Sunday, August 9, 2015

One at a Time - Go Slow to Move Fast

Image by Krissy Venosdale @venspired

This is a quick post about a shift in my perspective.  For those who chat with me on twitter and elsewhere, you know I often talk about the importance of building relationships - with students, fellow educators... the list is long and distinguished and I'll narrow it to one word: EVERYONE.  Mistakenly, I have thought that I need to reach many teachers at one time as I work to move my district and shift culture.

However, this year I have learned that ONE device, teacher, student, and/or Google tool can have a much larger impact.  This year has been a series of ONES.  So in the spirit of starting a new school year my word for the year is ONE.

Let me share (a few):

  • Working with one first grade teacher who wanted to try Google Hangouts lead to 3 virtual field trips: Central Park Zoo, Scotland, and England and one mystery hangout with a first grade class in New Jersey - all during the last 2 months of school.
  • Working with one fourth grade special education student helped 5 teachers better understand accessibility tools available on chromebooks and started me on a path of inquiry and discovery around Universal Design Learning
  • Working with one IT director and one superintendent has moved our district from zero chromebooks a year ago to nearly 200 being rolled out this year with more on the way.
  • One Sphero led to my third grade son learning to program and drive it using the app Tickle and demonstrating for his class and school
  • The many other times when I would sit with one educator face to face and figure something out together.
All of my interactions with the teachers I work with are learning experiences for me.  They usually begin with a question that I probably do not know the answer to.  So when I go to meet with him/her/them, I get to share and coach and demonstrate what I have learned from addressing the question(s).  The teacher drives the learning, I ask questions, support, coach and become a learning partner.

This year I will be coaching 4 STEAM multi-age teachers.  I will use this space to document and track the effect my work has on each of them, their students, their colleagues and our district.  Can coaching one teacher at each school start a snowball effect that takes over the district?

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