2014 reflect reconnect revitalize institute day

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A Discussion on Self-Reflection


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Live.Laugh.Learn.Love.Hello! Thank you for coming! Welcome to the yet-to-be-named presentation. This talk actually has a very serendipitous birth. And I will share in just a moment.

In general, this talk is about spending time self-reflecting. Checking in with yourself on a periodic basis, assessing whether your actions match your beliefs.

Why?Who?How?For now, let me frame my talk.Id like to share a bit about WHO? I am. Ill tell a few stories about me and where my teaching philosophies came from.Next, Ill talk about WHY? I spend time reflecting.Finally, Ill share HOW? I presently reflect in order to check in with myself.

Joans Story

So I'd like to share a bit of my story with you and then frame todays conversation.History of who I am as a teacher...25 years teaching...8 districtsfirst year here...coached, specialize in curricular development...but mostly, I enjoy talking to teachers about teaching...

History of this talk.started at a department meeting, went to the faculty, then student body, then to other districts and parent communitiesIt began as a stream of consciousness rant in front of my department that was overheard by my principal who asked me to present it to the facultyThe rest is history.

Why I do this particular talk? I love this stuffTalking about the background pieces of education. Down time, reflection, time for follow-throughthats necessary for educators. Provides the thread that stitches together all conversations. Leaves room for creativity and innovation. We need to spend more time doing this.

We have so many conversations in education. Sometimes, I think that the importance of those conversations becomes lost due to how the meat of those conversations are implemented. Teacher-centered to student-centered to student-directed to student-created classroomsHands on Science to Problem-Based Learning to Discovery-Based Learning to Inquiry, etc.Portfolio Assessments to Alternative Assessment to Authentic Assessment to Afl, etc.On-Task to Motivation to Focus to Engagement, etc.Technology to Instructional Technology to 21st Century Education to Digital LiteracyDifferentiated Instruction & Critical Thinking & Literacy & Transliteracy & Multimedia LearningStandardized, high stakes, mandated, society-expected and policy-driven tests

I believe all of these conversations and topics are important. But they become caricatures of themselves and eventually check-list items. Which is unfortunate, because many have such merit.

And so often, it seems, were having disjointed conversations...Like...Schedules (block, mod, period), course changes, Technology, Learning targets, common core, ngss, evaluations, etc. When, in fact, with a big picture mentality, they are just pieces of the same conversation (many times).

Today, I might be all over the board. Ill try to get us back to the big picture whenever I can.

Please feel free to ask questions or interrupt as this talk progresses. If theres something I think we should hold on to until the end, well wait

ClarifierTheres a level of trust Ive been given, by the administration, and I thank them for that. So I must make it clear that the views expressed here are mine, and are ALWAYS changing based on life experiences. I thoroughly enjoy discussing these things, so I welcome conversation on my views at any time!

Lets consider this a safe space for conversation.

Close your eyes.Sam ChaltainNational Educator, Organizational Change ConsultantHe has captured the essence of the most powerful learning experiences for meI will share two of my most formative experiences in a minute.

Beliefs vs. Actions(Reflecting on My Practice)Artwork by Doug SmithenrySo heres my big picture. The WHY? behind this talk.My goal as a teacher is to develop a self-sufficient scientific community of learners. This picture epitomizes my classroom. My students are challenged, engaged. They are discussing something relevant. And they are immersed in a scientific inquiry experience. Mostly, it reflects my goal because Im not in the picture. Its my class. And you cant see me. Ive written myself out of the picture. (Almost.)EducatorLet me share that my self-reflection occurs pretty regularly on all life fronts. How I reflect typically has to do with what hat Im wearing. And we all wear MANY hats.ParentFriendAuthorAthleteEducatorParentTodays talk will focus on my reflection from the dual lens of parent/educator. (At this point, I dont know how to separate the two.)

Certainly the most powerful experiences I had that has influenced who I am as an educator is the privilege of having raised my two daughters. (Favorite pic of the two. Kira on left (sr in high school), Katina on right (in grad school)).

When my children were young, they were curious, imaginative and deeply focused on the moment.

