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A scenario I think about often and am trying to process through writing.

If every student in your class has access to a device and a child’s learning thrives with pen and paper, would you be bothered if that was taken away from them?

If taking away pen and paper from a student who is successful using these things would bother you, would the opposite action upset you as well?

Now, some might say, “Well some kids that would want a device would be distracted by it,” and I could agree with that statement.

The focus should not necessarily the student prefers but, more importantly, what is beneficial to their learning. Those are not always the same.  If I were a kid that had a classroom with flexible seating, I would still prefer the couch, but I know (now) that my learning would be so much better at a high table with a stool.  One would relax me while the other would help me to process and create.  I know what benefits my learning as an adult, and our students would benefit if we worked through this process with them as well.

It is also imperative that we distinguish what we mean by “better for their learning” and not merely relegate that to “do well on a test.” Those are not always the same, but if we are being honest, both are realities.

Whatever student needs to be successful should be where we begin.  If we keep that in the forefront, we will always be on the right path.

“Let’s teach kids the skills and
de-criminalize supports they need to prevail!
They will self regulate their learning
and get what they need BEFORE they fail.”
Shelley Moore

Source: George Couros

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I recently had an opportunity to take our leadership team away for an overnight retreat. We’ve had retreats in the past, and they’ve been on site and usually right before the beginning of the year. When meeting with our fab friends at Boosterthon, one mentioned how much cooler a leadership ADVANCE was than a leadership […]

The post A leadership retreat…an ADVANCE for leaders! appeared first on Technically Yours Teamann.

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A scenario I think about often and am trying to process through writing.

If every student in your class has access to a device and a child’s learning thrives with pen and paper, would you be bothered if that was taken away from them?

If taking away pen and paper from a student who is successful using these things would bother you, would the opposite action upset you as well?

Now, some might say, “Well some kids that would want a device would be distracted by it,” and I could agree with that statement.

The focus should not necessarily the student prefers but, more importantly, what is beneficial to their learning. Those are not always the same.  If I were a kid that had a classroom with flexible seating, I would still prefer the couch, but I know (now) that my learning would be so much better at a high table with a stool.  One would relax me while the other would help me to process and create.  I know what benefits my learning as an adult, and our students would benefit if we worked through this process with them as well.

It is also imperative that we distinguish what we mean by “better for their learning” and not merely relegate that to “do well on a test.” Those are not always the same, but if we are being honest, both are realities.

Whatever student needs to be successful should be where we begin.  If we keep that in the forefront, we will always be on the right path.

“Let’s teach kids the skills and
de-criminalize supports they need to prevail!
They will self regulate their learning
and get what they need BEFORE they fail.”
Shelley Moore

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"How did you become a Chicago Cubs fan?"

I asked the question to a Cubs fan I was visiting with recently. And I wasn't being sarcastic, since I'm a St. Louis Cardinals fan, and that would be on point for fan behavior between the two teams.

No, I was just curious because he wasn't from a part of the country that isn't typically considered Cubs fan territory. He explained that some members of his family were Cubs fans but what really hooked him on the Cubs was when he attended a game at Wrigley Field (Chicago) as a young boy.

That experience, he said, was something he never forgot and resulted in his lifelong love of the Cubs. It was as simple as that.

Experiences are powerful. They can change our entire perspective for good or bad. In this case, a positive experience resulted in a deep attachment to a baseball team.

I'm wondering about how students experience school. Are we creating experiences that result in a lifelong attachment to learning? Are we creating powerful learning experiences that develop curiosity and cultivate interests?

While much of my own school experience was somewhat routine and mostly forgettable, there were some amazing experiences that really led me to want to learn more.

Most of those memorable experiences were projects or trips to visit interesting places. I remember visiting a cave, a Civil War battlefield, and even a museum with a real mummy, all part of opportunities through school.

I also remember creating a news broadcast and interviewing people from our community, as part of a project for class. I also remember competing in a stock market game, and I remember performing a classroom play.

I don't remember a single lecture from school. I take that back. I remember one very gifted social studies teacher who could tell stories from the Civil War that were so interesting I wanted to learn more on my own. He had us on the edge of our seats.

