Sunday, October 9, 2016

Wanted to share my Friday as the more I reflect on my learning, the more excited I get...the more appropriate the above tweet. Thanks @weissEDU!

As I’ve shared, we have been given the opportunity to work with some amazing educators through the Vanguard Fellowship. I had the great fortune to visit one our Vanguard teachers Friday morning. She had invited two of her teammates into her classroom to learn about the work she was doing to move her classroom to one that was more personalized for her learners.

We spent about 40 minutes watching her students as they engaged in workstations, workstations that may not look that different from workstations of the past. However, several involved technology that was intentionally integrated to provide data - evidence of where each student is in his learning.

The best part came when the teacher sat down with us to share her thinking about each station, her challenges she was facing and to respond to our questions. What struck me as sat there (and afterward as I reflected further on my morning) was how open she was with us. She truly saw herself as a learner and her classroom as a work in progress. She discussed how she was working to get the data to her students so they would know where they are from one piece of software that didn't share data with students, how to allow more time for reflection, how to have more accountability in stations, and how modeling for her young learners might lead to better independence in the PBL activities. There was no expert in the room - myself included - as we sat and brainstormed possible ways she might tweak each station to provide more insight into the thinking/learning of each learner. It was magical for me.

Then, she put on her coaching hat and probed her “partners in crime” asking them to reflect on their practice and to pick one piece they might like to work on. It has been a while since I have been in such a collaborative session with teachers. We had set up this morning as a way to grow her practice on her campus as part of the Raise Your Hand Texas grant work we are doing. Wondering now about trying to help create this opportunity for our Vanguard as I saw the power with intentional conversation around our work!

One outcome for me was, I wanted to focus on these two questions with teachers thinking they could drive our conversations:
  • How do you know they have learned?
  • How do they know they have learned?

Then, this morning I found George @gcouros in my inbox again with his post How Our Conversations in Education Should Begin #LeadMoment. He discusses how our conversations should start in his first episode. Here’s his thinking… (and start following him if you don't)

So, I'm reflecting again… Yes, and (Thanks, @sewilkie!) :-) Thanks to everyone who is shaping my thinking!


  1. It's about where we are going, not where we are or have been. The "yes, and" is integral to the process.

    1. Hopefully it is not spinning in circles... :-)