Monday, October 17, 2016

Who am I? - Outside of my teacher self #tkskg

    Who Am I? Digital Story - Last year I sent the email below to my team...

    As an extension of our Humans of K2 wall, I am inviting of you to take our connectedness and stories one step further by creating a short video expressing “Who Am I?". Over the summer break, capture and find photos that best reflect you and what is important to you. Compile these in iMovie (or another app) over the break or wait till you get back and upload them to our shared folder here.

    * Please only share what you are comfortable sharing in our team
    * Please limit the movie to 2 minutes
    * We will host technical support sessions in afternoons leading up to the K2 Movie premiere

    You can see my EdTalk on this topic here (4 years ago) and my own “Who am I?” video (6 years ago) here my most recent one here

    We hosted the Who Am I? Digital story event on Thursday at our local movie theatre with 35 staff in attendance and it was so fantastic to see a piece of each team member (including assistants/office staff) on the big screen.

Norm of Collaboration & Trust Workshop #tkskg

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Creating the 'glue' of trust and collaboration in our team

Over the next two weeks I am going to:
  • Invite K2 and K3 teachers to contribute to Humans of Kindergarten (email already sent just waiting on contributions)
  • Create Humans of Kindergarten wall in Faculty lounge
  • Facilitate and run Who Am I? Digital Storytelling afternoon
  • Co-facilitate Trust and Norms of Collaboration with Grade Level Coordinator.
  • Refine my professional inquiry

  • What is happening and why?

    • Cognitive Conflict for myself and my team
    • Effective team meetings. Which lead me to think what my team might consider an effective team meeting. This is a great opportunity for Mike and I to put a survey out and actually as the teachers "What does an effective team meeting look like/sound like/feel like?"

    What is not happening and why?
    Coaching sessions have started, and while I loosely use the term "Coaching sessions", it has got me thinking about being more explicit with the purpose and process of coaching conversations for the people I work with.
    I haven't booked my own coaching sessions with my peer coach, and should do this soon if I am to be as effective as I can be this year.

    What am I going to do to influence what is not happening and why?
    • Send a survey to K2 team "What does an effective team meeting look like/sound like/feel like?"
    • Put Humans of Kindergarten wall together (lots already in, work on getting everyones story)
    • Create a Coaching Menu for teachers (Done below)
    • Book my times with my own coach

    So our K2 Grade Level Coordinator and I facilitated the K2 Norms of Collaboration and Trust workshop with our team. It was very cool! (Even if I do say so myself). Each team member marked themselves individually on a Norms Inventory and then collectively placed stickers on a big K2 Norms Chart. When we invited the team to reflect on what the data was saying, it became apparent that Pausing and Paraphrasing were areas we can work on. The 'when appropriate' suggestion came up too. When it is a information sharing meeting, pausing and paraphrasing may not be the best use of our time. However, when we are wanting to hear everyone's contribution and seek understanding in team meetings, then it is appropriate.

    Trust - As we facilitated the trust workshop we invited teachers to choose their 'Number 1' trust bucket for now. Not one teacher identified Benevolence as their number 1 - when I asked teachers to reflect on this, one teacher shared that its because Benevolence is already inherent in our team culture. We do look out for each other and their is a sense of camaraderie so that is not high on our minds and almost expected.
    Check in with my Principal
    So I've been having regular check ins with my Principal each week. In my last session he asked me what I might like to work on this year and what my success criteria might be. I hadn't thought about Success Criteria for myself this year but have had many "If I see this happening and this happening in meetings I'd feel pretty chuffed". When I unpacked what was in my head a bit more and how I assessed myself against the practices. My success criteria would be:

    Create Cognitive conflict for my team and for myself

    What is Cognitive Conflict
    What is Cognitive conflict? Cognitive Conflict is the term educationalists use for the idea of cognitive dissonance and can be broadly defined as the mental discomfort produced when someone is confronted with new information that contradicts their prior beliefs and ideas.

    Why is Cognitive Conflict important to me?
    Years ago I heard the phrase TTWADI and facilitated lots of workshops to encourage teachers to think about TTWADI. TWADDI is a term created by Ian Jukes and it stands for Thats The Way We've Always Done It. This phrase comes from an EdTEch world but applies to education in general with the belief that the world is changing at such a rapid pace that we can't keep doing what we've always been doing to best serve the children we teach and the future they will live in. TTWADI links with Cognitive Conflict for me. I'm excited about interrogating why we do what we do instead of just doing it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Start of the 2016-2017 year!

What is happening and why?

While I've been back working for a few weeks now, this week marked the arrival of the K2 children into our new Kindergarten space. What a great start to the School Year. Like most years there were a few children upset with the transition, this is always expected, however the majority of children were "rocking and rolling" in their new school. This has to do with the fabulous way the K1 team prioritize social/emotional skills and build on their foundations for learning. We are always so grateful for this in K2 so I sent a quick email on behalf of the team to say THANK YOU!

