In Nathan Conway’s photo journal, The People that you meet at McDonald’s from the New York Times I found this photo to be very interesting. The woman has brought her internet phone with her to connect to the McDonald’s Wifi. Compare that to the other photos of the payphone and the group of boys who have a cellphone sitting on the table. Kind of amazing.
Filed under: Change Agent, Visionary | Tags: Fedex, Innovate2013, Innovation, Play, Risk taking
The word for passion fruit in Portuguese is Maracuja. Here is Brazil the fruit is eaten fresh, in a mousse or in Caipirinhas. This is also the name that our 4th grade teachers chose to name the 1 hour per week that their students unstructured time to explore. Below is the note that the teachers sent out to parents. This is just one of the ideas that came from our Innovate 2013 Conference.
Earlier this month, Graded had the privilege of hosting the Innovate 2013 Conference. It was a time where teachers from around the world were welcome to engage in discussions about the changes that are happening in education today. One result of the conference is that we, the 4th grade team, inspired by companies like Google and 3M became excited about being innovators in our own field. These companies have given their employees time set aside to do something they are passionate about and eventually share it with the company.
In that spirit, the 4th grade team is proud to announce the opening of our MARACUJA Time, on Wednesdays from 1:25-2:25! This time will be dedicated for students to explore and create based on something they are passionate about. We would like to welcome you to our Maracuja Time on any Wednesday that you are available as there are no appointments needed. If you are curious about what students are doing or are interested in supporting the discovery process, the door is certainly open for you. You can begin conversations with your child at home about what inspires them. Ask them, “What is something that sticks to you? What are you most passionate about? Is there something you always wish you had the time to learn about?”.
- apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas products or products
– create original works as a means of personal or group expression
– communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats
We are looking forward to where our students will take us.
Filed under: Change Agent, Modeler | Tags: blogging, Creative Tension, Learning
Just recently I posted my thoughts on blogging and how it has helped me with my learning. I then received the 2012 annual report on Creative Tension from WordPress. It’s amazing how easy it is for them to track data on each blog. I have been celebrating that I’ve generated 80 total posts, last year there were only 16. This gives me a good benchmark to strive to improve on for 2013. I’m confident that I can go beyond that. Of those 16 posts there were over 9,900 views, which equates to an average of 618 views per post. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.
My big question – What does it take to generate comments which lead to discussions on the individual posts?
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.
Filed under: Instructional Leader | Tags: Basketball, Deliberate Practice, Learning, NBA, Personal Learning Networks, Professional Development
I have been wanting to write this post since I read this New York Times article, entitled, “The Evolution of a Point Guard” in February. Now that I have some time over the holidays I’m able to finish this post up. The article describes the 18 month transformation of Jeremy Lin. Since then Lin signed a 3-year, $25 million contract with the Houston Rockets. This makes his story even more legendary. As an educator, I find the story to be inspirational. The article by Howard Beck explains how Jeremy Lin went from being undrafted and cut twice in two weeks to an NBA superstar. Over 18 months and hundreds of hours working with assistant coaches, Jeremy Lin, reworked his jump shot, bulked up his body, strengthened his legs and developed a “sharper view” of the court. He did this through deliberative practice and hard work.
Howard states, “What scouts saw in the spring of 2010 was a smart passer with a flawed jump shot and a thin frame, who might not have the strength and athleticism to defend, create his own shot or finish at the rim in the N.B.A.” While the article highlights his “perseverance, hard work and self-belief”, I was inspired by the entire story because it was a team approach. Lin was certainly dedicated but without the help and support of coaches and trainers, his success would not have been possible. For me there were three important takeaways.
1. Recognizing the potential in each student - Coaches along the way recognized that Jeremy had the potential to be a talented player in the NBA. Lin was known for getting into the paint off the drive and being able to see the floor well. These were two key skills that are essential for point guards and the coaches felt that he could build upon these areas of strength.
2. Clearly identifying the skills, knowledge and attributes that students need to improve on – For Lin, he and his coaches determined that his real issues came from not being strong enough to maintain balance and direction and he lacked the strength to explode and raise up into the air when getting into the lane; his ability to shoot the outside jump shot; and his ability to read different situations and then deliver the correct pass. It was in these areas that Lin spent hours on the court, and in the weight and film rooms working on. He was deliberate in his approach to improving and the coaches helped him monitor his performance along the way.
3. Finding the right people and/or resources to support individual students – Lin worked with several NBA coaches and each one had their specialty areas. He found a Bay area high school coach to help him with his shooting and he sought out strength coaches to help him develop the right types of muscle mass. There wasn’t one individual who helped him develop in all of these areas. He relied on specialists who had access to the appropriate knowledge, expertise, and resources.
