Today, I was fortunate enough to facilitate three workshops at the Brock Tech Showcase: one was on the Livescribe Pen and two were on parent engagement (co-facilitated by Aaron Puley and Tammy Faux). It was in the middle of the second workshop that I saw the connection to the blog post conversation I had with my vice principal, Kristi Keery-Bishop, yesterday.
Kristi blogged about “informed change,” and what’s needed to make these changes in the school. I had a number of questions in my first comment — and a few more in the second one — and all of them connected to the concept of time. I’m a big believer in identifying a problem, looking at a possible solution, trying it, reflecting, tweaking, and trying again. This system is actually probably best described in our superintendent, Sue Dunlop’s, reply on Kristi’s post.
So how does all of this connect to today? Today, educators were sitting and listening to a lot of information. They were looking at some new approaches or some small changes to current approaches. They were being inundated with ideas: some of which would be easier to put into practice sooner than others. If these educators were like me, their heads were sore just thinking about everything (or possibly due to lack of coffee :)). It would be so easy after a busy day like today to say, “I’m just going to take some time and think. I’ll try to figure out what I want to do.” And I truly believe that people have the best of intentions, but the thinking time so often drags on, and the action time never happens.
Here’s my solution: act now! Commit to a change you want to make, write it down/tweet it out/blog about it, and give yourself a deadline. If you think that this change will benefit your students and improve your classroom practice, then why wait? I’m not saying that all changes need to happen tomorrow. Preparing students for changes in routine is important. Informing parents and/or administration about these changes is also very beneficial (as they can support you in them). But sometimes I wonder how many great ideas stop at the exit door to a conference or workshop. Without trying, we can’t improve: we need to take the first step — ultimately for our students!
I’m going to make my own “commitment to change” here:
During our two Parent Engagement Workshops today, Aaron shared a great strategy for engaging parents in the learning: add question prompts to blog posts that can facilitate discussions at home. I do this more on my weekly overviews of Language and Math learning, but I do this less in my Daily Shoot Blog Posts. Starting on Monday, I will add these questions into the Daily Shoot Posts. (I’m also going to get students to help me formulate some of these questions.) I’ll let parents know about this change in an email, so that they can look for the question prompts and start the discussions at home with their children. I’m excited to see the impact: will this extend student learning even more at home?
What’s your “commitment to change?” When and how will you begin? I’d love to hear about your plans! Let’s act together now! 🙂