Let’s take a walk.

Update for Apr 20-24

I had a lot of fun during the first “Walk with Mr. H” at recess on Friday.  Who knew walking around our path would be such a big draw with kids?  I tweeted a picture another teacher took of me walking and the response on Twitter was just as favorable as it had been with the kids:


I honestly don’t think it was because of me either; it could have been any one of us out there walking and the kids would have had just as much fun.

So what was the big draw?  Ask any kid to walk around a path during their recess and they’ll look at you like you have lobsters crawling out of your ears. But make yourself available to spend time with kids and they’ll be there.

I realized that the kids weren’t drawn to walking the path.  Kids were drawn to walking because it was a time to have a personal connection.
I had a great conversation with a teacher at the end of the week and we started talk about change in education (This is related, I promise…hang in there).  They said something that I completely agree with: Whatever we do for kids that works is really just good teaching.

It’s true: At the end of the day, it’s how we relate and interact with students that will determine the effectiveness of any program or any lesson that we do.  The conversation made me think of the remarks of another one of my favorite educators, Todd Whitaker: “It’s people, not programs, that determine the quality of a school.”

What that means to me is putting all of your stock into building relationships with your students. The “Walk with Mr. H” was successful because this year I’ve tried to make being visible in the building, knowing each student by his or her first name, and talking with them a top priority.  I believe that if I hadn’t spent my time building positive rapport with students, I would have been walking alone.  As George Couros reminds us: To inspire meaningful change, you must make a connection to the heart before you make a connection to the mind.”

All of this has helped me to understand one key aspect to the work we are doing this year: No matter what we do in the future to re-imagine what the elementary learning experience might look like, effective change will always depend on the positive relationships we build with each other and with our students.

Articles Worth Reading

Upcoming Dates

Apr 20
4th and 5th Grade ELA EOY State Assessments
Dave & Busters Spirit Night, 5pm-8pm

Apr 21
3rd Grade Spring OAA Reading
Staff Meeting with ADE/DCR staff at 3:45 pm at ADE–Teacher steering committee small group explains the vision/design for next year’s extension opportunity to the staff as a whole

Apr 22
3rd, 4th, 5th, Grade Math Unit 1 EOY Assessments
*** Garden Dedication, Celebration *** 2:00ish — See Becky and/or Meredith for details for how the kids can help this BIG DAY!

Apr 23
3rd, 4th, 5th, Grade Math Unit 2 EOY Assessments
*** ART SHOW *** 6:00-7:30pm

Apr 27
Board of Education Meeting at Alton Darby, 7pm

Apr 28
Tech PD with Kelly Riley, 7:45am

Apr 29
ADE WALKATHON — During each grade’s Related Arts Time — AM/PM KG will combine with a grade-level.  Details to come!

Student Housing Committee Meeting (Herb) 4:30

May 1
Team Connection Meeting with Dr. John/Board Member, 8:00am — Meet and greet, breakfast provided.  Your chance to talk with Dr. John.

Upcoming AD/DC Project Dates

4/21–Staff Meeting with ADE/DCR staff at 3:45 pm at ADE–Teacher steering committee small group explains the vision/design for next year’s extension opportunity to the staff as a whole

5/6–OPTIONAL STAFF MEETING–work time to collaborate/meet/plan with the people who are teaming up for the extension/design opportunity next year for students.

5/8–Teacher steering committee site visits and work session…
6 of the committee members from each building (those who didn’t go to Reynoldsburg) will go to Wickliffe with Herb, CT and Jennifer.  This team will see a Town Hall meeting that is completely run by students from 8:30-9:30 and then meet with, talk with, and tour the school with the principal until 11:00/11:30.  We will then meet back at CO at 12:00 with the ENTIRE Teacher Steering committee (the 4 who went to Reynoldsburg will need to put in for a ½ day PD request for the afternoon) to debrief and have lunch (provided and to be ordered through Aramark).  We will engage in conversation with the group regarding how to shift our practice as we continue moving forward with our design next year towards students defining their learning path through the options/opportunities that teachers can create/provide for them as experiences.  Could these/are these options/opportunities connected to the networks? This would support students defining the voice and choice in their learning and becomes the heart of student ownership within the design.
Additionally one GOAL for the day is to NAME IT…not pedagogically…or programatically….but based on our Guiding Principles.  So the IT that is named represents the way we do things grounded in those principles–the mantra of “Who We’d Like to Be”.  We will be showing the teacher videos one more time and identifying how these ideas align to the principles established in our Guiding Principles and how these ideas can become opportunities for next year.  

5/13–last teacher steering committee meeting for 2014-15​–The purpose is the thank those who were on this committee and touch base/listen to their perspective of the buildings from which they represent, what they think is necessary for next year to move forward.  We will share with them our “list” of what needs to happen and ask them for their “list” in order to bridge the perspectives to move forward with SOME implementation of SOME ideas for the 2015-16 year.

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