. I watch sports. It is a way to completely clear my head and think about anything else besides work. I love my work and I love my job, but I need a break. We ALL need a break. I have started making Saturday "no email" day. I turn my work email off and I don't check it all day. If the school is burning down or someone has an emergency, they have my cell number and can also IM me. I do NOT need to be waiting for something to happen or for someone to need me.

As I sit and angrily manage this head cold, I remind myself how happy I am that I have the NCAA Tournament to help me focus on something else. What do you do when you're sick and tired of being sick and tired?

Update: Michigan State lost to UConn by a score of 60-54. If Michigan doesn't beat KY this afternoon, I'm going to have to turn to baseball....

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

5 Interview Tips from a New Principal

I recently had a #PrincipalCast subscriber email me asking for interview suggestions as he was interviewing at a Catholic school.  I 

wrote him the following email, but thought I would share it here, too.  Most interviews are similar - asking about curriculum, what your ideal school might look like, etc. - but these are a few things that you may not have thought of. 

Good luck, and let the #PrincipalCast crew know how we can help you!

(#1 may not apply to all of you, but I'm sure there is something about your new school that you should know.  Always go in with SOMETHING you know about the school.  DO YOUR RESEARCH.)  



1.  Make sure you know what your Catholic Identity is.  Who are you in your faith?  What do you believe the identity of the school/students should be? How and where does this group of students "belong" in the church?

2.  Know your leadership style.  They may ask you what your staff meetings may look like, how often you'll have them, etc.  Will you require your teachers to turn in lesson plans?  How often will you be in the classroom (ideally)?  



3.  Be prepared to answer the question "What will be the first thing you'll do as the Principal?"  A good answer to that is that you will spend a lot of time observing the climate of the school and begin to understand the community.  You never want to make too 

many changes at once.  Especially if the school is having an issue with stability.  They need to know you are there to support them, not to make it "your school."

4.  If this is a job that may require a relocation, know that it may come up in the interview.  Just so you aren't surprised ;)

5.  Finally - be yourself.  This cannot be understated.  You NEVER know what they are looking for in their leader.  If you do get the job, you want to be sure it is because it is a good fit for you AND for the school.  There is nothing wrong with 'losing' out on a job because you weren't the right fit.  They may feel they need someone who is more of a disciplinarian, more gentle, taller, older, etc., etc., etc (of course those last ones aren't real, but you get the point).  You just never know what they are looking for, and in the long run it is a better decision for all involved if you aren't chosen for a position that wasn't a good fit.  It's hard to swallow, but it's the truth.

Just be prepared for them to ask anything, and there is nothing wrong with taking a deep breath and thinking about your response before you verbalize it.  Nothing at all.


Good luck!Image

Monday, March 17, 2014

School-Wide Goals and a Book Study with Edmodo

After receiving the results from our IOWA tests (the standardized test we take in October each year), our Pre-K to 1st and 2nd to 4th grade PLCs decided their SMART goal for this year would be Vocabulary. Our students struggled the most with vocabulary on this year's tests, so they decided it would be our main goal for the remainder of the year.

Fast forward a few months: ASCD sent me a group of 5 books to review, and one of them was Vocab Rehab by Marilee Sprenger (from ASCD's Arias collection). The Arias collection consists of short books, about 35 pages long, that can be read in a sitting and are easily digestible. I read the book and left it with my teachers to read, each of them deciding they would read it in an evening and give it to the next teacher. They will all be finished by the end of this week.

The book had a lot of great activities in it to teach Vocabulary in about 10 minutes a day. I have set up an Edmodo group for the teachers who are interested and created an "assignment." Each of them will post their favorite activity after reading the book and it will give us a place to keep all of that information.

Any of you who do book studies - how do you keep track of them? I would love to hear the different ideas!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

#20Time (AKA Genius Hour), #michED and Teacher Professional Development

I spent this last weekend in Grand Rapids, MI at the #MACUL14 conference (Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning).  Aside from being able to finally meet some of my twitter peeps in person (@TechNinjaTodd, @KleinErin, @bloch574 and @gcouros to name a few!) - I attended a few really amazing sessions and had an interview with one of my #michED colleagues, Brad Wilson (@dreambition).  Brad produces the #michED podcast and asked me to interview with him while at the conference.



Brad had quite a few thought-provoking questions, which are always nice in an interview.  One of the conversations we had was discussing how @Twitter could be utilized for teacher professional development.  It really got me thinking (I will link to that podcast when it is published) and I went back to one of the sessions I attended at #MACUL14 by Nicholas Provenzano (@thenerdyteacher).  Nicholas was presenting on his #20Time project, also known as Genius Hour.  The premise is that you give your students 20% of their time (1 class period a week) to learn about whatever they want.  They blog about what they learned and do a presentation at the end of the year.  Nick's school is hosting a TEDx talk in June where some of the students will present their projects in a TEDtalk.

