School leadership in turbulent times
As schools prepare to welcome students through their doors, many educators are researching how to talk with their students about the attacks in Charlottesville or Barcelona. Or how to respond to student concerns about diversity, tolerance and equity. Or, ulp, how to address this recent article by Wired, revealing that the state with the highest percentage of online trolls is… Vermont.
Starting these conversations, and addressing our current crisis of digital citizenship takes courage and can often feel uncomfortable, but they all begin with one small step, then another, and another after that. They’re acts in which extraordinary courage soon becomes #everydaycourage, and we’re fortunate to have some leaders in the #vted ecosphere — administrators, educators and students — showing us the way.
Taking stock on implementing Vermont’s Act 77
“Do you know where you are?”
Usually it’s a question medical professionals ask in emergency situations. It’s not as dramatic in the context of education, but it can be just as useful as a diagnostic criteria.
We’re going to ask you to take stock of where you are in the implementation of three pillars: Personalization (PLP’s), Proficiency, and Flexible Pathways. They’re the three pillars holding up Act 77, Vermont’s legislation to put students at the center of innovative school change.
*whips out a clipboard, tucks pen behind ear*
How do you explain PBL to families?
The popularity of Project-Based Learning (PBL) has grown significantly with teachers and students, but what about parents? When students walk out of school, do they communicate their excitement about PBL to their families?
Let’s look at some resources for helping parents understand why PBL is so engaging for students.
A flexible pathway for religious choice
In a time when combining 21st century skills with personalized learning is in the thoughts of educators, students, and parents, I see the choice of a faith-based education as a very specific personal pathway.
But how does a faith-based education work in the context of 21st century learning?
For exit tickets, student support & action research
Using Google Forms and Google Sheets together can streamline your process and make all your tasks feel just a little more manageable.
As an educator, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to keep all your different data streams organized, not to mention the finding the time to analyze and interpret that data! Let’s take three examples of how Google Forms can cut down on your paperwork flurries.
It’s about time
I am fascinated with master schedules! This is certainly a massive understatement. I love the challenge of putting all the pieces together, showing how everything is connected. My mind is wired to think through a systems lens. I am always asking myself, if I change this thing over here what happens over there?
However, I feel like the picture on the puzzle box, you know, the one that shows you how to put the puzzle together, isn’t the right image to be working off anymore. The way we build schedules is struggling to keep pace with the pedagogical beliefs and practices in schools.
New ways to approach teaming
Have you every showed up to in-service wondering what the new initiatives for the year will be? Or wondered how to continue to meet the demands of the district and school while balancing the the needs of 21st century young adolescents?
*takes a deep breath*
The answer, I suggest, is teaming, but with a new focus.
Student Leadership: The time is now
August is usually a time crammed with planning logistics for the start of the school year. It’s a time when educators’ coffee intake increases exponentially and that ever-popular 4AM anxiety dream makes you jump out of bed in a sweat. Yet somehow it all falls into place and school opens, students show up, and off we go.
Now, my question to you is how many schools embrace the student’s voice in planning for this opening?
My 2016 Summer Reading List
There are many thinks to look forward to as summer approaches. As an educator, I appreciate the calm I feel when school is out. You know that tense feeling thinking about what tomorrow’s class will be like. There is nothing like the first Sunday night when you realize you don’t have to be a teacher in the morning!!!!
I also look forward to a slower pace of life where I can stop adding items to my TO-DO LIST and finally start checking a few off. One of those things for me is my summer reading list.
A visualization exercise for changing classrooms
It’s not your imagination. It really is the time of year when everyone gets a little wiggly. (Or a little more wiggly than usual.)
But how does your classroom layout respond to that energy? Does it honor it or stifle it? Can your students fling their arms wide to express their excitement over an idea, or are they squished into one-size-fits-someone seats with no rollers? The upcoming summer is a great time to plan a bold new layout for your new cooperative learning space.
Unsure where to begin? Let’s through an activity together to evaluate the state of your classroom (and other learning spaces), and make concrete steps for transformation.