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LAST CALL VOTE HERE (12/9)
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Here are a few folks I’d like to thank for having such a strong impact on my work this year.
- Best individual blog – Chris Lehman’s Practical Theory. Chris is one of the most intelligent, child-centered school leaders I’ve ever met. He is constantly pushing the thinking of me and others while providing a transparent and collaborative approach to family engagement at the Science Leadership Academy.
- Best group blog – The Connected Principals site provides a wide range of daily resources for today’s leaders. The bloggers are on the front lines and showcase ways to support our students, staff & parent communities. I spend a great deal of time on this site and share often with my own learning community.
- Best new blog and best student blog- StuVoice.org values the voices of our students is something many of us don’t do enough of. Here’s a student movement that is picking up steam that will no doubt help us design more student-centered instruction and initiatives moving forward. My hope is that the US Dept. of Education will provide them a seat at the table in all educational reform efforts.
- Best class blog – Nancy Carroll’s Teaching is Elementary I’ve followed her on Twitter for a while and also shared her work with some of my staff. Nancy provides an innovative and interactive look at the learnings of her elementary students.
- Best ed tech / resource sharing blog – Edudemic. Richard Byrne and company have provided me with so many resources over the past year that I have my own Evernote notebook just for their tweets. Follow them and subscribe to their consistent and timely updates.
- Best teacher blog – Larry Ferlazzo. If I’m look to learn more about family engagement, working with ESL students and families, or want the best resources for current events, Larry’s site is where I go. Mr. Ferlazzo is not only an inspiring educator, but he’s also a great person. I oftentimes wonder if he ever sleeps.
- Best library / librarian blog – Shannon Miller’s Van Meter Library Voice. I had the privilege to meet Shannon in person at the Bammy’s back in September. As advertised, she’s a very kind, nurturing and innovative educator whose work is raising the bar for libraries around the world.
- Best administrator blog – George Couros’ the Principal of Change. George inspires me to be a better principal and person each day. He coined the phrase “Lead Learner” in a 2011 post and I now use the term daily. In today’s evolving role of the school principal, George is the Lead Learner I would want leading my own child’s school.
- Most influential blog post – “Recognize the Big Rocks” by Jeff Delp at Connected Principals. Days at school can fly by with the increasing workload, assessments, evaluations. observations, celebrations, professional development and so on. It’s so important to keep the big rocks in perspective, and Jeff’s timely September post certainly helped me reflect on where I was and where I want to go next.
- Best individual tweeter – Kyle Pace – (@KylePace). Kyle is not only a district instructional technology specialist and Google certified teacher, he is also a person who I think of on the Edu-Twitterverse as kind, smart, resourceful, inquisitive, connected and wanting to help his learning environment be as innovative as possible. I call on him often on Twitter and had the privilege to meet him in person back in September.
- Best twitter hashtag – #ptchat. This chat just hit its 12 month mark on Wednesday night. The weekly parent-teacher conversation aims to flush out challenges and ideas in meeting the evolving and diverse needs of today’s home-school partnership needs, while modeling a transparent and collaborative approach. Special thanks to fellow moderators: Student Zak Mal, Teacher Dana Sirotiak, Parent Gwen Pescatore & Superintendent Steve Constantino. These folks keep the conversation interactive, open-minded, applicable and timely.
- Best free web tool – Anymeeting.com. Our school has been using this free tool to broadcast home & school meetings and other school events to help others stay engaged within a school’s learning community for the past 18 months. It has all the two-way communication features of a course webinar and our parents love it. Highly recommended!
- Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast Teachercast. Jeff Bradbury is so passionate about helping teachers do what they love. For me, he wins on dedication alone. He has a wealth of information on his site, and I’m hoping that he will look into podcasting brief 10 min summaries of the best chats on the Edu-Twittersphere in the future.
- Best educational wiki – Knapp Family Engagement Wiki Parents & teachers collaboratively create this wiki which serves as the school website. Parents & teachers work together on Google Docs to create newsletters as well as host virtual Home & School Meetings from this site. A “ParentCamp” is currently in the planning stages.
- Best open PD / unconference / webinar series – The New Leadership 2.0 EdWeb.net Webinar Series. Learn from innovative leaders like Eric Sheninger and Spike Cook on this free monthly leadership community and professional development offering. Follow the hashtag #lead20 to engage in these conversations now sponsored by NAESP, NASSP & Leadership Briefing.
- Best educational use of a social network – @KnappElementary Twitterfeed. (Twitter linked to Facebook Page to maximize reach) This year’s family bumper sticker – “Learn with us at @KnappElementary.” This school’s goal is to build a connected and transparent learning community. Parents and teachers at Knapp work to raise the bar for one another in the best interests of students each day.
- Best mobile app – Knapp Elementary Family Engagement App. Now available free in both Apple & Android store. Biggest upgrades from our 1.0 mobile app include push notifications, Report Bullying eForm & social media access for families and staff.
- Lifetime achievement – Tom Whitby. Tom is one of the founders of #edchat – the weekly Tuesday conversation (12PM EDT & 7PM EDT). He’s a professor, a former English teacher of 34 years and has served the field of education’s past and present. His vision for how social media be a compliment and catalyst to traditional education reform has impacted me and every stakeholder within the field of education. Tom is truly an inspiring educator, and I look forward to every conference I attend that Tom is either speaking or attending. In mentoring new teachers to our field, Tom is a great example of what it means to truly be a life-long learner.