The School Leader Gift Guide

It's the time of the year where all the school leaders stress over how to show appreciation to your staff but not break the budget in the process.  From the secretaries, co-workers, cafeteria workers, and teachers, it is easy to become overwhelmed with anxiety.  


I have put together a few ideas that I hope you find helpful.  If you funds are limited, maybe consider purchasing one item just for the campus to enjoy all year long.  I have some suggestions for that too.  


If you are looking for a wide variety of ideas to spread the holiday cheer all through the month of December, check out this 12 Days of Christmas post.


[Disclosure: This document may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.]

If in a hurry, download the gift guide PDF here: https://bit.ly/principalprinciplesgiftguide




TEACHER STICKERS




CAMPUS GIFT




INDIVIDUAL GIFTS



GIFTS UNDER $15



$20 and Up Specialty Gifts




OFFICE GIFT ITEMS


Motivational and Inspirational Quote Print Dream Big Poster

Notes from Meetings That Should Have Been Emails

This Meeting Should Have Been an Email Black Mug




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Inspiring Leaders Spotlight: WIN Time

I have had the great pleasure of sharing WIN Time with you many,  many times.  However, I am excited about the opportunity to share with you amazing school leaders who believe in WIN Time.  These leaders know the importance of the system and see the results.  Help me welcome Crystal Mayes, Susan Hankins, and John Weaver to the platform today. 


I hope you enjoy their story.


CRYSTAL MAYES, ELEMENTARY PRINCIPAL, TEXAS



Crystal Mayes, Elementary Principal (Texas)

How do you collect data?


Every three weeks our teachers give students common assessment on a spiral readiness TEKS that we focus on during Space Time (WIN). We will report out the results during PLC common planning and analyze student work. We hone in to make sure that our "meets" percentage is high before moving on to our next lowest score - student expectations. We ask the four essential Marzano questions for the new skills. We also use survey level assessments in Aimsweb curriculum-based assessments, and Interim exams.

How do you track data?


We created a Google sheet in which we track students growth and progress from test a test and look for the +10 from John Wink’s philosophy. It has a conditional formatting color-coded for students that might be falling behind. We also track each classrooms percentage of approaches, meets, and masters. The goal is to have the entire class grow +10 from the beginning of the year until the end of each category. Whichever Space Time spiral TEKS were focused on for 3 weeks (must be a readiness standard and highly tested) during then the teachers track the four question common assessment by item rigor of high, medium, and low to see if there are any gaps or strengths in different classrooms.


How do you group students using data?


The instructional coach and I try to homogeneously group students by their levels of masters, meets, and approaches.  We then have special population groups such as our homeless, RTI/MTSS, Dyslexic, and resource. Teachers who are strongest in particular areas or subjects are then selected to teach reading or math. English Language and RTI aides are also pushed into the classroom, so they can build relationships with students, help track tier paperwork, and assist the teacher for an additional small group.

Tell me all about your WIN Time implementation (struggles, how you started, your successes)


This will be our third year of implementation. One of the first struggles was to have buy-in for teachers to switch students around the grade level rather than keeping their homeroom. We then realized we needed  different instructional resources to use during this time. 

We also realize that we need very clear expectations of what this time looks like and what it does not look like. We had to make sure that our aides are provided resources for our conducting a small group as well as being trained on how to use the resources. We had to make this time a very sacred time, and we do not ever give it up except for party days.

SUSAN HANKINS, ELEMENTARY PRINCIPAL, MICHIGAN




Susan Hankins, Elementary Principal and Curriculum (Michigan)

How do you collect data?

We have a school information system called Illuminate.


How do you track data?


The School Improvement Team analyzes and tracks data. Teachers also meet weekly to track data at a classroom and grade level.

How do you group students using data?

Students are grouped by skill area. Students are progress monitored throughout a 6 week period and once they show mastery they move to a different group.

Tell me all about your WIN Time implementation (struggles, how you started, your successes

In 2016 I became principal at the elementary school where I taught. That year was spent learning my new role, working to strengthen relationships, and getting a feeling from things at an administrative level. After learning from my teachers and observing the needs of the building, we worked to create a strong, active School Improvement Team in the 2017-2018 school year.


