Saturday, May 14, 2016

What to do with early finishers?

I read a Question on the Primary Teacher's Facebook page the other day and it asked "what do you do with early finishers?" This got me thinking why do we have early finishers? What is it that we do in the classroom that creates a culture of early and late finishers?

So I've been reflecting...

Teachers, we need to change our mindsets here because children learn at their own rate. Sometimes we need to mould to the learner and not the reverse. 

At the same time I am checking through my students ePortfolios to provide feedback and feedforward about our current science understandings about the earth, moon and sun systems.  Because of how we are set up in Poutama (our collaborative and innovative learning space) we have limited time to model all of the different tasks and activities to complete. I'm flicking through, in awe of the amazing videos and creations being made.  And I think the point I am trying to make is this, if we always model exactly what we want the students to do, then we are taking away their ability to interpret the task, and create something that is unique to where they are at.

If we painstakingly model what the students should do, and they don't do it then we get 'angsty' that they didn't do it. 

So like Simon Cowell says on Idol or Britain's Got Talent, choose a song and make it your own. Let's allow our learners to choose a task and make it their own.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Carol Leadership Coaching Session

11:15 - 12:00pm

As I am continuing my journey into leadership, I feel my confidence building.  I feel so supported in this endeavour; David, Elly and James (leadership team) are amazing!  I learn so much from them and work so well under their guidance.  Along with this, Carol Lynch's leadership coaching is "just in time" scaffolding that gives me direction in my work streams.  The book Shifting the Monkey by Todd Whitaker is awesome and it helped me to adopt the mindset of leading our team CRT planing days.

So in my session today I shared with Carol how I am still on cloud9 after an excellent CRT day from last term.  "What was it exactly, that made it so excellent?"  Great, she's coaching me already...

After trying my best to articulate why I thought our team planning day was such a success, Carol shared with me the concept of Servant Leadership.

What is Servant Leadership?“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.” -Robert K. Greenleaf

"A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible"-Robert K. Greenleaf

This read so true to me.  Why does this match my theory in action of leadership?  I often wonder where the things I do naturally come from... I'm a high school drop out... I didn't even pass School C... 

Another story I shared with Carol is how once I had had a bad day.  From the moment I stepped foot into school, things went pear shaped.  You know those days?  Interruptions, nothing goes to plan, chopping and changing... Man, what a day!  

We had a team meeting after school and we shared something that was "on top" (sharing something that was a success from your day / week etc.)  Troy helped me out by sharing something in writing that I had done the day before: using 2 minute noodles in a bowl as inspiration to write using the senses.  I was starting to feel better.  Then a colleague reminded about how using food in this way was "a bit culturally insensitive".  At this stage my moral had hit the floor.  I felt like crying.  Tipping up the tables and storming out.  I was tapping out...

I went through some pretty major "self-talk" at that stage.  I had to compose myself.  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and just decided to make this meeting about everyone else.  I started asking questions and celebrating the successes of the people in the group; their ideas, their initiatives, their efforts.  

I walked out of that meeting with a clear head.  I had just climbed a mountain.  And I survived.

Carol then introduced me to the concept of dialogue vs discussion.

I loved the finishing comment Carol said to me as I was leaving... It went something like this:
"It was refreshing to talk about the successes in your leadership coaching... sometimes this job is about analysing when things go wrong.  I believe, we can learn just as much, if not more, when we analyse the things that go right."