Saturday, August 31, 2013

I believe
A saver of lots--
And finally cleaning out a folder in one drawer of my desk-
I came upon the following--
Not remembering when or why I wrote this--
But knowing it is what I believe--

I believe all children should have the opportunity to strive for their greatest potential and that every child can learn, not always in the same way or on the same day.

I believe that teaching is, at its core, a moral profession.  Helping students become connected, passion-driven learners is a moral issue. Most of us went into education to change the world, to help kids make a difference and we should always remember that.

I believe the digital era puts us in a position to collectively re imagine learning and to transform education into an experience with lasting relevance to the 21st century learner.

I believe that when we each bring our unique talents and gifts to a community of learners and engage in collegial discussions, we can change the world.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fireflies and school buses--

Last night--  the sun went down and the twinkling of fireflies captured my attention-
Always, they've seemed magical and caused me to wonder on their being, where they'd light next.

And then this morning, for the first time in 2 months, school buses rolled by our home, stopping as they proceeded north to pick up our high school neighbor; later, going south, they scooped up the first grader from the house on other side. It's the beginning of a new school year in Chardon.

A coincidence-- fireflies and school buses, the first day of school. Maybe for some but for me it was a perfect confluence -- for I'd been seeing Tweets galore about back to school and posts on blogs too. I'd been thinking lots on first days-- for so very many years they held great promise and possibility personally for me. I know they must for every teacher  too.

Here's my wish for Chardon's teachers and every educator as this new school commences (and here's how the fireflies come in).

I wish that every student will share the same feelings that John Steinbeck eloquently penned in "Captured Fireflies"

In her classroom our speculations ranged the world
She aroused us to book waving discussions.
Every morning we came to her carrying new truths, new facts,
New ideas cupped and sheltered in our hands like captured fireflies.
When she went away a sadness did not go out.
She left her signature upon us.
The literature of the teacher who writes on children's minds.
I've had many teachers who taught us soon forgotten things,
But only a few like her who created in me a new thing, a new attitude, a new hunger.
I suppose that to a large extent I am the unsigned manuscript of that teacher.
What deathless power lies in the hands of such a person.

I hope you'll reread Bud Hunt's eloquent classic letter to teachers especially the last few lines:

I wish you well. I ask you to be brave and humble and kind and tenacious and wise and caring and gentle and fierce.

And one last wish, I hope your students will find unconditional acceptance as they learn with you. Alfie Kohn's 2005 article in Educational Leadership speaks to the potential of Unconditional Teaching--

In short, unconditional acceptance is what kids require in order to flourish.

we need to think about whether our posture toward students really provides them with as much of the unconditional acceptance they need as possible.

Keep these close to your heart-- the magic of captured fireflies, the request for bravery, humility, kindness, wisdom, caring, gentleness and fierceness, and children's needs for unconditional acceptance -- especially on those days that are challenging and difficult and possibilities will abound--

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Powerful reflections--

In week 8 of the Connected Coaching eCourse, I invite co learners to reflect:

This quote on reflective teaching easily transfers to reflective coaching. Think coach or coaching for teach and the word coachee for students.
Reflective Teaching is a habit of mind that requires consciously thinking about how teaching practices impact students’ learning. According to Kennedy (1989) reflective teaching promotes a thoughtful, contextualized view of teaching from which teachers learn how to make choices about educational goals and practices. Just as we hope our students will show growth over time, as teachers we can show growth in our practice if we take the time to reflect.
Professional growth can occur if we first look back on our practice to draw conclusions about events, then change our behaviors as a result of research, knowledge and reflection. Teachers can become empowered decision makers, engaging in systematic reflection of their work by thinking, writing, and talking about their teaching; observing the acts of their own and others teaching and by gauging the impact of their teaching on their students’ learning (Farrell, 2004).
And I suggest that they be transparent in their reflection.

The reflections of this group of co learners are thoughtful; they are powerful. These folks are on a journey deep into understanding coaching in online spaces and into being one of those coaches. They open a window onto learning and Connected Coaching.

Linda: "As coaches, we speak with a positive intent, believing in the competency, dedication, and capability of those we coach"  Coaching: Ten Essential Ideas | Nitsche Notes

Fiona: "“however when I decided to provide reflections on my colleagues reflections I realised that I was learning more deeply.” Reflecting on Connected Coaching | eLearning Reflections

Matt: "One of the most important concepts I have taken away from this experience is appreciative inquiry. I am constantly revisiting it. My goal is to reflect on my capacity to focus on the positive when working with other learners in online spaces. Reflections from My Connected Coaching eCourse #plpnetwork | Reading by Example

Lauren: "It really is a rare privilege to engage in this type of listening and conversation" Connected Coaches Course #plpnetwork | Innovation ANESU

Cathy: "It seems so obvious to me now that the power and beauty of the connected coaching model lies in “coming alongside” and supporting my colleagues as they explore and lead themselves on a journey which meets their own wants and needs."
Reflections on Learning to be a Connected Coach | Journeys off the Beaten Path

What a privilege to learn with Linda, Fiona, Matt, Lauren and Cathy!