Week 13 Reflection

This week we all posted our Philosophy of Adaptation.  I focused on my moral purpose because it is a basis for my philosophy of adaptation.  With all that we have learned about during this class we have been guided towards this purpose.  In our Mentor project, through our relationships with each other, we have been learning together and guiding each other towards really looking deeply at what our philosophy is.

From Tyler’s inspiring implementations that guide others to see it isn’t so difficult to implement and adapt to change, to Genevieve’s three part philosophy of adaptation which shows the connections we need to make to guide these changes, we have all come together to understand that we need to be adaptable.  Our adaptability is something we depend on to push forward with our students.  Today’s students are vastly different from the students we were when we went through the education system.  We have to be able to use the technology that is out there to keep up with their minds, their experiences, and the times.  I love that everyone is willing to put themselves forth as a leader in this area in hopes that we can make that adjustment and guide our students to becoming the best that they can as productive members of our society.

Week 13: What is your philosophy of adaptation?

“If people could only see what we do, they would realize we are modern day superheroes wearing the Clark Kent disguise of teacher” (Burgess, Loc 1832).

“…Moral purpose cannot just be stated, it must be accompanied by strategies for realizing it, and those strategies are the leadership actions that energize people to pursue a desired goal.” (Fullan, 2002, pg. 19)  My “moral purpose” is to teach students how to use the resources around them to become productive members in society.  It guides my vision statement, which is encompassed by my philosophy of Adaptation.  The vision I have in mind is to be able to provide my students with the ability to find the resources they need in order to obtain whatever information they need in their current situation.  We can only teach them so much, and supply them with a limited amount of resources.  But to teach them to be able to go out and find the right resources to suit their needs is a lifetime gift that will never expire.

“…in the new culture of learning the point is to embrace what we don’t know, come up with better questions about it, and continue asking those questions in order to learn more and more…” (Thomas & Brown, 2011, p. 38).  By guiding them through questioning we get them accustom to inquiry based learning.  The more they feel comfortable with using this approach the better suited they will be to tackle difficult situations that arise.  These building blocks help to build the confidence in each student we teach.

Letting students play can have a huge effect on their growth as well.  Their interest in the subject matter increases when they are able to play rather than just read and write about it.  Kids are more likely to research what they are interested in, so if we have them play during and after they have researched a subject it tends to be more productive.  An example of this is having students play with Minecraft.  “The way we play games mirrors how we act in real life” (Edtechteacher, 2014).  Letting them play can really facilitate the desire to learn more.  When they are interested in what they are doing they are more willing to put the effort into their product.  Hopefully this will help them to see that there are multiple ways to learn and if they come up to something very difficult they can find an easier way to approach it, through play.

In order to facilitate this type of learning environment we need to have a strong leadership that can create a positive school environment for students, teachers and any other person who walks into the building.  Creating this type of atmosphere requires a lot of work.  The following are the six leadership styles Goleman identified (2000, pp. 82– 83):

  1. Coercive— the leader demands compliance. (“Do what I tell you.”)
  2. Authoritative— the leader mobilizes people toward a vision. (“Come with me.”)
  3. Affiliative— the leader creates harmony and builds emotional bonds. (“People come first.”)
  4. Democratic— the leader forges consensus through participation. (“What do you think?”)
  5. Pacesetting— the leader sets high standards for performance. (“Do as I do, now.”)
  6. Coaching— the leader develops people for the future. (“Try this.”) (Fullen, 2014, p 35)

You need to understand each style in order to use them as they are needed.  This allows leaders to use the proper style for the proper situation that arrives.  Leaders are not going to make everyone happy, but if they can be fair, organized, decisive, and willing to be open to opinions then they can create an environment which can please most and lift morale.

Our leaders need to be able to look at what is going on in the school and make any changes that are necessary to ensure what is best for our students.  “Careful teacher selection ensures that the school is populated by gifted educators who balance their deep caring for students and respect for families with a demand for excellence and autonomy” (2010, Doll).  If there are divided bodies within the building who don’t all share a common philosophy then there is a lot of discourse which may be harmful to the positive school atmosphere.  We need to be supportive of our fellow teachers and leaders and continue to communicate openly in a positive manner.  Only when this happens are we, as a school wide community better able to adapt to change.

Works Cited

Burgess, D. (2012). Teach like a Pirate: Increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting.

Doll, B. (2010, December). Positive School Climate. National Association of Secondary School Principals. Retrieved from http://www.nassp.org/Content.aspx?topic=Positive_School_Climate

Edtechteacher. (2014). Use the Four Gamer Types to Help Your Students Collaborate-from Douglas Kiang on Edudemic. Retrieved from http://edtechteacher.org/use-the-four-gamer-types-to-help-your-students-collaborate-from-douglas-kiang-on-edudemic/

Fullan, M. (2002, September). The Pressing Goal is to Infuse Spiritual Force Into All Educators. The School Administrator Web Edition. Retrieved fromhttp://www.unrwa.org/userfiles/file/leading_4_the_future/module1/Moral%20purpose%20writ%20large%20Fullan.pdf

Fullan, M. (2014, February). Leading in a Culture of Change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass (pp. 31-50).