Late last year Tony B visited and we reassessed the vital teaching practices for Kindergarten Pedagogical Coordinators. There was an aspect of curriculum missing in our self-assessment so we were added to the Leadership Reflector which opened up a whole range of vital practices relevant to our work. I've just completed my own self assessment in the following areas:
  • Managing self
  • Relating to others
  • Thinking
  • Participating and contributing
  • Contributing to School Culture
  • Contributing to Pedagogy
  • Contributing to Leading Change
  • Contributing to Problem Solving
Needless to say there is a lot that I can be working on this year. Last year I worked on "You encourage new ways of looking at problems" and "you utilize expertise within the school to expedite development of teachers" and "highly skilled at generating breakthrough thinking by reframing issues" all of which fit well with the Cognitive Coaching PD that I attended last year. I was pleasantly surprised by two of the indicators in my new self-assessment - "Skilled at experimentation and looking for innovative ways to move forward" and "Takes a hands on approach advancing professional conversations about teaching and learning by engaging in them with passion". i I am really excited at the few initiatives we implemented in K2 last year - Tuesday Treats (now Sunday Sweets), Pecha Kucha and Humans of K2. This year we are taking it up a notch by inviting teachers to create a digital story about themselves to share with the team. 

What is not happening and why?

Our K2 Grade Level Coordinator and I were very conscious about not having too many meetings in the set up time before school, especially as we were all in a new building. On top of classrooms being organized, communal areas such as library, resource room etc were a priority in organizing before children arrived. As a result, we have lots to attend to as a team (curriculum and team building) and we have not yet achieved this. In a brief check in with the K2 Grade Level Coordinator today we both agreed that "less is more" and will do lots of work around prioritizing and achieving what we can, when we can. 

What am I going to do to influence what is not happening and why?

 After reviewing my self-assessment data I have identified several key areas that I would like to work on this year:
  • Managing group decision making processes
  • Demonstrating curiosity regarding other people's views and experiences
  • Ensuring best ideas are selected
  • Paying full attention to what is happening during interactions with others
  • Testing out ideas and proposals by considering a variety of scenarios; asking “What it...?”
This is not an exhaustive list by any means but it has lead me to believe that there is more I can be doing to influence our team, team meetings, curriculum meetings etc and our growth as a community of practice. In Adaptive Schools we learned about affective conflict and cognitive conflict, our team is great and I think this year is a great opportunity to take this even further by creating some cognitive dissonance, cognitive conflict and debate. 
Over the next two weeks I am going to:
  • Invite K2 and K3 teachers to contribute to Humans of Kindergarten (email already sent just waiting on contributions)
  • Create Humans of Kindergarten wall in Faculty lounge
  • Facilitate and run Who Am I? Digital Storytelling afternoon
  • Co-facilitate Trust and Norms of Collaboration with Grade Level Coordinator.
  • Refine my professional inquiry

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Stop hiding, losing my ego and infecting waterways

Its the last day of work for the 2015/2016 Academic year, my list of things to do has grown exponentially in the last few days. Like most years I tend to wind up instead of down as the year comes to a close. I am a little bit addicted to learning and the thought of not being around my colleagues and being challenged and inspired on a daily basis freaks me out a bit. 

I plan to read a list of non-work novels over the summer and a long list of professional books too. However, the point of this post is to make my learning and thinking public (totally vulnerable) to my team and colleagues in the hope that I gift something back for the incredible journey they've taken me on this year.

Losing my ego - I made a statement in a meeting with our consultant Tony from Interlead about the teachers I work with, how I have learned from each and everyone of them and how in the past year I've learned to let go of my ego. I have 20 years of early childhood experience, that counts for something in some places. But in coaching you leave all of that behind and draw out the very best in each of your people. I learned to let go of my experience, trials and errors and learned to walk alongside them. Tony asked "how did you make the shift?" It was one teacher who asked in coaching sessions - "What do you think Naketa?", then it was me learning to paraphrase a bit better and pushing back her ideas, thinking and learning through rephrasing, then realising in one meeting that I stopped hearing "What do you think, Naketa?" It was loud and clear that all along it was within her. That was the tipping point. 

Stop hiding - So Tony shared this slide with us. It resonated with me, so much so I bought the book straight away. I am a Pedagogical Coordinator and I have not yet got my head around PYP.  I understand pedagogy, I understand adult learning and I understand teaching and learning. But when it comes to PYP Planners I am not conversant. While I wouldn't say I am hiding that fact, I haven't really broadcasted it either. My hope is that next year, our K2 team will be in a position to share weaknesses and collaborate and inspire each other to be better versions of ourselves.

Infecting waterways - The last of the takeaways from Tonys visit that I will talk to here is the idea of 'waterways'. He proposed a model that suggests that engaging in professional practices (Upstream) impacts teaching and learning (Downstream). I need to unpack this more but the gist of it for me is "You can be a solid teacher, but unless you collaborate, journal, engage in coaching aka Professional Practices your waterways downstream will always be infected".

Progress Principle - Tony recommended 'The Progress Principle' book a while back, I bought the book and it sat on my shelf (for ages), Robyn sent an article that referred to this book, I started reading the book, I finished the book, I loved it! What did I learn?
  • There are three types of motivation - extrinsic, intrinsic and altruistic (The third one was new to me)
  • Progress/Small Wins is important - what does this look like in an education context. I don't know yet but I'm excited to explore this next year.
  • Being psychologically safe is important and necessary
And that's a wrap for the year! Looking forward to next year already :D