Twitter Chats 2.0

iSuperEit:

#Satchat 2.0 has arrived.

Originally posted on Evolving Educators:

An example of a Voxer Conversation  between the #satchat moderators.

An example of a Voxer Conversation between the #satchat moderators.

Since April 2012 #satchat has engaged educators from all over the world in a positive and progressive educational conversation on Saturday mornings. As one of many educational chats on Twitter, we try to make the hour of educational conversation engaging, practical and something that educators can use in their classroom or school office the next school day. But one of the issues that people have with Twitter chats is the limited characters available for a message. I addressed this concern in a February 2013 blog post called The Great 140 Character Debate. But there is some truth to this issue.

Many Twitter chats have so much information being provided, in such a short time, that educators want to look back at the conversation well after it has ended. #satchat archives the conversation and then tweets out the link to…

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How hungry are you for a job?

Last night, the Board of Education hired an ELA teacher to focus on writing for my middle school program.  After the meeting, I called her, formally offering her the job. Hearing tears in her voice, she was beyond excited; while we were chatting about being hired, she spoke about how each step in my interviewing was more serious and intense.  She spoke about being more invested in each round, and how more effort and energy was brought forth in each phase.  It had me thinking on my ride home… was my process that difficult? Was it that  stressful? After each thought… it came down to one simple thought - just how hungry are people to get a job that you want?

My hiring process is five steps: 

  • You apply
  • A series of essay questions via google form
  • An interview
  • A Demo Lesson
  • A meet-n-greet with the BOE Personnel Committee, with the BOE voting on a candidate at the regular meeting

Sure, I could jut meet you and I can hire you.  But why do that?  At this time of year, I have a fresh amount of college graduates along with other teachers looking to switch districts. I’ll get scads upon scads of applications, many of which are generic and have no investment in the District (those immediately head to the circular file).  

After you apply (electronic only), I collect all email addresses and send out a google form with a series of questions pertaining to the subject they want to teach.  If you’re hungry, you’ll answer the questions.  If you’re not that hungry, you’ll pass.  This is one of my favorite parts of the application process; it naturally weeds out applications because folks simply don’t want to put in the time.

Based on your responses, I call in about a half dozen for interviews with a committee.  The committee is composed of Administrators and Teachers.  I listen mostly to the teacher feedback and look for the dynamics of the interview.  My job is to be there for resources and help when needed, and other than that, I’m out of the way.  

Based on the committee responses, I recommend two or three for the finalist panel on the Board of Education personnel committee.  The committee also asks questions and wants to get to know who they may potentially hire.  We conference together and select a candidate.

Lastly, The candidate gets approved at the Board Meeting.

It’s certainly an investment for the candidate, but again I ask, how hungry are you?

 

 

Authentic Writing Across the Curriculum

iSuperEit:

Great for Reading / Writing / ELA Teachers for summer projects… or to jump out f the gate in September!

Originally posted on Teachers, Profs, Parents: Writers Who Care:

By Brad Currie

Students using Chromebooks and Google Drive in class

Students using Chromebooks and Google Drive in class

Black River Middle School in Chester, New Jersey, takes great pride in the wide range of innovative learning experiences that students are exposed to on a daily basis. Focusing on digital literacy and building digital capacity are important aspects that we incorporate on a daily basis. Teachers and students take challenging risks utilizing various web based tools and mobile learning devices in order to better understand a particular concept. Digital literacy permeates the school setting and provides students with a relevant and engaging learning experience. The examples included in this blog post provide a glimpse of just a few best practices related to writing.

Performing Arts: Collaborative Script Writing

Script writing via Google Docs is an important unit of study in Mrs. Vespignani’s Performing Arts Class. Students work in groups to create a play and write a script using…

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PD + GHO = Awesome

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Recently, LAC School did a first. The school partook in a professional development workshop on co-teaching.  While that type of workshop was a first, we also did the entire workshop through google hangout.  I contacted Danielle Schwartz (@teacherschwartz) a superb teacher with years of co-teaching experience from northern NJ. I told her I wanted to try something new with our technology, and she obliged with no qualms, We mapped out a plan, tried GHO a few times, and were ready to go.  On the day of the  In GHO, we had four teams in four different parts of the building.  Materials (worksheets and a team building activity) were given out in advance.  Teachers reported to their respective classrooms, and for the most part, partook in a wonderful dialogue of what co-teaching is and the various models of it.  Like all things done for the first time, we had some missteps.  Here’s the breakdown below:

PROS:

  • Easily accessible.  We gave teachers the link; they clicked.
  • Easy for the presenter. Danielle did not have to drive two hours to get here.
  • Easy to understand and operate.  GHO can be a bit tricky, but after a few clicks, you can easily follow along.

