Skip to main content

Do Collaborate

Yesterday, I saw two of my favorite people move on to new chapters in their educational journey. Angela Patterson and Kate Sommerville exemplify what it means to be a change agent in education. Their work has inspired my efforts to transform my classroom.  So, what is so special about them? They “do”. They had an idea and they did it.  Their idea was to build a learning community in which each learner's individuality was recognized and celebrated as a source of strength for all. They changed the physical, academic, and emotional space of their learning environment. But, they did it in only a few months’ time. They understood that the perfect moment will never come along and the plan will never be perfect.  It’s the goal that matters. They helped show me that planning is important but the journey doesn’t really begin until you are doing it.

Don’t get me wrong, you need a plan before you do.  Kate and Angela are meticulous planners. But, they move quickly.  If you don’t plan well you end up wasting precious resources.  But waiting wastes your most precious resource, time.

They have taught me that the biggest risks are the most rewarding. They also taught me that the bigger the risk the more you need to collaborate. As a person who is very much a loner, this is a tough one.  It’s not easy for me to ask for help from others. I’ve learned, though, that by inviting the right people on your journey will make it the results exponentially better.

My collaborations allowed me to do great things this year.

My professional collaboration with Kate and Angela allowed us to present on Pear Deck at SLATE conference.

This year has been "The Year of Do” but it couldn’t have been done if it also wasn’t "The Year of Collaborate”.  

Popular posts from this blog

Waves of Innovation in Elmbrook Part 1

As a part of a graduate project, I am looking at innovations in education within my school district, Elmbrook Schools. I am specifically focusing on those looking to provide learners with more ownership over their own learning (a.k.a. personalizing learning). I've completed 4 interviews so far.  I had no intention of sharing them via this blog.  But, I think the stories and insights of these educators really are important for all.  They were vulnerable in a way that shows their passion for what they are undertaking.  They want the best for all learners not simply students, but educators who may hear their words.  So, please take the time to listen to their stories.  

In this video, Jeff Ortman a teacher in his 22nd year, discusses implementing strategies to give students ownership of their learning in his high school English classroom.  He discusses why he wanted to change his learning environment, his first steps to bring change, how choice and feedback are key to his classroom, a…

Can I Believe These Numbers?

Our union put out the results of a recent district survey.  The number of those who responded to the survey was low in comparison to the total number of certified staff. But the number and comments related to personalized learning struck me as troubling.

Based on this data, over half of the district staff polled are not onboard with the district's vision for personalized learning.  I would argue that not knowing the district vision for personalized learning is synonymous with not understanding what personalized learning is. The mission of the Elmbrook School Districtto inspire every student to think, to learn and to succeed.  By personalizing learning, we hope to achieve that mission.
I begin to question have we put the phrase before the meaning?  Have we thrown out this word without intention?  Have we made it to much of another thing to do rather than a method to achieve our shared vision.
These numbers shake me to the core.  After the recent presidential election, I realized I was…

How to Personalize Learning Part 3: Knowing How a Classroom Learns

Now, it may seem contradictory to state that teachers should create a classroom learner toolkit.  All individuals in our class have their own profile. We can’t simply design on blanket profile for the class.  That is very true.  That’s why Bray and McClaskey take a different approach to what a classroom learning toolkit looks like.  It is a 3-step process Class Learning Snapshot Preferences and Needs Class Learning Toolkit

Class Learning Snapshot In this model of designing tools for a whole classroom, the authors first recommend the teacher identify 4 learners who are diverse.  The Class Learning Snapshot records the specific strengths, talents, interests, and challenges of those four learners. If a teacher could meet the needs of these diverse learners through UDL, the needs of the other students in the class would probably be met.

Student Strengths, Talents, and Interests Challenges 1 It's easier for me to understand content when I am taught by a teacher and then am able to get informati…