Your School “Rocks”: Building Positivity From the Ground Up

Your School “Rocks”…Literally

I live in a relatively rural part of northern New Jersey called Sussex County. When people visit, they understand why NJ was and still is called The Garden State. The scenery is great, the clean air is always refreshing, and the black bears in my yard are terrifying. So when a friend recently invited me to join a Facebook group called Sussex County Rocks, I passed over the invitation without much thought, because I already knew that Sussex County Rocks.

Today I saw this on my Facebook feed.

My mistake! It turns out that the Sussex County Rocks Facebook page has a different purpose than I thought. According to their page bio:

We are painting rocks to “hide” around Sussex County with one intention – to spread joy and brighten people’s day. Come join us! This is a community-building group meant to inspire creativity in all ages and energize people to explore the beautiful area we live in.
The goal is to get lots of people all across our communities painting so that there are lots of rocks to find out there. You might find yourself rediscovering parts of our beautiful county you haven’t appreciated in a while.  The more (active members) we have the more fun this will be!

When I realized that my view of the group title and their actual intent were very different, the first thing that came to mind was the excellent book by Ryan McLane and Eric Lowe, Your School Rocks, So Tell People! In it, they outline a myriad of different ways to use technology to connect the school with the community. They include using twitter, blogging, instagram, school movie clips, periscope and more in the book as examples of effective and quick ways to ramp up your school image in the community.

So when I saw the Sussex County Rocks group posting image after image of families having fun painting and placing rocks all around our towns, and read the reactions of kids and adults who were excited to find their new treasures, it reminded me that not all people in our communities use technology as frequently as I or other educators might use it. It’s a part of our daily lives, but some community members prefer a hard copy of a message, like a letter sent home…or a rock.

some community members prefer a hard copy of a message, like a letter sent home…or a rock.

So here’s my crossover plan. Ryan and Eric have shared some great ways to use tech to connect. If you haven’t read their book yet, it’s definitely a must read before school gets going again. I’d like to see the 2017-2018 school year be a year where students and teachers regularly spend time painting and decorating rocks with images and messages that share the awesome things your school is doing, then placing them around the community like the Sussex County Rocks group does. Use tech to tell people that your school is doing this. Then the community will always have its eyes open for great “Your School Rocks” all over town. The best part is that if they’re focused on looking for rocks about your school then they’re mindset will be focused on thinking about how your school actually rocks, and the audience for your message will grow!

Remember to use the #MakeItReal Hashtag for sharing ideas!

Connect with Denis Sheeran at

Twitter: @MathDenisNJ and

#MakeItReal Chat Every Wednesday 9:30 pm EST for 30 Minutes.

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  1. Pingback: For Those About To Rock – Ed Technology Specialists

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