This #wiredprincipal is always learning!

Wired means connected.  I am connected as I work through my day as an elementary principal: in classsrooms, greeting families, talking with our community, managing the site.  How?  Pretty simple really.  It starts with my phone.

Do you stop to think that you’ve got a powerful computer in your back pocket at all times?  Or in your hand since women’s clothing never has pockets.  #annoying

Screenshot 2013-12-10 at 7.50.10 PMI tweet about our learning through the day @grantshamrocks.  Kids now know that if I take a photo of their work, it’s going to be tweeted.  Some, by the looks on their faces, have no idea what that means, but they are excited nonetheless.  The photo communicates What you are working on is so valuable, we need to capture it.  How you are learning right now is so interesting, I want others to know.  

Thanks to Adam Welcome (@awelcome) and #edcampMarin, I’ve now got @audioboo in my back pocket as well.  Still in the infancy stages but definitely something that will grow for me, I record students reading or sharing stories or playing music, then tweet it out.  Because I rarely photograph students’ faces for Twitter, their voice because a total gem.  Real kids sharing real creations for the world to hear.

My Nexus is another tool to support this #wiredprincipal.  Handy and discrete.  I use a Google form and script for class walkthroughs.  It captures what I’m seeing and sends a portion of the form to the teacher:

Enjoyed watching math centers this morning.  How is Ally progressing?  She looked very engaged.

I’m happy to see you’ve jumped into number talks.  How often is that happening?  Are there any words of wisdom you’d share with staff on Wednesday?

Because I’m connected in this way, classroom walkthroughs take on a new dimension and depth.  Individual teachers and I can start a dialog, albeit brief, but coaching-style about kids and teaching and learning.  And the bonus is the extra information I’ve gathered to be uber-informed about what’s going on in our classrooms.  The pulse of our school, for sure.

Being a #wiredprincipal means connection to others outside of our site.  Twitter and blogs are must-haves for that kind of connectedness.  I get the 140-character connection and chat or the lengthier, narrative connection.  Elementary principals in my neck-of-the-woods are solo on their site.  It’s me, our secretary, our part time attendance clerk and our custodian.  Talk about a silo amidst a crop of small children.  And I say that even with these three aforementioned ladies standing strong with me, but we don’t make major decisions for our site, I do.  No amount of support takes the onus off of me.  Not a complaint, but a case for connectedness.  My PLN is full of elementary admin who help me see the forest for the trees, rant occassionally about things I haven’t stumbled through (yet) and celebrate the successes that only elementary can appreciate.  And… but wait there’s another benefit to being a #wiredprincipal via blogs and Twitter… I share it with staff!  In an effort to get everyone connected, we’ve got a special location on the Weekly Bulletin called Tech Tips; Let’s Get Geeky!  I’ll throw out an upcoming event, like #edcamphome or a blog post that’s pertinent to work we’re doing with kids or a tip, like ctrl T to reopen an accidently closed tab.  And for the more specific morsels of goodness, a direct email attracts attention.  Subject or age specific Tech Tips, I might send to that grade level only.  I am prouder than proud of our staff and their desire to always be learning, but I do understand overload and plate-spinning… my Tech Tips are shared with positive intentions and then used, not used, saved for later, implemented immediately–I don’t know.  That’s for individuals to decide.  I count on them as professionals to take what they need, share what they know and ask for help when needed.

This #wiredprincipal loved Dan Russell’s search class and can now better support teachers, students and myself in the search for… whatever we want to find.  This #wiredprincipal uses Kidblog with our Grant Leadership Team.  These student leaders write posts to keep our community informed.  Wordpress is our school newsletter.  This #wiredprincipal stays current to support teachers and students: GAFE, Google Teacher Institute on Maps last summer (yes, admin can apply), Twitter chats (#caedchat & #edleadchat), etc.  Because I LOVE to learn, being connected is easy and rewarding.  And honestly, until @awelcome and @mrsfadeji (Amy Fadeji) wrote their joint post and then invited me to share, I hadn’t thought about just how wired I am.  It’s pretty geeky.  I like it.  I can’t imagine leading in any other way.

Are you a  #wiredprincipal?  Share your story.

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