Skip to main content

Problem Finders, Problem Solvers

The above quote comes from George Couros's Innovator's Mindset.  This is my second round with the #IMMOOC.  The greatest thing about the MOOC was that it provided me the space to reflect and connect with others using a common language and understanding.

So, what change am I looking at now?  Over the past year, my administration has embraced the idea that professional development does not have to look the same for everyone. During our PD time, educators are often given the space to choose their own path and attend staff led sessions that meet their needs. This PD has been some of the best of my career.  It was with this in mind that, I choose to take a risk as a professional.

In late 2016, I sent out an open invitation to staff in my district to see if any would be willing to come together to host an EdCamp in our district. I was amazed when over 25 peers asked to be a part of the team.  Even more impressive is that only a couple had actually attended an EdCamp.  So we have educators who are willing to take a great risk and plan an event that they have never seen first hand. This is the innovator's mindset if there ever was one.

Over the past 4 months, the members of our team have been doing amazing work to find sponsors for our event and plan the logistics.  We've been able to get our breakfast and lunch paid for as well as some great prizes for our end of the day raffle.  These great prizes include a couple of copies of The Innovator's Mindset George so kindly donated to the cause. We look forward to getting those in some brave hands.

Our EdCamp is scheduled for March 25th.  When we opened registration on the first of 2017, I was afraid no one would come.  But, this risk is paying of in numbers that are higher that I would've expected. What has surprised me is that about 65% of our attendees come from outside of our district. This really speaks to the power of the EdCamp brand and the quality of PD educators find there.

I am happy that I took this risk.  But, I'm really proud of the educators I have on my team. We have staff from 9 of the 11 schools in our district K-12. These are change agents who are putting their time on the line to create learning opportunities for others. They want to create meaningful experiences for all learners staff and students. It is fun to see staff on our team who did not know each other come together and create this partnership based on a common goal. They all have unique talents that they are bringing to the team. It is a group that is centered on solutions not complaints.  We are problem finders and problem solvers.  But we don't do it alone.  We do it together.  We understand that the greatest changes and made when we have a team to increase our inertia. So, once the ball is rolling, it will keep on rolling and it will take a lot of force to slow us down.

If you are in the Wisconsin area, we would love to have you attend our EdCamp on March 25th. More info can be found on our site. Here's a direct link to the registration.

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…