All posts by Amanda Walma (Kent ISD)

As the Professional Development Coordinator for Kent ISD, I help to provide professional learning opportunities, that are aligned to the school improvement framework, to all educators. We created The Bulletin to keeping educators informed about the hottest topics in education and upcoming professional learning opportunities. We offer Learning On Demand, so that you can access learning from your computer at anytime/anywhere and Learning To Go so that you can bring many of our most popular workshops directly to your school. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you or your district.

Simple, Effective Method for Teaching Writing Across the Content Areas

Written by: Lindsay Veitch, Caledonia Community Schools Teacher and Author

I brought my two-year-old to his pediatrician, Dr. Lisa Brown, for a well-visit the day Dave Stuart Jr. launched my ebook, The Write Structure. I casually mentioned this exciting news to Dr. Brown, and she replied as only the doctor of children could.

With an incredibly warm look on her face, she asked a remarkably direct question, “That’s wonderful! Can you crystallize your text in one or two sentences?”  

Well, that’s not much to work with, doc, but here goes: “The Write Structure is a simple format that is totally transferable. The book is based on solving a common problem with writing in schools. Kids don’t know where to start, so they loathe writing. When teachers recycle The Write Structure (and the teaching methods that go with it), kids’ anxiety goes down and success goes up.” Continue reading Simple, Effective Method for Teaching Writing Across the Content Areas

Observation and Formative Feedback: Best Practices

Written by Steve Seward, Associate Director, MASSP

“Teaching is complex work. You don’t have to be bad to get better!”  Candi B. McKay

Regardless of age or role, we all deserve formative feedback for growth that is centered on clearly specified areas of focus and success criteria. Those that are most effective as leaders, in all educational capacities, consistently engage in the process inquiry through the gathering and gaining feedback for growth.

There are multiple ways to give and receive feedback and multiple uses of feedback. Most important is that feedback is provided based on a strengths-based approach. As John Hattie explains, “Feedback must be timely, relevant, and action-oriented”. The goal with formative feedback is to provide feedback that moves learning forward by causing the learner to think, and at the same time be the owner of their learning. Continue reading Observation and Formative Feedback: Best Practices

Teaching the Bill of Rights

How do we teach the U.S. Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights, in a time of growing political conflict and polarization? Perhaps you think answering that question is hopeless? Doesn’t conflict demand that we teach students to listen to understand other perspectives, not merely to decide who is right and who is wrong?

Too often citizens talk past each other about what the Constitution means and how it applies today. And is that any surprise? The Constitution’s provisions are decades, centuries old and anything but crystal clear. In any case, people bring their own wildly different perspectives and biases to their reading of the document. Is the Constitution itself possibly responsible for our polarization? Continue reading Teaching the Bill of Rights

Leaders In Action

Originally posted: September 20, 2017 | Ben Gilpin (@benjamingilpin) on The Colorful Principal Blog

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi

True Story.  Every year (including this year), my intentions and optimism are sky high.  I head into a school year thinking of projects, ideas, innovation and truly changing the face of education.

This year my summer ideas included student podcasting, mobile maker space, supporting aspiring administrators and continuing to transform learning spaces.  Furthermore, I wanted to really spread our vision beyond our walls and into the community.

Sounds fantastic, right?

Then reality hits.  I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.  Issues ranged from student discipline all the way to balancing a budget…and don’t get me started on evaluations!

What is a leader to do?

Continue reading Leaders In Action

Prepare Your Students for PSAT and SAT…and Analyze the Results!

Your PSAT and SAT scores are in…now how do you get the most out of them? 

You may find yourself asking questions like…what do these results indicate? Should I be proud or concerned? Are there patterns to watch for?

Help is here! Cross disciplinary district teams will have the opportunity to participate in a highly interactive Data Analysis Protocol Workshop presented by Wendy Zdeb, Ed.S., Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP).

Participants will be taught a data protocol and will participate in hands-on activities to break down their school’s PSAT 10 and SAT data.   Continue reading Prepare Your Students for PSAT and SAT…and Analyze the Results!

Literacy Leadership Symposium is here in Grand Rapids!

Attention School Administrators: The Fall Literacy Leadership Symposium is here in Grand Rapids!

In March, Reading Now Network (RNN) hosted the West Michigan Early Literacy Leadership Symposium at Western Michigan University. More than 600 educators from 26 counties gathered to focus on literacy. Participants learned how to implement the RNN Five Key Findings and explored the Instructional and School-Wide Essential Practices. The urgency and excitement surrounding the RNN Five Key Findings has resulted in a fall Literacy Leadership Symposium aimed to energize and inspire building and district administrators. Continue reading Literacy Leadership Symposium is here in Grand Rapids!

Twitterpated: Three Ways to Take Twitter to the Next Level

Remember the Rolodex? Educators would exchange business cards with phone numbers, alphabetize them and access their contacts to help answer questions or identify resources they didn’t already have at their fingertips. People with a plethora of names and numbers could have an answer to any problem by the end of the week.

Now, with Twitter, educators use hashtags and handles to reach out to a global community and rarely have to wait more than 5 minutes for unlimited tools that can be used immediately.  Twitter has changed the way educators connect, stay current on trends and research, and how learning is shared with others.

While some teachers and school leaders are still trying to figure when to use # and how it’s different than @, others are leveraging their professional learning network through Twitter in the follow ways: Continue reading Twitterpated: Three Ways to Take Twitter to the Next Level

Growing Confident and Compassionate Student Leaders…the “LLL” Approach

 “Schools should teach two things…Problem Solving and Leadership. Leading is a skill, not a gift. You’re not born with it, you learn how. And schools can teach leadership as easily as they figured out how to teach compliance.” Seth Godin, Linchpin

Schools do many things well…teaching students to be independent leaders is NOT one of them.

I have been an educator for almost four decades now, and I have never met a teacher that did not have good intentions for their students!  Very few men and women become teachers that don’t have their heart in the right place…being child-centered.

With that said, if parents often parent how they were parented, then teachers usually teach the way they were taught…unfortunately. Continue reading Growing Confident and Compassionate Student Leaders…the “LLL” Approach

Meet Up and Eat Up

We all know how important a nutritious meal can be for our students and their learning.

“Study after study shows that kids who eat breakfast function better,” Dr. Schneider says. “They do better in school, and have better concentration and more energy.” (The Case for Eating Breakfast, Healthychildren.org)

But what happens to our students over the summer when school breakfast and lunch programs are not available? And what about that last meal of the day?   Continue reading Meet Up and Eat Up

#SummerAdminReads

Kelli Campbell, T&L Director Kent ISD- As summer approaches, I am preparing my summer reading list. One thing we know as educators, is that reading is very important to professional growth. Reading can remind you, challenge you, and give you an opportunity to interact with others. (Why Leaders Must Be Readers, Forbes.com)

What’s on your summer reading list?

As you put together your summer reading list, here are a few newly published books that may be of interest to every building administrator! Continue reading #SummerAdminReads