As the year comes to an end many of us spend time reflecting on what we may have accomplished or failed to accomplish the past 365 days. I am no different. As I thought about what to write for today I thought about what I have accomplished such as starting my doctoral program, implementing student-led conferences at my school, continuing to try to push my faculty to take instructional risks in the classroom and starting this blog. However, writing about these topics seems a bit too specific and narrow. Instead, in the spirit of the Top Ten lists, we often see this time of year I’d like to share my list of the top ten influencers who have impacted my own learning this past year.
Perhaps you have not heard some of these individuals or organizations. If not I encourage you to start following and hopefully learning from them the same way I have the past year.
10. Edutopia – OK, I know this is not a new site or trendsetting but George Lucas’ Educational Foundation has been doing great work for years. If you are stuck for an idea or need a quick resource to share with a colleague, chances are Edutopia has something great.
9. Mindshift – KQED News Mindshift is always thought-provoking. Subscribe and get a weekly email with great educator related stories, thought pieces and resources.
8. TED – Again, TED’s “ideas worth spreading” is not new or groundbreaking in 2018. However, I started using the TED videos in a new practice. I force myself to take at least a 15-minute “lunch break” during which I eat my lunch and watch a TED video. I get a few minutes to decompress, force my self to get a few moments of peace and usually leave my office feeling inspired. Don’t forget about another great resource in TED-Ed too!
7. Classroom Screen – This is a site that my friend and fellow educator Tim Miller,@SocStuTchr , shared with me earlier this year. The developer, Laurens Koppers @ClassroomScreen, created a home screen with a myriad of classroom widgets to help one manage their classroom. Things like a noise level monitor, a random name chooser, and a QR code generator just to name a few widgets, are included and super easy to use. I think it is a great tool and have used it while substituting for one of my teachers as well as presenting to fellow educators.
6. Common Sense Media – I have been referring a lot of parents to Common Sense Media when we have discussions about screen time and student consumption of media. It provides a great reference or starting points for many parents who soon discover they have to help their children manage their screen time and media diet.
5. TeachThought – There are so many resources and pieces on this site that I can sometimes get pulled into a vortex of amazing resources. Don’t surf this site during your short break!
4. Workbench – I am still encouraging my faculty to begin implementing Workbench more often in the classroom(it’s a goal for 2019). I learned about Workbench when they were acquired by Google in 2018. Workbench is a place to build, find, customize, and share standards-aligned lessons for your classroom. It’s free for schools, heavy on STEM, coding, and robotics and has some great featured partners such as Parrot and Makey Makey. Now that they have been bought by Google this could be one of the biggest curriculum resource sites in the near future.
3. Rich Czyz & @4OClockFaculty, – A great book in which Rich, @RACzyz , shares his story and some wonderful ideas for shaking up professional development in your school. I shared this book at a Principal meeting last spring and our Chancellor bought a copy for all of the Principals. I know that Principals who have tried some of the strategies have had some great results!
2. Simon Sinek – Simon Sinek’s 2014 Ted talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, is well known to many. Take a few minutes and watch it if you have not seen it yet. I also encourage everyone to read his books Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last. While what he says seems so simple and makes sense, that manner in which he reveals the fundamental truths about leadership are always inspiring.
- Twitter – If you are not on twitter. Get on it! Now! They are so many awesome educators in the Twitterverse that it just makes sense to be in the space. Join an #edchat or several. Follow some educational leaders. They will turn you on to other educational leaders. I truly believe that any educator not on Twitter is doing themselves, and their students a disservice. There is just too much valuable information out there to not be willing to dip your cup into the twitter stream and walk away with a great idea, resource or connection.
Have a Happy New Year!