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Showing posts from September, 2015

Why I Love School Sports: Confessions of Non-Sporty Teacher

Yesterday, I went to not one but two school sporting events. The first was a soccer game at my son's small independent school. The Hill Top Hawks were playing the Stratford Friends Phoenix. The Phoenix were victorious, but it was a beautiful day for a game.

From there, we drove to the STHS Stadium where the Spartans played the Trojans in an epic (and very long) football game. Again, a beautiful evening to be outside and the band sounded great.

If you know me at all, you know that I am not sporty. Sure, I attempt to play tennis and street hockey with my kids, but I really don't have the patience to watch others play. While I have dutifully sat through many sporting events out of love, I have rarely paid much attention to the game. In fact, the only reason I knew the Spartans were winning last night was because the pep band played On Wisconsin each time they scored - and I heard that song many times last night.

Not paying attention to the game has enabled me to appreciate the ex…

What is Reflection? 4 Questions to Guide Your Thinking

Today is the last day of summer. I know, summer really ended earlier this month when school opened. Back to waking up early, packing lunches, checking homework, talking to teachers, waiting at the bus stop, band practice, cross country, new adventures, old friends and different expectations.

We have spent the last three weekends starting or resuming all these back to school habits. If we are lucky, we made some goals and are trying to meet them. But how much time in the last three weeks have we reflected on our new experiences with students, colleagues, bus schedules and adventures? It is an interesting question.

I am a mindfulness class drop-out. OK, I didn't actually drop out and the instructor was far too positive and hopeful to kick anyone out of the class. However, I really struggled with the practice of mindfulness.

"Pay attention to your breathing" were the basic directions. "Notice what you are feeling in your body." "Just be." Instead, I plan…

Organizational Learning

Last Spring, my 8th grade son presented to the school board with a group of teachers about their Chromebook experiences. The district had piloted a 1:1 Chromebook program for 8th & 9th grade. I attended the meeting because I was proud of my kid, but also, I was proud of the teachers.

Not to harp too much about Chromebooks, but they are really great. They support engagement, organization, research, effective use of time, efficiency, best-practices, etc., etc., etc. In short, Chromebooks support learning.

So much of my career has been focused on individual learning - for myself or for students. In recent years as an administrator, I have thought more and more about organizational learning. This is a bigger and stickier ball of wax.

I found a paper on Scribd (a new fun tool for me) about Individual Learning. Read it, it was fun. The part that was the most compelling for me was about the differences and the connections between individual and organizational learning.

All of us are &qu…

Idea Explosion!

Last week, I suffered from insecurity and doubt. Trust me, it is not a fun place to dwell. I kept reminding myself that change is uncomfortable. But also, I reminded myself that I LIKE change.

Part of my identity as an educator is someone who works for change. I am reluctant to use the phrase "change agent" here, because while I work for and support change, I don't have a lot of success creating change on a scale bigger than my own realm.

That said, my realm just got a whole lot bigger. Once, I was responsible for working for change in my classroom. Now, I can work for change with a larger group of peers - educators like me who work for change in their own realms. The thing is, if you think about all the realms that we collectively touch, that's a whole lot of change.

I spent the week allowing this idea to sink in. The deeper it sank, the more I liked it. "What if we.." kept creeping into my thinking. I jotted all my "what if wes" down on Post-It …

Change is Uncomfortable

The first pangs of discomfort came as a result of sitting. The old me - teacher/mom/summer school director - rarely had time to sit. Sometimes my feet would hurt, so I'd take a few minutes to sit down with a kid or on the playground, but mostly, I stood.

The new me - director of professional development - sat a lot this week. It was an uncomfortable shift. I don't know if every week will require as much sitting, but it was the change in sitting habits that I think was the most noticeable and the most uncomfortable.

There are other changes that I am finding uncomfortable. My office is really quiet. Again, the teacher/mom/summer school director me is unused to this level of calm. I think more about big ideas and less about what will we do in the now to make our learning productive and meaningful. I have a lot to learn. Sure, teacher/mom/summer school director was always learning, but this level of learning feels extreme - so much information, so quickly, with little room for err…