Friday, January 30, 2015

So Many Questions? One easy answer: We will protect what is important!

Why are we where we are?  Why do we need to continuously improve and learn?  Why is settling never an option?  How do we move forward?

Why are we where we are?
We are where we are because we decided as a staff to: We, the Dolphins, are a community that supports each other, takes academic risks, and accepts all challenges to unlock the full potential of our 21st century learners to succeed in an ever changing world.”  Why is this important? Because it is our beliefs, we hold them tight, we protect it, we nourish it, we support it, we do whatever we can to make it happen every day. I was in a voxer chat with my #principalpln today and @btcostello05 said, “I know they are doing the best they can”.  That struck a chord in that by having this vision, we are doing “the best we can” at this moment with the current knowledge, understanding, and mindset we have.

Why do we need to continuously improve and learn?
Besides the fact that it keeps the brain healthy and therefore promoting a longer life...  Because our students deserve our best!  If we settle for what has worked for the last 10 years, then that is not good enough. Almost all of our students are not even 10 years old.  It does not work for them, they are “doers” where they “do” first and read/learn about later. There is no user guide with an ipod, iphone, or ipad.  Ever wonder why?  If you think “they should be able to do it the way we learned”, you are simply wrong and you are not going to change evolution.  Just ask Darwin!  

Why is settling never an option?
Simple, because we have the most important job, beyond being a parent, in the world.  Forget what anyone says, if we raise the students “our kids” to be productive, responsible, and good citizens, we will change the world.  We need to do it together. If you settle, you are saying “I am done” “things are good” and “just get me to retirement”.  If that is your mentality, then go to a different profession.  We embrace learners, therefore we all need to be in the game!

How do we move forward?
Together, with voice from whoever wants to yell, and with conviction.  We create a plan, which we know will be modified, and we stay focused on it.  We have regular stopping points to check our own temperature.  We always are willing to unlearn to learn again!  We stay connect to our PLN, we push boundaries, we challenge authority when necessary, we as @peteleida would say “disrupt a little to keep moving forward”.   

Why does any of this matter?
Because we are making a difference, we are doing great things, we are #cddolphins!  Keep it tight, keep it moving, keep it innovative, keep learning, keep smiling, keep having fun, keep enjoying working in a building that supports academic risks, growth mindsets, love of children, and wanting to brag a little!  #weareawesome HAHA!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The 10 Month Adventure!

What if as educators we were recording artists, life would be perfect!  We would have producers (admins) and singers (teachers), where producers evaluate, give feedback, and adjust singers levels based on what they hear and see.  We would have multiple opportunities to succeed.  We would be able to record and hear/see our performance.  We would be able to work and practice until it was perfect!  Then we hit "submit" and our product is published.

What if that same concept was shifted to the classroom where singers (students) and producers (teachers) were to occur?  Students could take risks like changing tempo, rhythms, and voice level. Teachers would then listen and give immediate feedback.  The final product would be what we hear on Itunes.

Why can't we do this? we have the tools, screencasting, podcasts, google apps, etc.  We can do this, because this is how life works and to be "college and career" ready we need to do this.  Very few professions have a finite assessment.  In construction - measure and cut, wrong fit, measure and cut again.  Writers - write, edit, write, edit, etc.  Used Car Salesman - "that is my final price" "o.k. wait, let me talk to my manager". Doctor - Let's test for this, no that is not it, let's test for this, no that is not it... Etc.

So lets take the mindset of singers and producers.  Let's be creative, collaborate, produce a product, evaluate it with feedback, perfect the product, and finally share the product with the world!  Could it be that easy?  Definitely not... assessments are important as a thermometer and not a measuring stick.  The products and the projects are the learning, the questions students ask and ability to share it with the world and get feedback is the movement beyond comprehension we are looking for!