Mimio Educator

Kelly Bielefeld

Kelly Bielefeld has 12 years of experience as an elementary school principal. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Kansas State University, and master's degrees in Curriculum & Instruction and Educational Leadership & Administration from Wichita State University. As a principal, he has worked in rural, urban, and suburban schools along with having experience in both parochial and public school setting.
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Recent Posts

Creating Strong Teams in Your School

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Jun 28, 2018

Schools are comprised of teams, and these teams working together create the “team” that is the entire school. Although teachers are often stereotyped as preferring to work alone isolated in their classrooms, most teachers love working within a team—at least within a strong team. Weak or ineffective teams can be frustrating and potentially toxic. Because of this, the aspects of a strong team are critical for teams and leaders to know and understand.

There isn’t a step-by-step list of how to develop strong teams, but there are some universal guidelines and expectations that can help teams to become more effective. Here are some of the key ingredients for a strong team:

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Topics: Administrator Resources

Maintaining Trust to Build School Culture

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Jun 21, 2018

The school year is off to a great start and all school teams are working together without issues. Everyone has a positive attitude each and every day. Teachers leave meetings with a sense of efficacy and support all the decisions that come from administration.

Well, maybe not exactly. But we can dream, right? I have been part of 18 different school years thus far in my career, and each year is filled with highs and lows. At times, there is a positive energy in the school and the culture is great. Other times, it feels a little more like “work” and there are top-down decisions that are hard to support. 

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Topics: Administrator Resources

Building Trust Within a School

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Jun 14, 2018

Cars must have gasoline to run, and in a similar way, school teams must have trust to operate effectively. In both cases, any momentum will come to a screeching halt if the “fuel” that drives the system isn’t present. 

Why does trust matter so much in schools? The answer is complex. Teachers tend to operate in their own classrooms to teach finite sets of students. We know that this isn’t always best for student learning, but it is the defacto manner in which most schools operate. School leaders know that collaboration between teachers helps to improve outcomes. When best practices are shared from classroom to classroom, teachers improve and so does student learning. But this isn’t natural for most teachers—and this is why trust is so critical.

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Topics: Administrator Resources

Facilities Matter: How to Create Effective Spaces for Learning and Teaching

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Tue, Jun 12, 2018

For all the time, energy, and money we put into books, technology, and curriculum, it’s easy to forget about the importance our school facilities play in student learning. The spaces we provide for students to learn in create an environment that is conducive—or not conducive—to deep learning. And while it might feel that as teachers we can’t impact our physical classroom too much, we can have a greater impact than we may think.

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Topics: Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

Visible Learning: How to Apply the Research

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, May 31, 2018

 
Professional educators should always seek out best practices. Because this term is thrown around a lot, teachers can feel confused and overwhelmed by all the “research” that is available about what we should do (or not do) in our classrooms. It can make our collective heads spin.

One solution to assist teachers with this is John Hattie’s research on Visible Learning. This resource can be very beneficial in keeping our heads on straight, but Visible Learning can be a bit overwhelming, too. There are 252 different categories of research sorted into a number of domains and subdomains. This is a lot of information to sift through, and if you’ve read the book, it is a formidable experience. 

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Topics: Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

Engaging Learning to End the School Year

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, May 30, 2018

To end the year on a high note, it’s important to keep students learning until the last day of school. This is easier said than done since students, and often teachers as well, are excited about the end of the year. All this excitement can make it difficult to ensure learning is taking place.

In order to combat this, teachers must use creative strategies that will be more engaging to students than the average lesson. Many teachers already have these tricks up their sleeve—it's just a matter of putting them into action and remembering to keep the focus on learning.

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Topics: tips for teachers

Surface vs. Deep Learning: Knowing the Difference

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, May 16, 2018

The biggest takeaway for many educators from the research in Visible Learning is that both types of learning are crucial to student success. We must go deeper than the surface-level learning that occurs most often in classrooms. At the same time, we cannot go deep until we break the surface. Students must gain some knowledge about a topic before they are able to go deeper.

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Topics: tips for teachers

How to Use Assessment Clickers to Adjust Instruction

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, May 2, 2018

In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins wrote at length about technology as an “accelerator.” It was important to note that the acceleration technology created could go in either direction. Companies with a clear vision and plan could use technology to improve outcomes rapidly, while those that did not have a solid foundation and invested heavily in technology “accelerated” their demise.

The world of education is probably not much different to these companies. Schools that have clear instructional goals, a solid foundational curriculum, and engaging practices can use technology to move from good to great.

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Topics: MimioVote assessment, classroom assessment

Using Rubrics to Assist With Differentiation

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Apr 26, 2018

If you are a teacher who struggles with giving quality feedback to students in an efficient manner, using a rubric may help. A well-written rubric can be an amazing classroom tool for both the teacher and the student. Even if you already use rubrics on a regular basis, some of these strategies may help to assist students in reaching higher levels of understanding.

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Tips for Teachers to Avoid Burnout

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Tue, Apr 24, 2018

Teaching is a tough profession, and as a result, it is common to hear that a teacher is becoming “burned out.” This can mean a lot of things to different people, but for the most part, people become burned out because they have lost a passion for what they do. This isn’t good for schools, students, or the teachers themselves.

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Topics: Administrator Resources

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