This team consists of teachers from various levels, general and special education, and program directors. They are the incredible driving force behind our success. We spent this year really studying our data. We learned about our strengths and weaknesses and spent a lot of time talking about what we needed to drive change.

The 2018-2019 school year was spent building capacity and the need with the staff. Our current system had paraprofessionals at the helm of intervention. In the past, data wasn’t used to drive decision-making, and students were pulled out of class to receive their intervention. Scores were decent but stagnant, and our most intensive and gifted students weren’t growing as much as we would like. We spent a lot of time talking about how we could put our teachers with our students with the most intense needs. Then I came across Stephanie McConnell and her WIN Time implementation. I brought the idea to my School Improvement Team, and they ran with it.

We spent each of our meetings looking at data and planning for implementation. The first thing we had to do was create a master schedule. Something that this building never had. In that master schedule, we included 120 minutes for ELA, 90 minutes for math, 50 minutes for special, 20 minutes for lunch, 20 minutes for recess, and 45 minutes for WIN. As we were working on the master schedule, we began to build capacity with the staff. We walked teachers through a process of a needs assessment, so they say WIN as a need like we did. Asking teachers to take 30-45 minutes of their day every day for something new was a paradigm shift. However, the whole staff quickly became as excited about it as this team.

The summer prior to the 2018-2019 school year, the SIT spent looking at data, making groups for the teachers, and setting goals for the groups. We did this for them for the first round of WIN as we wanted to gradually release control as not to overwhelm the teachers. We continued to go slow to go fast.

Upon return, the teachers planned for the groups and their skills. They planned with paras. Paras worked with our students who were at grade level, we had an advanced program for those working above, and our teachers worked with our most intensive kids. We set the scene that WIN was the most important time of the day. Classes were not to be interrupted during this time, and we were taught the expectations of behavior. We monitored growth every six weeks and rearranged groups as needed. Teachers used their daily common planning time to plan for WIN and monitor growth. Teachers shared students based on need, and this really helped to build the team approach at grade levels that didn’t work together as closely as others.

We immediately started seeing changes in our scores. (I can provide the growth since starting WIN.) Students were focused and engaged in lessons that they needed. They loved being mixed with students from other classes and working with different teachers. WIN quickly became the best part of the students’ and teachers’ day.

Our biggest challenge was COVID. We had to change year two because students could no longer mix groups. However, we are thankful that we had a solid foundation going into year 2. We continue to see growth, monitor our students, and grow; however, we look forward to year 3, when hopefully we can begin mixing groups again.

WIN has changed our school for the better. I am grateful every day for having the opportunity to have this program for our students.

Links to articles about our school and WIN.

https://www.nwea.org/resource-center/case-study/31948/A-Michigan-elementary-school-taps-the-power-of-data-to-effect-positive-change_NWEA_casestudy.pdf/?fbclid=IwAR2OgnT55YN55opTAtwUy6X5l5_nBQfntfEN43TocxYwUOnEQRHGpUZYswY

https://www.nwea.org/blog/2021/how-map-growth-helps-elementary-school-teachers-differentiate-instruction/

Check out the results prior to WIN and after WIN was implemented!


JOHN WEAVER, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL, FLORIDA


John Weaver, High School Assistant Principal (Florida)

How do you collect data?


Weekly; grades, progress monitoring via AP and PreAP classroom, Achieve 3k, Aleks, PBIS and MTSS data

How do you track data?


Weekly team meetings

How do you group students using data?

Special Ed with a case manager, AP with instructors, all teachers have access to the building, Multiple boot camps, and specific areas that need to be addressed on a daily basis


Tell me all about your WIN Time implementation (struggles, how you started, your successes

We’re entering the fourth year of our flex\win time. It has grown tremendously within this time as we are a school to two thousand students. Teachers move on a daily basis to support their needs. Students and parents can also request to move via our software.

We had an 88% reduction in parent-teacher conferences as Flex (WIN Time) supports rectifying academic and personal concerns. 

In regards to the credit recovery program, 50% of the enrollment now consists of underclassmen as the overall decrease in D and F grades has allowed seats to vacate in this area.

Further, the open credit recovery seats have become especially significant given the lack of progress our Digital learners accomplished last year, which has also significantly decreased our summer school
enrollment. 

