Welcome back to Flipping the Focus.
At this time of the year, many educators are considering how they will unlearn their day-to-day that they typically experience from September to June and re-learn how to find and manage their well-being through a well-deserved Summer vacation.
For many educators, Summer also marks a time of year where they are looking to balance their time away from the classroom with exploring other professional learning opportunities; generally, this is done through taking courses, reflection and planning forward with the end in mind, and/or professional reading.
Table 1 (below) is a snapshot of some of my professional learning regarding 1-2-3 (above) from this year. Note: If the table isn't loading on your mobile device, I've included a link to view it as a Google doc.
Google doc: Table 1
Many of the ideas and lessons learned have also been captured in the concept map (Figure 1) that follows Table 1: Building a Thinking Classroom in Mathematics at North Grenville DHS.
Table 1: 1-2-3 from 2015-16
Figure 1: Building a Thinking Classroom in Mathematics at North Grenville DHS
At this time, I'd like to project and share some ongoing professional learning experiences that I'll be creating/co-creating and implementing for the 2016-17 school year (Table 2). And as I'm contemplating what I'd like to explore with colleagues and students, I'm reflecting and grounding my thoughts and decisions upon my 'Why' and experiences with staff and students this past year.
Starting with 'Why'
Considering how each one of us grows professionally (and personally) with each passing school year, I have found it particularly useful to be constantly reflecting upon my 'Why'. Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, tells us that to be successful leaders--those who don't just lead, but to be those who inspire others and are inspired--we need to start by asking ourselves a very simple, yet powerful question: Why?
As for me, I want to inspire and be inspired by those around me--plain and simple. As an educator, I believe that I'm in the 'business' of growing others--helping others reach their goals and to consider how they can continuously improve and inspire others to grow and continue their learning, ad infinitum. And I am grateful and privileged to teach and learn in education, as there are so many opportunities to impact others as they begin and grow along their journey in learning--either as a student, a colleague, and/or group of educators.
Currently, I believe that my 'Why' has evolved to a state where I'm convinced that the inspiration that we create for others, and that we receive/look for in return, comes as a result of learning together through authentic, collaborative, co-learning relationships.
More recently, a blog post by Will Richardson has also made me think more deeply about how my 'Why' can/will manifest in the classroom, with my colleagues, and abroad. Will writes, ...
"Doing the right thing in schools starts with one fairly straightforward question: What do you believe about how kids learn most powerfully and deeply in their lives? Once you’ve answered that as an individual and as a school community, the question that follows is does your practice in classrooms with kids honor those beliefs?"
FYI: This quote will be the opener for my next blog post :)
In Table 2 (below), you'll notice that I'm not only focused on how my classroom practice can respond to how students can learn deeply, but I'm also keenly focused on how my colleagues and I can, together, learn deeply. That is, if our students see us in a position where we are collectively open to learning, then they will come to value it much more.
Note: If Table 2 doesn't seem to load on your mobile device, I've included a link to view it as a Google doc.
Google doc: Table 2
Table 2: 1-2-3 for 2016-17
In closing, I'd like to thank you for your readership and involvement with Flipping the Focus. If you find that something has resonated with you through this post, please feel free to comment--connecting with the content and/or principles and/or extending the conversation.
Looking forward, subsequent blog posts for 2016-17 will include the following topics:
- Ongoing updates to my "Action Plan" (see Table 2, above) over Semesters 1 and 2
- Impact of Classroom Video Analysis upon Teacher and Student Learning (Semesters 1 and 2)
- Students Developing Personal Leadership in Learning (Semester 2)
- Physical Learning Environments for Building Thinking Classrooms (Semesters 1 and 2)
- Deeper Learning (Semesters 1 and 2)
- Assessment as Learning: Students in Control of Feedback (Semesters 1 and 2)
Sincerely and Collegially Yours,
Chris Stewart, OCT
North Grenville DHS, Upper Canada DSB