Obvious to you, amazing to others

I just love the video below from Derek Sivers (credit to @cariteske and her tweet which led me to it). I think Sivers’ thoughts are especially relevant to educators who use social media (Twitter and blogs) to connect with one another to share ideas. What may seem like normal teaching practice or thinking to you, might be just the spark or validation to help another teacher make a big difference for their own students. This is why I keep pushing my educator friends to get connected with Twitter. An obvious practice you use successfully in your own school could be an amazing new idea that will help another teacher and their students.

Obvious to you. Amazing to others. from Derek Sivers on Vimeo.

Casual Pepper Spraying Cop

Yes, I was offended by the UC-Davis policeman who used pepper spray to try and disband a peaceful group of Occupy protesters, but I’m frequently amused by internet memes that pop up so quickly after news events. The Casual Pepper Spraying Cop is the newest net meme to cause me to chuckle. Attacks on Tim Tebow, Yoda, and the Beatles are humorous, but seeing all these other altered images really makes you think about the comparisons you could make with the Occupy protesters and other events in US and World History. Below are some of the images I found amusing and moving. A quick image search on Google will lead you to others you might use with your students.

Real image from the November 18 event at the UC-Davis campus

Silly cop, pepper spray won't stop Tebow

Inspiration for Sgt. Pepper?

This image would make for great discussion with a high school current events class. Wouldn't the Founding Fathers be considered protesters?

Is quelling free speech just as offensive as flag burning?

Nelson Mandela, the ultimate protester

Wisconsin RtI Center Demonstration Site Project

The Wisconsin RtI Center is an organization associated with the state’s Department of Public Instruction. The goal of the RtI Center is to help schools in Wisconsin make good use of student learning data to help all kids make progress, especially in the area of literacy. My school, Northern Hills Elementary, was one of 6 schools chosen to serve as a demonstration site for Wisconsin.

From a press release from the Center:

The Wisconsin RtI demonstration sites project joins schools with the Wisconsin RtI Center, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), and the National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRtI) for the purpose of exemplifying and researching the Wisconsin RtI Framework as outlined in DPI’s Response to Intervention in Wisconsin Guiding Document. In an extensive application process, these schools showed strength throughout the 17 criteria, such as: a commitment to the RtI principle that every child can learn; involvement and commitment from the school and district leadership to RtI; an infrastructure that can support a quality RtI system through appropriate scheduling, staffing, etc.; use of teaching tools that have been proven through research to be effective; and the systematic use of data by the entire staff in making educational decisions. In addition, the six schools were carefully chosen to represent a cross section of the state, such as geographical location, size of school and community, and cultural diversity of the students. “Over the past years, these demonstration schools have worked diligently to create an effective multi- level system of support for their students. Participating in this partnership demonstrates their continued dedication to refining and improving their system of support,” said Heidi Thuli, academic coordinator of the Wisconsin RtI Center.The Wisconsin RtI Center will guide these chosen demonstration sites, which are already implementing RtI with quality and fidelity, in expanding their process to be in line with the Wisconsin RtI Framework. The first year of the project includes schools focusing their current RtI efforts on reading at the elementary level. Data will be formally collected to assist in documenting the schools’ journeys and their outcomes. For the schools, this partnership will recognize, improve, and refine their current RtI implementation with the assistance and resources of the Wisconsin RtI Center and via partnership with the other demonstration schools.

I’m excited about being a part of this project and I know we’ll learn a lot that will benefit my students, families, and our whole district. The technical assistance from the Center will be great, but I’m most looking forward to working with the other demonstration schools–sharing resources and successful practices.

Rubbing elbows with Todd Whitaker

Todd Whitaker was a presenter at the state principals conference (AWSA) and I had a chance to chat with him after his session as he waited for his cab. He’s got a great sense of humor, shares plenty of education stories, and best of all is also a St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. He has a great Twitter presence and is fun to trade tweets with.

Jessica Johnson (@PrincipalJ), Todd Whitaker, and me (@WiscPrincipal)