Sunday, November 13, 2016

#HyperDocs for Administrators

In June of 2016, The HyperDoc Handbook was released with over 60 different HyperDoc lessons for classroom teachers to copy, use, and remix. The book also includes strategies for designing your own HyperDocs. Since the release of the book, the #HyperDoc(s) hashtag has been active with educators around the world sharing lessons, successes, and challenges around blended learning and digital lesson design. If you are wondering what the hype is all about, then take a look at this sketch drawn by Carrie Wilson. (Thank you, Carrie! This image really helps people to understand the  potential of HyperDocs!)
The website describes, "HyperDocs, a transformative, interactive Google Doc replacing the worksheet method of delivering instruction, is the ultimate change agent in the blended learning classroom. With strong educational philosophies built into each one, HyperDocs have the potential to shift the way you instruct with technology. They are created by teachers and given to students to engage, educate, and inspire learning. It’s not about teaching technology, it’s about using the technology to TEACH."

Learning Cycle is Connect • Content • Community
While classroom teachers and students have been having all the fun, HyperDocs can also be designed for professional development and for administrators to use with staff. Just like classroom teachers, administrators are always looking for effective strategies to integrate technology, share information, collect thinking, and problem solve. And what do all administrators wish they had? More face time with their teachers! That is why the Staff Meeting HyperDoc Template was created. This template was designed to support busy administrators who are looking for efficiency during a quick 45-minute staff meeting. If you would like to use this agenda, file + make a copy, and you can add your own content to the agenda. The learning cycle of this meeting agenda is Inspire • Connect • Explore • Reflect. 
  • INSPIRE: (5 minutes) Start your staff meeting off with something to inspire the group. Everyone in education works so hard. Find something funny, inspiring, or moving to set the tone for your meeting and link it to the document. Some ideas might be: Quote • Inspiring video • Story • Meme • Cartoon 
  • CONNECT: (10 minutes) Design an activity for staff to actively participate in. Dedicate this time to model an instructional connector and bring everyone together. This can involve tech or be no tech. Looking for some ideas? Check out these possible resources: Go Noodle HERETRIBES Learning Community HERE • Improv Games HERETeam Building activities on Pinterest HEREPositive Rewards for Adults HERE
  • EXPLORE: (20 minutes) Instead of standing and delivering information, why not try embedding a multimedia text set of resources onto the staff agenda and providing time for exploration of resources? Consider how you might facilitate the exploration time. I recommend partnering teachers up and letting them explore with two teachers and one device. When we sit with a partner and explore resources, we typically have conversations and process the information together. This also models a strategy that teachers can use with their students when exploring content. While partnerships are looking at resources, administrators can move around the room and make 1 on 1 connections. Rotate partners each time you facilitate this activity so that staff will have opportunities to connect with everyone. This builds trust, fosters inclusion, and helps everyone gets to know each other. 
  • REFLECT: (10 minutes) When it is time to bring the group back together, open the link on the Google Doc to with anyone with the link can edit and allow staff to respond directly to the editable document. During this time, collect thinking from everyone in the room and offer a space for continuous problem-solving. Staff can choose to write in their name or not. Administrators can follow up in person or address as a whole group. Reflection is broken up into 4 parts: 
    Provide this safe digital space for staff to process information and ask questions. Allow all the voices in the room to be heard.
    Inspire innovation and a growth mindset by listening to new ideas and creating a shared community of change agents.
    Build in time to show each other quick tech tips. There is always something new to learn or something that might make our digital lives more efficient. Have a few late adopters on staff? Quick weekly PD.
    Build an inclusive community and encourage staff to stop and thank each other for all the things they do for each other day to day.
Another role of an administrator is to meet with teachers to set individual goals and evaluate their teaching. In an effort to organize and capture the goal setting process for administrators and teachers in one shared space, The Goal Setting HyperDoc was designed. Administrators can share this document with individual teachers and use it as documentation to demonstrate goals and progress. Teachers will appreciate the clear expectations and resources for personal and professional growth. 

If you have a HyperDoc to share or you are looking for a HyperDoc on a different topic, please join the Teachers Give Teachers community by checking out the resources and links below. We are #bettertogether!  

