Updated: Quick resource pack for #NYSAISnow #NYSAISahdh

What you’ll find here, in this post, is a quick resource pack for the fun work that @GrantLichtman and I were fortunate to do with NYSAIS – the New York State Association of Independent Schools. We were at Mohonk Mountain House for the annual Assistant Heads and Division Heads conference, and the group of educational leaders focused on Time, Space, and Curriculum in educational transformation and innovative schooling.

  • Bo & Grant’s facilitator scratchpad and switchboard (Google doc with intended learning arc and links to resources and slidedecks).
  • Jim Tiffin’s (@JimTiffinJr) Storify – in three parts – archiving some of the pre-conference buzz, ideas from the keynote address on Wednesday night, sessions on Thursday and Friday, etc. In the keynote, Grant and I focused on “priming the pump” for how schools can utilize and amplify human curiosity and lessons of innovation to (r)evolutionize time, space, and curriculum use in schools. Thursday and Friday, we dove deeper into those ideas with workshop formats and facilitation.
  • Jim Tiffin’s visual notes from the keynote Wednesday night. THANKS, Jim!
  • And Grant “signed me up” for an impromptu Twitter meet-up lesson at 2:45-ish on Thursday! Love that NYSAIS spontaneously used some “unconference” thinking to enlist what learners wanted and needed…and created a spontaneous session. I so enjoyed using a lot of “yes, and…” improvisational format to mine the experience among those who attended this flash-mob session when they could’ve been hiking and playing around Mohonk in different ways. It was a fun session sharing insights from one of the most powerful professional learning tools I use!
  • Jenny Kirsch’s blog-post reflection from NYSAISahdh. Thanks, @MsJennyKirsch!

Jim Tiffin Vis Notes NYSAIS ahdh13

Synergy – Questions are the waypoints on the path of wisdom #MICON12

On Thursday, June 14, Bo Adams and Jill Gough are facilitating a double-session at The Martin Institute’s 2012 Conference (#MICON12 on Twitter). Below, conference participants and blog readers alike can find an outline of our session (at least as we intend it before we start!), complete with links to the resources we plan to use.

Synergy – Questions are the waypoints on the path of wisdom (Framework Plans) [100 minutes]

  1. Marshmallow Challenge [18 minutes + setup + debrief = 30 minutes]
  2. Synergy 8 Preso + Showcase Project Products/Q&A [15 minutes + 15 minutes = 30 minutes]
  3. Reading from The Falconer re: Questions [5 minutes]
  4. Gamestorm to share about others’ experiences/practices with PBL (see “Post-Up”) + Gamestorm to generate future ideas for PBL (see “Storyboard”) [30 minutes]
  5. Wrap-Up + Goodie Bag[5 minutes]
    1. “7 Essentials for Project-Based Learning” article + “4 A’s” protocol
    2. Peak Learning Experience Exercise – “Think about your own life and the times when you were really learning, so much and so deeply, that you would call these the ‘peak learning experiences’ of your life. Tell a story (you may include pictures, symbols, or other icons, too) about this peak learning experience, and respond to the question, ‘What were the conditions that made your high-level experience so powerful and engaging?'(adapted from 21st Century Skills: Learning for Life in Our Times, Trilling and Fadel, 2009). Jill and Bo often use this prompt as a pre-writing exercise in order to connect people with the project-based nature of our most enduring learnings throughout life.
    3. Synergy2Learn (resource on PBL)
    4. Synergy 8 Logo, Essential Learnings, and Learning Targets (via Scribd) [also embedded below]

Title of the Conversation
Synergy – Questions are the waypoints on the path of wisdom

Conversational Focus/Audience
High School
Middle School
Upper Elementary School

Short Description
Like a tribe around the fire, let’s discuss how we implement PBL as an entire course or as an input to a class. The conversation starters will describe Synergy – an 8th grade community-issues course. Then, through story exchange, we will share a variety of PBL ideas and implementation methods.