When these three things happen the results can certainly be powerful and transformational for all parties involved.
Filed under: Instructional Leader, Leadership, Modeler | Tags: blogging, Communication, Learning, Teaching and Learning
This year I’ve embarked on a project to promote the work of our teachers and students through the Graded High School Blog. The blog was inspired by Patrick Larkin’s Learning in Burlington and George Couros’s work with the 184 Days of Learning in Parkland Schools. The blog is designed for the Graded high school community to share information and ideas on education. To date, the blog has 5,717 hits which is more than the total number of hits that the high school articles in our weekly Gazette have gotten. It’s an excellent start to sharing learning with our community. It has not been a place where members of our community have engaged in dialogue. Aside from the What’s our stance on weighted grades? (a total of 6 comments) post there have been very few comments. The challenge now is to increase engagement so that teachers, students, and parents use the tool for online communication.
Anyone have examples of school blogs where the community is actively participating in the discussion? If so, I’d love to see them. Also, what ideas do you have for increasing community participation?
Filed under: Change Agent, Leadership, Visionary | Tags: #leadershipday12, 1:1 Laptop Programs, 21st Century Schools, Creative Tension, Leadership
This post is in celebration of Scott Mcleod’s Leadership Day 2012 (even though it’s several months late)
This post is all about Peter Senge’s concept of creative tension. The concept that I chose to base this blog on.
“The gap between vision and current reality is also a source of energy. If there were no gap, there would be no need for any action to move towards the vision. We call this gap creative tension.”
In February 2008, I attended the Unplugged Conference at the American School of Bombay. I remember it well since it was a life changing experience for me. After watching the ASB teachers and students seamlessly use technology for teaching and learning I knew that I had to be working in a 1 to 1 laptop environment. At the time I was the middle/high school principal at Mont’Kiara International School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. By the 2009 school year, when I realized that we weren’t going to transition to a 1:1 environment, I decided to quit my job. My desire to lead in that setting was that strong. By 2010 I signed on as the high school principal at Graded in Sao Paulo, Brazil and the middle school was in the process of going 1:1. This was exactly the type of opportunity that I was looking for.
Fortunately I work with some amazing educators who were open to the idea of moving in this direction. We created a high school task force that included teachers, administrators, students and parents and the group was charged with leading the learning and planning for the August 2012 roll out. We were fortunate to be able to work closely with Shabbi Luthra from ASB and Scott Mcleod even joined us virtually for one of our meetings. There were certainly times when we questioned what we were doing but we were committed to changing our learning culture.
Over time we developed actions plans that included developing our capacity by embedding professional development into our normal work and learning, attending conferences and networking with other educators. The plans also led to a responsible use policy, identifying our digital toolkit, adding additional power outlets and making sure that there was sufficient power and increased bandwidth. On August 2nd, almost 4 years after my visit to ASB, I can finally state that I am the principal of a 1:1 high school. For some reason August 2nd was anti-climatic. It certainly was not what I had expected it to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy that teachers and students have 24/7 access to technology and that the classroom learning environment is evolving. Our new focus is integrating our ICT standards into current units. It’s now about working with students to use technology to develop these skills and knowledge.
As you can imagine, there have been ups and downs this first semester and we’re all doing our best to to become “master” 21st century educators. For some reason we’re just not satisfied. While we may not realize it, changes are happening in the classroom and that this is all part of our journey. We also have to use this healthy tension as a source of energy to move toward our vision. After all, it’s all about creative tension.
Filed under: Instructional Leader, Modeler | Tags: blogging, Communication, Learning, Modeler, Seth Godin
I have always been an infrequent blogger, but this past year I’ve been pathetic about sharing my thoughts. It’s sad because I know that my blog posts are an important part of my learning. As Seth states, “the humility that comes from writing it. What matters is the meta cognition of thinking about what you’re going to say.” While it’s always nice when someone comments on a post, I stopped worrying about that a long time ago. Over the years I’ve come to realize the importance of organizing my thoughts and ideas into these posts. It took me awhile but I now understand how valuable it is for me to share my ideas with a wider audience and to expose myself. It may seem like a bit of a risk, but I think that the benefits outweigh the potential negative consequences. As a school leader I think that it’s important for me to model this type of learning.
I write this as I begin to prepare for a workshop on how leaders can use social media to promote learning in their school communities. The workshop is part of the Innovate 2013 Conference. I’m going to be promoting blogging even if you’re not one of the Edublog Award Winners. I’m going to share this short video from Seth Godin and Tom Peters at the session. In my dreams I keep thinking that I’ll get better at blogging so that others will see it, but in reality, that may not happen.