Many students—teen and pre-teen—say their favorite social media platform is Instagram. The same is true for me and many parents as well.

This year we rolled out a school Instagram account and parents love it! It’s become a great way to connect with parents, students and the community. We’ve also discovered that many authors, athletes, companies and school districts are on Instagram. It’s a lot of fun to loop them into conversations.

Are you also using Twitter? You should be! Set up an IFTTT account and you can automatically post Twitter photos to Instagram. Easy!

If your school isn’t already on Instagram, I urge you to join the fun. Have fun with the filters and tell your story. It’s a great way to build school culture and keep your community involved in all the awesome things that are happening in your school.

Adam Welcome is a K-5 principal, marathon runner, Workshop fan, Bakfiets, Principal of the Year and Co-Founder of @KidsDeserveIt. (read more…)

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SmartBlog on Education this month is exploring 21st-century teaching and learning. Join us for original content in which experts explore the trends and highlight best practices that can help prepare students for their future worlds of work and living.

All teachers seek to prepare students for life after high school. These days that means equipping them with the skills it will take to survive in the 21st century workplace, while also covering other curriculum requirements. What concrete examples of 21st century workplace skills like communication, self-management, collaboration, motivation and inquiry do you focus on in your classroom? As an interesting parallel, how do your examples compare with these actual comments from employees and their supervisors who participated in the Arizona K12 Center’s Lesson2Life professional development?

  1. A human resources manager at a call center who hires high-school students said candidates don’t realize their phone call to the company to request an interview is their first interview.
  2. (read more…)

path to workforceSmartBrief Education’s Path to Workforce content series brings you original content and events on the topic. #Path2W is our vision of college and career readiness, encompassing K-12, adult learners, career changers and non-traditional students. Florida Polytechnic University in a recurrent series will help us shine a light on 21st century careers. In this blog post, we learn more about information assurance.

Unlike a discipline that can be studied or memorized from textbooks, information assurance encompasses strategies that are best learned from hands-on experience. Information assurance, which draws on computer science and information technology knowledge, requires deep analytical skills and problem-solving abilities to protect information systems from security breaches.

Data — and the number of information systems used to store and manage the data — continues to grow at an exponential rate. Information assurance experts act as defense mechanisms to ensure that private business or personal information is less susceptible to theft, exposure or manipulation. (read more…)

Some classroom activities — modeling, hands-on learning and interactive games — are difficult to describe to parents in a newsletter or phone call. Last spring, our school decided to create a blog for parents and embed videos demonstrating skills that pre-K students need to develop in order to be ready for kindergarten. Each video includes three sections:

  • What, describing the skills the video will demonstrate;
  • Watch, telling viewers which teachers will be in the video so their children can start getting familiar with adults at schools; and
  • What Else, which features resources and ideas for parents on additional ways they can help their child extend or enhance the skills.

Feedback on the program has been positive—parents love it! One of our favorite hits, Pop See Koo, has almost 25,000 views. Other videos and topics include ways to expose children to more vocabulary, extending engineering lessons over winter break, and fun segments like “Kid Principal.” Each blog post is linked to our Woodson Kindergarten Center Facebook page and my Twitter account. (read more…)

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SmartBlog on Education this month is exploring 21st-century teaching and learning. Join us for original content in which experts explore the trends and highlight best practices that can help prepare students for their future worlds of work and living.

An experienced teacher who was new to my school came to me with a dilemma. A parent of one of his students had voiced her very strong feeling that recess was a necessity for all students. This teacher, however, had used recess as leverage for his students completing their work: those who had, earned recess, while those hadn’t, used recess time to complete their assignments.

This practice had “worked” for him for many years, and he was having difficulty imagining how to manage his classroom without it. Although I believed that recess was a necessity and not something to be earned, I refrained from telling him what to do, because I respected his autonomy as a teacher for managing his classroom. (read more…)