Here is a intriguing animation of Graphic facilitation. The topic is not new but the visuals are! Enjoy
Here is where the neighbours are looking. How are we with adaptability? Why are we focusing on consolidation and national standards?
What a day!
We have had an outstanding time today with our first day of the residency with Heartwood Regional Theater Company and our middle school students.
I have been looking forward to this experience for our students and school as a whole and today it got started with a bang.
As the day began I had a few 8th graders who were questioning the prospect of having to be a part of a play production and in one hour Heartwood had us all on board and headed into work on some choreography for a dance scene. I was thrilled with Heartwood's opening act as an intro to the fun and comfort of the up coming week. They showed us what fun could be had if you are willing to participate and give some of you to the act. With this in mind I was pleased with our student's ability to push their comfort level right from the start. They stepped up in a major way.
By the afternoon they had a dance routine well on its way, a comfort with the props and costumes, and were reciting poetry that will become the backbone of the tale.
As the day ended with a moment on the floor breathing and reflecting on how far we had come, we celebrated with the giggles and laughter of a middle school on a Friday afternoon after an amazing day.
Thanks Heartwood and thanks students for this marveloup day in education. Looking forward to the week.
How can we embrace and fulfill what is close to our
hearts and also accept and support
others' passions and "ways of going"?
This question that was posed at our meeting is one that has been often mentioned but never addressed. It is sometimes on agenda's but usually is left until there is no more time and then shows itself again at another meeting. Sometimes it is referred to as "climate" and once again we never got to this question at the meeting so here is what I wanted to say but got caught up in another topic that I seemed to have an opinion on. (Sorry about that. Jeff finally ask me to stop.)
I feel that the above question needs our attention so that we can bring this to a productive conclusion and move on. I feel that we as a group are at a point where we are trying to move in some very positive directions around education at AVS. It is not an easy path nor is it a short path but it is a path that I look forward to going down with all of you together and for this do be a productive journey we will need each others' support. I will need yours and you will need mine.
I hear from many of you, and you from me, about the successes and concerns that you see and feel about our staff at AVS. It is this question of supporting others' passions and methods, of respecting each other as educators, that we need to look at so that we may move forward on this adventure.
I have suggested to some who were, and maybe still are, frustrated with school climate, with where we are going, with how comfortable we feel within our group, that it is us as individuals who's responsibility it is to make the change that we are looking for. You, not someone else, will need to turn the tide so that we can all move forward together on this journey. There is no one person here who needs to be the reason that we cannot move forward. We all have a roll to play in this. There is no room for some not feeling equal on this journey. There is no space for feeling threatened on this journey. We need to do this together and all need to be in agreement as we begin this next chapter.
So my answer to the above question is that each of us needs to step up and embrace what is close to our hearts, to feed our passion and to challenge ourselves on an individual basis (in your class) and at the same time make sure that we are supporting others' passions and methods that they are working with. (in their class) The diversity within this small school is a strength and recognizing that our variety is a greater asset than our uniformity is a valuable realization. I see us as a team where we all need to be there to play our roll, share in the victories and work through the tough times. It becomes part of our job on this team to support and respect what others are doing and how they are doing it. We need support, we need respect and we need each other.
It has been my good fortune to work at Appleton Village School where I have often said that I truly enjoy coming to work, to interact with you, to connect with you and for the support that you provide. This is a great little school and we need to be proud of what we do both individually and collectively, and at this time we need to be able to look each other in the eye and know that we are there for each other, that we support each other and respect each other so we may move on with this issue and together go a questing over the hills and dales of education.
Thanks for reading and thinking.
p.s. I do not know that we need to discuss this. I just needed to say this. It is now off my plate and can be recycled!
It was great to begin the conversation with the whole staff and school committee members present. Thank you all for the sharing and listening.
As this conversation progresses we can see that there are many paths that it can take as it evolves and grows within our community. With this in mind I am aware that we need to both hear the various concerns and points that folks will bring to the table but that we also need to attempt to follow a path of some sort that will lead us to our desired goal.
And what is that goal one may ask. I have been struggling to try and define it for my own thinking and it has not been easy. Hearing the conversation today helps me define this goal from my point of view. I had previously thought that we were looking for a list of priorities but this did not seem to fit for others so I am looking for a more useful way to describe this goal. Today’s conversation about promotion, relevance, time and excellence brought other ideas and perspectives to my thinking.
With this comes more questions that need some thought:
What are you passionate about in education?
What do we do here, or could we do here, that is outstanding, that needs to be shared, or promoted?
In talking with folks after the meeting there were ideas of “mission statement” creation, how to do it and would it more us forward. After thinking it through and after more conversations I feel that I might not need a mission statement per se but rather have a conversation about a list of items that this staff feels are critical in our learning community. Things that we do that could be shared. Things that we are passionate about in learning. Things that we could do at AVS to continue growing a great school for our children. (Ex. Olweus Bullying program, outdoor education, creativity, experiential education, best practices, problem solvers, high test scores, thinkers, caring individuals, connection to community, environmental issues, etc.)
So this is my newly defined goal. Let us come up with a list of items that we feel are critical to our learning community as the education at AVS evolves with all the cultural and political changes around us.
So what is your passion and what do you think should be on our list?
Thanks for your time and thoughts and thanks for the Wordle inspiration.
Does this clip speak to you as we look to think about the priorities of what AVS offers our students? Would love to hear folk's reaction to this video. This video has been with me for a few years and I keep coming back to this to shake off the testing world that we work in. Can we address this issue?
So here it is all in 5 minutes. Chris Lehmann is part of something exciting in education and this video shows why. He has the vision, energy and understanding to make a great learning setting.
What are you thoughts about this video as we think about AVS and where we could go with our leaning environment?
At this time I am in the midst of the mid winter blues. The blog has had little action, the photos are all from the warmer fall days, and the temperatures are cold. Time to hunker down.
At this time I am working on getting material covered before the February break and I always runout of time. The school has begun looking for a new principal for next year, the budget is in the can, and these coupled with a moral adjustment that we all need has got me in a funk.
The colds are beginning to set in for longer and longer time periods and folks are just stretching thin. Still a ways to go.
The sun is around more than it was a month ago!
Other bright spots! The thought that we can be the force for change within the school to create a learning and teaching environment that is sustainable, successful and satisfying. The EduCon 2.2 gathering last week at the Science Leadership Academy, a public high school in Philadelphia, was a some of the finest winter blues tonic. Ten hours of great conversations around being smart, redesigning the class, redesigning the school, using technology, importance of play, schools of caring, and on and on. 76 conversations all together. A real winning combination.
The students keep my head in the game. Marvelous work for a class using laptops to present microscope procedures. A very dry (boring) topic which most truly turned into a moment of fun, informative media. That is what keeps the winter blues at bay. Thanks.
The Education Ideas tab of the site is a collection of resources that I am gathering in one place as I think about Appleton Village School's future and dream. Where could it go? What could it look like? How might we get there? Who will help us on this quest for education? These resources I come back to time and time again to review, to tease apart, to reassess and ultimately set off again with new ideas, a new course and possibilities.
Photo: Horse Trailer - Eric Hart