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This post resinated with me so much that I wanted to share it on my own blog. The connections I have made with other educators both face to face and online via social media has been and continues to be the best contributor to my own professional development. But it extends further than just my knowledge. It keeps me inspired, motivated, and constantly challenges me to to keep growing and innovating. It is bigger than me as an individual. It is about the students. It is about making a difference in students lives and making a difference in our world.

Opening Doors and Turning On Lights

I owe so much to the people I have connected with. I am sure you feel the same way. Whether face to face or virtually, I have been able to connect and work with brilliant people who have challenged me and opened my eyes up to so many possibilities and exciting ways to move my practice forward. I wonder sometimes just how different my career, and life for that matter, would have been if I wasn’t able to make those connections.

I have seen blog posts about why we should use twitter, or why we should blog, why we should join google communities or even why we should join/create a PLC. I am pretty sure they all share the same answer when we get down to the root of it – to make connections. I am not telling you anything you don’t already know. Connecting with other educators opens us…

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Innovation Takes Time

I started this school year by participating in Educator’s Innovation Day. The day was dedicated for educators to work individually or in groups on anything they wanted to work on around the theme of improving education. I spent the day working with Jesse McLean around the idea of wanting to come up with a middle years entrepreneurial option. By the end of the day we had created the Becoming Tycoons Option and Student Business Planning Guide designed to allow for student choice, innovation, and introduce them to business concepts such as start-ups, management, marketing, and finances. Both Greystone Centennial Middle School and Muir Lake School students will be participating in this option at the same time so we are going to be setting up collaboration and sharing opportunities between our students with Google Hangouts and in person. We have not yet taught this option yet, but I am very excited to see what the students come up with for their businesses. Ultimately, my hope is that this will lay a foundation and open up possibilities for students in their future in the area of business and innovation.

Although, I am excited about this project that we came up with, the day in and of itself has bigger implications for educators. Taking the time to spend a day working on something that we have never done before and was completely brand new to us was extremely valuable. How often do we do that? It is so easy to fill up our days with the business of working and teaching in a school. Rarely, do we feel like we have the time to just sit, talk, and collaborate on working on something new with the aim to improve education. Yet, I would argue that this is some of the most valuable time that we could spend as an educator and is too often neglected.

As educators, we don’t spend enough time in quadrant II of Steven Covey’s Time Management Grid. Taking time to think, reflect, collaborate, share, be creative and innovate never feels urgent but it is of the utmost importance. This time is what keeps education relevant in an ever changing world. It is time that ignites passion and motivation in students and teachers. It is what fights off a culture of complacency that allows for things to be taught and learned in the same way just because that is the way it was taught and learned last year… and the year before that… and the year before that.  It is time that fuels inspiration, growth and change. It is time that allows for the extraordinary as opposed to settling for mediocrity. As educators we need to prioritize this time.

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I know our days are busy. I feel the pressure of the other quadrants everyday. (more…)

Collaborate, Create, Learn: A School PD PLan

Let’s be honest for a second… Have you ever found yourself trapped in a seemingly irrelevant professional development session, sitting painfully, watching the clock slowly tick by while someone drones on at the front? You know the presenter is apparently supposed to be teaching you something that will help develop you as the professional educator that you are, yet for the life of you all you can hear is…

“Bueler… Bueler… Bueler… Bueler… Bueler… Bueler… Bueler…”

I’m sure I am not the only educator who has had the privilege of such an experience. In fact, if I am being honest with myself, I have even been guilty of creating a “Bueleresc” experience for colleagues as an administrator on school pd days. This is why I am optimistic, enthusiastic, and even excited about our Muir Lake School Collaborate, Create, Learn (CCL) School Professional Development Plan.

First thing I need to note. I am sharing this work that has been done on this plan because the idea was first shared with me. Kudos and thanks to George Couros for so freely and consistently sharing his work, resources, and experiences. It is this same spirit of transparently sharing that is the foundation of this plan.

We began developing this plan by forming a PD committee with representation from all staff groupings: early  years teachers, middle years teachers, and Educational Assistants. We set aside a day to work together to vision cast and plan what professional development could look like in our school.  The result of this day is our Muir Lake School Collaborate, Create, Learn (CCL) School Professional Development Plan. The cornerstone principles of the PD plan are:

  1. Self-directed
  2. Maximizing Staff Expertise
  3. Collaboration
  4. Transparent Sharing
  5. Distributed Leadership
  6. Time and resources (more…)
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