Want more? Stay connected to the HyperDoc community!
PDBAMZbW_400x400.pngThis image rendered as PNG inThis image rendered as PNG inThis image rendered as PNG inFile:Pinterest Shiny Icon.svg
For more INFORMATION visit:

Watch the Google EDU On Air Episode where this HyperDoc is explained:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Share a Cup of Success: A HyperDoc to Build an Inclusive Community

What would you do if you walked into a staff meeting and you were greeted with smiles, tables cloths, coffee, tea, and appreciations? Wouldn't it just energize you for the day or maybe even inspire you to try the same activity with your students or other colleagues? This is what my colleague, Julie Twisselman did for me during our last coach forum of the school year. She coordinated such a thoughtful meeting that allowed our team to reflect and set new goals for the next school year. This is what she did.

The purpose of the meeting was to review the results of an online survey of the teachers that we had worked with all year. Reviewing specific anonymous feedback can sometimes be difficult to do because people are truly honest about their feelings. However, being brave enough to ask and review results is also an important part of the learning process. As a mindful mentor, Julie planned a special event for us to reflect on the comments from the survey. Her lesson helped to build community and inclusion so that we were open to truly listening to the feedback and personally growing in our educational practice. We started the meeting by viewing the video "Share a Cup of Success."

After the video, she explained how she had sifted through the feedback from the end of the year surveys and printed off one positive comment about each individual coach. She read the first comment aloud. Once she was done, she invited that coach to come up to a table decorated with a tablecloth and an assortment of different colored coffee mugs. The coach was invited to choose a coffee mug and pull from a pile of comments to read aloud about another coach. We each took turns reading aloud the words about our colleagues and walking away with a coffee mug. The room glowed as each educator had a public moment of appreciation. 

After this activity, we partnered up with a colleague and we were invited to fill our mugs at the coffee and tea bar. Using a handout of questions from the video, each partnership took turns discussing successes from the school year and setting new goals. At the end of the meeting, we debriefed with whole group appreciations and celebrated each other's successes from the school year. 

Inspired by this experience, I created a HYPERDOC to package up all the goodness that was created during this meeting. I am giving this gift to any educator who is interested in sharing a cup of success with their colleagues. Packaging up an experience on HyperDoc archives the lesson for future use. Sharing the HyperDoc with the Teachers Give Teachers community at or @TsGiveTs might help another group of educators to make the same connections. HyperDocs are not gifts for graduations, birthdays, or Christmas. HyperDocs are the kind of gifts that you give when you are inspired to do so. If you are doing something awesome in your school, please share with the TGT community. When you share, you are helping a much larger audience of educators to do something really awesome too!  

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Year End Review

It's the end of the school year and everyone is so busy with moving on ceremonies, graduations, good-byes, thank you's, and celebrations. Even though it's such a busy time, don't forget to take some time to reflect on your own accomplishments. There are many benefits to reflecting on your teaching practice. Here is to name a few: 

  1. COLLECTING YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN A JAR OF AWESOME NURTURES A GROWTH MINDSET: No matter how long one teaches, there is always room to grow. Some say it is a journey in life. Collecting your accomplishments over the years is a little like scrap booking the family photos. It takes some time, but it's so worth it when you look back and remember the milestones that together create your own personal educational journey. Use this digital Jar of Awesome to collect all the awesome things that you accomplished this school year. (This idea was shared with me from another instructional coach, Joy Sherrat.) 
  2. SHARE YOUR REFLECTIONS WITH COLLEAGUES FOR ENCOURAGEMENT: Use this Year End Reflection HyperDoc to share the specifics of what you accomplished this year. Have you ever been at a gathering with a group of teachers on the last day of school? We love to chat about what worked and what we still want to try. Typically, these conversations spark ideas in other educators for various directions to go in their classroom. Take a few minutes to complete the questions on this document to keep for yourself or consider posting your reflections on Twitter @TsGiveTs using the hashtag #HyperDocs. If you share your document as "anyone with the link can comment," then your PLN (Professional Learning Network) will be able to comment and send you words of encouragement. Not on Twitter? No problem! Share the document with departments or grade level teams to connect with other educators.

