Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Content Curation

Curating.  Do you immediately think of an older Librarian who categorizes cards with information? Well, that's not the image that you get if you're living in a digital world. I think of something being "cured" and that may just be the case if I find the right tools. I believe content curation is a step towards my team and I embracing technology--not just buying in and using it when it "fits".   And, if nothing else it is definitely a way for us to be more efficient. We have a massive amount of info at our finger tips and it's a necessary skill or practice we must master in order to thrive(not just survive).  Information overload is a weakness of mine. Too much of a good thing can become overwhelming and then "shut-down" occurs. ISTE standard number 4 is "Systemic Improvement".  This is where I need the most improvement.  I am currently exploring List.ly.com to help me organize specific resources that I want to guide my teachers through as we progress this year.  It seems easy to navigate and so far I like the way it allows you to organize with "lists".  It reminds a bit of Pinterest. My Leadership group is doing a presentation as part of an assignment in our Digital Leadership Academy.  I'll link our video as soon as it is ready. You can view my lists so far at http://list.ly/leigh-ann-turner (remember it's a work in progress)and will soon be connected to my twitter and weebly accounts for your access as well.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Wednesday is a big day! Why? We begin our journey to the next level with our digital leadership here in Castleberry ISD. The scary part for me is that I don't feel very proficient with the level I'm at! BUT...here we go and I'm actually a little excited also.  #cisddigitalleadership  One thing I am committed to this year is consistency.  I am determined to set aside time daily/weekly to explore, practice and grow. I've learned that if I don't, then the initial fireworks and excitement fizzle out by mid-year.

This next school year is going to be HUGE for Joy James El. and I know our Digital Academy will only propel us into the success we know is coming. Follow us at #joyjames and be a part of something great!

Friday, January 23, 2015

After spending some time with my fifth graders and reviewing our District's Climate Survey given to all students, I decided to conduct my own impromptu survey. I felt like I needed some more concise information from my kiddos if I was going to help them work on making our campus a "kinder" place to be.  I used Socrative. It was a wonderful tool that allowed me to survey my students and quickly create a plan to move forward.  It's a great tool in the classroom for giving quizzes with immediate feedback--which is crucial for the learning process. Socrative has great components such as allowing open-ended questions and it automatically compiles the data in charts & graphs for referencing. Having quick turn around times with data allowed us to immediately form student groups that are in the process of creating projects they feel will enhance the atmosphere here at Joy James El. Student driven using student data.  It's exciting to have tools that empower us(students/teachers/administrators) to make a big difference in our world.

The link below will take you to the Socrative website. Use it! It's teacher and student recommended!

Digital-Age Leadership Academy Reflections by Leigh Ann Turner

My first blog discussed a "technological journey" that I was beginning as a Principal in this amazing district of Castleberry.  It has been up and down and back and forth but I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I'm proud to be a part of this district where leaders are pushed to greater heights so that our students reach even greater heights. Below you will find a few reflections on my year so far.  The video clip is part of a larger presentation that will be given by our fearless leaders Dr. Laina McDonald and Renee Smith-Faulkner at the TASA Mid-Winter Conference.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Being Present...it's not just about roll call

A few weeks back I had a sweet reminder that my work as a Principal is to see the masses AND see the individuals. Our fabulous Joy James Librarian, April Scott, asked me once again to participate in the Scholastic "Read Your Heart Out" challenge for Principals.  I looked at my "to-do" list and through grinding teeth I said "SURE!"  In case you missed the sarcasm, I was not wanting to devote an entire day to reading. I had deadlines to meet and walkthroughs to do.  Then I stopped. Wow! Isn't the core reason for our career to teach the love of reading and learning?  It is easy to get caught up in the details of the daily "to-do" list and testing challenges etc. What I got out of this day was inexpressible through words.  However, these pictures may capture the moment and offer you a reminder as well--It's always about the children no matter how busy we get.  Being "present" isn't always easy to do but it's at the heart of true leadership.     And yes...we took a selfie!!

