Thursday, February 26, 2015

"I Commit...": Moving From Commitment to Practice

We are just over a month away from The One Conference.
The One Conference was a day focused on professional learning,
professional connections, and commitment to using the newly
introduced tools and practices with students in our classrooms.

That's far enough away for the seeds of tools, techniques, and ideas planted at the conference to sprout into using these practices with students.

It is also far enough away to start seeing that day of professional learning and inspiration, the ideas shared, the best intended plans to become a rapidly fading memory.

Which of those two options is your story?  If you are in a leadership role, what is your building's story? What do you want that story to be?

Now is the time to take action!

What can we do?

Step 1 - Make the "I Commit..." Posters Present in Your Building

I just took a long look at one building's "I Commit..." poster today.  It was a powerful reminder of the learning that took place at The One Conference.  Seriously, if we could each commit to using just one tool/idea/technique with kids, we would make a statement to our students about what teaching and learning can look like with technology in hand!

It is not lost on me, though, that many of those posters have become not particularly attractive wall art. If we do not take a moment to re-engage with the commitments made on those posters, to encourage them to at least be attempted, we send a frightening message: We do not value the commitments we make!

Step 2 - Check In On Progress

We need a pulse check on the progress of the practices we each committed to. We need to hold each other accountable (in a positive, "you can do this" manner). This is NOT the work of building administrators alone, though.

Teachers:

  • Ask at your next PLC meeting -- "Hey, what is your 'I Commit...' practice? What have you done to achieve that?  Can we work together on it?"
  • Capture evidence of your "I Commit..." in practice (even if it is not an immediate success) and put that evidence some place public to encourage others!  (The caption could read, "I did it!")


Substitutes and Assistants:

  • Engage the teachers you support -- "So, what is your "I Commit..." concept in this class?  What can I do to help support that?"


Administrators:

  • Encourage your Vanguard Teams to engage the teachers they support and develop a plan to encourage every teacher in your building to succeed in attempting to use these tools/ideas/techniques with students.
  • Partner teachers with a similar commitment and help them find the resources and engage the people necessary to move the practice forward.
  • Find a public space to celebrate risk taking as teachers attempt to put their commitment into practice!  Bring attention to this in any way you can!  This is an enormous accomplishment!

Step 3 - Go Public! (in a thoughtful way)


Committing to a goal and making it happen is an amazing success (even if things do not go particularly well -- that's just the danger of risk-taking).  Find ways to help your staff tell their stories.  That may be to you, to each other, to the staff, or perhaps even wider.  Know the people you work with, understand their comfort zones, and find ways to CELEBRATE THEIR SUCCESS in a way that will not add anxiety!


SDW staff attending The One Conference commit to
using one new tool, practice, or technique with students
 before the 2014/15 school year ends.
It is not too soon!  

It is not too late!  

It is the perfect time to bring these practices to life in our classrooms.  

We must take the first step to make it happen!