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