A Day of Learning.

Our district has added a number of Professional Learning Days.  We eliminated the words ‘Professional Development’ in favor of Professional Learning in our Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Actually wrote about the difference between these two ideas.

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 11.51.39 AMToday is one of our Professional Learning Days.  And here’s how it went.  Each of our schools selected the topics most relevant to them, their learners, and their educators.  Some did this via survey.  Others through Instructional Leadership Teams.  None of them were told what to do by ‘the district’.  Two of our elementary schools chose to learn and work together. Among other things, they were working on DOK and standards based grading. Our high school chose to do a Poverty Simulation.  We arrived in time to hear the debrief of the morning.  Clearly had an effect on the good hearts of the educators.  Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 11.52.34 AM.png

Our primary school and middle school were both working on Learning Targets.  What makes a good one.  How what a kid is supposed to be ‘doing’ is different than what a kid is supposed to be ‘learning’.  This turn of phrase changes the whole question you ask a kid.  What are you learning today vs. what are you doing today?  What does it look and sound like to a kid/teacher when the student has hit the learning target?  What does it look and sound like to a kid/teacher when a kid is approaching hitting the learning target?  The conversations around these topics were rich, deep, and powerful.

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Our junior high staff members were sharing work.  Looking at and sharing WICOR strategies.  Learning and sharing with each other.  Because it’s important and relevant to the work they are doing with their kids at their school with each other.

Our educators are learning leaders.  They get it.  They don’t wait for someone to ‘develop’ them.  They have college degrees, know their students, and know what they need to know more about to give more kids better opportunities to learn and grow.

Sounds about right.

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The Power of a Learning Leader

Yesterday was a fun day at our middle school.  The principal, Mark Beddes, decided to spend professional learning time with the teachers learning about the potential of Twitter and ongoing, self-directed, personal, professional learning.  He shared his own story of initial misunderstanding about Twitter, but how he has come to realize its potential for professional learning and growth.

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 9.09.34 AM.pngAs we learned earlier, there are several powerful activities leaders can utilize to impact student achievement.  The top activity is: Promoting and participating in teacher learning and development (effect size = 0.84): Leadership that not only promotes but directly participates with teachers in formal and informal professional learning.

This principal has had his own professional learning hugely impacted by the Professional Learning Network (PLN) he is developing.  He has directly connected with other thought leaders around the world, opening up new ideas and ways of doing business, all of which is in service of improving the lives of the students at the middle school.

This leader literally promoted and participated in teacher learning and development.  My own twitter feed was going nuts with new teachers adding accounts and growing their own PLNs.  The staff set up and used #SLMSStaffchat. It was awesome!

Welcome aboard to all our new learners.  The ride ahead is going to be a blast!