Recently I was able attend a workshop by Eric Jensen (author of Teaching with Poverty in Mind). I chose his workshop, because his book was one of the books that changed me as an educator because it gave me a lot of insight into what it is like for some of our students to come to school hungry, worrying about issues at home, or who have suffered trauma.
One section of his presentation resonated with me because this situation had happened to me recently with someone who was in education (not anyone from MURSD). I had been speaking with someone who taught special education and who kept referring to their students as the "low" kids. Now I"m sure this educator (who I had just met and did not know well) probably loves their kids, and works really hard everyday, but I had this thought, that I wouldn't ever want their students to hear them referred to as "low" and as parent I would never want a teacher to refer to my child as "low." Words matter.
Eric spoke about the power of words, expectations, and what skills research shows can be taught. He emphasized that in his building:
Challenge for the Week:
Reflect upon the three statements he shared in your own work, in our schools, and in our society. Just as we talk about growth mindset, one step is to "change your words to change your mindset."
This past Wednesday, we witnessed something pretty powerful in our schools, but also in schools across the U.S. While it looked different in format in various communities, there were some common themes that should not go unnoticed regarding some of our students who:
I couldn't have been any prouder of our students and how they respectful they were during the activities.
Challenge for this week: Using the continuum of voice model below, think about how you can foster more opportunities for students to continue to engage their desire for voice and action about what they care about.
Thank you to everyone for a productive, yet fun PD Day on Friday. Who knew that Quinny would be such a hit, or that we had an abundance of skill across the district in both karaoke and limerick writing skills? As we survive all of these ongoing storms, and head soon into state testing season, sometimes we have moments where the stress builds up, or we get worn down by the cycle of the school year. Remember, that instilling a little extra fun in the mix can go a long way for all of us.
This Week's Challenge: Keep having fun. Enjoy your colleagues. Thank your colleagues. Be creative. Try something new.
With our professional development day coming up this week, I've been fortunate to review the wide range of proposals for the teacher-directed PD Day. Teachers and staff spent time and thought to determining the best use of their time for professional growth and learning. In particular, it was great to see so many proposals that were collaborative projects. According to Richard DuFour, professional collaboration is one of the big ideas of building effective professional learning communities. At the heart of these collaborative discussions are the following questions:
This week's challenge: See how often you can systematically work through the questions above in your collaborative work either during the PD day or in your day-to-day meetings and common planning times using the big ideas from Dufour's article.