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RSS FREE Tech Tools For Teachers

  • Four Online PD Opportunities Starting In July June 23, 2017
    In June I hosted four online courses for teachers and school administrators. In July I am offering four more online learning opportunities. A description of each course, its dates and times, and registration links are included below. If you’re a subscriber to the Practical Ed Tech newsletter be sure to use the discount code “subscriber” […]
  • A Good App and A Good Site for Learning About Endangered Animals June 23, 2017
    WWF Together is a beautiful iPad app and Android app that features interactive stories about endangered animals around the world. Each of the interactive stories includes beautiful images and videos, facts about the animals and their habitats, and the threats to each of the animals. Some of the animals currently featured in the app are pandas, marine […]
  • Get Inspired By These Videos June 23, 2017
    This is a guest post from Rushton Hurley. Rushton is the founder of Next Vista for Learning and the author of Making Your School Something Special. I love an inspiring video. While I think it's inspiring that there are over two thousand short videos created by and for teachers and students everywhere on NextVista.org, we also have a resource […]

Principal as Instructional Leader: Basic Yet Important Cautions for New Principals


Give Teachers What They Need

Instructional leadership is not theory vs. practice. Rather, think of it as theory with practice. A conscientious principal recognizes the needs of their teachers. Some teachers need to understand the “why” before the “how”, and some just need a place to start, i.e. the “how”. A good instructional leader provides both, because both are important to growing teachers’ best practice capacity. For example, if a teacher abandons the archaic practice of the weekly spelling list simply because their new principal asked them to, the teacher’s best practice capacity hasn’t grown. However, if the principal takes the time to grow the faculty’s understanding of “why” spelling lists are not best instructional practice, teachers’ capacity for creating meaningful lessons across the curriculum is expanded. When a teacher understands why learning spelling in context, across several platforms, across various content leads to real learning, that teaching skill is transferable to other learning standards.

Therefore, the caution for new principals is two-fold. First, taking too much time to build the understanding of theory before implementing best practice sacrifices precious learning time for students. Second, jumping in and directing teachers to abandon a lesser practice, such as a weekly spelling list, can have isolated instructional impact.

Lastly, don’t forget that adage; if you take something out of a teachers’ instructional toolkit, replace it. Model the best practice you are asking your teachers to implement. Keeping with our spelling example, model how to teach spelling patterns across multiple texts by having teachers read short articles and locate the spelling patterned from the model lesson. Pull up the daily news online and have teachers use laser pointers to find examples of the spelling rule in context. As you walk classrooms, video examples of teachers attempting to use the highlighted best practice in their lessons and share with faculty. Take pictures of students work samples with captions reading, “Ms. Teachers’ class practices identifying phonics patterns during guided reading”, or “Mr. Instructor has students locate this week’s phonics patter in word problems during math class”.

By positively highlighting teachers’ attempts to replace a lesser instructional practice with best instructional practice, the culture of the staff begins to change and resistance is defused.

Give Parents What They Need

A second caution for new principals as you lead your campus into best instructional practice. Many lesser practices have been around for decades, and often our parents struggle with letting go of them as much as some teachers struggle. Imagine as a parent you have had three children in Ms. Teacher’s second grade class, and for some reason this year you did not receive the spelling list your first two children received. This can be unsettling for parents, especially if they are not prepared ahead of time.

New principals do yourself a big favor, communicate with your parents as you introduce instructional change. Assume nothing. Work with your grade level chairs to create a back to school and a monthly newsletter that explains what will be taught and how it will be assessed; link research articles to lend credibility to the change if needed. Use this platform to give parents heads up about why things may be a little different this year. Inform your PTA about your instructional focus. This will give you a mouthpiece in the community and a buffer as needed.

Lastly, prepare your teachers to respond to parent concerns in a supportive, non-defensive manner. Teachers should not have to feel as though they are caught in the middle or defending a principal’s new initiative. Rather, if a teacher can articulate to a parent the “why” behind the practice and present the best practice as their own, most parents will embrace the change. It’s important to prepare your teachers ahead of time for these difficult discussions with parents. The more prepared teachers feel, the more comfortable they will be when parents express concerns over changes.

School Leadership Series Passing Scores by States

The following is a list of the minimum passing scores for the states that use the School Leadership Series tests. To determine if you passed the test in a particular state,
compare your test score with the score listed below. If your scaled score
equals or exceeds the qualifying score for that state, you have passed. These
scores are updated periodically to reflect the most recent passing scores.
Arkansas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
District of Columbia. . . . . . . 163
Kansas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Kentucky. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Louisiana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Maine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Maryland. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
Michigan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Mississippi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169
New Jersey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Pennsylvania. . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Rhode Island. . . . . . . . . . . . . 166
Tennessee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Utah. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Vermont. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Virginia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
Guam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
U.S. Virgin Islands. . . . . . . . . 156
Arkansas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Kansas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Louisiana. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Maine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Michigan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Nebraska. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
New Jersey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Pennsylvania. . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Rhode Island. . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
Kentucky. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158


Download it here

National School Principal Conference 2017

Come to Philadelphia next July 9–11 and turn theory into practice as you connect with great school Principals and educational leaders across all grade levels.

