S'More From The AP

Week Ending November 14, 2014

Making Room For Change

Do you remember when we used to have answering machines? For you young'uns, those were big boxes that we plugged our house phones into, so that the phone was tethered to the box (and the wall as well). We had to push a button on the box to record, listen to messages, and erase messages. If it stormed or accidentally came unplugged we had to reset it and re-record our outgoing message. If we had a message, a little red light would blink on the machine...boy that was exciting! But like most everything else, new technology has made way for new things. We don't need answering machines anymore (although my mother still uses one). Home phones come with voicemail now which does not require this big box. And some people do not even have house phones, because their cell phone, with it's unlimited talk and text, has simply removed the need for one. And actually, "talking" on the phone seems to be a disappearing art. My daughter does all her communicating through text messaging, not voice talking. As a matter of fact, when she was grounded from her cell phone a few years back, and she said she really needed to talk to her friend regarding the homework (mmh hmm), I offered to let her use the house phone. She was floored at the suggestion and walked off saying, "TALK on the PHONE"? Just never mind, I'll wait until tomorrow".

Whether we like it or not, times really do change...Some things just go by the wayside because they are simply no longer necessary. Other times, something comes along to improve upon an original idea, and sometimes more information leads us to new understandings and ways of designing things.

This coming week, we would like to focus on these ideas a little more. In the post below, Kelly shares her ideas on the topic of change and transitions. Please take a moment to read it, as well as the related links shared here, and spend some time thinking about this before our Thursday staff meeting.

The Principal Ponders

Has your “cheese” been moved lately? You know the cheese I’m talking about – the cheese that symbolizes everything we want in life: the perfect job, the big house, good health, and everything in between. While everyone’s “cheese” may be different, we all get just a tad uneasy if and when someone decides to move it. Why? Because this means changing – and change isn’t always easy and neat.

I will be the first to say that there has definitely been some cheese movin’ going on in our district over the past couple of years. Collaboration, creativity, innovation……name the buzzword and we’ve heard it, used it, lived it. All of you have dipped your big toe into the bath water of new things, such as PBL, technology integration, formative assessment and many other things that you know have to change in order for us to provide our students with what they need and deserve. Staying with the cheese metaphor, consider these points when thinking about change,specifically in your classroom:

Smell the cheese often so you know when it’s getting old – Have a lesson you’ve been teaching since 1999? Give it a whiff. Is it time to toss it completely or can you just cut off the moldy pieces and bring it back to life?

Movement in a new direction helps you find new cheese – making even the smallest of changes will help you see different perspectives and new ways of doing things you may have only possibly done one way in the past.

Imagining yourself enjoying new cheese, before you find it, will lead you to it – let yourself think about the changes you may want to make/try and you will be more likely to actually implement them.

The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you will find new cheese – You have to let go of the old to make room for the new – this is part of “cheese-moving”and change.
Old beliefs do not lead you to new cheese – You have to open up your mind to new ideas – this requires letting go of some tried and true, deep-rooted beliefs.

When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese, you change course – Once you find new cheese that you like, you will begin to move in that direction. This goes along with dipping your toe in the bath water to test the temperature. Test it out and then jump on in!!

Move with the cheese and enjoy it! Change can be fun! It will also keep you from getting in a rut and remind you of why you became a teacher in the first place.

Keep in mind the context of change. Yes, we want our classrooms to look different that the classrooms of a decade ago. However, there is still a place for you to embrace the old and pull out the old lesson you’ve taught 100 plus times…… if and when it works. Don’t get stuck, but allow yourself to rest in familiarity as well. And you don’t have to throw everything out to be innovative either.

According to teacher, author and blogger Pernille Ripp, “Innovation should not be confused with discarding everything we have tried. There is beauty in the old, in the tried. There is beauty when a teacher has experience. Allow yourself that moment."

You don’t have to constantly change to be a change-maker. Your influence and expertise will be speak for itself – Rock On STARS!

Worth Reading

Worth Watching

Education Evolution
Veterans Day

Scenes From Our Week

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Thanks Mrs. Wilhelm for Retweeting this awesome shot!
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Tweets Of The Week

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Tech Corner

This week, I wanted to share a website called writeabout.com (not the same as the Write About This app). This site is for social publishing (blogging) and is really awesome. Here is some information:

What devices does Write About work on?
Write About is a web-based platform that is accessed through a browser. It works on desktops, laptops and tablets running iOS or Android. The system can be accessed through a mobile device, but generally is made for screens bigger than 7 inches. The ability to record audio through the flash interface does not currently work on iOS devices like iPads.

What browsers does Write About work in?
The system works in Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari. There are a few known issues in Internet Explorer.

What ages and grade levels is Write About for?
Elementary, middle school, and high school students have all had great success using Write About! Content can be filtered by grade level and there are a range of Ideas and Posts being created each day. Teachers with students under the age of 13 are required to obtain proper parental permission for joining and publishing to an online educational network.

How much does Write About cost?

Teachers can sign up and participate in the Write About community for free. Up to 40 free student accounts can be created with up to 3 posts each. Unlimited posts can be added with a Classroom account for $4.95/month. Click the link below for more info:


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