Thursday, December 8, 2016

Moments that Make Change...

It is the time of year that there is a buzz in the air. Santa is coming, the hint of a chance of snow is every dropping degree, and it there is the mid-year testing. It can bring out the best and the worst in us all.

Many of you have had to dig deep into your behavior strategies, look up the notes from information shared earlier in the fall from our behavior interventionist, and problem solved with your team and the administration team. You all are working hard and we see it.

It idea hit this week in one particular conversation. The teacher was sharing how the student was always sharing out personal stories during openings or closings that did not pertain to the lesson. It was causing distractions and the rest of the students would get off course. It might even carry over, if that student didn't get to continue to share out, into other areas and behaviors would escalate. The comment that caused a light bulb to go off is when the teacher said, "He just is starving for my undivided attention." At that moment the article that was shared over a year ago came flooding back into my mind... the "2X10 Strategy." I shared the idea with the teacher to use in concert with an incentive/behavior chart.

Here is the article:

Since that conversation earlier in the week, that student has had more success than set-backs. As we push forward with resolve... what can we do to continue to invest? Who is your 2X10 kid that you think of as you read this article? How can a plan be put in place now or start when you return in 2017 to create a positive shift in momentum for our students? Now is the perfect time to recharge and adjust.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Our Impact...

In everything we do, we know that the teacher matters. It is at the root of student success. Even greater is the impact that we have on kiddos when we have what Hattie calls "Collective Teacher Efficacy." This is the impact that a group of teachers have on student success. In a situation where there is a highly effective team, students can make up to 4 years worth of growth.

With that in mind it brings to the forefront the essential need for Professional Learning Communities. In PLCs where teachers come together it isn't so much that they come together and what they do, but the conversations on "how and why" and shared responsibility for all aspects... student, classroom, curriculum, planning (regardless of particular content/planning expertise), instruction and assessment.

As we think about our Problem of Practice and the area of planning and transparency it is not only logical, but holds us accountable to our own goals for continuous growth and improvement to evaluate how we are performing as grade level teams and as a campus. The following brief article helps define the stages of a team:

Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing

Understanding the Stages of Team Formation (1)

Where is your team as a whole? This graphic supports what was discussed in the above article:

Often teams begin as a working group and then slip into the "playing nice" or psuedo team. While it seems on the surface to be working, there is a lack of transparency and growth is non-existent. It is only with the establishment of norms (that can/should adjust as needed) and some appropriate storming that the team can move toward a potential team and eventually become a real team. When all team members take a role of leadership, owning the "how and why" together, that is when the team moves to a high performing team and we see a truly collaborative culture. It is in this place we have our greatest impact.

Take time over the next few weeks to reflect and determine, where are we as a team, what are your personal goals for your team, what roles can you share or take on to bring everyone to that place of being a high performing team that creates "Collective Teacher Efficacy."

(1) "Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing: Understanding the Stages of Team Formation." Mind Tools. Mind Tools Editorial Team, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2016. <>.