What are the first day plans of this second-year administrator? I am a big fan of writing down what I want to accomplish for the following day before leaving work each day. So, on my last day of work in June, I wrote down what I needed to get done on my first day back.
EVERYTHING on this list is an administrative/bureaucratic task. And while this is actually not at all reflective of how I spend my time in a typical day, it’s a reminder of how easy it could be to fill my days with similar tasks.
Today, however, was my first day of work and I accomplished none of those tasks I placed on my calendar back in June. Instead, I was at a Management Team retreat with all the administrators and managers in my district. We reflected on and discussed our leadership styles in addition to district goals and our personal goals. The highlight, however was this 3 minute video which I urge you to watch before beginning your own school year.
Which brings me to my goals. I am in my second year of my role as Instructional Technology Coordinator for grades K-8 and my fifth year outside of the classroom.
- Spend time every day either in a math classroom or doing math. Working through all of the Desmos Activities which relate to middle school math is something which has helped me deepen my understanding of the connections between and progressions among concepts in these 3 grade levels. The eight 8th grade math teachers at all 3 of our middle schools have all agreed to teach at least one Desmos Activity per week and I’d like to spend as much time as possible supporting them and teaching/modeling or co-teaching some of those lessons, especially for our new teachers. Specifically, I want to spend enough time in all 8th grade classrooms to have qualitative and quantitative data around how student engagement and teachers’ ability to differentiate is affected by sustained, regular use of Desmos Activities which are aligned to our 8th grade curriculum.
- Rethink and rework how I lead our department meetings. In my district, Instructional Technology and Library and Media Services collaborate very closely as increasingly many of our Librarians and Library Media Specialists integrate teaching digital citizenship and online research ideas into their work with kids. Additionally, we have a strong integration of audio books into our readers’ workshop which is supported by our TSA Teacher-Librarians. Often, our department meetings are spent reporting out on the work we’re each doing in classrooms and divvying up tasks which need to be completed for upcoming PDs we are leading. Specifically, I want to begin the year by posting the names of all 3rd-8th grade teachers in our district (as those are the ones who have Chromebooks) and having us put a sticker next to each teacher we’ve provided classroom support for around technology integration. I modified this idea from Sara VanDerWerf’s most recent post about how a school staff did this with their entire student body.
- Collaboratively rework how my department provides classroom support. Last year, the 5 of us in my department made nearly 600 classroom visits for observations with debriefs and/or teaching model lessons. Spending such a large percentage of time in classrooms is rare for an administrator, but after watching the above 7-10 split video, I believe we can have a greater impact on instruction if we focus our efforts. I’d like each of us to specialize in technology integration around specific student needs (of the 7-10 split): Special Ed. students, English Language Learners, Newcomers, Students needing additional challenges beyond the day-to-day curriculum, etc. etc. In doing so, we can provide more targeted classroom support for technology integration.
- Better support teachers to use student achievement data generated by software to differentiate in more powerful ways. Using tech provides so much data. A single Desmos lesson collects tons of student responses. Most teachers use a lot of tech tools, but rarely carve out time to use the data generated by those tools. I want my team to learn to look at and use this data more efficiently to better support teachers to do this during our PD time with them.
I’m curious how others see their 7-10 split and how we can each adjust our teaching to better meet the needs of all of our students. In the meantime, my 8-year-old LOVES bowling and we’ve learned that nation-wide, kids bowl free, once a week from April through August. You’ve got 2 more weeks…For real!