Category Archives: Meetings

Collaboration & Teams

Negative Nancy is back at it again.

Today we had a great session of scale-building and assigning standards to specific classes when Nancy decided it was time to rant. She doesn’t like commonality, doesn’t want to assess on her own time, and doesn’t want to follow others but wants to lead everyone. The problem with leaders like Nancy is that they frequently find no one behind them when they are blazing trails. Of course, blazing trails can be a good thing as long as a scorched earth policy isn’t implemented.

However, on a much more positive note, I got to work with another group of teachers who jumped into the work today with gusto. Loved it! Everyone was active, all gave input, each person got involved in the debate, and we came to consensus without any difficulty. We should have filmed the session!

OK happy face_full

Meetings, Meetings, and a Little Planning

Today was the culmination of a week of meetings, and how did we celebrate this? With another meeting!

All in all, though, they weren’t that bad, and I led two of the meetings. It’s rare that it happens, but three people actually said “thank you,” which I appreciated. I’ve had a few students who would make a point of saying “thanks” before leaving the classroom, and I never forget those students and moments. A word of thanks seems so unusual these days. Sad for that, but happiness from today’s appreciative words. Complaining is so easy, but why is a “thank you” seemingly so hard?

While I was working a few students stopped by to chat briefly. They had gotten their schedules and were walking the halls to map out their future daily travels; I think they strategize how to maximize their route, so they can socialize during passing time. Anyway, it was nice to see them and good of them to want to stop by for a minute or two.

Kids get a bad rap too often. 99% of my interactions and experiences with students are positive, and I have to remember not to let the 1% dominate my thoughts, but it’s natural, I guess. My thoughts will drift to what could have been done differently any time something doesn’t go to plan rather than also reflecting on what went well to reinforce that behavior.

Can you tell I’m ready for classes to start?

P.S. The second meeting I ran finished early, the only one today to do so. Awesome!

Wall Decorations, the ACT, Evaluations, and Common Core

I met with a colleague for about an hour discussing some literature that we commonly teach, and I think we have some good ideas for a couple common assessments. I also scheduled another session with one other teacher for this weekend.

There is no professional development like meaningful collaboration time with another teacher. I get more out of it than any staff meeting, all-district training, or conference. The free flow of ideas, the new points of view, and the discovery as a tandem or team truly allows me to grow and to better my practice.

Once this discussion ended I started setting up my bulletin boards and completed a couple. Institutional cream just doesn’t inspire me and seems to dull the senses of my students. If I am going to spend 8-12 hours at a stretch in my classroom, I need some color and something to keep me comfortable without being put to sleep.

I spent about an hour reading education articles, and these were my favorites:

  • If you have not been the last few posts from here regarding the feds’ short-sighted mandates, then you’re missing an important series of conversations.
  • Washington State is #1 in SAT scores, but this report indicates that nationwide ACT scores could be a canary in a coal mine.
  • If you want to know what I’ve been discussing with my district (about how alarmed I am about the new tests aligned with Common Core standards), this article writer explains it better than I did.

First Meeting of the Year

The first meeting of the year is in the books, and we actually finished early. Amazing to think that I can’t even recall the last meeting that ended before the scheduled finish time. Nothing of work importance occurred; we simply had a meet and greet of sorts to introduce the school leaders to one another.

In the past I have said “I hope that when I die I hope it happens during a staff meeting, so the transition from life to death is so gradual.” However, this didn’t apply. Maybe it’s a good sign for future meetings.

Later in the day yesterday, a few of us got together to have a BBQ and discuss school planning and some collaboration ideas. Food is an excellent incentive, and the BBQ kept everything informal. Really, we just brainstormed ideas for how to start the year, how to collaborate in our grade level teams, and how to incorporate more types of literature into our units.

This food-for-thought session will help me get some curriculum mapping done and gave me a few ideas to research prior to school starting. More to come on this later.