Welcome again to what we are hoping is a powerful week of collaborating and innovating and growing as educational leaders We'd like to invite you to take a few minutes to reflect of your first day's experience. Please sift through the writing you've done with us today, the noticings and wonderings which have emerged as the day unfolded. Here is a quick, maybe not all inclusive summary: Quick Write, Name Game, Unpacking ResponsiveDesign, the artifact box iimp, and the David Kelley history.
What is beginning to emerge for you...what have you noticed? What are you wondering?
What is beginning to emerge...more wonderings and questions. More inquiry in ISI, process-exactly how to we get stake holders to value it, how do we use this responsive design process to identify oursleves as a site as we change leadership.
What have I noticed...slowing down produces depth through noticing, reflecting, questioning.
What am I wondering...more about relationships within the community and how they develop and sustain.
I am also wondering about the chess place across the street. What's in there-a place to explore.Hmmm.
Where to begin.... I'm soo out of my comfort zone. I've been attending professional development for years, but it's been more content specific, this is not! But, I really like it!
I plan on using the Name Game and the artifact box with my freshmen this year. I like the idea of having a bit of fun with the girls the first day. I have the reputation of being a REALLY hard teacher, so they all come in terrified of me, this should lighten things up a bit.
In Social Studies we don't tend to emphasize writing as much as we should. Also, as a private school, there is no emphasis on "The Common Core" or 21st Century Skills. But I personally plan on integrating as much writing as possible in my classes, so the Artifact Box could be a good way to do that. I've also thought of some ways to tweek it for the museum.
I really enjoyed the David Kelly piece. I have a degree in design, my father is an engineer and my brother is an architect, so I loved the idea of creative problem solving.
I"ve been working on changing my teaching for a number of years, with last year being the big leap from traditional organized top down lecture to a messy, noisy, problem solving class of students. It went so well I almost got fired, who ever said change isn't easy is right. But, I learned a lot and I know I'm on the right track. What I experienced today validated this belief. I don't care if my students know all of the rivers in Italy unless those rivers are important for some reason. I want to re-design my class to facilitate more collaborative work with the students, more problem solving and more creativity. I can't wait to see the look on my department chairs face.
For me, and probably most educators, the responsive design concept is not new - it is often how we design/approach the group projects within our own classroom. I am still wondering how to get buy-in from my school's very top heavy hierarchy regarding the leadership within the school.
What is Responsive Design? Creation of a working community that honors all participants, all attempts - one that honors mess and failure. It is the heart of what writers do in isolation. The learning (writing) process is recursive in nature and benefits from feedback and collaboration to create something with more layers than it would otherwise.
It all comes down to balance...balancing the wild exploration and the focus...balancing process with end product...balancing the honoring of all ideas and choosing which one(s) deserve greater attention...
The most important ideaof the day for me thus far is the lateral conversations...
The most fun aspect of the day is meeting interesting people to share ideas with...
Sleeping in the airport early this morning while waiting for Metrolink to start, I kind of wondered if this institute was really what I should be doing this week. But as soon as we were greeted with a hardbound journal with lined paper and facing blank pages, I knew I was in the right place. It has allowed me to reflect and take notes verbally and visually so that this journal is in itself going to be part of the treasure I will bring back with me. Thank you for creating a collaborative culture from the very beginning, and the opportunity to work together, share, and think out loud together, in a supportive and comfortable environment.
So what kind of culture do we want to create, and how willing are we to undergo the necessary change to create a new space together? That question is pretty exciting, and I'm glad I'm here to be a part of this d Team.
As we are beginning our week together, I am reminded of the energy National Writing Project events have given me in the past. Just as it has been at other NWP experiences, the time to write, discuss, ask questions, and reflect with other caring teachers is a gift for me. I'm already thinking about what activities from today I can bring back to the Minnesota Writing Project.
I'm noticing the connections between our individual experiences that we are sharing and I'm looking forward to learning more about the different writing projects that are represented here. I'm hearing the common struggles and questions that we have about finding time and space for our students to have authentic inquiry experiences. I'm wondering how Jen (fellow MWP TC) and I will be able to bring these discussions back to teachers in Minnesota. I'm eager to learn more about the ResponsiveDesign and think about how it can impact teachers and their school communities.