Once the final school bell rings and it is time for summer, take a well deserved summer break! Say your good-byes, close up the classroom, shut down the laptops and enjoy your summer. The life of an educator requires a lot of energy and the school year/school day are packed with busy demands. It's time to feel proud of your work and rejuvenate. For the next school year will be beginning before you know it.   

Monday, May 16, 2016

Questions to Guide Conversations, Collaboration, or Committee Meetings

As an instructional coach, I meet with teachers all the time to discuss their educational practice, set goals, and to problem solve around current issues. Many times, I use a collaborative log to document conversations. This log serves two purposes. One is that it is a visual reminder of progress made over a series of time. Two, the structure of questions on the log help to guide reflective and action-oriented conversations.

One of the most important roles an educator plays is being a mentor to fellow teachers. Whether your title is an instructional coach, TOSA (teacher on special assignment), classroom teacher, or administrator, there are usually multiple opportunities to mentor new and tenured colleagues every single day. Mentors have the potential to make a positive or negative impact on school climate and student performance. Mindful Mentors can use these questions and attached conversation logs to lead colleagues or to assist in keeping things productive on your school campus. These questions can be discussed at staff meetings, grade level collaboration, within one on one coaching models, or in the lunch room or hallways on any school campus.

Ask the Right Questions 
Educators are so busy working with kids every day, and sometimes they can't wait to communicate with other adults about what is going on in their classroom. Start conversations or meetings by asking questions to check in with colleagues. Give them an opportunity to talk and problem solve to work through the day to day concerns that arise. Try using this series of questions in your conversations with colleagues or when leading a group of educators:
  1. What is going well for you in your classroom?
  2. What is currently a challenge for you?
  3. What are your next steps?
  4. What can I do to support you? 
What is going well for you in your classroom?
Asking thoughtful questions shows your support for the work that is being completed. This first question keeps the focus on what is going well and positive classroom success. It helps the educator to name the positives and see the potential for things that are currently working in their classroom. Additionally, an opportunity to share some success, builds mutual respect, sparks new ideas or collaborative projects, and helps colleagues to feel like the work that they are doing is meaningful. 

What is currently a challenge for you?
Asking the second question moves the conversation into a reflective stage. Taking the time to think about our challenges, forces one to address them head on. If you are currently experiencing some challenges with a colleague, it's possible that asking this question is an entry point to having a hard conversation in a safe environment. If there are patterns in the challenges shared at your school site, as a leader, take the time to problem solve around those issues as a group.

If you are using this series of questions with a small group of people, make sure that each member of the group has an equal amount of time to share their responses. Giving colleagues an opportunity to share challenges builds community and gives the mentor an opportunity to see trends and patterns in the everyday classroom struggles that teachers are faced with. 

What are your next steps?
Asking this question shifts the conversation from a state of discontent to problem solving. This question puts the responsibility for learning on the educator because it asks for them to think deeply about what they can do to change the current situation. During this time, give your colleague time to think and reflect on what they can do to improve the challenges. Discuss aspects that are within their control and identify the factors that are out of their control. Keep the conversation focused on controllable factors and share ideas about what resources are available to best support the situation. If it's difficult to decide what is within your control, ask yourself this question, "What is best for the kids(s)?" It is important to keep the students at the center of decision-making at all times.

What can I do to support you? 
We are all in this world of education together. Support each other along the way. Asking this question reminds your colleagues that they do not have to teach in isolation. If someone asks you this question, think deeply about how to respond and ask for help when needed. Working with students is complex. There are so many directions and avenues available to create the best possible learning experience on a school campus. Work together to plan, share responsibilities, and put structures and procedures in place to ensure a positive learning experience for ALL students. Asking this question reminds educators that we can make a difference in the lives of the students that we work with. Avoid placing blame on students, parents, or other colleagues and focus on supporting each other to support the kids.

Keep these four questions in mind when you are working one on one, on committees, or in small groups. Guiding the conversation in this way helps to ensure productive outcomes and an inclusive community of educators.

Tech Tip
CLICK HERE for a link to a collaborative questioning log. Each week, or each time you meet, use the same Google Doc. Add the new notes to the top of the log so that you and your colleagues can view and document the successes, challenges, and problem-solving that happens throughout the school year.