Yet, most importantly our 33% increase with regards to recruiting and retaining underrepresented students in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses have been directly related to Flex.
Meaning, our aforementioned Equity initiative could never be accomplished without our Flex program. 

Further, as we enter our fourth year, classroom observations, as well as formative and summative assessments, reflect the overall increase in daily synthesis and evaluation in all subject areas as
Flex has now become a proactive need as opposed to reactive support.

John Weaver's Campus Presentation


IN CLOSING

We can definitely say we have many great things happening in these schools. These schools have proven their ability to make dramatic, lasting changes for their students. Behind every great school is a strong instructional leader who understands excellent instruction, problem solves, and works alongside their teachers to improve student outcomes. Their strategy is built on analyzing their school's performance, expanding great opportunities for their students, and creating new structures that demand the high-quality education they deserve.  


If you are doing amazing things and have created a WIN Time, I would love to give you a shoutout too.  Fill out the form and let's start a conversation.


Ready to learn more about how to implement WIN Time too? 

 Check out this post and download all of the WIN Time materials. 




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What is WIN Time

What is WIN Time? 


WIN Time stands for What I Need. 

WIN Time is a 45 minute period on Monday-Friday embedded in the Master Schedule for students to self-regulate and prioritize their learning. WIN Time acknowledges that students lead busy lives and navigate competing demands for their time in and outside of school. WIN Time provides students the opportunity to self-direct and engages in their own learning.

While some school-wide initiatives might occur during WIN Time, teachers will not be teaching the new course material. Teachers will be accessible to students for additional help and guidance on current and ongoing learning. As this is school instructional time, students are expected to be in the classroom or designated learning space for the entire WIN Time period.


WHAT are the benefits of WIN Time?

WIN Time provides students the opportunity to:
  • Complete assignments
  • Practice presentations
  • Study for tests & quizzes
  • Receive help from a teacher
  • Make progress on long-term assignments
  • Collaborate with classmates on group assignments
  • Reduce homework
  • Improve skills in a specific area
  • Engage in a personal passion project of interest

Our Mission:

To ensure that ALL students learn at grade level or higher.


HOW to start WIN Time?

WIN Time: Secondary and WIN Time Elementary are now available for download. You can edit them to brand to your district and add your campus information throughout. The guidebook and the PowerPoint allow you to communicate the system on your campus. These two pieces have been a big lifesaver.  When you put in a new system, communication is imperative. 

At my school, creating a guiding advisory team was important to me.  I wanted WIN Time to be successful, so I needed the teachers to help build it and create ownership over it.   The templates below will help you every step of the way.




STUDENT DATA TRACKING

Letting students lead goal setting is one way to foster student ownership and begin to create a learner-centered environment. Research shows that students who feel ownership of their learning are more likely to persevere in the face of challenges and take steps to proactively meet their goals. When students monitor their own progress, it means that they have set a goal and know how to measure where they are in the process of achieving it.

When students track their own progress on assessments using graphic displays, the gains are even higher. Students are never too young to begin tracking!






WIN TIME SOFTWARE

Looking for a better and easier way to implement your WIN Time program? Take WIN Time Software for a test drive! Visit www.wintime.education to view the demo videos and get started with a free demo school. #WINTime


EVALUATE YOUR WIN TIME

If you already have a WIN Time set up on your campus, here is Program Implementation Evaluation toolkit that is used to determine the school's progress toward WIN implementation.  Your school can quickly identify the areas it should improve and the areas it should protect.  Section 2 of the guide helps to develop a process for implementation.  Following the essential questions, sample check in documents, and focus agendas for 30-60-90 day milestones are intended to help put action to implementation.





JOIN THE WIN TIME FACEBOOK GROUP if you are looking to collaborate more around creating a win on your campus!
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Student Data Trackers that Develop Ownership and Motivation

Empower your students in their learning, step back, and watch them thrive.

Student Data Trackers help students develop ownership, motivation, and a growth mindset. After all, how does a student know where they are and where they need to be unless we give them the tools to engage in their data.

Research confirms that educators in schools with a focus on learning promote a strong sense of self-efficacy in students. It also shows that one of the greatest factors of student motivation and engagement is data tracking.

WIN Time Student Success Tracker™ is a tool that will empower students in self-tracking, goal setting, and reflection.