I don't remember any worksheet tasks standing out. I don't remember any tests in particular. 

Here's the thing. I'm not saying tests, or assignments, or routine work are all bad in school. I'm not saying they don't have value. But if we want our students to be inspired learners, we better look for ways to connect learning to positive emotions. We better give students experiences that really capture their attention in ways that go far beyond the routine.

In a time where standards mastery seems to be at the top of all priorities, I wonder what types of experiences kids are having? 

What type of experience are they having when remediation has been routine for them year after year in school?

What type of experience are they having when they don't have the opportunity to pursue things they're interested in?

What type of experience are they having when they don't get to learn outside the classroom by taking field trips?

A couple of high school principals were discussing how they are making sure any field trips in their school tie directly to meeting standards. I guess that's one way to look at it.

But for me, I want our students to have as many opportunities as possible to learn and interact with interesting people and places away from our school campus. I especially want that for our under-resourced students who might not ever have those opportunities otherwise.

There is a time for rolling up our sleeves and doing the routine work of learning and life. But if we're not also creating peak moments along the way, we are missing the joy in the journey. 

And we're probably missing out on potential passions, and maybe even missing out on developing a passion for learning.

The routine work should flow from a deep sense of purpose. We need to know our why. That's where lasting learning is nurtured.

As I wrote in my book, Future Driven,
Don’t just create lessons for your students. Create experiences. Students will forget a lesson, but an experience will have lasting value. We want to do more than cover content. We want to inspire learning.
Is your school making time for powerful learning experiences? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.


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In the follow-up to “The Innovator’s Mindset,” my book written with Katie Novak titled “Innovate Inside the Box” (expected release mid-August 2019), I identify three critical areas for learning by educators and why they are crucial.  They are the following.”

  1. Learning about our students
  2. Learning for our students
  3. Learning from our students

The first two are pretty obvious and discussed often.  Learning about our students is about knowing those in front of us and adjusting learning to not only help our students grow but to also tap into their strengths and passions as well.  I always say that the most fundamental research we can do as educators is knowing the people you serve.

Learning for our students are looking at our professional learning and developing not only as teachers but as learners. How do we immerse ourselves in the learning that we expect from our students? We should never skip to the teaching without doing the learning.  For example, if we want to implement digital portfolios with our students, do we create these for ourselves to understand the opportunities and knowledge that can be developed through this process?

The last, learning from our students, is about creating an environment that we understand there is a wealth of knowledge in every classroom and community that we serve that we do not have.  Tapping into the wisdom of our students not only helps us grow but often inspires our students to want to further their learning to share their expertise. When I first started teaching, one of my courses was on technology, and I will admit, I knew little about the topic. Although I had some knowledge, I would often ask students to share their knowledge and expertise or help me when I ran into roadblocks. Once students knew I struggled in some areas, they would go out of their way to find other things that I didn’t know, and you could see the pride beaming from each opportunity they had to share something with me that I didn’t know.

I understood that with technology, you couldn’t know everything, but I also realized that this is true with every subject.  THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE TEACHER IS NOT THE EXPERT!  But any person that is sincerely aspiring to be a master learner in any topic knows that it is impossible for them to know everything and that any chance we can have to learn from others, no matter their age or level of expertise, is a path to continuous growth and development.

When we create a community that we not only share our expertise but tap into and bring out the knowledge of those we serve, growth becomes the norm for all of us, not only our students.

Source: George Couros

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In the follow-up to “The Innovator’s Mindset,” my book written with Katie Novak titled “Innovate Inside the Box” (expected release mid-August 2019), I identify three critical areas for learning by educators and why they are crucial.  They are the following.”

  1. Learning about our students
  2. Learning for our students
  3. Learning from our students

The first two are pretty obvious and discussed often.  Learning about our students is about knowing those in front of us and adjusting learning to not only help our students grow but to also tap into their strengths and passions as well.  I always say that the most fundamental research we can do as educators is knowing the people you serve.

Learning for our students are looking at our professional learning and developing not only as teachers but as learners. How do we immerse ourselves in the learning that we expect from our students? We should never skip to the teaching without doing the learning.  For example, if we want to implement digital portfolios with our students, do we create these for ourselves to understand the opportunities and knowledge that can be developed through this process?

