#MustRead Shares (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

REFLECTION: 7 Questions, May 7, 2016

7 Questions to End Your Week - HW

OBSERVE: What pleasant surprises did I discover this week?

This week I discovered some very complex commitment to our school norms. A leader and colleague at our school made some contributions during a meeting, and, upon reflection, circled back with several people to “fill the gap” between expectations and experiences. Because we all commit to #AssumeTheBest and #StartWithQuestions and #ShareTheWell and #FailUp, I, once again, was encouraged by the culture we are purposeful about building. I hope and trust that all will loop back to colleagues like this leader demonstrated.

REFLECT: What lessons did my work teach me that I could build upon next week?

Repeatedly, I seem to think that others understand the “range finder” and “gantt chart” of our mission-and-vision action steps in the same way that I feel I understand them — because we talk about them and collaborate actively on them. However, upon reflection because of some meeting conversations, I need to work to do a better job of creating deep, shared understanding about some of our PL focus and grant work and R&D efforts, especially as the division autonomy and division coordination/collaboration must work in dynamic balance and harmony with each other.

FOCUS: Are my short-term efforts and long-term goals sill aligned?

I need to continue to dig in and develop my deep knowledge and skills in PBL, so that I can be a resource, collaborator and support for the intensive and advanced work we intend to do in real-world contextual learning at MVPS.

BE PRODUCTIVE: What could I have spent more or less time doing?

I am working to (paradoxically) reduce the amount of information streams that come into my learning dashboard, so that I can concentrate on particular streams that require more concentrated focus right now — namely PBL and sophisticated assessment strategies that weave together learning-outcomes and habits of mind. Spending an hour on Fridays with my MVIFI Nucleus team in a rough version of “20% time” is proving to be invaluable to me, at least. We laugh together while we learn deeply together, and I have already made advancements in my deeper understanding of drawing, making, and PBL on campus because of my precious time with them.

HAVE COURAGE: How did fear and uncertainly affect what I did and didn’t do?

At the conclusion of a meeting this week, I feared that some key leadership groups still did not have a deep enough common understanding of some collaborative strategic work. I think this fear and uncertainty can affect my engagement with others in some ways. However, by being open and up front with each other, I think a majority of the team worked through some of the frustrations to a deeper shared understanding. By overcoming the fear and challenging one another, in positive and productive ways, we can build more deep collaboration and strategic teaming together. By leaving the frustrations unchallenged and under the surface, deterioration of teamwork can occur. I am blessed to work on a team that exposes differences and works through them.

CLENSE: What mental clutter can I clear?

#AssumeTheBest and let go of the mental clutter associated with wondering why someone might be acting contrary to our expectations. Have the courage to ask and talk with that person — that person!

BEGIN ANEW: What is the first logical step for next week?

SAME AS LAST WEEK: Create the pro forma for a multi-year project so that a team can have a clearer sense of several related issues for better decision making on connected fronts.

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NOTE: I am venturing into an experiment. I plan to use these 7 Questions to End Your Week as a discipline of regular reflection. I feel very strongly about reflective practice. As John Dewey has taught me, learning is not simply experience, but reflecting on experience. Additionally, I think we neglect a fundamentally important opportunity when we choose to assign “homework” as a school but fail to prompt reflections like these seven questions as a building habit in young (and old) learners. What if a menu of prompts like these, and others, became more integrated into the home learning that we expect from our students and colleagues at our schools? So, to explore this wondering, I am assigning the questions and prompts first and foremost to myself. And I have invited other members of my tribe to enter into this experiment with me. I cannot wait to see all that I/we learn.

#MustRead Shares (weekly)

  • tags: schedule School Change #MustRead

    • the very existence of Community Time in the schedule sends an important implicit message to students: “We, your teachers, don’t set the agenda for everything that’s important to learn
    • The practice they have gained through Community Time has contributed in part to the success of a new, student-led Community Standards Committee in which students drive topics such as the gender-appropriateness­ of our dress code, raise cultural awareness around identity, and work with the dean of students to address our more serious disciplinary matters. The success of that group, in turn, drives the administration to consider other, bolder means of teaching through experiences and developing programs that reflect the understanding of cognitive science. Ultimately, Community Time is not a final product, but a meaningful step in an ongoing effort to ensure that we are teaching in every aspect of our school day, not just in the classroom.
  • tags: designthinking design_thinking design thinking PBL #mustread #mvifishares atlanta iDiploma

    • I think that this proved further that students should be the ones solving the world’s problems.
    • create a student-led design challenge
    • a bunch of high school students who had never met before can come together and discuss as well as come up with solutions to Atlanta’s biggest problems. This shows that students are capable of a lot more than most adults give them credit for.
  • tags: designthinking design_thinking design thinking School Change schooldesign schoolreform #mvifishares #MustRead

    • We need to look at the world around us and consider what global problems modern society will need our children to solve.
    • America needs massive change in our understanding of the learning experience, not simply in our exam results.
    • to change the world, we need a generation of new minds equipped with new ways of thinking.
    • Prototype Design Camp was created by Christian Long, a visionary educator, to introduce and infuse design thinking skills into the K-12 landscape.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

REFLECTION: 7 Questions, April 29, 2016

7 Questions to End Your Week - HW

OBSERVE: What pleasant surprises did I discover this week?

This week, like most weeks, a number of different events and experiences occurred. About ten college and university representatives came to MVPS to participate in a design thinking challenge with us related to showcasing unique stories of achievement and accomplishment. In mid week, two of our Innovation Diploma cohort members shared their Senior MoVe Talks as they ready to graduate soon. And the school published a longer-form article about four iDiploma members who participated in an event hosted by re:imagineATL to creatively hack some significant Atlanta challenges. So, my pleasant surprise was the degree to which iDiploma cohort members expressed deep learning as the result of their evolution of understanding in the program. Certainly, I believe in the power of the program and our methods. But when teens express sophisticated understanding of how the work is “altering our DNA” I get surprisingly giddy.

