Weekly Education Links (weekly)

Here are my weekly Diigo posts for the week of August 7. Hope you are getting ready for the new school year and that your plans are both innovative and exciting.

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The Importance of Your Daily Routine

At least ten times a year, I watch Jimmy Valvano’s speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards. Every time I shed some tears. Every time. His words were straight from his heart, and the were raw with emotion. And they were so true. I watch the video to remind me of the fact that life is short, and that every day is an opportunity to make life matter. I just watched it again yesterday. It got me to thinking about those daily daily things in my life. Coach V said that everyday, we should laugh, cry and think. To quote the man himself, if you do those three things, that is a full day. I couldn’t agree more. During the summer months, I vow to establish a routine that had several goals. Each day, I wanted to do some professional reading for my own growth. I also wanted to get more in the habit of writing for this blog, so that got added to the list. Finally, I was determined to make exercising a priority in my life. After determining which items would be in my routine, I looked at my daily calendar. I scheduled these items as a repeating event on my Google calendar, so that every day at 9 AM I did my professional reading. 11:30 AM, right before lunch, was work out time. Every afternoon at 2:30 was my time to write for my blog.

During the slower months of summer, I am proud to say that I have been pretty good at establishing and keeping these routines going. Now, however, I am beginning to think about the start of the new school year. Not only do I want to keep these routines going (but probably NOT during the day!), but I also am thinking about what routines I want to add once school starts. Here are the things that I have added to my routine so far:

  • Visit at least 10 classrooms.
  • Post something positive about our school on our social media platforms.
  • Walk every hall at some point.
  • Look for one way to have an impact on someone’s day.

As a school Principal, we all know the demands every day brings. Well, we really don’t know from day to day what demands are coming, because there are so many of them. But I am determined to carry the momentum of my routine building into the new school year. How can you create your routines? Belle Beth Cooper wrote a great blog post a few years back, describing “The Daily Routines of 7 Famous Entrepreneurs and How to Design Your Own Master Routine”. You can learn something from Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill and President Barrack Obama on how to design a routine that works best for you. Then it becomes up to you to determine what works best for you and how you want to incorporate that into your day. Christina DesMarais, in her blog post “20 High Achievers Share their Daily Routines”, has some excellent ideas of things to add to your routines.

If you are still unsure of where to start, it might be beneficial to track your time for a few days. This will give you an idea of where you are spending your time, what habits you may have unknowingly developed and where you could improve. After you analyze the results, Elizabeth Larkin wrote a great piece called “5 Steps to Create a Daily Routine That Works For You”.

Now is the time to create that perfect (or excellent) daily routine to carry into the new year. Let me know what items you are putting in your routine.

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Weekly Education Links (weekly)

Here are my weekly Diigo posts for the week of July 31. We are getting closer and closer to teachers and then students returning for the 2017-18 school year. I hope your preparations are going well! Hopefully you can find something in here to help get you and your school ready for the new year.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Weekly Education Links (weekly)

Here are my weekly Diigo posts for July 24, 2017. As I get closer to the return of teachers and the opening of school, I am getting back into the routine. Look for more postings this week!

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Weekly Education Links (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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A Fresh Start

One of the many things I love about my job and the cycle of the school year is that every year is a fresh start. Hopefully, we have learned from mistakes, gotten better at what we do and apply those lessons in the new year. As educators, we have the chance to take a breath during the summer months, reflect on what we have accomplished in the past year, and focus on those areas where we feel that we came up short. I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past few weeks about how the year went for me personally, and I have come to some definite conclusions. The biggest take away? I didn’t do a very good job last year. Don’t get me wrong. No one was fired, our standardized scores were fantastic, our teachers and parents are happy (well, MOST parents are happy), and by most measures, it was a great year. But I didn’t feel that way. When I started thinking back on the 2016-17 school year, I really felt that I had not given my best. Now, I am old. I have 32 years in now. I realize that I am no longer a spring chicken. I can’t participate in the student-faculty basketball games the way I used to. It takes me a little longer to recover after a week of four night events (which is pretty much every other week). But I cannot use that as an excuse. On my daily walk this morning, I decided that I need to have some specific goals to improve my performance for the upcoming year. Again, not that I was terrible or just counting days, but I felt like I was not in the moment each day. We all have days like that, but I really believe that I got caught up in the minutiae…too much time at my desk, too much focus on paperwork, you know the feeling. So, I have decided to make some promises for next year. In no particular order…

I promise to find some joy every day in my students, what they are learning, how the are feeling, how they can contribute to our school.