The last, learning from our students, is about creating an environment that we understand there is a wealth of knowledge in every classroom and community that we serve that we do not have.  Tapping into the wisdom of our students not only helps us grow but often inspires our students to want to further their learning to share their expertise. When I first started teaching, one of my courses was on technology, and I will admit, I knew little about the topic. Although I had some knowledge, I would often ask students to share their knowledge and expertise or help me when I ran into roadblocks. Once students knew I struggled in some areas, they would go out of their way to find other things that I didn’t know, and you could see the pride beaming from each opportunity they had to share something with me that I didn’t know.

I understood that with technology, you couldn’t know everything, but I also realized that this is true with every subject.  THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE TEACHER IS NOT THE EXPERT!  But any person that is sincerely aspiring to be a master learner in any topic knows that it is impossible for them to know everything and that any chance we can have to learn from others, no matter their age or level of expertise, is a path to continuous growth and development.

When we create a community that we not only share our expertise but tap into and bring out the knowledge of those we serve, growth becomes the norm for all of us, not only our students.

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What in the world did principals do years ago without the IG and FB groups of the world?   All the great ideas are ideas that people share that you can adapt, tweak, and make your own just make my principal world so happy.   For example, the great Jessica Gomez on IG shared her […]

The post Birthday book cart and #principalselfies appeared first on Technically Yours Teamann.

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This week’s post is an encore episode I shared a couple of years ago. Since I’m enjoying some vacation, I thought I would remind you why your time away from school may help you better serve your school. Regardless of whether someone is an educator or not, or whether your vacation time is long or […]
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Many educators across North America are either about to go on break or are already on their summer break.  I don’t know if the term “break” is accurate (I saw someone refer to it as “recovery”)because I know from experience, that many (if not most) take advantage to grow with formal and informal learning opportunities.  That is great, but I am also an advocate of taking an actual break where you step away from it all and do what you need to do.  The important thing is to read your mental health and do what you need to take care of yourself.  No profession seems to get as much guilt from those outside the profession (and sometimes within) for actually taking a break.  Sometimes stepping away actually brings us back rejuvenated as it helps to recenter our focus and remind us of what we love.

There was one year in my career where I thought would be my last in education. I was frustrated and wasn’t sure if teaching was for me anymore.  I went away for the summer and just got away from education, and I will tell you, it was the best thing that I had ever done.  Not only did I come back refreshed, but I also had changed my attitude significantly.  There were things that I was frustrated with and what I realized is that there were some elements that I could not change because they were out of my control, but I could change how I looked at things.  That break saved my career and had changed my perspective from wanting to leave education to loving it more than ever.

Breaks sometimes are not only about stepping away but are about personal growth.  How that growth happens is going to be different to each person, and that should be celebrated.  Catching your breath might be the oxygen you need to keep going.

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Connected Principals Blog by George Couros - 6d ago

Many educators across North America are either about to go on break or are already on their summer break.  I don’t know if the term “break” is accurate (I saw someone refer to it as “recovery”)because I know from experience, that many (if not most) take advantage to grow with formal and informal learning opportunities.  That is great, but I am also an advocate of taking an actual break where you step away from it all and do what you need to do.  The important thing is to read your mental health and do what you need to take care of yourself.  No profession seems to get as much guilt from those outside the profession (and sometimes within) for actually taking a break.  Sometimes stepping away actually brings us back rejuvenated as it helps to recenter our focus and remind us of what we love.

There was one year in my career where I thought would be my last in education. I was frustrated and wasn’t sure if teaching was for me anymore.  I went away for the summer and just got away from education, and I will tell you, it was the best thing that I had ever done.  Not only did I come back refreshed, but I also had changed my attitude significantly.  There were things that I was frustrated with and what I realized is that there were some elements that I could not change because they were out of my control, but I could change how I looked at things.  That break saved my career and had changed my perspective from wanting to leave education to loving it more than ever.

Breaks sometimes are not only about stepping away but are about personal growth.  How that growth happens is going to be different to each person, and that should be celebrated.  Catching your breath might be the oxygen you need to keep going.

Source: George Couros

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