REFLECT: What lessons did my work teach me that I could build upon next week?

My work continues to teach me that a thousand small conversations and actions are necessary to build shared understanding and collaborative togetherness toward solving for complex challenges and vision achievements. The murmurations of an advanced flock of educators require significant trust and dedication to fly as a unit.

FOCUS: Are my short-term efforts and long-term goals sill aligned?

I try to provide servant leadership primarily in two roles at School – the Chief Learning and Innovation Officer and the Executive Director of MVIFI. Recently, I have been working with a small group of individuals to reposition and realign various aspects of each job so that I can continue to strive for my highest point of contribution. We have dialed up certain parts of one role and dialed down other aspects of another. I believe the systems situations involved create an intricate web of desired and unintended consequences. Yet, I think the efforts committed this week help forward the long-term goals of deep educational transformation and mission realization.

BE PRODUCTIVE: What could I have spent more or less time doing?

For the first time in weeks, I actually accomplished all of the items on my OmniFocus lists without having to defer any to a later date. That felt good from a task orientation. At the same time, I wish that a particular fuse16 project had been completed a couple of months ago, so I could have been more diligent about leading that item to a state of done that is necessary for my team. Always, I wish I had spent more time in various classrooms observing the work of our School.

HAVE COURAGE: How did fear and uncertainly affect what I did and didn’t do?

I fear a bit that my work might threaten some positive sense of autonomy in the various divisions as we work toward a right “dynamic balance tension” of whole-school alignment and transition of program threads among divisions. At the same time, I believe such alignment is deeply essential to effective school advancement. I also feared a bit this week how some faculty might respond to the carefully crafted announcement about our Summer+ Learning focus. We work with incredible professionals who are passionate about learning, and I deeply desire for our collaborative learning focus as a School to be meaningful to and fully “owned” by our faculty.

CLENSE: What mental clutter can I clear?

I can clear the mental clutter associated with thinking that an event’s numbers are very closely related to the quality and impact that an event can have. We can do amazing things with a relatively “small” group of committed and passionate people.

BEGIN ANEW: What is the first logical step for next week?

Create the pro forma for a multi-year project so that a team can have a clearer sense of several related issues for better decision making on connected fronts.

=====

NOTE: I am venturing into an experiment. I plan to use these 7 Questions to End Your Week as a discipline of regular reflection. I feel very strongly about reflective practice. As John Dewey has taught me, learning is not simply experience, but reflecting on experience. Additionally, I think we neglect a fundamentally important opportunity when we choose to assign “homework” as a school but fail to prompt reflections like these seven questions as a building habit in young (and old) learners. What if a menu of prompts like these, and others, became more integrated into the home learning that we expect from our students and colleagues at our schools? So, to explore this wondering, I am assigning the questions and prompts first and foremost to myself. And I have invited other members of my tribe to enter into this experiment with me. I cannot wait to see all that I/we learn.

Coca-Cola Workplace 2020 – Visit to AOC

What might the world and functions of innovation demand of our workplaces? How might our work environment complement – even promote and spur – the activities and necessities of an organization striving to innovate? Such questions are a major line of investigation for me and for the school where I am blessed to work – Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. And so, we explore and research in order to learn.

On Friday, April 15, 2016, I was fortunate to visit and tour the Coca-Cola Atlanta Office Complex (AOC). Thanks to friend Rodney Drinkard, who works in security and risk-management at Coke, I ventured into the Workplace 2020 transformation happening at Coca-Cola corporate headquarters, and I was accompanied by colleagues Blair Peterson, Head of Upper School, and Rosalyn Merrick, Chief Philanthropy Officer, at Mount Vernon. The time at Coke’s AOC was invaluable and incredibly thought provoking. They are doing tremendous work there to leverage brand and culture to transform space…and to create a virtuous cycle for space to build brand and culture even more purposefully.

As detailed in Design Leveraged,

Enter Workplace 2020, a massive project to instill Coke’s facility with a sense of optimism matching what consumers feel when they see the brand’s polar bears or hilltop singers. That may all sound touchy-feely, but this project is far from a feel-good exercise; the goal is to increase brand value, grow product lines faster and boost the bottom line.

From the very beginnings of our Coke tour, I was reminded of my recent visit to IDEO in San Francisco. At IDEO, the office is intentionally designed to facilitate creative collisions for collaborators. Similarly, at Coke AOC, the Workplace 2020 transformation, partly informed by input from IDEO, seeks to purposefully facilitate such creative collisions and collaborations, too. With innovation stemming from networking and associative thinking, an environment that supports bond-making rather than isolated task-doing promotes the conditions needed for enhanced innovation. Overall, the surroundings at Coke are constructed so that people will benefit from the principle of “we are smarter than me.” While individual space still exists in great quantity, the quality and number of spaces to meet, work together, share and collaborate are superb.

Two of the many things that impressed and intrigued me:

  1. The brand qualities of optimism, happiness, and sharing a Coke with a friend were expressed as part of the physical architecture and decor. The space felt alive with the culture that Coke works to exude.
  2. The degree of prototyping going on was tremendous! There were future product prototypes in numerous places, and the Workplace 2020 team was utilizing experimental space to conduct user tests for various configurations and work-pattern sites.

The photo gallery below contains my image captures from the fabulous visit to Coke AOC. I know that there will be countless views that I make to this gallery as the team at MVPS continues to research and design according to our principle and practice, “Learning demands interactive and flexible spaces.”

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