Thomas, D, & Brown, J. S., (2011). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Week 12: Reflection

This week we looked at how controlled disruption is a very good thing.  Everyone was on board with change and how it is important to have disruption, we learn and grow from it.  We just need to be able to control it and help others to learn from it as well as have them on board with the change.   I loved that Theresa included Fullan’s Change Model.  It is such a great representation of what is needed to facilitate change.  Cherie and Ali, who hosted our tweet session this week really made us have to think about this process and what we need to do to create an environment of supportive members who will accept the disturbances and grow from the change.  While Tyler reminded us to jump in and be the leaders at our own schools and be the ones to push forward the change.  If no one else does it then it will never happen.  Way to go Tyler, that Science Fair sounded like it was a huge success.

Then with my mentee, I was able to end on a high note.  I sat with her on Thursday and we went through the evaluation survey.  She was very impressed with our project and was excited to continue it after Thanksgiving break.  I will be assisting with this, as well.  The kids were so excited that their parents were asking for information to log on at home.  The plan is to write a brief letter home explaining the process and providing the site, id, and password for each student so they may continue their work at home on Storybird.  These kids are greatly enjoying creating their own stories, having parents assist at home will continue that support and only expand their excitement in writing.

Week 12: Consider your own context within your school and with your mentee. How can understanding of controlled disruption and coherence making impact your leadership of peers at this time, and at this level ?

“Productive disturbance is likely to happen when it is guided by moral purpose and when the process creates and channels new tensions while working on a complex problem” (111).  We need leaders who can adapt to the school and the situations that arise within it.  If the tension gets too high, the stress level can cause a lot of problems.  “Principals not attuned to leading in a culture of change make the mistake of seeking external innovations and taking on too many projects” (2002).  If the leaders are watching closely, they can cue into this and change things accordingly.  With so many requirements and a huge amount of change there are several who pull away.  But if the disturbance is productive, we are more likely to buy into the process.  This is the idea of controlled disruption.

Coherence making is the idea of creating a logical, systematic way of dealing with the given situation.  When our leaders take charge and work through ways to achieve our goals rather than putting it upon us, it gives us a route to follow which is open to modification by the whole.  Knowing when to make a disturbance and when to focus on coherence making is key to keeping the community working together for the common goal(s).  “Coherence, then, is what is in the minds and actions of people individually and especially collectively” (Fullan, Quinn, 2015).

By knowing this I am even more excited to continue my mentoring project after this class is over.  This week I was able to get with my mentee’s students and present Storybird to them.  I logged into my account and shared with them a poem and a picture book that I had created ahead of time.  I then proceeded to demonstrate how to create a picture book or poem.  We (my mentee and myself) then walked around the room assisting students in creating their own stories.  It was such a huge success that they continued after lunch (I returned to help).  We were even able to publish a couple of stories (we went through the editing process with a few students).  The kids were so excited that they went home and shared it with their families.  Parents are excited to be a part of this now.

Just being able to incorporate a new site for this teacher really pushed her to expand what she normally does.  Even with the complications of the entire classroom of students, she saw the huge benefits of participating which helped to guide them towards her goal of teaching the students to publish their own books.  A little disruption went a long way towards coherence.

Works Cited

Fullan, M. (2002). The Change Leader. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may02/vol59/num08/The-Change-Leader.aspx

Fullan, M. (2014, February). Leading in a Culture of Change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass (pp. 107-120).

Fullan, M., Quinn, J. (2015). Coherence: The Right Drivers in Action for Schools, Districts, and Systems. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=STjrCQAAQBAJ&pg=PT11&lpg=PT11&dq=coherence+making+school&source=bl&ots=RL6snDUOB8&sig=3So-dlM_lhiloZHnnCuz5w4EIj0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CGIQ6AEwCWoVChMI97P8yeGbyQIVhC6ICh3jCQHl#v=onepage&q=coherence%20making%20school&f=false

Storybird site: https://storybird.com/

Week 11: Reflection

This week there were a lot of people who agreed that we need to be able to create an environment that facilitates social life for the students.  By creating a community where the students feel comfortable creating and sharing their knowledge we help them to prepare for their futures.  As teachers we are working on training our students to be productive citizens as adults.  To help in this we need to keep them engaged and teach them how to be a part of a social network.

I had also mentioned how a lot of times teachers come back from trainings and don’t get up and share their new knowledge with their colleagues, so they tend to forget or lose that information.  By allowing for a time to share that information we are using that social network to expand everyone’s knowledge.  In the end, everyone wins.  Not only do we need to share after conferences and/or trainings but our seasoned teachers have so much knowledge we can learn from them.  To utilize this knowledge is so important as well.  Collaboration among colleagues can create such a positive working environment and lift morale in the school.