 

PITFALLS:

  • Hard to gage if participants are truly engaging. Not having the person in the room may detract some from paying attention.
  • Tech savviness. I should have know that running GHO on your computers requires a few installs when it happens for the first time.  We had to do installs of all computers used.  It slowed us down by about 15 minutes.  Not killer, but it;s good to know for the next time.
  • Consistency. While everyone was getting the same content, some were on the document, some were watching the videos, and some were at the end of the presentation.  In workshops, I like to deliver the same message to all at the same time.

So many great lessons were learned from this workshop.  When’s the next one?

Minecraft Club starts at LAC!

Minecraft Club starts at LAC!

Over 47 students, grades 1-8, eagerly awaited for the PM bell yesterday for the official roll-out of the LAC Minecraft Club. This would have never happened if it weren’t for two great members of my PLN; Kyle Calderwood and Kevin Jarrett. My barrage of questions, comments, and what-if’s got me to the picture above. We had a huge amount of technical problems yesterday, but that was expected. We learned quite a bit, and I can’t wait for next week! Onward!

I got nominated for a what?!?

As I was falling asleep last night, this happened…

I was speechless.  I was excited.  I was nominated for something that’s WAY out of my league after seeing who else is in the category. With all due respect, I am no where near the likes of Joe Sanfelippo, Scott Rocco, Tim Purnell, and everyone else that’s been nominated.

Thanks Chris; this means a lot. At the very least, I plan on heading down and celebrating with everyone come September (side-note: Tom & Gwen – I went to school in DC… albeit a while back, I am still familiar with Street names and venues.)


Jay Eitner has been nominated  for Honors in the Category of Superintendent of the Year  at THE 2014 Annual Bammy Awards.

Supporters can vote online to help recognize  the contributions to the education community that led to the selection of Jay for this prestigious education community honor at http://www.bammyawards.org.

Lower Alloways Creek, NJ: Jay Eitner announced today that he has been nominated for honors in the category of Superintendent of the Year at the 2014 Annual Bammy Awards.

Presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences, the Bammy Award is a cross-discipline award recognizing the contributions of educators from across the education field.

“All across the nation, nominees like Jay Eitner are doing some pretty amazing things to educate our children often under very difficult circumstances.  Students are not the only ones who need validation. More than ever before, educators need to be validated and the stories about what’s going right in American education need to be told,” said Errol St. Clair Smith, executive producer of the Bammy Awards. “We are delighted to be part of this collaborative, nationwide effort.”

Honorees will be announced on September 27th at a red-carpet event in Washington, D.C. The Bammy Awards are presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences, which includes leading educators, education professors, journalists, editors, researchers, commentators, advocates,  activists, visionaries and pioneers. The Academy is comprised of a board of governors, a council of peers and the executive committee.

About Jay Eitner:

Jay Eitner is a proud product of the New Jersey public schools.  A graduate from Union High School in 1997, Jay attended The American University in Washington DC with a BA in interdisciplinary studies. He began his teaching career in Roselle, NJ teaching a variety of subjects, including social studies, computers, and literacy. Known for being ‘outside of the box’ and for strong technology infusion, Eitner strived to make a learning environment that was both student centered and data driven.  Jay received his Masters Degree in 2004 and was hired to teach 8th grade social studies in the nationally recognized East Brunswick Public Schools. During his time in East Brunswick, Eitner has written & received over $140,000 in grants for his students.  Grants ranged from podcasting equipment to creating a fully-interactive gold-rush experience, where students dug for gold during their westward expansion unit. Jay obtained his supervisor, principal, and school administrator certificates from the NJPSA NJ-EXCEL program in 2009.   Administratively, Eitner has served as a middle school Assistant Principal, a K-12 Supervisor of Social Studies, and currently serves as a Superintendent for The Lower Alloways Creek School District.  He has presented a series of workshops on digital leadership, technology infusion, and student achievement for grades K-12.

