School culture

I am a novice Assistant Principal. I have arrived in a school with a dynamic principal who is dedicated to making our school an exciting and energizing place to me. I work with the curriculum and instruction aspect of the school and have attempted to implement some new programs this year.

I am trying to figure out a way to help my staff get on board with what we are attempting to do, all the while trying to understand that everyone is not going to like it, some people may actively discourage and undermine our efforts, and some people may stand in the shadows and wait for things to unfold.

I am currently engaged in research school culture and how to continue the push forward in our building. I am excited about what we are doing, I just am trying to figure out how to make it last.

For anyone with suggestions on helping me through this new adventure please feel free to contact me via email at zmwm3@goldmail.etsu.edu and please put “Novice Assistant Principal” in the subject line. Any ideas provided should be professional in nature. If the advice is multifaceted please provide the steps involved in the process.

Thanks for helping me out.


Helping your child to make a difference!

All of us have had the experience of going to a restaurant, hotel, supermarket, bank or somewhere else and been giving less than the best customer service. Some people, regardless of what they’re getting paid, do the minimum. Their attitude is “good enough is good enough”.

On the other hand, we’ve all experienced super customer service, at hotels, banks, auto dealerships or whatever else. We can appreciate this special attention to detail, making us feel special and doing their job very well.

So what makes the difference between great customer service and average customer service. It comes from two different areas: it comes from those companies and organizations that have a philosophy of great customer service. They train their people from top to bottom to provide the best customer service possible. I believe it also comes from parents and teachers who expected the best from children and taught them to never give less than their best effort. This starts in schools with teachers and at home with parents. Many students have the attitude of “what is the minimum expected of me to get the best grade possible”. Their only concern is getting that A or B that will help them get into the college or university of their choice.

It’s not about learning….. it is more about promotion. It is sad, but too many teachers and parents allow this behavior by accepting less than the best from students. Students will copy and paste from the Internet, to do a report, not caring about why the report is important or what they can learn from it. This same attitude can be found in the home where parents can ask children to clean up their room or finish a specific chores and accepting less than the best effort from the child. For many parents it is easier to go behind the child and pick up the room or finish the chores then to fight with them over the issue. In my opinion this is a big mistake! It sets the stage for teaching children that it is okay to give less than your best.

So here’s why parents need to take charge. It’s your child, it is their future and you can make a difference with them. Don’t accept homework that is less than their best effort. When doing weekly spelling assignments often they are asked to write a sentence using the word. Many students will write the shortest possible sentence that barely meets the requirements of using the word in an effective way. Don’t accept that! Talk with your child’s teacher and explain to them that you want to be supportive and get the best from your child’s effort. This should be a goal that every teacher will embrace and support. Together you can make a difference.


My Summer with Edmodo

For those that don’t know Edmodo is a Learning Management System (LMS) that looks like Facebook. In my opinion Edmodo is a LMS that is geared more towards a K-12 audience than a higher education audience. In a lot of aspects Edmodo seems more like a social media tool than a Learning Management System due to its interactive setup and visual appearance. Make no mistake though, Edmodo is one powerful educational tool.

Prior to 2014 I had periodically played around with Edmodo, using it sporadically inside my classroom. Then, EdmodoCon 2014 happened and I grew more and more involved with Edmodo after hearing about all the wonderful things students and teachers can do with Edmodo.

Then I received an e-mail earlier this year asking me to become an ambassador for Edmodo. I agreed and have been very happy with my decision. I am now actively helping my peers within the Edmodo community with any questions they may have and vice versa. I’m providing resources to my peers and offering feedback to those resources my peers post within the Spotlight section of Edmodo. My involvement with helping out on Edmodo has also made me a Luminary, which according to information at EdmodoCon 2015 will result in me receiving a cape [to show off my Super Edmodo Skills I’m sure].

Additionally, this opportunity has allowed me to connect with even more of my peers on Edmodo through the various challenges Edmodo has for its ambassadors to complete, through its Teacher Leader Network. We can connect on Facebook, Twitter, etc. due to setting up our Edmodo accounts to link to our social media.

I can’t wait to turn my enjoyable summer with Edmodo into continued and prolonged usage of the amazing Learning Management System and encourage you to do so as well.


MS OFFICE, Open Office or Google Docs?

When I was in high school the only option for word processing, spreadsheets, etc. was using Microsoft Office. Many years have gone by and new competitors are emerging that could potentially eliminate MS OFFICE from the classroom altogether in the future.

This blog post will examine the pros and cons of MS OFFICE, Open Office and Google Docs with respect to how they can be used within the classroom for the most efficiency.

MS OFFICE:

Pros:

  • MS OFFICE is a well established brand
  • MS OFFICE has countless databases and resources that can be used for troubleshooting purposes
  • Microsoft is run by Bill Gates who wants to improve education
  • Microsoft gives bulk deals to school districts purchasing licenses
  • MS OFFICE has been most commonly used with most students growing up

Cons:

  • MS OFFICE is an expensive product
  • School districts may not need all aspects of MS OFFICE, but it is actually cheaper to purchase packages with multiple software programs than purchasing one program at a time
  • Newer and younger students are not being introduced to MS OFFICE any more

Open Office:

Pros:

  • Open Office is FREE
  • Open Office features similar products to MS OFFICE [Writer vs. Word, Calc vs. Excel, Impress vs. PowerPoint]
  • Open Office allows you to use the same file extensions as Google Docs and MS OFFICE
  • Open Office has strong support like MS OFFICE with various resources available

Cons:

  • Not everyone has Open Office. If you save a file with an Open Office extension and try to open it on another computer you will need to install Open Office on that computer.
  • Open Office requires you to download a language pack if you’re not an English speaker/writer
  • Open Office has a forum that is currently unstable at this time

Google Docs:

Pros:

  • Google Docs is FREE for anyone with a Google account
  • Google Docs, like Open Office, offers programs similar to MS OFFICE programs
  • Google Docs offers Forms making it perfect for educational use
  • Google Docs is a great tool for collaboration
  • Google Docs is currently being presented in the classroom the way MS OFFICE used to be
  • Google Docs features many Add Ons

Cons:

  • Google Docs, like most Google products, have limited help resources. Most of the help resources for Google Docs have been published by users of Google Docs.
  • Google Docs privacy settings must be setup correctly to prevent unauthorized usage
  • Google Docs settings need to be setup correctly for successful collaboration

My Overall Summary:

I have used all three of these products at one point or another. The major plus I see for MS OFFICE is that it is still on nearly every computer on the market today, including in libraries and school districts. The major drawback is that MS OFFICE is very expensive and since a new version comes out often at times it seems as though it isn’t worth paying more for the newer version.

I truthfully see myself using Open Office and Google Docs more and more. Open Office is great tool for me since it is essentially a free version of MS OFFICE. The only issue is that it is only on one of my laptops, so if I save a file in Open Office extensions I have to make sure I modify the file on the laptop that has Open Office. Not a big deal, but something to consider.

I find Google Docs is probably the best tool to use for collaboration, especially for coursework. So long as you have a Google account you can invite who can edit documents with you and leave it at that. Google Docs also features Forms which are perfect for use in various classroom situations and numerous Add Ons work well with Google Docs. This allows me and many others to complete various tasks right within Google Docs.

I feel in the upcoming years MS OFFICE will become a thing of the past and Google Docs will likely take over. Google Docs will just need to build a database/pool of resources for usage like Open Office and MS OFFICE have to be the undisputed king.

Originally posted on FAAET Blog.