Unlike any conference before it, the National School Principals Conference will inspire school leaders like you to understand and value your peers’ expertise and worth.

This conference will give you an unprecedented opportunity to build transition bridges and fully prepare students for success in school as the Principal and beyond to college and careers.

Click here to learn more

The Great American Principal Turnover — And How Districts Can Stop the Churn

As students start heading back to school this month, many newspapers are announcing changes in school leadership for the new year. These stories have titles like, “Lake Wobegon School Board Confirms Three New Principals for the 2016-17 School Year” and “Sweet Valley High Assistant Principal Ready to Take the Reigns as Principal.” A new principal in a school has become so commonplace, you may have skimmed over the story, especially if the change doesn’t affect your school.

Read More

Best Manual Heavy Duty Pencil Sharpener for Classrooms, Office, Teachers and Schools


The New School Leader Best Pencil Sharpener, produces a perfectly sharpened pencil. Known as a “Teacher’s Best Friend” this sharpener is an attractive, portable pencil sharpener with a sturdy, metal body and sharp rotary tool. Manual pencil sharpeners are the perfect addition to the classroom. This is a Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener. The compact, quiet, durable design makes this the ideal sharpener for classroom and office settings. It comes with a clamp to lock down on a table or desk. This Sharpener helps with Classroom Management as it eliminates excuses and gets students back to work. The New School Leader’s tension springs automatically draw the pencil into the cutting chamber, producing a perfect point. manual pencil sharpeners deliver both performance and reliability. Our manual pencil sharpeners feature carbon steel sharpened blades and sturdy construction.The Sharpener will NOT over sharpen a pencil. Works on colored pencils for artist, art studios and Art Teachers. The cutting blade can be easily removed for cleaning or replacement. Order yours Now! Makes a Perfect gift for your Favorite Teacher, Classroom, School, Artist or Office.

Magna-Tiles, Magnetic Geo-Metric Shapes


  • -They help kids use their creativity.
  • -They help them understand geometric patterns, colors and shapes.
  • -They are high quality, reliable, durable toys.
  • -They are Easy to store because they click together
  • -They are really fun (even I have found myself playing with them)
  • So if your kids love to build things, or just need a little hands on learning toy, these are the perfect ones!

They use rare neodymium magnets – the strongest magnets in the world.  This is why Magformers are more expensive than a regular magnetic toy.  These magnets float freely in the plastic they’re encased in. The magnets can actually rotate so they always connect.  This is great because you never have the frustration of the magnets repelling each other.

If you’re looking for a terrific toy to buy for a child for Christmas or a birthday,  And if you’re a teacher or a carer thinking of splurging on a new special item for your classroom or daycare, I would highly recommend getting a set or two. They’ll provide countless hours of enjoyment and learning.

8 Tips for Dealing With Problem Students

8 Tips for Dealing With Problem Students

From EdWeek.org

Over half of new teachers leave the field within the first 3 years. Why? Many cite the stress of dealing with disruptive and problem behavior in the classroom as the main reasons. If you feel frustrated with the behavior issues that you have to handle, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone–handling behavior issues comes with the job description.

Follow the strategies that I have included in this article, and you will have no problem managing your students’ behavior. Here is how to deal with even your most challenging students.

1. Keep rules simple and easy to follow. Choose no more than five or six of the most important rules. If students have too many rules, they will not remember any of them–and will not follow any of them!

A few other things to note:

Rules should be short.  The fewer words in each rule, the greater the chance that it will be remembered and followed.

Be positive. Set a positive tone in your classroom by avoiding negative words like no, not, and never.

 Allow the class to help you choose the most important rules. Students are more likely to remember the rules if they help create them. In addition, it will provide them with a sense of control and responsibility to follow the rules since they are the ones that came up with them.

Post them clearly and legibly. Students should be able to remind themselves what the rules are at any moment during the school day.

2. Create effective consequences. Make it a process. Start out with something that doesn’t affect them too much and make each consequence that follows a bit more severe. Remember that developing some way of keeping up with behavior and being consistent is a must.

Follow-through is also important, as is providing feedback. Make sure that students know why they are receiving a consequence and that they know how to avoid receiving future consequences. Finally, avoid punishing the whole class. It isn’t fair to those who do follow the rules. Read More

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