Monday, April 4, 2016

Move Over Twitter, Time for Something Even Better...Voxer!

Principal ponderings...
I have been writing these weekly posts for three years, and I am excited to share that this is my 100th post!  I think back to what I knew and what I was writing about then, and now I think about how much I have learned and all of the professional growth I continue to experience every day.  One of my first posts was about how I had recently discovered Twitter.  I talked about my education information addiction.  I was encouraging all of you to check out Twitter; free PD 24/7 at the tip of your fingers on any device.  Today, I still encourage you to check out Twitter.  It really has changed the education game...connecting educators from across the globe.  Twitter allows people to learn, share, question, challenge, and inspire each other, without even meeting face to face.  Of course, there is still the 140 character just have to get good at being succinct.

It has been 10 years since Twitter began, and we all know that a lot can change in 10 years.  I am so glad that I discovered Twitter, but I feel like now I have discovered something even better.  Voxer.  Earlier this year, I was at a conference and another MA principal (Julie Vincentson) introduced me to this new form of communication.  Shortly after that, I was participating in a Twitter chat and a principal from CA (Adam Welcome) invited me into a Voxer group of principals from across the country who are the most energetic, inspiring group of people that I've ever met.  Well...I actually haven't met them, but because of Voxer I consider them colleagues, friends, motivational coaches.

Voxer is like a walkie talkie.  It is a free app (you can also purchase a pro account) that allows you to connect with groups of people.  You can record messages.  You can send text messages.  You can share photos and videos.  There are many different Voxer groups that have been formed or are being formed each day.  Right now, I am in several groups, including a book chat group discussing The Book Whisperer, a work/life/balance group for principals, a local organization group called MESPAchat, a group called Principals in Action, and even a group called Moms as Principals!  Joining these Voxer groups has energized me, helped me feel supported, challenged me and given me ideas that I would have never thought of.

What I love about Voxer is that I can hear people's voices.  So I feel really connected to people who are actually thousands of miles away from me, but are experiencing the same struggles and successes that I am.  Voxer has turned my car ride into mini PD sessions.  I hit the play button and I listen to educators from all over share.  The recorded messages are saved in order and I can listen to them whenever I want or I can replay them to hear them again.  I can also send specific messages to people and they can respond to me...we are basically carrying on conversations that I can select when I want to listen to them.  Our recent Marvelous Mondays in March that we had?  That came from an idea of a principal in a group from Chicago who did Fabulous Fridays in February.  Because I heard her speak about it and heard in her voice the positive impact it had on her staff...I knew I wanted to do that here at Flo Ro!

I hope you will take some time to look over the links I put in at the bottom of this post and maybe get the app and try Voxer out for yourself.  I am already trying to formulate a plan of creating Voxer groups for us this summer.  I thought it would be a good forum to use to talk about the Units of Study for writing.  It's very easy to record your thoughts, listen to others, and ask questions that might come up as you are reading and preparing for next year.  That's just one way that I thought we could use Voxer.

Who is ready to take their professional learning to another level?
Here is list of all kinds of voxer chats.
Currently reading:
I read a great non fiction picture book, Finding Winnie.  It's the true story of how Winnie the Pooh came to be a character that we all know.  This book is one that is going to be available at the book fair!
I am excited to start a new book that just came in the mail...Move Your Bus.  A great principal in Virginia, Lynn Colon, recommended it to me.  
I started reading the book Pax, about a boy and his fox.  Lots of people have been talking about this book and recommending it so I had to read it!  It is written by the same author who wrote The Summer of the Gypsy Moths
Can't wait to see what books I add to my collection after the book fair!

Events this week:
**Book Fair in the library all week!  Students will visit and shop during their library special time.
Tuesday - Dr. Rodriguez visits FR in the am, MS transition meetings
Wednesday - Liz at DESE meeting in Malden in the am, PreK transition meetings, Grade 3 chorus practice @ 2:25 in the gym, Staff meeting @ 3:30 - Dr. Novak presenting
Thursday - PTA Book Fair event @ 6:00 pm

Great things I noticed last week:

  • Positive Post It Note Day on Tuesday was awesome!  Loved watching kids and staff read the notes and loved it even more to see all the sticky notes that were added around the building throughout the day!  
  • I received about 250 notes from students about their favorite book and why.  Here was a great one.  Can't wait to take some lucky students shopping for books this week! 
  • 2nd grade had a fabulous trip to the New England Aquarium! 
  • Friday was Light It Up Blue Day in honor of Autism Awareness Day.  Here was a group in the office sporting blue, including a 3rd grader who happened to be delivering a note! 
  • The book fair was set up in the library.  Thank you to the PTA moms who spent a late night at school getting it ready for this week!
  • I loved being the guest teacher in Mr. C's class, especially since it was during independent reading time.  After some reading time, I did my best to impress the class with my read aloud of a chapter from Harry Potter.
  • Caught some student council members working on a song about PARCC.  You are going to be impressed with the finished product!
  • I also had fun being the guest teacher in art.  Mrs. Cragg's class listened to me read a story and then worked on some pattern snakes.
  • On Saturday, I stopped by the science fair and saw so many great research projects and experiments!  Many of our FR students took home a top prize. 

Check it out:
Voxer tutorial here:
Read more about Voxer...

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