DATA Success Trackers

1. Data Success Trackers help students self-analyze data and set growth goals. #embracelearningforall
2. Data Success Trackers help teachers select the appropriate resources, instruction, and assessments for each student.
3. Data Success Trackers are the perfect tool for student led conferences.
4. Data Success Trackers provide evidence of student learning. #focusonresults


About the Trackers

Each individual student has their own data tracker book. It comes printed to save you the time of copying and organizing all the pages. Since the books are bound just like a book or magazine, pages will not never be misplaced.  Printed on 8x11; 38 pages; book printed format


The goal is to have students take accountability for their mastery of the standards.




Student data folders are a wonderful way to keep students involved in their learning and to encourage them to be responsible for understanding their own strengths and weaknesses.

Students truly benefit from data tracking because they have a voice in their learning and can understand and work toward success. Parents also benefit from the use of this tool as well and become more engaged in their child's education as they hear their child share their goals and academic progress during student led conferences.

Data folders are more than just a collection of charts and graphs. They are perfect vehicles for students to truly own their learning.

HOW TO ORDER A CLASS SET

The Student Success Trackers can be ordered on #Amazon.  They will be shipped to your doorsteps and ready to implement immediately.  

PRINTED AND SHIPPED 


Order Here (Printed and Full-filled shipped directly to you)


PRINT ON YOUR OWN

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Create Engaging Graphics and Reports in Minutes

 Create stunning graphics to make your reports, slide deck, social media, and your dashboards come alive with real-time data.  

The process couldn't be any easier either.  Simply sign up for INFOGRAM and connect your data to begin building charts and graphs.  For me, I connected our Google Spreadsheet to it, and my charts will automatically auto-populate with the data.  As we update the Google Spreadsheet my charts will also update.  

Take a look.

1.  I started with Google Sheets which we update throughout the day.

2.  Within a few minutes of creating my account in INFOGRAM I had my first chart created.  You can brand all graphs, charts, and slide decks with your logo.  

3.  When the charts were complete, I added the infographic to our district's website.  You can simply do a link or embed the code.  (NOTE: If you need the data to automatically update, this requires the paid version.)  





HOW TO EMBED ON YOUR WEBSITE:

Interactive charts and maps can add depth and intrigue to any article, presentation, or website. 

Simply publish your project, copy the HTML code provided, and paste it into the text editor of your CMS or the space provided by the tool you’re using. Here is how I shared my interactive charts online.



HOW TO EMBED ON YOUR SLIDE DECK:

Slides is a place for creating, presenting and sharing slide decks – built perfectly for online interactivity. Begin by creating a new slide deck. Click to add an ‘iframe’ element from the editing menu. Then copy and paste Infogram’s fixed embed code into the box on the top left. Your Infogram chart will appear right in front of you.



FOR EDUCATORS:

We all know teaching maps, charts, and graphs is essential for all subjects.  Students struggle to interpret and accurately read charts across all subject areas.  Creating an account in INFOGRAM would allow teachers to create data for students to excel in this skill.  Infogram lets students and educators easily create charts, maps, and infographics for free. 

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The Fire Within You

Recently, I traveled to 5 National Parks in the United States for our 2021 summer vacation. We absolutely love visiting National Parks.  


This picture was taken at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah.  This week of travel helped me to detach  from school life and the business of running Principal Principles.  The hubs and I had great conversations.  One of which is the inspiration behind this blog post. 

As we traveled through a forest area we noticed that a fire had taken place many years earlier.  The land was beginning to show life of new pine trees.  This is when the hubs reminded me of the story of pine cones.  The leader that I am immediately connected the pine cone story to us as school leaders.

Fires are important to vegetation. Some pine trees produce what scientists call a serotinous pine cone. Resins hold the scales of the cones tightly closed with the seeds inside, and they can remain in the crowns of the trees for 30 to 50 years. Without fire, the seeds would likely never be released.

Once fire burns through the resin the cone opens up and the seeds are released.  The seeds then produce new trees.  

LEADERSHIP

As leaders, we are faced with many hard times that put "heat" on us to perform. We have to be willing to go through fires. Just like pine cones, without the fire, the seeds will never be released. The fire adds value to us. 


