Sunday, August 30, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Terry shared the draft Classroom 10 characteristics document that will be shared at all buildings to identify the five that are included in every lesson and the five that will be observed over the course of a unit. I posted about these on August 23rd where I also shared the difference of opinion at the administrative level related to a targeted thinking skill included in every lesson. When this first emerged, I was open to being influenced as there are many of you much more knowledgeable about this than I am. Since then I must admit that I have been influenced by Nancy, Kristin, and Jonathan’s comments, especially as it relates to wanting students to be thinking every day in every lesson and the teacher and students being able to label and use the thinking skill in their work. It is not about teaching to a thinking skill in every lesson. I encourage you to read their comments.
Though I could still be influenced, my space is only being filled by those that believe thinking and labeling these skills should be included in every lesson. In the absence of another voice it will become more difficult for me to unpack space and be open to influence. It is interesting that the comments from my post come from only one perspective. I wonder if it might be the voices, one from the assistant superintendent and another from a T&L staff person that are making it more difficult to share. Perhaps it might be the lack of experience or comfort engaging with the technology. Or, it might be that those holding a different opinion are not among those that follow my blog. In any case, it would be interesting and important to hear from them as we reflect on this important question. The outcome will have significant influence on our Classroom 10 journey so it is important to hear from all voices.
Monday, August 24, 2009
As I listened to the talk it made me think not only about how we support learning and motivate young people, but also about the interest in merit pay for teachers. Pink shares the results of research over time that show that bonuses for tasks that involve “mechanical skills” work as expected. When the task, however, called for “even rudimentary cognitive skill”, a larger reward led to poorer performance. Wouldn’t the act of teaching require much more than rudimentary cognitive skill to make the critical decisions necessary to create and sustain a classroom where all students experience success? I wonder if those supporting merit pay would call it a bonus or would they see it as an incentive? Is there a difference?
Should the research Pink shares have any influence on the merit pay debate? We are asking teachers to guarantee that all students learn; a task that requires much preparation and decision making. Is it the key to increased performance or might these financial incentives have similar results to those experienced in the business sector? It is interesting that many of those promoting merit pay come from the business sector where the data suggest that incentives don’t work for complex tasks. It doesn’t seem to have any influence on their zeal to move forward with this initiative. Maybe I’m just missing something or my ladder might be leading me to make erroneous assumptions.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I would encourage you to reflect on this conversation about thinking skills and enter into the discussion. You can share your thoughts in a comment to this post and also with any of the ELT members. It would be good if one of the administrators that are questioning the inclusion would share their thinking so that we can have that information as we continue to reflect on this question. I am looking forward to the continued conversation. I am also wondering if there is a right or wrong answer. Whatever emerges from the conversation will influence our Classroom 10 journey and become part of the Tahoma way as we prepare young people for success in post high school learning and work.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Habits of Mind
Projects/activities linked to the real world
Use of technology
The intent of identifying these five is to dig deeper into the what of Classroom 10. Knowing this will increase our understanding of what contributes to Classroom 10 every day in every classroom and what characteristics that we would see and hear over a unit of study, but not necessarily every day. It also provides guidance for unit and lesson development. They are not presented as a hierarchy with the five being the most important, though there are some that would suggest that three of the five are the foundation characteristics.
We still have much to learn on our journey and need to find structures for engaging more voices in digging deeper and designing support structures that meet the needs of individual teachers and teams of teachers. During the August building meetings we will continue this process by sharing information and focusing on how to move forward on our journey to prepare young people for success in post high school learning and work.
As you review the five above, what one seems to you to be the characteristic that might not be found in every lesson? Perhaps one of the administrators would share their thinking that has resulted in an on-going conversation either for or against inclusion with the other four that are not being questioned.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I’d like to revisit a recent post about digging deeper into Classroom 10 and my challenge to identify the 10 characteristics. Crystal’s comments about not being able to name all 10 from memory is supportive of what I and some other administrators experienced as we were trying to recall these characteristics. Some of us were not able to recall them from memory. This captures where we are at in our system with even those in formal leadership positions needing to spend additional time to understand the what of this initiative. It is a learning journey for us all and we are at various places on this journey.
Crystal goes on to share how she could recognize and explain all 10 if she was presented with them. I’m not so sure that I feel as comfortable on the explaining side. It makes me question my capacity to engage in conversation with a teacher or community member who had questions or concerns about this initiative that required deep understanding of this knowledge and skill set. In continuing conversations with administrators I know there are others that share this same concern. It is an area of focus for our learning team this year.
At the system level, we have individuals at various places on this Classroom 10 journey. Many factors have contributed to this reality including opportunity to learn, curriculum development through the Learning and Teaching department, individual building projects, and use of waiver and early release days. Since Classroom 10 is our own creation, we do not have a road map to follow. Like all journeys, we chart a course and plan along the way. There are times when we reach our destination in the time identified and others that require more time to reach. We continually modify and adjust as we dig deeper, learn more, and support our learning.
As we look to the future, to move forward we must create opportunities for all of us to understand at a deep level what Classroom 10 is and what it looks and sounds like. We have begun the conversations to identify what these learning opportunities must include, when they can take place, who will be involved in the planning and implementation, and how to differentiate the learning. Success will require adaptive thinking on our part as we explore the patterns of behavior and structures that have driven how we historically approach this work. There is much opportunity for system learning in this process.
If you have not yet been introduced to the 10 characteristics of Classroom 10 here they are.
- Habits of Mind
Projects/activities linked to the real world
Use of technology
They can also be found on our Share Point site that is currently only accessible from district buildings. In a few weeks we will have software in place that will allow staff access to Share Point from home.
Last spring, to support high school conversations about the what, we identified five of the ten that would be included in each lesson though we do not have consensus on all five. The other five would be visible over a unit of study. What do you believe are the five to be included in each lesson and of those five, what one do you think does not yet have consensus of the administrative team?
As always, I encourage others on the administrative team to share your thoughts about the journey and learning either through comments on this post or in your conversations with staff.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
It has been an adventure with decisions on what to do and not do. It has forced me to reflect on the decisions we reached with her about treatment and life support in the event of something like this occurring. The decision to allow antibiotics appears to be working and if everything goes well she should be able to go home on Monday. If we had not I don't know where we would be, but it would probably not be ending with going home on Monday if at all.
I will try to follow up on Crystal's comments to my last two posts soon. Don't stop reading, I'm still around, just needing to focus my time differently for awhile.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
I share it now because in our administrator retreat the high school representatives discussed this at length and shared it with the rest of us. It is part of the rigor, relevance, and relationship focus there and at the junior high. In the conversations that followed some thought that it should become one of the characteristics of Classroom 10 so that we would have eleven instead of ten.
Though these students are not representative of the demographic at Tahoma High School I believe that their insights are important for us to remember as we focus on classroom environments that will support Classroom 10 work. All four students get good grades and would work hard in any classroom with any teacher so in this regard they are not like all students. But, they did share what makes them feel that the teacher cares and does that results in a supportive environment conducive to learning. Terry then shifted the conversation to the need for relationship that also goes the other way, how what students do impacts the teacher’s perception of relationship.
What do you think the student’s shared about relationship and also what they think about those students who are disruptive in class?
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Tomorrow we meet with the administrators in our annual retreat that will continue into Tuesday. Our focus is on our Classroom 10 journey and how we can support teachers and hold ourselves accountable to the goals that we establish. We are making the shift from the why and what to the what and how of Classroom 10. Since we are at very different places on this journey depending on content area, grade level, and curriculum development we will need to differentiate our staff development time. This process will begin with the discussions that we have over the next two days. Once again, I’ll share more as this process unfolds.