Permit and Promote

“If you permit it, you promote it.” – Todd Whitaker, What Great Principals Do Differently

This quote was referenced by Todd Whitaker in the context of building culture and establishing expectations.  He explains that the culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.

As we recognize and commit to the need to journey into uncharted pedagogical territory in education, this quote actually may be the key to moving forward. That is, if we flip the focus of the quote from negative outcomes to positive outcomes.

What if we permitted more in our classrooms in order to promote more of the kind of learning experiences our kids need?

What would happen if we permitted more projects, more collaboration, more reflection, and more student control?

If we permitted more of the kind of learning that will allow more inquiry, authentic application of skills, and opportunities for kids to reflect on their learning journey more often, we will promote a dramatic shift the learning culture in our classrooms.

As we move into Act III of the school year, think about what you might intentionally permit in order to authentically promote.

Have a GREAT week!

– Herb

Worth Checking Out —

Love this video by Apple —  As we move to providing students with a One2One iPad experience next year I challenge you to think less about the tool and more about what’s possible with it:

What Makes a Master Teacher http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/267

what-makes-a-master-teacher

Upcoming Dates —

February

 

27 – Spring Flower Sale Kickoff

March

1 – School Community Meeting – Step Up/Build Skill, 10:45; Spec Ed Team meeting, noon

2 – Admin mtg (AM)

4 – ADE Family Fun Day, 10am-3pm

7 – BIT Meeting, 8am; 3rd Safety Drill, 10:45 am

8 – ADE Staff Meeting, 8am — Check in on Students’ writing performance since last month (Counts as monthly Data Team check-in for literacy)

10 – Principals’ One2One meeting, 10am

13 – Spring Flower Sale Orders due

15 – Olive Tree Spirit DAY; Spec Ed Team Meeting, noon; RTI Team meeting, 3:40

16 – 5th Grade Musical Performances: 10:50, 1:20, & 7pm

20-24 – Spring Break

2016-17 Testing Calendar

The Kind of Community We Build

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-9-04-11-pm

Most early childhood and elementary school teachers speak passionately about building community in the beginning of the year, but what kind of community we build is the bigger question.

-Mraz & Hertz, A Mindset For Learning (2015)

I continue to find A Mindset for Learning a thought-provoking and informative read.  The authors connect research-based information and ask their readers to think deeply by what it truly means to build a classroom community of resilient, joyful learners.

It’s no secret that the teacher is the number one driving force in the development of the classroom community.  Teachers set the tone through what they celebrate, what they ignore, their body language, and the words they choose when working with their learners.

So how are things going in your classroom community?  Before you answer, take a look at another quote from A Mindset for Learning and ask yourself if the statement a) reflects your belief about building a classroom community and b) reflects what is currently happening in your classroom community.

[A] child’s self-control, tenacity, and persistence are influenced first by their environment and the reliability and consistency of their caregivers. If we want to build a community of persistence, joy resilience, flexibility, and empathy, we must first be all of those things, and be reliable in those things.

As you reflect, also consider the fact that kids are extremely intuitive and tuned-in to their teachers.  They pick up on when we are energized and when we are flat.

In a 1993 study, researchers showed students, who did not know the teachers, 30-second silent video clips of 13 graduate teaching fellows while they were teaching and had the students rate the teachers on 13 variables like “accepting”, “active”, and “confident”.  The researchers then compared the ratings by the same students with the end of the semester course evaluations from the same students and found a 0.76 correlation (0.60 is considered “very strong”).  Amazing — Students can “slice” their perception of us in 30 seconds and just off of our body language.

This study underscores the importance of modeling the thinking, the behaviors, and the values we must reliably model if we are to instill the same within our students.

We are reaching the midway point of the first six weeks of school.  Take time now to reflect on the progress you have made with your students.  Reflect on how much of the community reflects your students interests and values vs. your own.  Where is the balance tipping? Towards you or towards your students?

Take into account the profound value and impact a sense of hope, belongingness, and engagement have our each of our students.

Have a GREAT week!

-Herb

Tweets Worth Reading

 

 

 

Upcoming Dates

September

12 – PTO Meeting, 7PM

14 – RTI Team Meeting, 3:40PM

21 – Safety Drill (Lockdown), 10:45; Spec Ed Team Meeting, 12:00

22 — School Picture Day!

24 – EdCamp Columbus at Gahanna-Lincoln HS

26 – MakerSpace Grand Opening!

29 – Pasteries with Parents, 8:15AM

30 – BAC meeting, 8AM

October

1 – Community Cardboard Challenge

7 – Building Tour by Board of Education

17-20 — Fall Conference Week; Late Night is Weds, Oct 19.