It seems all too easy to fall victim to the circumstances and fail to lead during these times. It is at these very instances that we show what we are made of. Anyone can lead when the sky is clear and when there is no smoke on the horizon. Great leadership is not required when things go well, and conditions are perfect. Great leadership is required when challenges appear, difficult situations arise, and the team needs support and direction.


As leaders, we, too, need heat to grow. Sometimes this happens while absorbing the feel-good warmth of the sun, but more often than not, we expand and grow through difficult and painful times. The challenge is that our nature is to run from a fire because we fear the pain. We often see the pain as a problem and not a necessity or even a gift. 


On Facebook and Instagram, I recently shared this favorite quote,

  "Your greatest struggle often produces the sweetest fruit."- Principal Principles


Sometimes we need to stop and remind ourselves that the things we feel are holding us back are the things that challenge us and help us to grow.

Great leaders not only survive a difficult and heated situation, but they too are able to bring growth when a situation seems hopeless. The best leaders I know expand and grow during difficult times. 


So leaders, the next time a painful situation comes your way, and you feel the urge to turn and run, think about this- Every encounter has an outcome. It's your choice if you make that a positive experience.

When you are put to the test, stay strong and keep going. That’s how you will succeed. Tough times will never last. Tough people do.

Let the fire within you burn brighter than the the fire around you.

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Work Smarter Not Harder: Create a Google Calendar Agenda

There aren't enough hours in the day. I find myself sleeping less and eating more meals in my car than around the dinner table. Often I feel the day flying by, and by the end of the day- I can't really tell you what was accomplished. That isn't great for me or my health.  

Recently, I stumbled upon some new tech features that allow me to eliminate some unnecessary tasks.  So today, I thought I would take the time and share one with you.  I hope you find a blessing in this as I did!

So a little of my thought process in moving to this next tech feature...

I had multiple chats with other leaders, and I said many times these very words..."why does Google have Google Keep but there's not a Google Agenda?  You all know how much I use Google Keep, but I need a Google Agenda.  I'm not referring to a calendar.  I need an actual meeting agenda.  You know the agenda that lists all the items for your meetings?  That's what I need.  

Currently, I use a Google Doc to create all the agendas.  Now, I have stumbled upon SoapBox!  SoapBox takes my Google Calendar and creates an agenda that can be seen by all of the people invited to the meeting.  This is an add-on feature through Chrome.  

Let me show you how it works.

1.  Go to Chrome Web Store and Search for SoapBox



2.  Install SoapBox to your Chrome Browser.



3. Create a meeting on using your Google Calendar.




4. Click on the Add Soapbox to this meeting blue button to create an agenda.



5. The agenda will now appear and all invitees will see the agenda prior to the meeting.


Is that pretty amazing or what?  Hopefully by shifting my focus from creating a separate document for an agenda to creating built-in calendar agendas I can spend quality time on other things.  Automating some tasks will allow me to get more done.

I read this quote recently and it reminded me of this simple agenda feature that I have been using for a few weeks now.

"The counterintuitive secret to getting things done is to make them more automatic, so they require less energy."


Let me know if you love this Google Add-on and if it was a huge timesaver for you too.



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Become a Leader Others Want to Follow

Today I reflect on Principal Principles and leadership.

It's been eight years since I started this blog. I reflect on how I never realized how sharing a day in a school leader's life would help me become better as a leader. As a result of me getting better, those around me are stronger educators too. I also never dreamed of how a hobby of blogging transformed into a business and a brand. Even writing the words - business and brand- are still hard to acknowledge many years later.

This week, I sat in a conference room with some new friends who will join the Principal Principles team and help me fulfill my dreams as a leader. I finally had the courage to seek some help with my business. As you all know, I am a current school leader working a full-time job in an East Texas school district. I wake very early in the mornings to take care of the business and jump back on after school hours. It is tough to manage. So I stepped out and removed the lid I have placed on myself to seek some extra hands.  

Many of you have been with me since day one.  I still remember creating the Principal Principles Facebook Page in 2013 with just my family and friends as followers.  A year later, Principal Principles Leadership Group was opened.  The group now has over 47,000 friends networking, collaborating, and sharing everything from morale boosters, school events, and how to land an interview in leadership.   It continues to grow at a rapid pace, and I love collaborating with friends all over the world. 

A little push in your leadership can have a ripple effect with others all around the world.  That is my why I do what I do.  