One very influential story was...when I went to kindergarden conferences. Teacher only wanted to show me her report card. All I wanted to know was how she was interacting with other childrenand adultsand if she seemed engaged and asked good questionsAnd the only information I was getting was her grade. So I decided then and there...

...I would never let her see her report card.

I just wanted to be the counterbalance to a system that has obviously gone a little whacko...I was experiencing a bit of it in my professional life.There is value in a report card, I know. But I chose to be the CRAZY mom(Share story of freshman year in high school. Its fabulous, but too long to write. Maybe blog post?)Race to NowhereThen I saw this movie...http://www.racetonowhere.com/I knew I had made a good decision.

Thoughts? Questions?

What are you thinking?

Another lesson I learned as a parent that influenced my teaching...remember quite vividly...I witnessed while my girls were playing when they were very little... I witnessed the benefit of collaboration and unique ways of thinking being thrown together when accomplishing a task(Story of the girls playing mail in the hallway. Again, too long to write. Another blog post? SO POWERFUL!)

Search for the clever gifts in all of us. Rekindle that inherent curiosity. Show that the only way to grow is by first getting lost. Collaboration is key. Unique perspectives...Sir Ken RobinsonTed Talk 2006Three Themes:Human CreativityNo Idea about FutureStudents are InnovativeCreativity is as important as Literacy(Young children playing the 3 Kings in a Christmas play...)(A young girl taken to a doctor by her mom because she couldnt sit still in school....)Full video: http://goo.gl/hwKq


Paul McCartney, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Gillian Lynne, Julia Child, Matt Groening, Ms. Hoover (in honor of his teacher that nurture his sketches)

What was your most powerful, personal experience in a learning community?Whether you were 5 or 10 or last weekin school, with family or friends, etc.When and where were you when you learned best? In school, out of school, at 5 or yesterday?

Lets share!

Beliefs vs. Actions(Reflecting on My Practice)Artwork by Doug SmithenrySo here again is my big picture. The WHY? Check in with yourself. Do your actions match your belief system. ONLY focus on what you can control.

But as much as I try to be superwoman and live up to the cumulative inspirational experiences of my life as a mother and teacher, I am ONLY human...

It can be challenging to stay true to values and have your actions send the messages you intend to send. Both professionally and personally.A light-hearted example of when my actions dont match my thoughts would be...lets watch this clip...

TechSpazzesI am a tech spazz. I value tech. Im actually pretty tech savvy. But no one would know that because I get instantaneously frustrated when tech goes wrong

An area of education that you know is valuable but frustrates you? Why?What are you doing about it?

Ive learned in those moments that its all about perspective.

You have the ability to look at things through a positive lens and advocate for yourself.

Staying committed to the things I value as an educator is best done with a positive perspective. Staying committed to the things Im passionate about has only a positive outcome.Break

Lets shift gears a bit. Lets talk about HOW I go about self-reflecting using the lens of parent/educator.

Close your eyes.

How will students be TRANSFORMED bytheir interaction with you?What do you VALUE as an educator?How are your values communicatedin your teaching?

First way:These are three questions I ask myself regularly. (These are living responses. They change over time. And they are not easy to answer, at least they shouldnt be.)

#1#2#3#4Once I answer #1, I also rank the things I value. I put the most important thing in the center. The second on the 2nd ring, etc. I keep a copy of this with me in whatever role Im in. I make sure that #1 is my focus.

How do you hope to be TRANSFORMED byyour experiences here at Niles North?What do you VALUE as a learner?How are your values communicatedin the way you choose to interact and connect with others here at NN? I also model this reflective practice with my students. I tweak the questions so that they can check in with themselves, too.StudentRemember, students come to our classroom with many hats, too. And they have less of an ability to focus on which hat theyre wearing from moment to moment. So its really important for us to teach them this.Daughteror SonSiblingFriendAthletePerformerDaniel PinkSecond Way I reflect is using Daniel Pinks two focus questions from his book Drive.Daniel PinkA video clip discussing his book, Drivehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyRu7k70Jhc&safety_mode=true&persi