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?  

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This entire exoerience is beginning to unfold for me. I truly appreciate the time that was devoted to getting to know the cohort members and the opportunity to colooaboate with fellow educators and Writing Project members. The Quick Write was a great way for me to explore my initial feelings and impressions about 'Why I Am Here? and 'What I expect to get from this week long experience. The Name Game provided me with an additional opportunity to learn more names and to actually try and remember names on purpose. To my surprise at the end of the session, I an able to remeber at least half of the cohort at the present. The Unpacking ResponsiveDesign was a fantastic collaboration process that allowed small groups to come together abd share innovative ideas and thoughts. My favorite, the artifact box iimp was not only creative, but it allowed the group to reflect and discover commonalities among the members. In conclusion, the David Kelly video opened my eyes to the great possibilites of creative and innovative leadership and how it can be possible for my school/district to reach this challenge.

Unsurprisingly, things did not go as I expected.  I should know by now not to come with preconceived notions but maybe it's just an impulse I can't resist.  I was worried because I didn't feel prepared; the artifact box assignment, which I discovered late last night, was a shock.  I felt, about midnight, like I had no artifacts (this was in the middle of cleaning up my e-mail accounts after a week of computer silence so I felt rushed, pressed upset with myself for not reading emails sooner, imagined myself as that "unruly student who hasn't done the reading, hasn't spent a moment thinking about the assignment since she left class, and willfully decides that she just won't participate that day).  Hatefully unproductive, but I was ready to go with it.  First we did a quickwrite.  Can't say I was surprised by that, but once the routine started I began to relax.  I talked with Dawn about how NWP events are always enlightening and enjoyable and that this one would be no difference.  Loved the ice-breakers, got some great ideas to take back to Summer Institute (Am I going to do another year of SI?) from the IIMP, had a nice lunch conversation with Sam Reed from Philly, learned about personal values  and commitment to pair share and public pre-and debriefing during the artifact exercise, nodded off during the David Kelley video, which is when I SHOULD have confirmed my belief in failure.

My big question, or problem, or challenge from the day has to do with all the discussion about processes and products.  When I direct plays  (usually we have at least one MAJOR fiasco per production) what I value is the  rehearsal.  If students read, write, speak, listen, build vocabulary, memorize lines and on and on and on, I remember the rehearsals (the plays too, but that's mostly  surprise and discovery).  I enjoy those surprises.  I enjoyed my day at Colab.

First, I want to thank all the organizers for a fabulous launch--this is a beautifully designed learning experience! Then, I want to appreciate the entire group: such inquisitiveness is contagious. Everyone has contributed, and I've enjoyed the shared humor and the warm open-heartedness. Also, it's inspiring to see so many other elders in the group (usually I'm the only alta kocher among a bunch of whippersnappers...).

The group's concern for changing the practice of schools and the outcomes for students is a hopeful sign that a transformation is possible. I'm especially intrigued by the prospect of learning more about how to teach coaching, which has long seemed a great puzzle to me. The "responsive design" framework seems like it will be very helpful.

One reflection: when Ralph started pointing out that

"implicit in stating that we are building something new is the necessity to be destroying something old"

I thought what he was going to say was how much of the old is contained in anything new. The basis of constructivism is present in 19th century education theory and was essential in Dewey's work in the 1940's. There was a period in the 1950's when it seemed that project-based learning was simply "common sense obvious" and would soon become the norm in public schools! What happened is still not clear, but I think the chaos of the 60's and the counter-reaction of the 70's form part of the answer. Chomsky has claimed that the dramatic increase in the cost of higher education in the 70's and the concomitant explosion of student debt was a deliberately engineered reaction to the student turmoil of the 1960's, designed as a mechanism to control protest.

Day 1 Reflection:


To provide a framework for Responsive Design thinking we engaged in multiple processes. 

Through our Quick Write we focused on our motivations and expectations for attending the 3rd Space institute. It was great to see that many TC’s and educators were equally excited to learn more about collaborative and innovative design processes. I was also excited to learn how other teachers and sites will use covert and overt strategies to engage students both at school and outside of school settings.