What if we used this model for teacher professional development?  What if we gave the teachers one staff meeting a month to learn about WHATEVER they wanted.  Write up their findings, turn it in (on Edmodo, a blog, whatever) and make our PD differentiated.  Would this help the school?

Has anyone utilized this model or anything similar to it in their building?  How did it work out?  What do we do about state regulations regarding hours of PD?  I would love to hear your comments.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Tech Talk at Mercy High School


I was fortunate enough to be able to spend last Friday with 4 of my teachers and a huge bunch of our colleagues at the Tech Talk Conference at Mercy High School.  I was also able to meet my Twitter "peeps" and Apple Distinguished Educators Karen Bosch (@KarlyB)  and Larry Baker (@labcbaker) which was fantastic.  Liz Kolb (@lkolb) gave an amazing keynote on asking students what they want to do - it is a question that could change the course of their educational lives.

I left the day-long conference very energized and excited about what we have in Michigan for Professional Development.  Besides these in-service programs, we also have #MichEd chat on Wednesday evenings on Twitter.  Be sure to connect with these educators and join us (even just to follow along) in the chat.  You won't be sorry!

More information on Mercy's conference can be found here:

You can also follow the #MHTalk conversation by searching the hashtag or clicking here.

Friday, February 21, 2014

iPad Classroom Management

iPad Classroom Management

I always love to find articles that show usefulness for teachers with iPads - this is a great list!  Be sure to check it out and share it with your staff.  There are some wonderful ideas on it as well as things I would have never thought of!

Happy Friday :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Catching Up on Professional Reading

If you are anything like me, and I suspect you are, you see those who are consistently reading and commenting on articles and thinking "How in the WORLD do they have time for that!?"  It baffles me!  Let alone time to write the articles (my #PrincipalCast co-host @DrSpikeCook has been blogging once a day in 2014, and I cannot fathom how he has the time!)  It is dizzying.  Honestly.




I'm working hard on trying to keep up yet not give myself too hard of a time when I don't.  I am a first-year Principal.  I can't do it all.  I have to make priorities.  BUT I WANT TO DO IT ALL!  (Rant over.)

My biggest struggle is reading comprehension.  I admit it - I cannot focus when I'm reading.  I can, however, focus when I am being read to, as long as it is in short bits.  The best adaptive software I have found so far is right in my Mac!

I have recently started (or re-started) listening to the articles I want to read while I'm doing my morning work.  That's right, I listen to them.  If you haven't discovered this little gem, you're missing out!


Here is an article on how to do it: 

It's as easy as selecting the text, right clicking, and selecting "Speech ---> Start Speaking"

You can also select the text, right click and select "Services ---> Send to iTunes as a Spoken Track" and it will save it as your own little podcast for later.

I save all of the articles on Twitter I want to read later into Instapaper, then I open it and just have my little Siri read it to me.  It has been a lifesaver, and I don't feel so out-of-touch on my little administrator island.

We discussed this topic in depth on our last #PrincipalCast episode.  You can find Episode 18 at

How do you keep up with Professional Reading?


Monday, January 13, 2014

Mizzou Football's Suggestions for Success

Mizzou Football's Suggestions for Success

As educators, we work to be sure our students are not only high achieving and working toward their goals, but making sure that they are productive members of society when the leave us.  Gary Pinkel, football coach at Missouri, has put together a list of steps for success for his players.  Some of the great ones are:

10. Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.

17. Be decisive even if it means you’ll sometimes be wrong.

My favorite:

21. Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make your mom proud.

It is a letter worth sharing, and I hope you'll share it with your students as well.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

"Digital Leadership with Eric Sheninger" by Dr. Spike Cook

Eric Sheninger is releasing a new book Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times on January 14, 2014. ThePrincipalcast Podcast will be interviewing Eric on Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 9:30 EST on
The reason we chose to interview Eric is because he has been the champion for the connected educator, specifically, the connected administrator. Administrators throughout the world have benefited from Eric’s tireless efforts to ensure we are prepared for the changing paradigms of education.
Our interview will focus on the practical aspects of the book, and how it can help improve students, parents, teachers and administrators.  If you would like to ask questions, feel free to tweet Principalcast. We will also be giving away a signed copy of the book for one lucky listener on Sunday night.
According to Todd Whitaker, Professor of Educational Leadership at Indiana State University:
“This book is THE book on digital leadership.  There is no one I can recommend more highly than the most connected educational leader today – Eric Sheninger – to help us navigate all of the changes taking place in classrooms, schools and districts.  The book is perfect to help everyone initiate transformational change in a digital world.  Whether you are a cutting edge techie or a nervous newbie this book is for you.”
Once again, be sure to join the Principalcast crew as we spend time chatting with Eric Sheninger on Sunday, January 12, 2014 @ 9:30PM EST on

Cross-posted from

Blog Archive