Mimio Educator

The Two and the Ten: Teacher Self-Evaluation 

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Apr 12, 2018

For most adults, it is difficult to be objective when assessing ourselves. Classroom teachers are not an exception. From my experience, it isn’t from a lack of trying. Most teachers try to improve and reflect, but it can be a challenge. It’s difficult because teaching is a very personal thing. We teach from our heart and from our personality, so it can be hard to critique something that is so “close” to us—so near and dear to who we are and what we believe.

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Topics: Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

Talking With Students About Tragedies: A Principal's Perspective 

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Apr 11, 2018

Like most people who were alive on September 11, 2001, I remember the day very vividly. I was a 23-year-old first-year teacher at a high school in Kansas. The events of the day were indescribable, devastating, and extremely emotional. I wasn’t sure if watching the footage with my class was appropriate, but that’s what I did—along with most of the teachers in the building.

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Topics: Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

How to Differentiate Through Rubrics and Learning Goals

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Mar 28, 2018

Our school, like many across the country, uses a “walkthrough” tool to help gather data and monitor teacher effectiveness. Part of the process for administrators as they walk through classrooms is to look for different aspects of good teaching practices. One of the expectations for our school is that teachers display their learning goal or objective somewhere in the classroom. This can feel like a hoop to jump through for teachers at times, but as an administrator, I'm not just looking for one more thing for my teachers to have to do each day. The philosophy behind it isn’t about the goal being posted as much as it is about the teacher and students clearly knowing what learning should be occurring—and to what level it should be learned at.

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Topics: Administrator Resources

Tips and Tricks to Hire the Best Teachers

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Mar 22, 2018

What to Look and Listen for During an Interview

I am by no means a Human Resources expert—I don’t know all the ins and outs of the research behind hiring great candidates, nor do I have time to look through numerous resumes and applications. But after 13 years in the principal’s seat, I have probably sat through over 200 interviews. And even though interviews for custodians are different than interviews for band teachers, and interviews for 5th grade teachers are different than interviews for superintendents, I have found there are patterns that can be useful in finding good candidates for any position.

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Topics: Administrator Resources

How to Enhance Your Classroom With Innovative Solutions and Resources

Posted by Holly Fritz-Palao on Tue, Mar 20, 2018

Bringing interactivity, collaboration, and assessment to your schools is easier than you think! We've compiled a list of easy-to-use, engaging, and effective solutions as a great starting point. We've also included our top guides, so you can dig deeper into the best way to select, evaluate, and implement these interactive solutions.

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Topics: Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

Why I Always Interview as a Team

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Mar 15, 2018

When it comes to finding good teaching candidates, there isn’t an exact science. Applications can all look the same, and sometimes interviewing and hiring is all about timing. It can be a clunky process—and one that doesn’t always work out perfectly.

One of the structures that I have put in place to avoid this is to have a team with me while I interview teaching candidates. I will admit that there can be a downside to having an interview team—if the team doesn’t agree or prefers a different candidate to my top pick, it can be awkward. It can make the team feel as though their input wasn’t taken seriously or heard. These situations are the exception, but they do happen.

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Topics: Administrator Resources

Part Two: How Teaching Teachers Differs From Teaching Kids

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Thu, Mar 8, 2018

As professionally trained educators, we know there are best practices that we need to apply to teaching regardless of the age of the learner. Some of these universal practices were highlighted in our recent article in this series. In other ways, teaching adults is very different than working with students. If you are a person who works with adults in any kind of professional learning, you probably already know that there are some big differences between the two.

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Topics: Administrator Resources

Plan a Day (or Week!) of Reading Fun With Read Across America

Posted by Crysta Baier on Wed, Feb 28, 2018

“I know—let’s make green eggs and ham and let the kids sample it!” exclaimed my principal as I shared the first draft of my plans for our 2018 Read Across America (RAA) celebration. Her voice was filled with the same excitement that fills the whole school when March 2 rolls around. At Edgerton Elementary, we love Read Across America Day so much that we turn it into a week of events. Sure, it takes time to plan, gather, organize, and execute, but the time spent creating a grand celebration for Dr. Seuss’s birthday is well worth the effort. Let me tell you how—and why—we plan the week-long festivities. 

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Topics: Lessons, Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

Information Overload Part Two: How Parents and Teachers Can Help Students

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Tue, Feb 27, 2018

As we discussed in part one of our Information Overload series, the sources of information that our students are bombarded with each day has increased exponentially over the past few years. The messages our students receive about life were once limited to cable television and the radio. Today, there are billions of images, opinions, videos, and comments at a student’s fingertips all day long. And as all of this has become more complex for students, it has also become more complex for the adults in their lives.

What is a school or parent to do? Take away the phone? Undo the 1:1 device initiative and go back to pencil and paper? And is it even that big of a deal anyway?

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Topics: Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

Part One: How Administrators Can Get the Most out of Teachers by Being Teachers

Posted by Kelly Bielefeld on Wed, Feb 21, 2018

Most teachers feel they are lifelong learners. They love learning, which is part of why they have embraced teaching as a career. So if teachers are to be learners, who are their teachers?

Their teachers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are in college classrooms, some are on Twitter chats, some are fellow teachers down the hall, and some are nationally known speakers who share their expertise.

Personally, I believe that all administrators must often wear the “teacher” hat in order to get the most out of the teachers they work with. When administrators model great instructional practices, it sends a message to teachers about the importance of their role. For principals, curriculum directors, and superintendents, we should find ourselves using our teaching strategies with our teachers often—even during short faculty meetings. We know that just talking at students is largely an ineffective way to teach them things, so we shouldn’t do this with our own staff either. 

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Topics: Administrator Resources, tips for teachers

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