I promise to strengthen the relationships with my staff, to look for ways every day that I can make their work less complicated, to search for connections, to be there for them.

I promise to live in each moment, each concert, each game, each special event. To really be there for it.

I promise to spend less time in the office on the daily stuff, and more time interacting with the school, with students, with staff.

I promise to make a difference every day for someone in need in the school.

As you prepare for the new school year, what are your promises?

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Lessons Learned as an ISTE17 Rookie


I returned from San Antonio and my very first ISTE conference about a week ago. What a trip! I did some research and talked to some of my PLN about the conference before I left, but there was no way to prepare for what was in store for me. You can find a few of my thoughts by searching for #ISTERookie on Twitter, but I thought I would give you a rundown on what I learned from my first experience at ISTE.

Do Your Homework

The ISTE app was a great tool. It came out a few weeks before the conference. It is a tremendous resource. You can review the sessions and select which ones you want to attend. You can build a schedule that syncs with your calendar so that you have easy access to all of the information. Pay close attention to the sponsors of the sessions. Presentations “hosted” by some of the major players (Google, Apple) tend to fill up quickly, and once they have reached capacity they close the doors. I had to get in line about 45 minutes ahead of the session to get into some of the more popular ones. If there is a session you just can’t miss, get there earlier. Some of the hosts gave out tickets that got you admittance to the sessions.

Vendors Too

The Exposition Hall is gigantic. I am not going to lie, I actually got lost in there the first day. It took me 20 minutes to find an exit. Do you homework on the vendors as well. Make notes of those that interest you and those that you feel you must visit. Then get out the map (this would have helped me BEFORE I got lost). Plot out where the vendors are located. Keep in mind that there are tons and tons of giveaways and prizes. These really aren’t my thing, but if they are important to you, print off about 100 labels with your information on them (school name, address, e-mail, etc). Rather than filling out a thousand forms, just plop a label on it. Also, it really helps if you know in advance what you are looking for. Looking for a new student information system? Check. Tardy monitoring software? Yep. Cases? Uh huh. There is really nothing you can’t find there, but if you know what you are looking for it helps.

Visit the Playgrounds

The convention center was massive as well. There were several enormous (sensing a theme here?) foyers outside of the meeting rooms and ballrooms. ISTE had something called “playgrounds” set up here. These were about 15-20 tables set up in the foyer area. Each one had a different topic, and volunteers who manned the tables. They presented on more topics than I can possibly mention here. These were smaller, more intimate and more informal presentations. You could walk around and stop where you wanted to for as long as you wanted to. I made connections with authors and other great educators at some of the other tables I visited. When I go back to ISTE, I am planning on spending more time at these areas, simply because of the one on one connections you can make.


I learned so much from the sessions I attended. But if you want to really maximize your connections with people, volunteer to assist with the conference. I worked in one of the playground areas for a few hours. I was able to meet new people who were also working the table with me, and interact with a few dozen people when they stopped at our table. Volunteering is a great way to help ISTE and share your expertise.

Use the Technology/App

I mentioned the app earlier, but there is more to it than just a conference planner. They had a scanning app built in as well. This allowed you to scan the QR code on someone’s name badge and collect their profile information in one location. It also allows you to save resources from your favorite sessions and find your way around the exhibit hall (another feature I could have used).

ISTE was a great conference. I plan on attending again in the near future, but this time without as many rookie mistakes. I hope this post will convince you to attend, and make it easier for you as well.

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