It has been quite awhile since I have blogged. There are many reasons for that, but suffice it to say life just got in the way. I have thought about getting back to it for a while, but an ongoing "conversation" via twitter and with other notable edubloggers has pushed me into action. I have followed the recent events and conversations - the S.O.S. march on Washington, D.C., the political decision-making aimed at tearing down public education systems and attacking those people who have dedicated their lives to it, and the handing over of our country's education ...


It hadn't occurred to me that the U.S. would actually lose to Japan in the World Cup Soccer Final last Sunday. Our women's team was magical. They came from behind against Brazil and won on penalty kicks and the rest seemed pre-ordained. All that was missing was Al Michaels roaring into the microphone: "Do you believe in miracles?!!!" and the jingoistic chant of "USA!...USA!...USA!...". So I decided I would write a post about the amazing skill and passion and audacity and focus and persistence and fitness and resilience and talent of this extraordinary team. I decided I ...


In my district this year, there was a lot of turn over in the district due to retirement. However, in reflecting on all the people that are leaving. They are people that I have established special bonds with throughout my career in the district.


by Ryan Bretag | @ryanbretag How many teachers have you seen teach in your school? I've seen every teacher teach during my building walks and instructional walks. I've visited a good percentage of classrooms and teachers. However, I've not sat in the classroom of each teacher and immersed myself in the environment. This is a critical leadership mistake, one that is simply not acceptable if I'm to call myself an instructional leader. It makes it difficult to understand the full weight of decisions. It makes it difficult to speak on their behalf or more importantly, the students' behalf. It makes it ...


by Ryan Bretag | @ryanbretag J.K. Rowling's announcement of Pottermore points us towards a new context for literacy, a context where the book and therefore our habits of reading are evolving through the affordance of digital tools and digital texts. Watching this video introduction by Rowling herself speaks to these changes: There is a uniqueness to online reading Creation of new reading experiences The innovative possibilities of online books is growing and powerful The importance of "you" to the reading of books—the immersion and social aspects possible in the digital world with social media The Digital Generation expects a different...


Our stars mock us. I realized that this morning when I read about the Summer Triangle which will appear tonight in the eastern sky just after dark. There are three stars in the Summer Triangle and while they appear to look the same… they are not even in the same constellation. Altair is 17 light years away. That means, in the parlance of astronomers, that the photons of light that strike our eyes tonight actually left their source back in 1994. Seven years before No Child Left Behind launched our present preoccupation with accountability (and the madness of interminable testing)… ...


The New Media Consortium has released The NMC Horizon Report: 2011 K-12 Edition (link is .pdf download) which "examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative expression with the environment of pre-college education." Each edition of this (annual) report introduces six emerging technologies or practices that are likely to enter mainstream use in the educational community within the next five years. As I read through the Executive Summary of this edition of the report, I was struck by their list of Critical Challenges that are currently impacting teaching, learning, and creativity. The report ...


Here’s a little something for you to think about over the weekend. Those resisters and naysayers in your school organization? You know, the ones that are pushing back against your change initiative? The ones that you like to complain about because ‘the train is moving’ and they’re not ‘getting on board?’ What if they’re right? 10 Reasons Your Educators Are Resisting Your Change Initiative Surprise, Surprise! Decisions or requests that are sprung on administrators and teachers without notice. Excess Uncertainty. Not knowing enough about the change will result in the "walking off a cliff blindfolded"...


Our students' world is changing at a rate many adults cannot fathom.


by Ryan Bretag | @ryanbretag The Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines complacency as "self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies." More importantly, it is a critical blind spot for leaders that left unchecked can easily tumble organizations into dangerous waters. Herb Kelleher stated it best: "The Number one threat is us. We must not let success breed complacency. A company is never more vulnerable to complacency than when it’s at the height of its success" (Freiberg, pg. 60). What happens when organizations begin to settle for a "business as usual" mindset? What are signs that an organization is ...


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