No one ever achieved greatness by playing it safe. 


As a leader what does it take to become a leader others want to follow?   

1.  CHANGE THE THINGS YOU DO AND THINK

Step one is realizing that you are a leader and then change the things you do and how you think. The same things that we have always done will not work forever and ever. Think like a leader. When things are going well, and student success is rising, look up to see who you can praise and reward. When things aren't going so well, determine how to communicate more clearly and ask yourself what we could do better next time which will result in a more favorable outcome.  
We must first focus on change within ourselves to create the possibility of change in others.

2. INVEST IN YOURSELF

Your school will move in the direction of your leadership.  Think about that for a minute.  Strong leaders invest in themselves.  The greatest gift you can give yourself is also the wisest investment you could ever make.  Growing as a leader is a process.  It is so well worth it because then you can influence others to lead too.  

3. BE INSPIRING

Be the leader that inspires others to take action.  You are accountable for the influence you have in the school's culture.  As leaders we must look at ourselves first and reflect on the contributions we make to the school.  To inspire others you must first believe in yourself. 
People follow leaders with a heart faster than leaders simply because of their title. 

4. BE CONSISTENT

Nothing irritates your campus/district staff more than constant change.  When I say change, I am referring to your behavior, your schedules, your systems, etc...  What we do consistently inspires those to follow you.  Why? Because when things are are consistent you know what's expected and what's ahead.  Surprises aren't always a good thing.


BUILD A STRONG LEADERSHIP FOUNDATION
If this post has made you a better leader, you can help share it on social media.  Thank you for sharing!  If you needing some training in leadership, I have an online course that thousands of other principals and school leaders have taken.  Join the Principal Principles Leadership Course today and get 24 hour access.  


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Create a Google Dashboard for Administrators using Google Sheets

Here is a true story.  Every day, I have about 50 tabs open on my computer, and I use two search engines. Don't ask me why I use Google and Safari.  I think 100 tabs is better than 50...I guess.  As you can see how anyone with OCD would just go nuts.  That chaotic mess is me on any given day.  I started making a google hub or dashboard early in the school year, and I didn't keep that project going.  I have made it my life goal to keep this system of organization going for the remainder of the year.  I need some simplicity. 

So let me get you started on creating a dashboard for your own documents.

HOW TO CREATE A GOOGLE DASHBOARD


1. GOOGLE DASHBOARD TEMPLATE

Feel free to use my own template in Google Sheets: Google Dashboard for School Administrators.  The icons are generic, so your titles can be easily renamed.  Every part of this file can be edited to fit your own school.  If you love the idea, please create one for your staff too.  This particular document is for all the admin in the district to access, but you can create one for teachers too.


The Google Dashboard for School Administrators link will ask you to make a copy.  This will protect my own file and protect you from sharing your files with the rest of the world to see if you accidentally start to fill my document with your own links.  


2.  ADD YOUR OWN LINKS TO THE CELLS





WEBSITE LINKING


Enter the website text you wish to have quick access to.
For example, District Calendar.



Select the words to hyperlink.  "District Calendar" is selected.  Now click the hyperlink symbol.  





DOCUMENT LINKING FROM GOOGLE DRIVE

Open another tab and find your file in Google Drive.  Copy and paste the website url link or the google drive file url link in the link field and click apply.



I hope you have found this very helpful.  If you have questions, please let me know.  I can do a quick Live tutorial on Instagram or Facebook.

Google Dashboard for School Administrators




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Technology Tips and Tricks for School Leaders

Currently, I am snowed in enduring the massive snow storm here in Texas.  This time has given me a jumpstart on my to-do list at work and time to share items with you too.  


Texas Snow (10-12 inches)
I feel like I live in Colorado, because we have real snow not just ice and sleet.

If you aren't signed up for my newsletter, you may have missed some Technology Tips and Tricks in your inbox.  My newsletter subscription is 1x a month.  I try not to ever send more than that because I certainly don't have much time for that and people tend to not enjoy a lot of emails filling up their inbox.  

Let's take a look at my recent creations.

RECORD USING CANVA

If you struggle making a professional powerpoint and presentation, CANVA has some amazing templates. In addition, it can be used to record!  The steps are listed above and extremely easy.  

