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.

CHANGEd: What if we rethink time and curriculum for grand challenges? 60-60-60 #7

At TEDxAtlanta: Community on Tuesday, I heard many amazing thinkers and doers. Among them, Rhonda Lowry shared the idea that networked literacy is essential – that we must value relational connections over industrial-age containers (like…bell schedules?!). At virtually all the TED and TEDx events, we hear from amazing folks that are making positive differences in the world. What if we tried 1/2 time with the traditional departmentalized subjects and re:purposed the resulting 1/2 time as “grand challenge curriculum.” We could explore and attack the various challenges of our “real world” and benefit mightily from the problem-solving and transdisciplinary studies.

[My word count today is 95. I embrace that failure! Thanks for reading the extra 50+%. I could write for WEEKS and MONTHS just on this topic!]

CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60 Project Explained