Which tech tools are worth your time and money?

Dear technology tool, you’ve changed. Frankly, you don’t do what you promised you would. My friends say I try someone with more features and a more attractive design. I’m sorry, but we’re done. Mrs. TeacherDo you find yourself perpetually breaking up with your educational technology tools or not even sure that they are worth the investment? Let me share a perspective that may help you determine which tools are worth your time, money and energy.

The Triple E Framework, developed out of University of Michigan by Dr. Liz Kolb, is a simple to use framework that may help you quickly identify what a technology tool can bring to your lessons. Dr. Kolb synthesized current technology and learning research into three E’s: Engage, Enhance and Extend. If I could sum up Dr. Kolb’s work into one statement, it would be this: Continue reading Which tech tools are worth your time and money?

Resiliency isn’t just for students

Written by Patricia Ward, Mindful Schools

Everyone can agree that stress levels in schools are at an all-time high, not just for students but for teachers and staff as well. A promising practice that is being used in schools all over the world and right here in the Grand Rapids area is Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the new ‘running’ for health and wellness. Twenty years ago, if someone said ‘I’m going out for a run’ you would want to know what they are running from. Today, people know running (or walking) is one way we take care of our physical and mental health. Thirty years ago, Mindfulness was an intervention used primarily with adults that were suffering from stress, chronic pain or depression. Today it is being integrated into schools all over the world to help students with attention, emotional regulation and empathy for self and others.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention — to thoughts, physical sensations, and the environment — without constantly feeling the need to judge what’s happening or to make it other than it is. Mindfulness is a way of meeting our experience with the presence of mind to respond skillfully to life’s challenges, rather than reacting based on intense emotions. Continue reading Resiliency isn’t just for students

Strive for Less Than 5!

written by Ron Koehler

School districts across Kent ISD are teaming together to deliver a common message to all students, to their families and the community at large:  Strive for Less Than 5 days absent.

You should soon be seeing yard signs, posters and this Strive for Less Than 5 video to spread the message that students who miss five or fewer days of school a year perform better than those who miss school on a regular basis.

The data for students who are chronically absent is clear:  Students who miss more than 10 percent of school time, just two days a month, are far less likely to be proficient than their peers who regularly attend school. Continue reading Strive for Less Than 5!

Dr. David Kilpatrick Presents on Overcoming Reading Difficulties

“Individuals with reading problems commonly display difficulties in both phonic decoding and instant word retrieval. Phonic decoding and orthographic mapping are so central to the development of proficient reading that research on both of these word-level reading process should drive our assessments, instructional practices, and intervention efforts.” (1)

On September 19th, Dr. Kilpatrick will be presenting (based on his book) to literacy coaches, reading specialists, curriculum directors, and special education directors at the Prince Center at Calvin College.

The presentation will focus on how children learn to read words and why some children struggle. Understanding the nature of word-level reading development and word-level reading problems will guide both assessment and intervention. Continue reading Dr. David Kilpatrick Presents on Overcoming Reading Difficulties

Peer to Peer Participants Enjoy Whitecaps Win

Students from Grandville, Caledonia, Kenowa Hills and Kentwood who participate in their districts’ Peer to Peer programs went to a Whitecaps baseball game to enjoy friendship and some summer camaraderie. The Cap’s were victorious and a wonderful time was had by all. The annual outing is supported by a special grant from START, Statewide Autism Resource and Training and Kent CAN (Collaborative Autism Network). Continue reading Peer to Peer Participants Enjoy Whitecaps Win

2018/2019 PD Plan is LIVE

It is that time of year again. The students (and teachers) are starting to get excited for summer break. The days are getting longer and the weather warmer. And, we are starting to plan for next school year.

Click here to view the current Professional Learning Plan for 2018/2019 school year! 

Before we start to plan for the future, it is sometimes nice to reflect on where we have been.  Recently, I gathered some data from the past five years of professional learning offered at Kent ISD to see how our organization has evolved to meet the ever changing needs of our local education agencies. Continue reading 2018/2019 PD Plan is LIVE

Making Students Accountable for Their Learning

Do you ever run out of ideas to keep students engaged?  Have you ever wondered how to keep the students’ brains stimulated?  Do you want to create a safer classroom for your students?  Have you ever had trouble keeping students’ attention?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, “Structures for Active Engagement” is the professional learning you need.

Twenty four years ago, I took a very similar class.  My principal sent me to North Carolina to see what Kagan Cooperative Learning was all about.  The week that I spent there changed my entire teaching career, as well as, all of my students’ educational experiences in my classroom. Continue reading Making Students Accountable for Their Learning

AssisTechKnow – Addressing the Needs of Every Learner

As Michigan strives to become a Top 10 educational state in 10 Years, four focus areas have been identified as key targets.  One of these focus areas, “Learner-Centered Supports”, includes personalized learning, aligned curriculum and differentiated learning.  In order to attain this, all of our students will need to have equitable access to learner-centered education environments that are academically challenging and personalized.

Assistive and educational technology supports are an important component to consider as we work toward more equitable access.  As an educator, how can you learn about the tools and strategies that can help students achieve? Continue reading AssisTechKnow – Addressing the Needs of Every Learner

Blended Coaching:   A Full Cup of Coaching with a Pinch of Technology

Written by: Andrew J. Smith, Math Consultant at Kent ISD

“Great teachers are much like jazz musicians, both deliberately setting the stage and then improvising. Great teachers have plans yet to respond to student learning and needs in real time…great teachers need to know the tools of their craft.” – Hattie, Fisher & Frey, Visible Learning for Mathematics, p. 17-18

Acknowledging the power and effect that individual teachers possess, but also recognizing our capacity as a regional service agency to support individual teachers was on the minds of Kent ISD’s Math Team, as they began strategically planning for the 2017-2018 school year.  They believe in both the power of professional learning and providing districts with the resources and opportunities to implement professional learning.  As a regional support, the Kent ISD Math team wanted to be able to stay connected and provide support to classrooms and individual teachers.   Continue reading Blended Coaching:   A Full Cup of Coaching with a Pinch of Technology

Co-Author of “Fostering Resilient Learners” Keynotes at School Mental Health Conference

Veteran school administrator and professional development agent Pete Hall has dedicated his career to supporting the improvement of our education systems. Besides partnering with Alisa Simeral on three ASCD books including “Fostering Resilient Learners”, he authored The First-Year Principal (Scarecrow Education, 2004) and Lead On! Motivational Lessons for School Leaders (Eye on Education, 2011).

Hall currently works as an educational consultant as a member of the ASCD faculty and trains educators worldwide. And this June, we are honored to have Pete Hall as one of our keynotes at the School Mental Health 2018 Conference. Continue reading Co-Author of “Fostering Resilient Learners” Keynotes at School Mental Health Conference

News from Kent ISD's Professional Development Hub