I'm very excited to continue to discuss the benefits of collaboration and explore new ways to connect teachers with other teachers and resources. I feel lucky to be in a school where I've had positive experiences team teaching with an ELL teacher and collaborating with my PLC to build authentic learning experiences that connect to the standards. I'm wondering if there will be ways that we can take the collaboration another step. How can we engage with each other within a building and with the extended community?
I'm noticing some common themes around reflection, trial and error, and process. When I first saw the responsive design model (swirling arrows, three "e's") I immediately saw a connection to the writing process, and recursive instruction. So far, every activity has reinforced these ideas.
However, I'm a little surprised that I've heard so many references to "standards" and "assessment" in such a negative way today . . . I'm not sure how to respond right now, but it's something I'm chewing over. I realize that many, many people "in education" eye standards and testing with skepticism and even outright animosity -- but I am still surprised that we as educators don't think more dynamically about them, allowing ourselves to cross our arms and grit our teeth rather than embrace specific learning targets to assess student growth. Assessment is so incredibly valuable as a process, and I am so GLAD to have standards as a guide. All I know is that I think I came to that realization THROUGH collaboration and inquiry with a group of former colleagues (all of whom were not in agreement about the value of standards and data-driven assessment). Ultimately, I love that Ralph raised the idea of our own AGENCY in the educational machine. We can definitely change the system -- with hard work and lots of collaboration.
This morning someone said something really wise . . . that commiseration is NOT collaboration. Then Ralph said that collaboration is about co-labor. I love that.
Today has been wonderful -- I'm definitely feeling connected to this mew community. Moving forward, I'd really like to start thinking about programming and partnerships, too.
What's emerging for me is the importance for us, as teacher leaders, to be compassionate toward ourselves and our colleagues as we endeavor in the messy learning of how to lead, build leaders, and evolve leadership to meet needs of specific challenges. I feel like taking the next step at our writing project with this work will entail more collaboration and more opportunities to spread this type of design/leadership thinking with more fellows. One step specifically that I want to take is to establish collaboration with Fred from UC Santa Cruz and Jessica from Piasa to help energize the NWP technology movement. I want to think more on how to apply the foundational ideas and constructs of 3rd space to this arena.
Also bubbling to the surface for me is the importance of bringing together diverse skill sets to strengthen the end goal. For example, in the tech committee, we will only really grow if we incorporate teachers who are NOT tech savvy so that we can design something that will work for them.
Another intriguing idea is the a need to shake up and disintegrate hierarchy- or flip it so it's horizontal- in order to maximize results. If you're not below someone, then you don't feel the need to hold back as much. And if you're given permission to not hold back, wildly brilliant ideas can fill up their lungs with air and float to the surface.
And yet a different take: the concept that one role of a teacher (or a leader) is to help individuals make sense of what they already know. This makes me reflect on my practice of teaching teachers, particularly as it pertains to technology. If I am truly to help teachers move forward with this, we first need to reflect on what it is we know, and what it is we wonder, fear, hope, or fervently desire. By starting with what's familiar, we can lead people to feel comfortable with the discomfort of venturing into the unfamiliar.
What has emerged for me is the need for education, the body of movers & shakers, policy makers & educators needing to come into the understanding that it needs to rethink what thinking & learning is & adjust its approach. Testing culture is based in capitalism, turning children into dollars & cents while making less & less sense to & for them. Data has become a dirty word to me & I question the need to qualify AND quantify learning when it really IS individual. We will NOT all walk in the same & therefore cannot & will not exit the same. I am pleased with the notions of fearlessness & encouraging the embrace of failure. I am pleased with the opportunity to listen to other educators process the same information & experiences through their unique voices, helping to shape & reshape my own perspectives. I am pleased with the unstoppable flow of ideas that almost make me need to excuse myself from the group to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. I'm excited about "problem seeking" vs "problem solving." I can't wait to see what else emerges.