CREATE A PERSONALIZED AND PROFESSIONAL SIGNATURE 


Creating your email signature doesn't have to be difficult.  I created a document that will give you step-by-step directions on how to build your designs in CANVA and Google.  The directions work best if you add your new signature in CHROME.  

VOICE TYPING IN GOOGLE DOCS



Did you know that Google Docs has a new feature for Voice Typing?  Well...it might be new for me?  I saw this feature a few weeks ago, and thought I would never use it.  I brainstormed over and over again about why this might be needed.  I feel like I am a very fast typer.  I think blogging has increased that over the years, so why would I need it?  But the more I looked into this feature, I noticed more people using it for note taking. They could listen to the presenter while the computer scripted the presentation.  It might be good to use in meetings for documenting conversations or scripting during teacher observations.

Something to note: It will not stop and form new paragraphs or end sentences unless commanded verbally to begin a new sentence or paragraph.  For more formal writing, I wouldn't recommend this.  However, I can find some use from using it and maybe you can too.



Let me know if you have enjoyed these new tech tips and tricks.  If you do, I will continue to share some each month.  


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Time Saving Tips and Tricks for School Leaders: Part 2

Do you find yourself sending the same email often or replying the same response often?  If so, here is a very quick shortcut that can generate your email in just a few seconds.  


Create an Email Template 

Enable Templates

1.  Open Gmail
2.  At the top right, click Settings > See all Settings
3.  At the top, click Advanced.
4.  In the Templates section, select Enable.
5.  At the bottom, click Save Changes.

You can create up to 50 templates.


Create Templates

1.  Open Gmail and Click Compose.
2.  In the compose window, enter your template text.
3.  Click More > Templates.
4.  Choose an option
    To create a new template, click Save draft as template > Save as new template.
    To change a previously saved template, click Save draft as template and  under Overwrite Template, choose a template and click Save overwrite it.
5.  To send an email, compose your message and click Send.




Insert Templates

1.  Open Gmail and click Compose
2.  Click More > Templates
3.  Insert a template, under Insert Template, choose your saved template to insert in your email.

Here is an example for a meeting request.  Recently, I shared how to create a calendar for viewing and scheduling.  In the email generated below, I shared a link over to my email for them to sign up for a meeting.  




I hope you find these shortcuts fun and helpful!
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Time Saving Tips and Tricks for School Administrators: Part 1

Every minute of the day counts.  Managing can seem overwhelming.  Time management and shortcuts are essential.  Over the next few weeks, I plan on sharing several resources that help you make the most of your time and focus on what truly most important rather than what is most urgent. Here is Part 1.

Time Saving Tips for School Leaders

Have you started using Calendly?

Calendly can really be your best friend.  It can be used to schedule any appointment with ease.  When teachers need to sign up for an evaluation, pre-conference, post conference, etc... Having a calendar link keeps scheduling a hassle free situation.  

Let me show you how to use it and then you determine how it best fits your job position.

Here is a look at some current appointments on my calendar.


1.  First build common weekly/daily appointments that always reoccur or need to be scheduled. 

Such as student meetings (ARD's) or teacher evaluations, or parent appointments.  Name them very generic so you aren't finding yourself renaming them over and over again.  


2.  Integrate Calendly.  

This is an important step.  Integrate your calendly account to your platform.  For me, this is Google Calendar.  This helps the appointments not to overlap.  No one will see what is on your calendar.  They will only see open/available appointment slots.  You can also connect to GoToMeeting, Google Meet, Zoom etc...



When you connect it, you can pin it to the top of your calendar.  




3.  Share the link.

You can share the link in multiple ways.  
    1. Copy Link and paste in an email.  
    2.  Embed available times directly into an email.


This is the view that will be viewable.   They pick the time that doesn't overlap any scheduled appointments on your calendar.  Click Confirm and it goes directly to your calendar.



For this to really save you time, set up all of your regular occurring appointments and keep the link handy.  

For more advanced features, it requires purchasing these add-ons.  

I do have some added features, but I have been using Calendly for years and just decided to purchase the extra features.  

For example, Notifications and Workflows have been added to my account.  I have set up email confirmations, email reminders, and text reminders.  


I hope you have found this tutorial helpful.  Stay tuned for another tip and trick for saving your a lot of time.




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