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Doctor Will See You Now

CISD implemented Instructional Rounds this year.  Although it has been fast paced our District Admin has done an impressive job with training and support for our campuses.  And, we all know there is no time to waste so we just jumped right in.  Our first "instructional rounds" was completed in October. Using the results/data from these observations our Campus Leadership Team created a Momentum Plan with goals and action steps to take for meeting them.  (See Below)

JJE teachers are continuing their study of Bloom's and how to weave it into all aspects of lesson designing.  The areas we are focusing on are the questions we ask and the student responses. The Momentum Plan calls for a "study" so we worked with a chapter from the book "Teaching For Excellence" by Spence Rogers.  Chapter 15  highlighted questioning techniques that work. So far, there has been lots of positive feedback from our teams.

The next action step our teachers took was really exciting. They paired up to conduct peer observations.  Each teacher paired with a teacher from a different grade level and observed each other. They scripted questions the teacher asked and student responses given.  Then, time was spent discussing and ranking which level of Bloom's the questions were on.  A rubric was created from the district for evaluating student responses.

Stay tuned for more on this journey...this week we complete our one-on-one (Principal/Teacher) conferences.  My teachers review their 'personal rounds' data with me and we continue the dialogue on how to keep moving forward. 

Rounds Momentum Plan – Visit #1
Campus :  Joy James Elementary

Questions:  89% posed were at the two lower levels of Bloom’s (R & U) --- 11% at higher levels (Apply and higher)
Student Responses:  79% of student responses were at level 1(3 words or less; 5 seconds or less)  19% were at level2 (complete sentences, used content vocab, explained thinking)  2% were at level 3(justified answers, gave examples etc.)
Classroom Talk:  Teacher is talking approx. 58% of the time vs. Students talking 29% of the time.
Tasks:  Time measurement showed that 63% of time was in small groups -- 35% whole group -- 2% individual work

Short Term Targets/Goals:
#1—Student responses at Level 2 will increase from 19% to 30%  (complete sentences, content vocab, explain thinking)
#2—Questions posed will be fewer in quantity but higher in quality with an increase from 11% to 20% at the higher Bloom’s Levels(A,A,E,C).
Evidence of meeting the above targets will be measured during the November District Level Rounds.
Long term Goals: 
#1—Student responses at Level 2 will increase to 60% 
#2—Questions posed will be fewer in quantity but higher in quality with an increase to 30% at the higher Bloom’s Levels(A,A,E,C).

Study/ Professional Development:
Peer observations—modeled after the District Instructional Rounds format.   Feedback sheet will be completed and turned into Mrs. Turner after a team debrief.
Request “Math Questioning Training” for all teachers. Training will be given by Amy Shields.
Faculty Meeting Redesigned--Article studies at each faculty meeting that reinforce questioning techniques and how to elicit elaborated student responses.  Provide more opportunities for teachers to practice identifying the levels of questions.  Offer more exposure and training for teachers with Digital Blooms Taxonomy.
  Article #1 – Chapter 15 from “Teaching for Excellence” by Spence Rogers
                        Questioning Techniques that Work
Independent Videotaping -- with peer coach or individually

Internal Rounds Plan:
Peer Coaches will complete observations & debrief with each other during the week of
October 27th-31st.  Personal debrief/data meetings will be held with Mrs. Turner/Mrs. Shea during the week of November 3rd-7th. 

Just Say No...

It's that time of year where we focus on saying "No!" to drugs and all other toxins that society puts in their bodies.  I was proud of our JJE team and the efforts they have taken to send this message more than just during Red Ribbon Week.  Through mentoring programs, after school clubs and consistent guidance lessons we are doing our best to instill the confidence to say "no" every single day.  Reality is that our children see it every day in some form or fashion--not just in October.  However, in the name of having a little fun while we learn...check out some of our pics from the week.  Most are from Friday's Storybook Parade. Our 3rd-5th grade classes adopted PK-2nd grade classes and did "book studies" with them.  The theme was "It Takes Character to Say No...". the culminating event was our Parade.  Enjoy...