21 – COI Day

24 – State of Schools (Darby), 6-9PM

25 – State of Schools (Davidson, 6-9PM

26 – State of Schools (Bradley), 6-9PM

School Culture Reflects What We Celebrate, Ignore, and Anticipate

Update for Mar 2-6

This weekend, Alton Darby Elementary hosted our annual Family Fun Day.  This was another new experience for me in my first year with this community.  My understanding is that this has been a tradition for at least 10 years.  In fact, one family has volunteered to help organize the event each of the last 10 years.


The event was a lot of fun and it was a great opportunity for the community to come together.  It also made me reflect on some of the thoughts and ideas I’ve been reading about in a book called School Culture Rewired: How to Define, Assess, and Transform It by Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker.


The combination of my experience with Family Fun Day this weekend and one line from the book really made me reflect on our school’s culture:




“Culture conveys to its members what they ought to celebrate, ignore, and anticipate.” (Gruenert & Whitaker, 2015)
Celebrate — What are the traditions, the moments, and the events we look forward to each year?  Why are they important to the community?  Family Fun Day reminds me that we need to look forward to fun throughout the year.  What we did for International Dot Day was an amazing way to celebrate a budding collaboration with our closest neighbor, Darby Creek Elementary.  What’s important to the culture of our community is what we celebrate.


Ignore — This is a turbulent time for public education.  There are many positive changes taking place as well as a lot distractions that potentially take our focus off of the important work we do for kids.  It’s a challenge to ignore what doesn’t matter to the work we do. But our culture reflects what we choose to put our focus on.  So shouldn’t we focus on what matters and ignore the rest?


Anticipate — What excites kids so that they can’t wait to come to school?  What increases engagement among teachers, parents and students?  Our Kids’ EdCamps, while a ton of work, have been the moments this year that parents bring up the most when I ask about how they think the school year has gone so far.  How can we continue to connect teachers’ passions to students’ interests?


A school’s culture is so important to its success. Therefore, it’s important that we celebrate what we feel represents what we stand for, ignore what distracts us from the work we do for kids, and anticipate what’s possible for our learning community.




Articles Worth Reading




“Emergent Workplaces: Learning in the Networked Worker” http://idreflections.blogspot.com/2015/02/emergent-workplaces-learning-in.html?spref=tw


“Learning LittleBits” http://wp.me/pKlio-1RG via @jackiegerstein




Upcoming Dates


Mar 2
Beef O’Brady’s Spirit Night, 5-9pm


Mar 3
PARCC Math –  3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade
Building Improvement Team meeting, 8am
Last day to enter data into Progress Reports (midnight)


Mar 4
PARCC Math – 3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade
Spring Flower Sale Begins
Special Ed Team meeting, 12:30


Mar 5
Admin meeting (Herb), 8am


Mar 6
BAC meeting, 8am


Mar 9
PTO Meeting, 7pm


Mar 10
4th Grade Social Studies State Assessment
5th Grade Science State Assessment


Mar 11
ADE/DCR Staff Meeting, 3:35pm


Mar 14


Mar 16
Last Day for Spring Flower Sale Orders


Mar 17
Admin Meeting (Herb), 9:30
Teacher Steering Committee Meeting, 3:40


Mar 19
Class/Group/Staff Pictures
Admin Meeting (Herb), 8am
Mar 20
Spring Flower Sale Money due


Mar 22-27
Spring Break

Share it.

“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

This is a quote from Maya Angelou and even though she may have intended it for something completely different, it made me think about how important it is for educators to share their skills and ideas with others.

Much of the work we are doing in schools in Ohio this year is to satisfy new mandates and new initiatives. Many of us are finding it hard to stay innovative and to be willing to take on new ideas because we are busy with the minutiae or we are tired from being busy with the minutiae.

However, I don’t think any of that is going away anytime soon. So, instead of continuing to complain about it, we need to move on and find more sources of inspiration and innovation. That’s where sharing becomes so important.

We need to be sharing our ideas, lessons, books we read, thoughts we have – anything that is important to us because it spurs further thinking and ideas in others. There are so many ways for educators to easily share their ideas – Twitter, Google+, blogging…it’s all there, we just need to access it.

And don’t let your own ideas stop you. When I first got connected through Twitter and started blogging, I was reluctant to share because I thought, “Who is going to think this is a good idea?”. I realized that I needed to change my mindset to, “I hope this helps someone get an idea that will help kids.” That shift in thinking helped me realize that it was important for me to add my voice to the collective conversation.

I love this quote from George Couros about realizing we are the experts. I think it speaks to the importance of sharing our knowledge with others:

When we look at change, we have to realize everything we need is often already within our own organization.  We just have to figure out how to unleash this talent. Isn’t this the culture we want in our classrooms?  It has to be modeled from the top and the way that we view every individual part of our organization.

So, make it a point to start sharing more of your ideas with others. If you haven’t connected on a social media platform yet, get connected. If you have accounts, start using them.

I need your ideas to help me continue to grow as a teacher.