Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tuesday Folder 12/16/2014

Enjoy your Christmas break. Period.

I should end there and let you finish up your work for the year, but bear with me for a couple of paragraphs. First, thanks for all you've done to support the numerous food drives over the past few weeks. I'm determined to get better intelligence on who's supporting whom and hope to use that knowledge to collaborate on ways to address food insecurity year-round and not just during the Holidays. But, that's a topic for next year. 

Andy, Technology team, and I have all talked with you about developing content to build a connected digital community between schools and with the community. The web app is a vehicle to do this. Let's get creative and look for community members with the time and talent to support you and our professional educators in updating and maintaining their web presence. I know there's a way without adding one more thing - it just hasn't been discovered yet. For now, we can use social media to make each other aware of what's happening in buildings across the district. If you have a Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram handle, please share them so I can tag, retweet and share items of interest with the community.

Bentonville Zoo architectural model

Wednesday Walkabout

Last week's Walkabout had to wait until Friday. I was fortunate to see a fantastic example of student choice and technology/art integration last Friday at Apple Glen when I toured 3rd grade classrooms. Their proposals for a zoo in Bentonville were amazing. Students worked in pairs to create a digital, or analog (poster) presentation on an animal along a diorama of a habitat exhibit. They were so excited to share their new knowledge not only about their animal, but also how they used PowToon or blabberize to create their digital presentations.
Ready to share new learning
This week I'll be heading to Ruth Barker to tour Ellis Island on Tuesday. Students from Gateway will be pitching their ideas to expand the Bike Repair Shop on Thursday at the Administration Building.

Hour of Code 

Thanks to all for participating in the Hour of Code last week. You're helping build a case to include computer coding in elementary and middle schools. Governor-Elect Hutchinson has stated his support for mandating Computer Science for all high school students. I think we all know that's too late. Computer coding is a literacy activity that needs to be funded adequately and supported at all levels.

Grants and PD

My goal for the New Year is to step up my game in the grant department. This is an area where I'm truly learning on the job. I also firmly believe that people with the greatest investment and autonomy in the outcome will produce the best work. Therefore, the best grant applications come from those with the most ownership of the outcome. I'll be happy to facilitate in any way I can to help you, your faculty and staff create the learning environments students' need with the resources that help them be successful in learning.

Here's to a well-deserved vacation with less angst and more joy. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday Folder 12/9/14

I'm not counting the days until Christmas Break this year, does that have some existential meaning?
I also haven't gained my usual 10 pounds by eating parent-provided goodies, which is nice.

It's computer science week and I'm glad to hear so many buildings are participating in the hour of code. The more evidence that can be collected on the need to expose students to "computer science" the better the argument to Governor-elect Hutchinson and the Legislature for funding computer literacy initiatives at all grade levels, not just high school math classes.
Our next Minute with Mike will focus on computer coding, so contact Connor and I to make him aware of times he can film students participating. We'd like to get some footage from all grade levels. A few of you have had teachers contact us already. Thank you.

Thank you to those of you who are supporting Kiwanis. Food Drives, Fundraisers, and Freebies will be a topic over the summer to get all your input on how to support community partners and maintain autonomy at buildings. Collaboratively, we'll find a solution that works for all.

Wednesday Walk About

I was able to attend Margot Cowing's class at BHS last week and take part in a lesson facilitated by representatives of Mu-Sigma, an international decision sciences and data analytic firm on using visual representations to communicate huge amounts of data. It was fascinating and I learned something in the process. This is a great example of how we can leverage the experts in our community to support student learning.

OHMS six graders facilitating  learning. 
Although it wasn't Wednesday, I visited Amy Van Pelt's 6th grade science class at OHMS yesterday. Her students were leading R.E. Baker Kindergartner's through the scientific discovery process using frozen water balloons. One lesson neither Kindergartner nor 6th graders will forget. Can you imagine the conversations on the way home?

No Wednesday Walk About this week, I'll be heading to Little Rock to help board members and Mr. Poore present on using social media to tell a district's story.

Grant Opportunities

Here are links to the Education Grants Alert this week. Stratasys 2015 Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge looks like fun.

Have a great week.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday Folder 12/2/14

After a two-week hiatus, the Tuesday Folder is back in a new format. I was fortunate to travel to Kansas City and spend a day at the Blue Valley CAPS program two weeks ago, and last week you all were on a well-deserved break.
A friend of mine suggested I turn this into a blog. Great idea, and one I wish I'd thought of myself. Blogging allows for embedded links to external content, videos and facilitates collaboration. Explore, comment, and suggest improvements.

Wednesday Walk Through

It was a pleasure to spend time at Apple Glen and Washington on my first Wednesday Walk About. I enjoyed talking with Ms. Dewey and her 3rd graders about using their laptops to create stories using Lego Story Starter. Pretty amazing. I also marveled at the library! What a great place to curl up and explore a book. I can't wait to get back and see how Ms. Stringfield is using iPads in music class.
A walk through Washington is always interesting. I learn more from work displayed on the walls than I did when I was in junior high. I found Mr. Matthews' Gateway to Technology studio/laboratory/classroom/technology center. Whoa! Talk about an engaging environment for learning. This week I plan to visit BHS North Building and see what Mu Sigma is all about. Should be interesting.


There's can in there too!
Know a vendor?
Willing to hold a quick, canned food drive next week?
Have a club ready to step up and participate?
You know who to call.

Next week is Computer Science Education Week. It's not too late to sign up to host an Hour of Code for your building or in specific classrooms. This year they've added a Frozen themed set of lessons. I would like to do a Minute with Mike video next Wednesday afternoon at a building that is participating. If you're interested let me know.

If you have an event that needs promotion, or an idea that shows how #bpsmorethanascore let me know. If we don't tell our story, someone else will. We need to define the conversation before the conversation defines us.


I want to take this opportunity to thank you for all your patience, support, and guidance over the past 4 months. I truly appreciate the opportunities to learn I've experienced and know that there will be countless more to come. I appreciate your leadership. Have a great week.