My mentor project will be coming to a close this week.  I am meeting with my mentee tomorrow morning to present Storybird to the students.  I have created a few books, so I am going to use them to demonstrate what finished products look like.  Then I will show them how to create a book of their own.  Finally we will set them off to create their own books on their own (using laptops), with our guidance when needed of course.  Later on in the week I will be interviewing my mentee to discover how she evaluates the effectiveness of our mentor project together.

Week 11: What is the role of knowledge creation and sharing in a healthy educational organization?

“Most organizations have invested heavily in technology and possibly training, but hardly at all in knowledge sharing and creation” (Fullan, 2014, p 79).  This is the key to functionality.  Without sharing of knowledge we lose that connection and at times the information.  There was a teacher who was so knowledgeable in regards to technology within our building, he shared when he could but since we didn’t open up more times for him to share we lost all of the information he had when he suddenly moved to another state.  We have to create time to knowledge share.  So many times we have all of this information but we have no means to distribute the knowledge within our own buildings due to time restraints.  I love this mentoring project, It forces us to take that time.  I wish we could do it with a larger group instead of just the one or few we are mentoring.

Knowledge creation is another thing we need to be free to do.  The creation of knowledge, distribution of it and embodiment within your building.  It is a tough concept when we have such differing opinions even within a single building.  But to have it disperse among the entire district is pretty phenomenal.  An example of this would be our early release that we did several years ago.  My building had started an early release within our own building to allow for whole staff collaboration focusing on reading and writing.  Our student scores sky rocketed and our morale was the best I had ever seen it.  The district saw what we were doing and decided to follow suit, having all schools do an early release.  Unfortunately they didn’t see the benefits when they participated and were not as leader driven as our building so it went back to the regular schedule a couple of years later.

A healthy organization is one that knowledge creates and shares.  You can’t expect a brand new person to come into the building and just know what to do without the proper training, that is knowledge sharing.  When we share that knowledge we begin to build those relationships.  The graph below demonstrates how people are still the number one resource we look to for knowledge.  We are a social society and thus need to take advantage of the knowledge we have within our communities.

graph(Cross, 2001, p 106)
“On the strategic side, management must create/design the right environments, processes, and systems that provide the means and willingness for it to take place” (KMT, 2015).  Without the proper environment that will allow for the creativity necessary for Knowledge creation or the time allowed to share that knowledge we cannot utilize our peers and gain the information needed to keep up with our fast paced society.  Something as simple as peer inter-visitations can be so helpful when you are learning a new position.  My first year as a PE teacher I was able to observe several other PE teachers and gain some wonderful insight as to how they run their programs, what little tricks they use for classroom management, and how to keep the kids engaged during the entire 45 minute period.  It was eye opening for me, and I was glad to see that there are other schools that participate in this (New York City has a toolkit for teachers that I have listed below).
Works Cited
Cross, R., Parker, A., Prusak, L., Borgatti, S, P. (2001). Supporting Knowledge Creation and Sharing in Social Networks. Organizational Dynamics, 30; 2, 100-120. Retrieved from http://www.analytictech.com/borgatti/papers/borgatti%20-%20knowing%20what%20we%20know.pdf
KMT. (2015).  Knowledge Creation. Retrieved from http://www.knowledge-management-tools.net/knowledge-creation.html

Fullan, M. (2014, February). Leading in a Culture of Change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass (pp. 77-106).

Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Learning. (n.d.). Collaborative Learning Through Peer Inter-visitation: A Toolkit for Educators. Retrieved from http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/69F61FF7-68F8-4D9C-847C-B7D7DD6A1343/0/IntervisitationToolkit.pdf

Week 10 Reflection

There were a lot of differing opinions on this week’s essential question.  I have to say that I agreed with most opinions.  It went about half and half for believing that the statement was true.  I think that the only reason there was such disagreement was because the idea of “right” or “wrong” could mean so many things.  Being the right person for the job or the right attitude for the atmosphere of the building.  Having the right skills, the right mentality, or the right drive can mean all the difference in opinions.  After reading some blogs I was reminded that the “wrong” person for one building, may be the “right” person for another building.  Another gave a statistic showing how doctors were more likely to lose their license than teachers were to lose their credentials.  I looked up the statistics and found this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson/factchecking-waiting-for-_b_802900.html It is a very interesting article and still opens up some questions, but I can see how our profession isn’t taken as seriously as others, though what we do is so important in the life of our children.  I loved reading the differing opinions and responses to blog posts.

This week I met with my mentee after I had created her a Storybird account with her class input into her account.  The other two 1st grade teachers were extremely excited and wanted to be included.  So, I am currently working on creating them accounts as well.  I will meet with all three on Tuesday to train them on how to navigate the site and hand over their passwords, for themselves and their students.  This Training has turned into a focus on Storybird rather than many apps, although I plan to continue to introduce apps to my mentee.  I have a feeling the other two will continue to join in on these meetings.  It has been a lot of fun sharing information with my co workers.