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Showing posts from December, 2019

Top Posts of 2019

Well, another year of writing has passed, and it was a big one as 2019 marked ten years since I began my blogging journey. To still be churning out posts on a weekly basis is quite the accomplishment for a guy who never wrote nor intended to write for a public audience. For me, the push I needed came from Ken Royal, who, after hearing what we were doing at New Milford High School and then visiting, stated unequivocally that I had to share our story. Well, after begrudgingly agreeing to pen some guest posts for him, I built up my confidence and launched my blog in March of 2019. After that, the rest is history.

Blogging has certainly changed over the past ten years. Back in the day, a typical post would garner numerous comments. They would also serve as a catalyst for vibrant Twitter conversations. Another change has come in the form of developing unique topics or spins on what is already out in cyberspace. For me, in particular, I have experienced a great deal of difficulty trying to d…

Mitigating #EdTech Issues in the Classroom

With all the promise that educational technology holds, several pitfalls are always on the minds of educators. The top two issues that commonly come up in my talks with educators are the technology (Internet, hardware, devices, apps) not working or off-task behavior on the part of students.  While there are some serious challenges that can derail any lesson, there are some strategic ways to mitigate them ground in instructional design. Here are some of the most commonly implemented strategies, which I will describe in more detail in this post.
Classroom ManagementPedagogically sound lessonsMonitoringAccountability for learningFeedbackAssessmentClassroom Management

It is tough to argue the fact that many learners will quickly go off and remain off task if a classroom is not managed effectively. The key above all else is to build positive relationships with kids. One great way to do this is to co-construct rules with them as well as ramifications if they are not followed or broken. Addres…

Model What You Preach: Pedagogy at the Heart of Professional Learning

When I began speaking ten years ago, almost all of my keynotes and presentations consisted of me just speaking at the audience. I was still a high school principal and not a trained speaker and presenter. Thus, I basically just shared what my teachers and students were doing at New Milford High School (NJ) and the evidence that showed how our implementations of innovative ideas were improving student outcomes as well as teaching, learning, and leadership practices. Basically, I felt very comfortable delivering a lecture and talking at people for up to an hour and sometimes more. I even received validation and praise, which only led to me becoming even more comfortable with both my preparation and delivery.

My style remained unchanged for a few years until I began to receive excellent feedback, some of which was critical, that pushed me to rethink how I planned and organized my presentations. Part of this shift came when I started to facilitate workshops that consisted of anywhere from …

A Good Plan Requires Great Execution

When we think about change, more often than not, a plan is developed, implemented, and evaluated with the goal being improvement. The journey to improve is a process that requires various strategies that are aligned to a specific focus as outlined in a mission statement or vision document that describes the why. Most schools, districts, and organizations have both. The details on how to achieve both the mission and vision come to fruition in the form of desired goals and outcomes supported by specific measures and targets. The final piece to a good plan is the results. No matter how good a plan for change and improvement is, the proof is in the pudding. Here is where execution comes into play.



For the updated edition of Digital Leadership, I created the image above, which outlines the critical elements of a sound strategic plan. In a previous post, I focused on the essential questions as a means to ensure efficacy when time and resources are needed to get the change or improvement proc…

Vet What You Buy

Teaching is tough. It might very well be one of the most challenging jobs on the planet when you consider the time that is put in both in and out of school. I, for one, would spend hours planning and grading in the evening, at night, and on weekends. The workload might have been exhausting, but I never second-guessed my career choice. As the years have passed, it seems like expectations and workload of teachers keeps increasing. What has resulted is a pursuit of ways to work smarter, not harder, while still improving outcomes for all learners. In the schools I have the honor of coaching in, I see more and more evidence of co-planning and sharing of resources both within the school and across the district as a means to lessen the load. I also see plenty of investments in materials from Teachers Pay Teachers. Herein lies the point of this post.

Let me be extremely clear. I am all for teachers selling lesson plans, assessments, support materials, and other resources to their peers. Pay fo…