Tips for Writing Well

1) Remove unneeded words

2) Use simple words, and short sentences.

3) Don’t use cliches.

4) Read it out loud. Make it sound right – like someone talking.

5) Punctuate so somebody else can read it out loud and it would sound the same.

Sales and Marketing:

1) Know your audience

2) Write in a way appealing to them.

Managing & Leading

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”  Less often quoted, King followed that line by uttering, “Where there is no consensus, there is no leadership.”

The ITRT’s job has grown at the exponential rate of technology.  As Moore’s law has it, doubling every two years.  The job description is intentionally left vague.  Each school is different, “custom”, so our individual jobs should be molded to the needs of the school.  So we are left to act as independent consultants without independence.

A snippet from Seth Godin on April 17:

“Part of the challenge of selling custom work is that it sometimes seems that everything is up for grabs. You should stay up all night for a week. You should rearrange the orchids in order of smell, because even though it’s not in the spec, hey, that would be good service…Promising perfect is actually not nearly as useful as promising what the rules are.  Boundaries eliminate the temptation to bully. State them early and often and don’t alter them and believe it or not, the client will be happier as well. They didn’t sign up to ruin your life. They signed up to get the most they could from you and your team, and the limits are the limits.”

Seth is talking about folks offering custom work and getting bullied by their customers.

Three ways ITRTs have dodged the bullet and are hiding:

1) 5% of us have just gone into the lab serving TTT-time so the service we are providing is clear to all.  Giving up so much opportunity in instructional technology for job clarity is something even I can understand–some bad days.

2) Some of us have hidden behind excel, using the ritual flags of “data,” “datasorter” and “datawall” as voodoo incantations, cast to obfuscate and confuse.

3) Heck, half the time we are toting around laptops for the standardized weighing of the children.

Needless to say, none of these are solutions for the tsunami of new (as yet unseen) responsibilities pushing our way over the next 24 months.  TTT-time doesn’t integrate the technology into the classroom (where it belongs), sorting data is not helping integrate technology into instruction (where it belongs) and standardized online testing is not integrating technology into instruction (where it belongs).  All of these things are our job, we’re not arguing that.  All are important to the functioning of the school, we’re not arguing that either.  And all three amount to about 8% (in today’s list of duties) of the overall duties of an ITRT in a small elementary school.

So with our job duties about to double in the next two years, how do we manage the limits without the independence to quantify them?  How do we market what we do to our client base to assure we surf the dawning tsunami of new responsibilities and not succumb to the deepness of the waters?


It’s not the amount of data, it’s if the data is useful in teaching.

1)      More data is not necessarily a good thing.

  1. Useful data is given to teachers about their students in a time frame that allows them to do something with it to help students learn.
  2. Navel-gazing about SOL data from last year is not very much help in a school with a 25 percent student mobility rate and the fact that the 75 percent of the student who actually stay change so much in 6 months the data is almost useless.
  3. Useful data comes to the teachers during the window the stuff is still being taught, and the data should reflect what the kid is supposed to know, and should be delivered in a manner that doesn’t take a lot of effort to analyze.

Little Brother

Here’s an email I sent the staff today …. activating “Little Brother” the most disturbing of all dystopian visions…

In the novel 1984 George Orwell outlined a dystopian world in which government cameras monitored all of us, coining the term “Big brother is watching.” In our modern world the power has shifted and it’s “Little Brother” (or your students) that have all the power.
1) The Power to record events and happenings in your room.
2) The Power to record assemblies, concerts, and reader’s theater.
3) The Power to record a warm afternoon on the playground or a fire drill.

We could really use pictures you (or your students) take around the building.
We have 150 families who follow us on Facebook. We have a student newspaper that needs ideas.
If you take pictures and send them to me I can post them. I can also have 5th graders write stories for the Terrace Times using these photos.


Teacher Work Day

By calling it a Teacher Work Day, they diminish the rest of our work the rest of the year. Are those other days “Teacher Not Working Days?”

Perhaps they should call them “Professional Development” Days.