Through unpacking the Responsive Design process we were able to learn by sharing, reflecting, writing and visually representing our understanding of the process. This really helped establish community for our newly formed group.  (Oh, the name game was a great icebreaker too! I loved showing off my yoga move;)  

I appreciate that we were allowed to experience the Responsive Design process through an inquiry into my practice approach.  The pre-brief provided us some context for what we were going to experience.

The experience of sharing our artifacts was one the main highlights for the day. It was amazing exploring how folks curated aspects of who we are and what we bring to our teaching and learning process.

I noticed that there was a lot on intentionality in what objects people shared. I noticed when I gathered my own artifacts; most of them were literary objects. Interestingly, I was able to cull objects that represented how rejection and failure are a major part of my own professional growth process. Someone left a post-it message about my “ Rejection Letters”.  My reflection on the rejection note made me ponder, what gave me stamina to accept rejection as part of my growth process? In additions to rejections letters for my poetry, non-fiction, and grant applications, I included my 11th grade report card.

My 11th grade report card had a BIG FAT “F” in English. And Now I’m a reading, writing and thinking. i.e. English teacher. I find it interesting that rejection and failure have been a steady part of my diet. I rejected corporate job opportunities that most of my MBA counterparts jump for.  Instead I joined a Peace Corps. Someone also left a post-it note asking why did a join the Peace Corps. In addition to rejecting corporate America offerings, I joined the Peace Corps because I fashioned myself as a maverick who wanted to explore, enact and envision a new world.

After finishing my tour as a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, I started Logical Solutions a fledging information service and training company. My business kind of experienced a dot.com implosion and I went bankrupt. It was a great ride! I would not trade it for the world.

After hearing about other folk’s artifacts and their responses I felt like we synthesized our own unique experiences with our artifacts and made them universal.  Hearing narratives about a teddy bear, quilts and keys provide metaphors for us to process and uncover who  we are as well as better understand the iterative process of understanding design thinking.

The “Debriefing” on the artifact sharing was invaluable. Through sharing artifacts we explored what the responsive design process feels like. We also noticed how this process facilitated building community and served as form of qualitative and formative assessment.

The closure activity provided a bridge to explore how educators can learn from design thinking and brand innovative processes to solve problems. The education sector could learn a lot by embracing failure often to succeed sooner, creating more functional and flatter organizations, and embracing organized chaos.

So far there has been lots to process. But I look forward to messy process of learning and doing more.

Lora I Love that ... Say YES.  So here it is YES. We can do this.


Lora Brewer Ackerman said:

Our frustrations are real and common. But we need to chip away at cultures that thwart this type of innovative thinking. One thing that came to mind as we sat in the room with "the chairs" was the idea of saying YES and encouraging (demanding) others to say YES. It reminds me of Tina Feye's memoir where she talks about adhering to the rules of improvization. They SO apply to everything we have been talking about today. I'm telling you, you have to read them. (Cut and paste this if not a hot link.)


I'm wondering lots of things but they are more particular to my own projects. This workshop is working to make me consider things I gloss over sometimes. Thanks for a great first day. I am eager for our days to come!


I am noticing diverse leaders and educators, come together to explore the relationship between learning, leadership and how creativity plays a vital role to innovate and create new solutions to problems. What is remarkable is how quickly, it seems, folks slipped right into their new "digs," began the process of getting to know each other all the while exploring semi-new processes like ResponsiveDesign and the IIMP experience. Although certainly not new to the world of teacher-research and action research, the Inquiry Into My Practice as an approach to study one's teaching seems helpful in several ways. First, it places the lead-teacher in the role of learner alongside her "Thinking Partner." Second, the Thinking Partner assists in observing and later, providing feedback to the Thinking Partner in form of refamiliaring the lead-teacher with what she had originally sought to explore in her IIMP, what she had envisioned, and, what when enacted, she had wanted the participants to walk away with. The third part, I think is powerful, is that the IIMP debrief occurs publicly in front of the actual participants.

Thus, there are several interacting planes, or spheres, of interactive learning processes at play.

I'm so loving our new friends!!!

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