Friday, August 31, 2007

Hope for the Electronics Industry - Uncertainty for Education

Though the technology addressed in this article is far beyond my knowledge base, the last sentence caught my attention. Hope for the electronics industry! Wow, I didn't know they needed hope. Things are pretty fast to me already and when I think about them getting faster and cheaper within the next decade it again drives home the question; What are we preparing these kids to do?

Jukes talked about these next order changes opening the door for nano and bio technologies that are beyond my current ability to understand just last week and now we see they are getting closer. What doe it mean for us?

Where is the "invention" that gives us hope? It isn't going to come from a "thing"; it must by necessity, come from adaptive change at system, building, and classroom level where we demonstrate that all kids learning the right stuff drives our behavior. I wonder if we can embrace all those "things" to make this come alive in our classrooms?

Check out the short video on this phone coming out next year from Nokia.

Today is blogger day and I'm supposed to recommend 5 blogs. I could give you 5 from my list of about 20, but I'll give you a list that comes from Dangerously Irrelevant, one of my favorites.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Trying to Improve Community Engagement

We just finished another meeting with our Community Relations Committee talking about how we can better engage the community in the work that we are doing. Michele did a great job using a third grade science unit to identify the differences between a 1, 5, and 10 classroom. The conversation resulted in information and ideas about creating knowledge base with our community that I will share with our planning committee.

Knowing how to engage the community and with what content is difficult at best. I believe that these people will help us become better at this. One area where this is critical is with the use of technology. We need to be sharing now what is happening so that over time community members and parents know what we are doing, that we are expending resources wisely, and that it is influencing learning and teaching.

One idea that emerged here was the important role that teachers have in conveying information through their students. For example, they can ask students to thank their parents for providing the opportunity for document cameras and projectors and also share how these tools are supporting enhanced learning environments. What other simple ways can we identify to keep this communication ongoing to inform parents and create the situation where voting yes next time becomes not an argument, but a necessity? I encourage you to begin conversations with staff on additional ways to enhance communication around technology and share with us what emerges.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Personal Devices - A Motivational Tool or A Nightmare?

Some of you may read Warlick's blog. If not, here is his recent post that certainly reflects our current situation. The message is clear that if we can't find ways to open our schools other "forms" of schooling will emerge that draw students away.

Dawn and Kimberly have drafted a procedure for guidance, but the real test will be how we respond to what we know will happen as we open up to personal devices. We need to learn and share experiences as we struggle with this important change.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Well, we did it. Sorry for the mix up with the handouts and questions you identified for focus. Jukes did, however, have them reflect on their own questions and the one thing that they could do in class the first week of school. That one thing they identified might be a point of departure for your follow up conversations next week.

He did not support our Classroom 10 vision with our words and documents though the challenges and changes he identified are certainly embedded in this work. The dinner opportunity was wonderful, we went an hour longer than planned. Here, he did validate our work and much of what he advocated for we are doing. Thanks to Amy for capturing and already sharing some of the sites and information he shared in response to our questions. There will be more as we get online to find the resources he identified.

The man has unbelievable energy and passion for the work. I went to the dinner tired, but left energized and thinking. Hence this entry as I reflect on what I learned, could have done differently, need to do to support your work, worry about what the teachers are saying and how they will respond, and . . .

I look forward to you sharing your thoughts and the feedback you receive from teachers.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

You might want to check this slide presentation out as you think about what you will be saying and doing to follow up on Jukes. I may have sent it at another time, but reviewing it this morning again hit me about what it is we need to do with our kids. It drives home the point that we do not know what the future is that we are preparing them for and if we accept this the most important thing we can do for them is to teach them to teach themselves! I wonder if this is part of what we are beginning to call "information literacy" whatever that is?

Well, busy time of year and the last thing you need is more reading. I find myself both excited and apprehensive about tomorrow, see you then.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Friday and Change

In thinking about Jukes this Friday and Classroom 10 I continue to focus on the importance of change in our leadership work. We must ensure that we intentionally plan for the reactions that teachers will have to his message and to the formal rollout of our Outcomes and Indicators. They will be varied depending on things such as years in Tahoma, building taught at, content area taught, grade level and department, status of district curriculum, . . .We must have system and building cohesion in the mesages given and response to questions and issues that will result from the day. How do I prioritize this given the time of year and mutiple needs you face is one of my current struggles. Suggestions would be appreciated.

With my belief in successful change emerging from see/feel and the need for action not long range planning documents, our role takes center stage if we are to take advantage of the system commitment in dollars and time on Friday. The questions we have identifed for Friday are a good starting point, but only that. This work must continue to be visible and we msut find the key to touch teachers at their emotional level.

Our experience tells us that sustainging successful change across all classrooms is difficult. This article that I recently read confirms for me the difficulty and need for moral purpose and reaching emotions in our work.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

One of the books I shared at the retreat was Change Leadership by Wagner and Kegan. Today, as I was reviewing Education Week and one of my RSS feeds, Leader Talk, I found reference to an article by Wagner. In the article he identifies five “Habits of Mind” for change leadership that are essentially five questions that when pursued can lead to more effective methods for dealing with critical issues. It forced me to stop and think again about change and about how we work through those critical issues that surface in our work. Do we start by having common understanding of the issues and the resolution that we seek? Hmm?

The five questions are sequential as identified below.

· What is the problem we are trying to solve, or the obstacle we are trying to overcome, and what does it have to do with improving teaching and learning?
· What are our strategies for solving this problem, and how and why do we think implementation of these strategies will cause the change that’s needed—what’s our “theory of action”?
· Who (teachers, parents, students, community) needs to understand what, in order to “own the problem” and support the strategies we’re implementing?
· Who is accountable for what for implementation of this strategy to be successful, and what do they need to be effective?
· What evidence (observable changes in short-term outcomes or behaviors) will we track that will tell us whether our strategies are working?

As we enter into what some of us see as a minor shift and others of us see as a major change thinking about these questions takes on greater significance for me. Should this difference be creating more dissonance for me? I know I tend to cringe when we have this conversation and body language in the room does not make me feel more comfortable. So many things to consider on this journey.