Lead Contributor: Matt Renwick

IMG_1147This is Matt’s seventeenth year in public education. He started as a 5th and 6th grade teacher in a country school outside of Wisconsin Rapids, WI. After seven years of teaching, he served as a dean of students at a junior high, which developed into an assistant principalship and eventually head principal at an elementary school. Now as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District, Matt enjoys the curriculum, instruction and assessment side of education.

You can also connect with Matt on Twitter at @ReadByExample and on his website at

Contributor: Heather McKay

IMG_0869Heather has taught in public and private schools in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) over the last 20 years. She is currently serving K-12 students and schools through her position as a literacy specialist with the Calgary Board of Education. Heather continues to be drawn to the wonder of literacy and learning in all of its evolving forms. You can connect with Heather on Twitter at @HeatherMMckay.


Have a passion for literacy and leadership? Interested in contributing to this collaborative space? Fill out the form below for more information.

30 thoughts on “Contributors”

  1. Nice blog about the apps for administrators. I have resources to share in case you are interested. I have been doing two day “iPad 4 Administrators” workshops around North Dakota for the past two years.

    Just wanted to point out more of the value of Flipboard. You probably know this, but you can set up panels to search hashtags such as #edchat, #commoncore, #ccss, #ipadapps, etc.

    Then I use IFTTT ( to set up a rule so that when I click on the Favorite icon in any app, including Flipboard and Tweetdeck, it gets copied directly into a Evernote note. Several weeks ago Twitter closed the direct API that IFTTT had been using, so now it is a two step process using Google Reader to pull the info from Twitter, and then triggers IFTTT to copy it to Evernote. But it all happens seamlessly once you have it set up.


  2. Just read your post on the Nerdy Book Club blog. Thank you. I work for a children’s literacy nonprofit in Nashville, TN. One of our programs is Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) through which we send about 140 volunteers into nine Metro Nashville public schools to read and give each child a new book. We would like to share your post with our RIF volunteers and we hope to purchase some of the books, with some grant money, you mention for use in our RIF lending library from which volunteers choose books to read to classes. Also, would it be okay for us to link to your site on our website?
    Thanks for all you do for our children and their teachers and parents/guardians.
    Martha Ann Pilcher, coordinator of volunteers, Book’em, Nashville, TN


  3. Just found your excellent blog. I am a retired principal, but I still want to read about what is going on in education so I am going to follow your blog and check out the links you suggest. I just read your post on positive reinforcement in different settings. Great job.


  4. I’m glad that I found your blog through Powerful Learning Practice today. I am working on an MEd in Adult Learning and wish to work as an Instructional Consultant one day!


  5. Hi Matt, I have been searching for principal with your foresight for quite some time now. Your articles have kept me up most nights this week especially the article titled “Why Our School Is Going Beyond Printed Newsletters” My company Schoolzine is an Australian based company that provides a communication platform to school, with the corner stone of the product being an online school newsletter. Below is a link to an example newsletter. We now have the system ready to launch into the US so I would love to have your professional feedback. We could even look at the possibility of offering you a free trial


  6. I stumbled across your blog accidently and need to respond yet to your thoughts on the Data Wall. As I scrolled through other topics, I liked the fact that you are so current. Thus, I listened yesterday to EduWeek’s webinar. I’m thrilled you have Reading Recovery and are a Title I School (as are we). Have you found a technology, app, anything, you could recommend to really boost students learning their sight words that would motivate them? Thanks, Jennifer


    1. The only technology that I believe boosts both sight word recognition and motivation are narrated eBooks – Nook books, Kindle books, Oceanhouse Media apps, iBooks. Narrated eBooks allow a nonreader to bypass the decoding, for now, and just focus on comprehension and engagement. The examples I mentioned have minimal/no animation and professional narration. In addition, the words are often highlighted as they are read. There are other apps that consider themselves eBooks, but the amount of animation and options that come with them can distract the reader from the purpose of reading in the first place (for learning and for enjoyment). My thinking is not based on any evidence or research that I am aware of, just observation and common sense.

      When reading aloud eBooks to older students without narration, consider using mirroring technology. A teacher can project the Kindle or Nook book onto the board from their tablet. Kids can see the words, as well as watch you annotate and highlight important text. These teaching points can then be shared out on social media, such as classroom Twitter account. Great way to model summarization, conventions, and digital citizenship.

      Of course, technology doesn’t beats a teacher or parent reading aloud to a child every day!


  7. Hi Matt,

    Your blog is fantastic. I enjoyed your post on “Teacher to Learner”. You are clearly a leader in your field and a voice to be heard.

    I’m the operations manager at Our mission is to save educators time and money by helping them find the right technology solutions. I’d appreciate you letting me know if you find the site of value. If so, we would love the opportunity to work with you in any fashion. We would also be interested in a paid advertising scenario.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.


    Jared Cassier
    Operations Manager | EdTechReview


  8. Matt, I am enjoying your blog. It inspires me.

    I have been playing around with Evernote for several months, and can’t seem to get started. For instance, how do you make folders within the IPad app?

    Do you have knowledge of a site I can go to, that is simple, and to the point, on how to use Evernote for reading conferences?

    I am a reading coach, and I want to be able to show teachers how this might work for them
    ( and I want to use it in coaching).

    Thanks so much,


    1. Hi Gayla. Go to my page on this site titled Digital Student Portfolios. There you will find screencasts for setting up an Evernote account to document student learning.

      Best of luck,


  9. Hi,
    I have nominated you for The Very Inspirational Blogger Award as I enjoy reading what you have to say about education. You have a lot to inspire other teachers and their students.
    You can check out the post in which I made the nomination here:
    If you wish to pay the compliment forward, go to this post for the rules of participation:
    Best wishes,


  10. Hi Matt,
    Oops I’ve done it again! I hope you don’t mind. Obviously I think highly of your blog and wish to let others know how much I enjoy reading it so I have nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award.
    You can check out the nomination in my post .
    Participation is your choice. If you wish to nominate bloggers who inspire you, the rules are provided there.
    Thanks for sharing so much wonderful content on your blog.
    Best wishes, Norah.


  11.’s me again, with another question. I was rereading your article over on the Stenhoyse Blog, and I was wondering about how you used ereaders for your two afternoon intervention. Did each student get an ereader? How many books did you put on each device? How did you decide what to put on each device, and how did you pay for it? I’m enamored with your idea, and am trying to figure out the logistics. Thank you for your time. You are an incredible educator.


    1. Hi Gayla. Sorry I did not respond more quickly.

      We had ten eReaders available to students. Not every student got an eReader, but not every student wanted one either. There are around 15-20 books on each device, selected by current or previous students. All books were of high interest to the students, mostly fiction. We used Title I dollars to make these purchases.

      I hope that answers your questions Gayla.


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