|It was a beautiful day for a visit !|
Adam had described some of the awesome things happening there via email- kids blogging, Google Apps, 1:1 laptops in 4th and 5th grade, 1:1 iPads in 2nd grade, six iPads in each kindergarten classroom, and writer's workshop. Today we got to see all this and more in action!
When we met Adam, he was busy greeting parents and directing traffic in the parking lot. His energy is contagious- you can feel it throughout the school. He shared that after school, he and another teacher were headed to another school to have a Twitter party -- PD around sharing the power of connecting with other educators on Twitter. Every teacher at Adam's school is on Twitter!
The students were excited to share the things they were working on. Kids were researching rocks, planning genius hour projects, and writing blog posts. One 4th grade student shared "I like blogging because I can share my ideas with others and they will tell me how to improve. We can agree or disagree." The TK kids were excited to get started on their writing, and we saw kids playing the drums (and their knees and hips) to the beat with their amazing music teacher John Buschiazzo.
There are many things that make this school amazing- Adam described his teachers, a very involved parent group, and fantastic kids. But it's also very clear when you talk to Adam that he's a true instructional leader. He taught a class one day when a class failed to get a substitute. His weekly staff PD "Wired Wednesdays" features sharing of a tech tool in just 15 minutes. He's headed to New York in February to attend the Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project institute, and he regularly connects with other teachers and administrators across the country via Twitter. He knows what's going on in every single classroom- what students are learning and how they're learning it. They even have their own hashtag-- #teamkid.
Students in every class greeted him with a wave and "Hi, Mr. Welcome!" It's clear the kids dig their principal!
I have long been a believer that the best way to learn is to get out there and see what's happening in classrooms and schools. I now have so many new ideas to add to our dream list as we plan for next school year. There are two things that I'm going to start right away: tweeting from each classroom at least one day each week, and making positive phone calls home to families. Adam's teachers give him index cards when kids do something awesome and he makes a phone call home. The wall above his desk is filled with index cards-- each one reflects a phone call home.
If you have a chance, take a trip to Martinez and check out John Swett Elementary-- where kids and teachers are filled with wonder and everyone is on #teamkid!