Extended Description
In Westminster’s 8th grade, we are experiencing year two of a new course called “Synergy 8.” Synergy is a non-departmentalized, transdisciplinary, non-graded, community-issues, problem-solving course. While we begin with an “alpha project” to practice project process, we use the “Falconer” method to empower student questioning and curiosity. From the student questions, the entire team generates the projects on which learners of all ages ultimately work.

Our conversational focus will be PBL (project-based learning, problem-based learning, passion-based learning, place-based learning, etc.). We intend to generate ideas from an exchange of current practices and possibilities. We hope to move beyond mere conversation and bridge into collaboration by building for the future more student-learner generated PBL…perhaps even “big, hairy audacious” PBL that unites our various schools and increases the mass of folks working on the problems which define our world.

For more detailed stimulus about “Synergy” and “PBL,” see categories and tags on Bo’s and Jill’s blogs: It’s About Learning (Bo’s blog) and Experiments in Learning by Doing (Jill’s blog).

[Cross-posted at Experiments in Learning by Doing]

PLCs, Westminster JH, Randolph, and Learning Together

On Friday, February 17, Jill Gough and Bo Adams worked with The Randolph School faculty to share the story of PLC (Professional Learning Community) development at The Westminster Schools’ Junior High, as well as to facilitate a small piece of Randolph’s continuing, multi-year efforts to transform their school with the PLC ethos. Below, Bo and Jill have embedded the slide deck that they used during the Friday morning keynote. As usual, though, a slide deck cannot capture the rich conversations and invaluable discussions that surround and permeate professional work based on shared experience.

Randolph has been piloting PLCs for two years, and they are making formidable steps to enhance their teacher teaming and learner strategizing. Westminster and Randolph are imagining different ways to stretch time and embed regular teaming. There is no one-size-fits-all structural approach to PLCs, but there are universal ideas and questions that must guide our work:

3 Big Ideas:

  1. Learning is the focus.
  2. Collaboration is the culture.
  3. Results guide our decisions.

4 Key Questions:

  1. What should be learned?
  2. How will we know if “they” have learned?
  3. What will we do if “they” already know it?
  4. What will we do if “they” aren’t learning?

What a privilege and bright spot it is to collaborate among schools and learn with and from each other. Could our institutions and organizations actually stretch the PLC ethos to include more such collaboration among our schools? Could we model being PLCs among schools, like we model forming PLCs among our adult learners?

PLC Randolph Slidedeck 2-2012.

[Cross-posted at Experiments in Learning by Doing]

Completing the Square / Leading by Following

On Saturday, September 17, Jill Gough and I were privileged to provide the keynote address for the 2011 Regional T³/MCTM Annual Conference. Conference Director Jennifer Wilson facilitated a wonderfully effective learning opportunity for teachers, administrators, pre-service teachers, college professors, and others.

From the beginning, the program cover-art fascinated Jill and me. The conference theme was “Completing the Square,” and the image pictured a puzzle with a missing piece in the center. To build our keynote address, Jill and I imagined what that missing puzzle piece might be that would truly complete the square. Additionally, we threaded our talk with the idea of Leading by Following.

Believing in the powerful nature of stories, Jill and I told four stories to illuminate some puzzling issues facing educators today:

Puzzle 1: Why do we talk so much of teaching when it’s about LEARNING? Or… “How could they not know this?” [Assessment for Learning]

Puzzle 2: How can we make learning experiences more meaningful? Or… “When are we gonna use this?” [Contextual Learning]

Puzzle 3: Why are teachers and admin “US and THEM” when we all want our students to learn? Or… “You are a fool!” [Learning Partners]

Puzzle 4: Why is teaching an “egg crate culture” when we know learning is social? Or… “WE are smarter than ME.” [Learning Communities]

What do you think the missing piece might be? What completes the square? The following slide deck will lead you on the path that we explored during the keynote. We loved being in this community of learners at Brandon Middle School. It is always a privilege and pleasure to spend time learning with committed and curious educators.

Cross-posted with Jill Gough on her blog, Experiments in Learning by Doing.