What I’m Reading and Thinking About this Month December 2016

What I have been thinking about:

As the first semester drew to a close I found myself doing a lot of planning for the second semester. Below are two of my big projects that I am currently working on for the second semester and beyond. Please forgive the stream of consciousness style of writing. I am still trying to work through both of these ideas.

Differentiation and Blended Learning Professional Learning

This year my school made the switch to standards based grading which has brought to light the need for more professional learning in differentiation and blended learning practices. This past month I spent a lot of time researching the best practices about differentiation and blended learning. I also started working on a differentiated professional learning series for my teachers on differentiation. My goal is to experiment with the differentiation series and then follow it up with a differentiated series on blended learning.

Rethinking the Bell Schedule

The switch to standards based grading has also helped me see that we need to incorporate reassessment time into our daily school schedule. While in an ideal world teachers should be incorporating this time into their daily lessons, the reality is they are not due to the pressure to get through their pacing plans and hit their own personal benchmarks. This month I have looked at a lot of school schedules and created a prototype of how we can include at least 40 minutes a day for reassessment . In a perfect world this time can also be used for project based learning projects or more passion driven activities like genius hour.  I’m also thinking of modeling this after the PBIS strategy of check in check out. At my school the students start their school day with an Advisory class. By having this reassessment class at the end of the day the advisory teacher would be able to “check out” with their students.

Blog Posts to Checkout:

Time For These Seven Edu Funerals by Michael Niehoff
If you don’t have time to read the entire blog post I would encourage you to at least read the first paragraph. While I don’t agree with everything on Niehoff’s list, I’m still a fan of non digital tools and resources, I do agree with a lot of what he is saying.

Just Ask by George Couros
A simple yet effective way to push innovation in the classroom. What’s the worst thing that happens? They say no?

Top 8 Reasons Why Your Ideas Don’t Get Backed by Phil McKinney
If you enjoy this blog post I would encourage you to listen to the podcast that McKinney did on this subject. On the podcast he goes deeper into the eight reasons and offers some solid advice  for anyone who is looking to have others back their ideas.


My Books for the Month:

This past month I read Todd Henry’s first book The Accidental Creative. The main theme of this book is about finding your creative rhythm. In the book Henry shares some great ideas and concepts about how you can create your own creative rhythm. Two of my big take aways from the book is that I need to be more intentional with my study plan and I need to create checkpoints to help keep myself focused. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking to create structure and routines in their life that will help support their creative thinking.

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