Saturday, July 23, 2011

Full House for a While

This is a great time for me right now because of two full houses.

No, not aces over kings. I am referring to my school and my home.

My school has finished two weeks of the three week Summer Learning Camp (SLC). Each day a wonderful staff, that includes Wolcott Elementary staff, teachers from elsewhere, and a few teens, greets more than thirty Wolcott Elementary students.

This year, the SLC has chosen the theme of "Super Heroes." In these last few days of the program, they are working hard on an original play called "Superhero Crisis." I can't wait until Thursday to see the show and then blog about it.

Having the SLC around has been a great way to start my time at Wolcott. Instead of an empty school, I got to be right in the middle of it all.

The other full house was at home. We just had six house guests staying with us for several days. While it was a bit chaotic, my daughter and son loved having two cousins around, and it was great to see my parent and one of my sisters.

Now, the house is back to normal (whatever that means) and the SLC is winding down.

In a few days, I will be longing for the full house of the in-service days and the start of school.

I can't wait.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sharing With Teachers is Fun

One of my favorite facets of being a principal is sharing ideas and resources. Today, day three of my new principalship, I had the perfect opportunity to share.

It all began many months ago when I signed on to help organize EdCamp Boston (and as fate would have it, I wore my EdCamp Boston shirt today). One of the sponsors, TenMarks, gave each participant a redemption code for one student to use the summer program.

Well, I am not giving direct services to anyone this summer, so I figured that I would share my code with someone on the staff at my new school. It turns out that Wolcott Elementary School has a long established and successful Summer Learning Camp that includes some math tutoring. So, I spoke with the school's Title I Math Teacher, who is working with the summer program. She hadn't heard of TenMarks, but was eager to give it a try. I also spoke with her about Khan Academy and We had a great conversation. I could see the light going on in her face; she looked excited to explore.

A few hours later, I received an email from the teacher. She had gone home and explored all three sites and already identified a few students for whom these sites could be perfect.

I am proud to think that I accomplished something today: I shared.

cross posted to Connected Principals

image credit: furiousgeorge81 cc 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Kids v. Grown-ups, Guest Blog #2

The other day, I can't remember exactly when or what the context was, my daughter drafted her second blogpost. I agreed to allow her, once again, to guest blog here on the Principal's Point of View.

by Maya Fliegelman

Kids learn more than grown-ups.

Q: Why?

A: Because kids have more to learn.


I used to agree with this line of thinking. In fact, as a child, it never occurred to me that adults learned at all. I don't remember a teacher ever telling us about her own learning. Now, from what I can remember, I had several really good teachers, but no memory at all of thinking of them as learners.

When I was in the classroom, I made a point of saying, "I don't know" when I didn't know. I also made a point to talk to the students about how I learned as I talked to them about what and how they learned. I even taught them the words "pedagogy" and "metacognition." (Of course, teaching seventh graders how to say the Massachusetts lake, Chaubunagungamaug, was far more entertaining.)

Anyway, I dare not argue with my daughter to her face as I do not want to be humiliated by losing to her. Instead, I will argue with her on my blog. I think that she is wrong. I think that some grown-ups think they have little left to learn and seem to stop learning. I know many adults who are the opposite. For example, both my father and father-in-law have been learning all sorts of new things into their seventies. I know many teachers who never stop learning and never stop being excited about showing off their learning.

What do you think? Do kids learn more because they have more to learn? Do adults learn less? Do teachers talk enough about their own learning? Which is the better way to refer to the unyoung: adults or grown-ups? Leave a comment and your opinion.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Once and Current Principal

Back on October 6, 2010, I took the difficult step of explaining to the world what was going on in my professional life with my blogpost: Principal-at-large Or, The Once and Future Principal. In that post, I explained that I was not to be a principal for the year. I also explained what I planned to do for the year and for my future.

I called myself the principal-at-large with the following list of duties. Now that the year is over, I've included my self-assessment for each duty.
  • Read dozens of education blogs each day
  • Check
  • Comment on and/or retweet as many things as possible
  • Not as much as I meant to
  • Participate in edchat and ntchat
  • Check for edchat, not so much for ntchat
  • Participate in various other online learning opportunities
  • Check
  • Read my back log of education titles
  • Not hardly
  • Blog about my reading of my backlog of education titles
  • No
  • Blog for Connected Principals
  • Check
  • Get involved in "The Education Debate" going on in the US
  • Check
  • Volunteer at the local elementary school
  • Check
  • Attend EdCamps and other unconferences
  • Check: EdCampKC, EdCampNYC, EduCon, TMNJ, NTCamp, EdCampBoston
  • Clean the kitchen, put away the laundry, and cook dinner (my wife added this)
  • Not often enough according to my wife
  • Play with my children (my children added this)
  • Not enough according to my children
  • Get paid $1,000,000,000 (maybe not)
  • Almost

Great seal of Vermont. Although officially ado...Image via WikipediaNot on the list, but featured prominently in that old blogpost was the task of finding a new principal position. I searched and I searched. The early winter was quiet and then boom! March arrived, coming in like a lion with many interviews. At the end of the month, I was offered the position of Principal of Wolcott Elementary School. It was like a dream come true. A small school, in a rural area, near other nice towns was exactly what I was looking for. My wife and I were thrilled to be moving to Vermont.

So, that is my story. In the coming months, I will write about education issues and my experience as principal in Wolcott.

Please keep reading.