We have all had that moment in school. You prepped for a test all week, you thought your study tactics were undeniable. You walked into the class, took the test (maybe a little faster than you should have) and you walk out feeling like you had just jumped out of an airplane.
You turn to your friend who is also walking out and say, "I aced that one, no problem".
Fast forward one week later when the scores are posted online and that big D- sits next to your "aced" test. All that feeling of euphoria of not having to study, of leaving the assessment confident of your abilities turns into a mash pit of butterflies in your stomach as you start to breakdown the weights and percentages to determine if you are going to be able to pass the course all together.
The first thought... I'm a failure.
As educators, we can have those moments as well. We spend time crafitng the perfect lesson plan like a Michaelangeo delacatly chiseling away at a stone carving. Knowing it's perfect, we begin the lesson and within 2 minutes of starting, the statue has cracked and fallen into dust.
We are all rough drafts.
Bob Goff writes in his book Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World of Setbacks and Difficult People:
"We are all rough drafts of the people we are becoming"
As I consider the beginning of the school year: the excitement of new students, the new (or semi-new) supplies, the re-energized ideas of what the class will look like this year, I have to remind myself that I am a rough draft as well.
Being a rough draft means that you are not finished. You probably have some red lines on you with some spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and idea contradiction.
Some might see this as a disadvantage. Not being a "final draft" of yourself for your students means you are unprepared, unaware, or even caught off guard for the school year.
However being a rough draft gives you FREEDOM
Freedom to try new things, freedom to make mistakes, freedom to fail forward, knowing those experience will make you a more improved you.
There are stories that float around the web about teachers who offer students their class without grades.
"If you come into class, work hard, and do the best you can, you will pass my class". I have always been intrigued by this concept because I think the one area my students struggle with is the grades.
That is why I love project based learning. Letting students design, iterate, and grow in their project as they are discovering new ideas and passions. Rubrics become more difficult, expectations and end results are messy, but the learning is organic and the students are able to embody what it means to be a true rough draft.
I guess the big question for you teacher is this...are you setting up your room for a group of rough drafts? Or are you expecting a bunch of final drafts every day?
As we embark on this new school year, remember we are all rough drafts.
Being a rough draft means there is room to fail. Room to grow. Room to change who you are to something greater. When you consider yourself a rough draft, you take criticism with a smile and know that you are willing to hear ideas of improvement. You try and try again.
Your presentations won't be perfect always.
Your lessons you teach will sometimes flame out.
Your conversation will not go the way you thought it would.
If you know that you are always unfinished, then you know you have an innate, uncontrollable ability to grow. This you today is the best you. Tomorrow will be better because you will improve from today.
Consider today a day where you embrace your full rough draft and focus not on what is wrong, but simply where you are going to grow.
Here comes the year, let's rock it!
The Problem we face currently...
Obviously, every school/district is going to be different on data management and sharing. For the school I am currently in, we primarily use Google Drive for document creation and cloud storage. This is GREAT because we utilize all of the incredible tools and advantages of G-Suite for Education. However, when a teacher decides that their time is ending at our school, so begins the chaos. The teacher would have to share documents and change ownership of each document to the person that is coming into the position following their departure.
Google Team Drive for the Win!
Google Team Drive is a second drive connected to user accounts that belongs to the organisation, not the individual. Accessible by all who are given permission, when documents, folders and files are moved into the Team Drive, it no longer belongs to the owner, but rather to the team drive and the organization.
What this means for us is that we don't require teachers leaving to go through the tedious work of transferring ownership of each document to the next individual that will be taking their spot.
What this also means is that now the curriculum for departments and grade level teams are in an equal playing field. If you have one person on the team who is the "builder", they can create and automatically give access to the team members without going through the process.
Team Drive Offers Easier File Transfer
So far, what we are learning is good... and bad, but that is a part of learning, sometimes you have to skin your knees before you can complete the course! Unfortunately, the ability to transfer entire folders from a personal Google Drive into a Team Drive doesn't exist...yet. But there is hope! AND you have the ability to highlight EVERYTHING inside a folder and move it all at once.
What we are also learning is that our school's mentality on curriculum development and storage is changing. People are hesitant initially to share their documents/ideas in a "team drive" because they are afraid of sharing... so let me point you to my next section.
Team Drive Organizes the Sharing Mess
I find it utterly confusing to sit with teachers who are hesitant, even "hell bent" on not sharing resources, information, and ideas.
But it happens.
The reality is that sharing is happening whether we like it or not and Team Drive allows for a more seamless, organised sharing. No longer will you "lose a file" in your shared folder. No longer will you worry about making sure you have added everyone onto the document. Creating and storing documents in the team drive is an automatic access for the teams. No formal sharing needed.
That being said, you can still share documents with others outside your team.
If you have a worksheet that you want students to copy/fill out using Google Classroom, you can still share that doc from your Team Drive. Everything works the same, except the original home of the document and the owner. So be at ease good people you are just shifting the foundation of the document from your drive to the team.
Team Drive Opens Opportunities for Change
What we are experiencing here is growing pains and change in the right direction. Team Drive is opening doors to challenge teachers on their ideals of change. Team Drive is providing opportunities for faculty who are leaving to share their resources with those that are coming in their place. It is also causing very valuable conversations about resource storage and relevance. There is a significant amount of files and folders that are being archived or deleted because they have not been in use for so many years.
