Montana Catholic Schools Weekly

October 5, 2015

Busy Teachers & Screen Time

Driving around the Treasure State (and there’s really no better time than these great weeks of autumn) I listen to podcasts. I would like to recommend two podcasts:

1. “Every Classroom Matters” by the Cool Cat Teacher, Vicki Davis. Vicki is a classroom teacher and designs these 10 minute podcasts for busy teachers. One podcast drops every week. So far, she has made 173. And since I discovered this podcast last spring, I have listened to every single one. I suggest going to iTunes and downloading the topics you enjoy and subscribing to the podcast. The 10 minute length is perfect for a short drive. Here are some of my favorites:

a. Teaching Strategies (#1 on the iTunes list)

b. Story of a Life Turned Around by Great Teachers (#4)

c. Connecting Student Passion to the Curriculum (#5)

d. 10 Ways to Start Building Strong Relationships with Parents (#9)

e. Mind Hacking (#28)

f. Child Development (#32)

g. Zombie-based learning (#35)

h. Classroom management (#36)

i. Myths about rigor (#51)

j. How a School Threw out its Reading Program (#152)

k. There are plenty more about Minecraft, game-based learning, project-based learning, makerspaces. You can plug into topics you are interested in or simply listen to find out about new trends in education.

l. Here’s a link to my absolutely favorite one:

2. The “TED Radio Hour” is a weekly 45 minute podcast. I want to highlight their recently released podcast “Screen Time, part one.” It’s a fascinating examination of our obsession with screen time. A few takeaways:

a. Our smart phones have become part of our “exoskeleton” extending our mental capabilities beyond what our brain can (normally) do. Why just watch TV when we can check our Facebook feed? Why listen to a lecture when we can check our Twitter feed? Don’t Smartphones help you feel smart by extending your abilities?

b. This phenomenon is studied by “cyborg anthropologists” who view our smart phones as “magic portals” to another dimension. What was once thought of as inconceivable (the Internet and all its apps) is now normal. We now exist here and “there” (somewhere in the virtual world).

c. We have become concerned with our “second selves” on the Internet. Our teenagers thus have to go through a digital adolescence alongside their analog (read normal) adolescence. This implies that schools need to be actively teaching their students how to function in the digital world.

d. The concern is that without down time (because we always have input from our smart phones) we lack the opportunity to reflect. Without reflection, our teenagers lack the skills to navigate either adolescence.

e. The coming advent of virtual reality headsets will continue to accelerate this process. In education, we will be challenged to incorporate this technology. Imagine a tour of the Pyramids or witnessing open heart surgery via a headset. But you can also imagine the implication of turning students loose in a virtual world and the blurring of the digital and analog adolescences.

Check it out!

Dr. Tim Uhl, Superintendent

The Week Ahead

Monday: Billings meetings

Tuesday: Billings meeting

Wednesday: Butte meetings

Thursday: office (Helena)

Friday: office (Helena)

This week: 705 miles

Last week: 1,147 miles

2015-16: 5,112 driving miles/ 2,346 air miles

Montana Catholic Schools Weekly

Serving 3800+ students in 24 Catholic Schools across the Treasure State

For Principals

  1. Congratulations to Loyola Sacred Heart and Great Falls Central Catholic for placing students in the National Merit Scholarship competition. Loyola Sacred Heart has 3 National Merit semifinalists and Central Catholic has one.
  2. I sent out a Google Form for completing the NCEA Data this year. The deadline is October 23rd.
  3. I have also sent out Administrator Annual Goals to all the principals/presidents who report directly to me. Thanks for getting those back to me ASAP.
  4. For DOH schools, please schedule your employees to attend a Group Health Plan seminar: Oct 13th (Shelby), Oct 15th (Butte), Oct 22nd (Kalispell), Oct 23rd (Helena), or Oct 28th (Missoula). The new Group Health Plan will go into effect on January 1st.
  5. For GFB schools, please schedule someone from your school to attend the LIFE seminar (the new Safe Environment curriculum): Oct 5th (Billings), Oct 8th (Miles City), Oct 12th (Wolf Point), or Oct 13th (Great Falls).
  6. For GFB Schools, Bp Warfel has released his preliminary Catholic Schools Week schedule: Monday: 9 am Livingston, 1:30 St. Charles. Tuesday: 9 am St. Xavier, 1:30 St. Labre. Wednesday: 8:30 Miles City, 1:30 Billings. Thursday: 9 am Hays, 1:30 Havre. Friday: 9:30 Great Falls.
  7. Marian University "Themes of the New Testament" classes: 12:30 pm Oct 14 Great Falls Central Catholic; 9 am Oct 15 Loyola Sacred Heart; 9 am Oct 16 Billings Central HS.

American Catholic News

Leadership Links

Teaching & Learning

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Servant Leader of the Week

Lauren Smith, the principal at St. Matthew's in Kalispell, is in her 4th year of principal. Lauren and her husband, Shannon (a math teacher and football coach at Glacier HS) have four children--two of which are enrolled at St. Matt's and two at Glacier HS. Lauren is a former high school guidance counselor who received her BA from VCU and MA from the University of Phoenix. Lauren has led her school through its first self-study and accreditation and has brought enrollment growth to the school along with a commitment to Catholic identity and educational excellence.

Do you know someone you'd like to nominate for Servant Leader of the Week? Send me a picture and brief nomination.


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