Jay’s blog can be found at jayeitner.com and can be followed on Twitter under the name @iSuperEit.

About the Bammy Awards:

The Bammy Awards is a cross-discipline award that identifies and acknowledges the good work being done all across the education village. The Bammy Awards was created in response to the tremendous national pressure on educators and education leaders to improve student outcomes, the impact of high stakes accountability and the intense scrutiny that today’s educators face.

The awards aim to foster cross-discipline recognition of the collective contributions being made to educate children, encourage collaboration in and across the various domains, elevate education and education successes in the public eye, and raise the profile and voices of the many undervalued and unrecognized people who are making a difference in the field.

 The Bammy Awards is organized by BAM Radio Network, which produces education radio shows for the nation’s leading education associations.

I’d appreciate your vote if you have a minute to spare.  Onward!

Check out “The House of #Edtech” podcast

I had the opportunity to be on Chris Nesi’s show “The House of #Edtech” this past week.  It was a super conversation about technology, leadership, and life.  Certainly worth a listen to.

5 ways I’m using Google Glass in my schools to enhance education

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OK, glass.  Change my school for the better.

In January, I got one of the best emails I ever received.  I got an email from Google Glass asking if I was interested to pilot their new project.  I was beyond excited.  My mind was running in every direction possible (and for those that know me personally, you know my mind runs all over as is); this email had me running like after a triple espresso.

I had to purchase the glasses frames as well, as my sight, well, is awful. After successful setting of frames, I was off and running.  Well, I think it took me  a few hours just to turn them on. Then comes your toggling, eye movement, using your fingers, and training your eye to look..

Naturally I read some articles of etiquette. There was nothing in Marie Post’s book, but CNN had a great article on how not to be a “Glasshole”.

Anyway, from my use thus far, here’s what I’ve been able to successfully do with my Glass in schools, that have help me be a better chief lead learner:

1. Recording teacher observations. In another school, when I got an iPad for the first time, a groups of teachers called it the “Spy Pad” when I was doing “Drive-by” observations. So, when I told my staff we got a pair, and what I was looking to do, the grumbles and moans carried through the school. At first, I was just wearing them and letting everyone try them on.  I also insisted that this was not the “Gotcha” camera.  This took great trust and a good leap of faith, but we did it. While in observations, I have recorded samples of students working, teachers teaching, and even some disciplinary issues.  The results?  Awesome.  I have played the video clips back to the Staff; they are fans.  The videos stay on my personal drive, and are not shared with the masses; not even the teacher.

2. Sending live updates of school happenings to social media to show all of the positives that are happening at the school. We all know the power of social media and how getting quick, simplistic information is beneficial to all.  With glass, I can take pictures and share them on our school twitter feed (@LACSchool), our Facebook page, and even attach images or videos to emails.  I have spent lots of time promoting and guiding our stakeholders to our website / social media avenues.  It’s been very successful, and this just adds more fuel to this educational fire.

3. Observe special education students at their best and worst, and providing footage to both Parents and the Child Study Teams. Sometimes certain students have certain needs that we can’t immediately identify or even explain properly.  Having the ability to record a student with Autism when they have a “melt-down”, and immediately sending that to the screen of the Child Study Team is paramount for our success.  It allows us to immediately assess, document, and begin to figure out to combat the situation.  It also has allowed me to show parents who are in denial. It has opened eyes, and in turn, allowed parents to make better decisions.

4. Get Email on the fly.  As A Superintendent, my email in-box is insane. Instead of being dangerous and reading email on my phone, I can see when email comes in on my screen and have google glass read it orally to me. I can then dictate a message back, save it, or delete it. It’s not used all of the time, but if I have a drive, I can weed out quite a bit.

5. Report concerns immediately to maintenance. I often walk the halls, and I’ll see something that needs cleaning, is in disrepair, or looks fantastic. I can take a picture and email it to grounds supervisor right on the spot.  No more trying to recall what hall, where, and when.

As Glass rolls out more apps, and as I (and the staff) get more comfortable with their use, I can see this being a permanent fixture in a school.

Glass is is helping us grow, learn, and move onward.