Team Drive is going to be a great fit for this school. It will take time, but in the end (with some additional abilities from GSuite) it will be an efficient and effective organizational system of sharing information.
Change is Hard. If we think about our classrooms and trying to bring different ideas into the classroom it can be hard. Hard because it means you might fail. Hard because you might not have the admin support (thankfully we have great support). Hard because it might mean a little more energy and a little less content on the schedule.
In this session we were able to explore the process of change, reflecting on best practices in bringing change, introducing innovation and providing a path to go down.
There was a great deal of information that came from this workshop, but I wanted to share some summaries.
The speaker's name is Andrew McCarthy and his resources from this workshop is here: http://bit.ly/21Change
In order to understand how change is hard, we needed to experience some moments when change didn’t work. The speaker shared about the LA County iPad roll-out scandal. In theory it was a great idea--give every student in LA County an iPad to learn with. In practice, the project failed. You can read more about it here.
The speaker than introduced Kotter’s Eight Step Model of change. Thinking through this on the business side. The research takes us through the process of creating urgency for a change all the way through the final step of making the change stick. It was an interesting concept to place onto a school environment, especially in thinking about the changes our school has gone through the past 5 years.
Next McCarthy introduced us to concepts that he learned from the book Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. The central idea behind the book is taking a leader through the process of bringing change into an organization. Below is a summary of McCarthy’s interpretations and thoughts.
Big Idea #1: Find the Bright Spots
The initial question of this part was “why do we focus so much on a failing grade on a report card and not what is working within the class the student gets an A?”
Basically, we need to be using our time and energy to focus on the bright spots, research them and then replicate them in the dark areas of our school. For example, teachers who are successfully enhancing student’s learning with the integration of technology could be considered bright spots. From a tech coach’s perspective it would make sense to continue working with the teachers that are not at the same level as the “techie” teachers. However, if energy is focused on the why and how of the techie teachers and then replicated with those who are not so techie, change could move in a forward direction easier than without.
Big Idea #2: Script the Critical Moves
When bringing change into the classroom, change must be specific. Exactly like teachers delivering objectives for each lesson, change needs to have specific objectives of why? How? When? And who? (Thing SMART objectives but for teachers). From a tech coach’s perspective this could be specific practices of technology integration into the classroom. One example was, “ Use Google Docs to feedback and Comment on student work and encourage revision”. Specific. Simple. Focused. Easy for all teachers to read and apply this objective.
Big Idea #3: Point to a Destination
“Let me show you the future”
“Let me show you what your classroom could look like with _______”
Define your destination.
UWCSEA Learning principals--Defining the goals of learning within the school https://www.uwcsea.edu.sg/about/guiding-statements/uwcsea-learning-profile
NESTA Decoding learning: The proof promise and potential
Big Idea #4: Grow your Teachers
Big Idea #5: Shaping the Path
Remove the barriers for teachers--provide the training and objectives that they can achieve.
Be specific and focus training on specific tools and strategies, build confidence.
(lms, google classroom, schoology, seesaw etc)
Build the Habits and document them-- Remind teachers the best things that they had done within a grade level or department of how things were doing
This blog is also posted on saidosi.blogspot.com
The Job Alike was a really great experience. I think anytime we can connect and network with educators that share similar passions and responsibilities, the ideas flourish. My biggest take away was that we are on the right track. That the work that we are slowing introducing within the ES and SS in using Technology Coaches is good. We are at the infant stages and next year there will be more opportunities for teachers and coaches to grow and connect. One challenge that I hope to implement in the future is
Teachers need to SAMR-ize a unit”
Thinking about the SAMR model, this is a practical challenge where teachers can think of innovative ways to deepen and enhance learning in their classrooms. What this does is it creates opportunities for tech coaches to be in the classrooms and motivates teachers to innovate what they are doing with their students. A Win Win!
The Next Great piece was the DEMO SLAM! Here's all the toys and fun we can add to the classroom! (as of now)
Coding and Maker
This is a writing specific website that allows students to be prompted by images or quotes. Then, students submit their writing to teachers, get feedback, make changes and complete the assignment within the same website. The COOLEST part is that then students get to choose if and when they share their writing publicly. Either within the classroom or within the greater WriteAbout online community. This gives students the opportunity to launch their writing publicly and have more than one audience!
This is the app that I am the most excited about (and teachers will be seeing training sessions on soon!) Students are able to create and present their own virtual reality space. They can bring their learning to life, and integrate it into the Virtual Reality Viewers. SO COOL!
Are you a person who always opens the same 3 tabs in the morning (Portal, email schoology). If you click on the tab and Pin it, the browser will remember the tab and always open it when you start the browser or the computer.
Bloxels is a mix of hands on design and in app creation. Students use physical blocks to build different levels and characters in their video games. They are then able to scan each level into the ipad to develop the game. This can introduce students to hands on game design, storytelling through games, and so much more!
Overall the Job Alike was a great time. I have other ideas that are Tech Coach specific that you might experience soon, but for now, enjoy this!