How Hoonuit Can Benefit Your District: Learners

Hoonuit by Atomic Learning offers professional learning designed to meet the unique needs of schools and districts—including top concerns that students and parents, as well as the community, may have.

We've gathered a few of our favorites, that we thought you might be interested in:

Students, Parents & Community
Support learning throughout your district community by providing students and families with resources on:
   -  Career and Soft Skills
   -  College Prep Topics
   -  Personal Safety Awareness
   -  Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship
   -  Technology How-To Resources

2 Insights for Leaders on Connecting with the School Community

This blog post is based off on an upcoming online course called “Connecting Through Vulnerability” by Dr. Matthew Arau, that will soon be available on Atomic Learning. Dr. Arau is an Assistant Professor at Lawrence University and has a background in student leadership. (More about Dr. Arau)

Have you had a teacher or college professor in the past that was a wealth of knowledge, but seemed unable to connect to the students? Because of that lack of connection, the students in that course were most likely disengaged or mentally checked out. On the flip side, there are also those instructors that are able to truly connect what they know with their students and engage in the learning process.

We all have had those teachers or instructors from the past that fit both scenarios. But, what’s the difference? That is what Dr. Matthew Arau calls “the missing link”, and he believes it is often connection and vulnerability.


Why Connecting?

In his online course, Dr. Arau tells a story of when he was teaching high school several years ago. Specifically, how he was able to easily develop friendships with his students, and had no problems having great conversations with them. However, the moment he took the podium, that connection seems to dissipate.

It wasn’t until a colleague mentioned how differently he carried himself when he was up in front of the class that he realized he was trying to be someone he wasn’t and it was negatively effecting his connection with the students.

The solution: He simply needed to be himself and be authentic.

That realization helped him understand the importance of connection.  When we connect, we can both increase learning and enjoyment of learning.

Dr. Arau’s story could also be true of school administrators, fellow teachers, and staff members. By being authentic and yourself, you can help create connections that will build and strengthen the greater school community.
 

Why Vulnerability?

Have you ever noticed that when you share a personal story–maybe even something slightly embarrassing– it opens a connection with the person you were speaking with? By sharing, you open the door for others to feel welcome to share something a little vulnerable about themselves.

The more vulnerable you are, the more connected you can feel with your audience. Sharing personal stories of struggles and real life can have a profound effect. When we as humans see somebody being vulnerable and speaking about their fears, hopes, or frustrations, we see them as being courageous.  

The more vulnerable you are with your intended audience, the greater the connection.
 

Some Strategies to Try:

While these things may sound overly simple, or perhaps even silly, they can have a big impact on first impressions and connections. Whether you are connecting with teachers, students, parents, or other stakeholders, be aware of the following:

  • When someone walks into your office or classroom, greet them at the door and learn their name as fast as possible. Everyone wants to be acknowledged by name.

Planning for Prom: A Focus on Student Safety

For high school students across the country, prom season is just kicking off.

And, while they work on finding the perfect dress or tux, debating the merits of renting a limo, and a host of other details, it’s important to remind them to keep safety in mind. It’s not anything that anyone wants to talk about, but it’s an important topic that everyone—parents, schools, and students alike—NEED to discuss.

Statistically speaking, prom season is a dangerous time for teens. 53% of students reported consuming more than 4 alcoholic drinks on prom night1, yet 87% of teens surveyed felt their friends would be more willing to drive after drinking than call home for a ride?2 Beyond alcohol use, prom (and graduation) seasons see increases in teen traffic deaths3, and there is a perceived increase in teen sexual activity.

To help schools and districts begin countering these dangers, we’ve gathered several tips to help keep students safe—not only at prom, but in a variety of situations now, in college, and beyond.

  1. Set Expectations
    Share your school policies involving student behavior, including drugs and alcohol, and make sure students know the consequences—not only with students, but also parents. Keeping students safe is a group effort.
     
  2. Choose Chaperones with Care
    Consider recruiting faculty and staff that students will connect with to be present during the event—a student may be more inclined to share information about their peers risky behavior with a favorite teacher or feel more accountable for personal behavior when a coach or authoritative figure is present.
     
  3. Plan for Post-Prom
    If you don’t already, consider hosting a post-prom event to provide Prom-goers a fun (and safe) place to go after the dance instead of them potentially going to a party where alcohol and other substances may put your students at risk.

The Safety Mindset Gap

Guest blog post by Lisa Barnett (@atomic_lisa), CEO of Atomic Learning and Versifit Technologies.

I’m a parent.  As I’m sure any of you who also have children or grandchildren can relate, there is nothing in this world that matters more to me than my daughter.

So here’s something that causes a knot in my stomach. 

Almost half1 of young adults are, or will be, the victim of a violent crime – half!  Here’s another sobering stat (especially as the parent of a daughter) – every two minutes2, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. 

Final reality check – I know (because she tells me) that my daughter is surrounded by individuals who are using drugs every day.  And even if she continues to make smart choices, she is still at risk of the behaviors that people in an altered state can exhibit.

So on the flip side of this, college and high school campuses are investing heavily in emergency blue lights, security officers, electronic locks, and more.  In fact, by 2017, annual spending on school security systems is expected to reach $4.9 billion3. Clearly, our school leaders are taking this problem on full force and investing in ways to increase the safety of the school environment.

So where is the gap?

6 Ideas to Increase Parent Engagement [Infographic]

Parents and teachers have a shared interest in the success of individual students, yet there are often challenges to maintaining open communications by both parties. The infographic below, by National PTA, outlines six insightful ideas on how teachers can encourage and support parent and family engagement.

One of the basic tips outlined above that stands out focuses on communication—specifically about communicating “in a way that not only reaches them—but also generates a response.” This only reinforces the importance of two-way communication between teachers and parents.

For additional insights on fostering stronger communications, be sure to check out Atomic Learning’s online course, Improving Communications Between Teachers & Parents. The course explores best practices for communicating with students' families and tools that can make that communication easier, including apps for texting families from your computer, creating and sharing calendars, and more.

Don’t have access to Atomic Learning? Request information on how you and your entire school can access this course and hundreds of others focused on effective professional development, shifting instructional approaches, and other highly-relevant topics..

A Message Can Be Life-Changing: A Parent’s Perspective

Guest Post by Kim Juelke, Marketing Strategist

Like many of us with school age children, I recently attended my child’s parent-teacher conference. From day one I have considered myself fortunate that my child is in a classroom where each student is acknowledged and valued for what they bring to the world.

Explaining Common Core to the District Community

While those of us involved in education understand what Common Core State Standards are and the intended impact, we can easily forget that others, such as the students taking the assessments, their families, and the greater school community aren't as familiar with CCSS.

The video below provides a brief 3-minute overview that's perfect for sharing on your school website or Facebook page, or even playing on monitors during open houses.

Three-Minute Video Explaining the Common Core State Standards from CGCS Video Maker on Vimeo.

If you're looking for more in-depth resources focused on Common Core, be sure to check out Atomic Learning's professional development resources and classroom lessons that are specifically designed to address individual tech-embedded standards, or browse our library of projects and training correlated to CCSS.

Round Rock ISD Invites Parents to Utilize Online Resources

With 45 schools and over 34,000 students, Round Rock ISD in Round Rock, Texas already has a large audience for Atomic Learning to assist with technology-related questions. Recently, the district extended an invitation to the parents of those students and saw a great response. The most popular training that has been viewed by parents are the series on iOS/iPad, Excel, Flash, Google and Powerpoint.

From July to now, parents in the district have used Atomic Learning 1,600 times!