Darn it. It’s my blog, and I’ll write if I want to!

It’s happened again. An acquaintance of mine told me that I was writing too much on my blog. She said that I was annoying her with how much I post. If you have been a regular reader of It’s About Learning, you may remember that I have written about this before. In fact, similar feedback from another friend played a part in me starting the “CHANGEd: What if…60-60-60” series.

Such feedback – that I write too much – puts me in an interesting space. I try to be a poster child for practices of empathy. I often fail, but I constantly and continuously try to grow as an empathic thinker and doer. I can appreciate what someone is saying when they tell me that I annoy them with how much I post some days. Often I struggle to keep up with my own reading. However, there is something much deeper and richer happening within me.

I think back to my most influential and supportive and encouraging teachers. They ALL encouraged me to write more. Now, on particular pieces of writing, they all provided me with periodic feedback about taking away and reducing my writing on a particular piece. But in total, they ALL encouraged me to write more. They said that writing is thinking. They taught me that those who write regularly develop a better sense of what they think and understand. They provided me with insight that daily writing is like daily exercise – we grow stronger from the regular routine of writing and thinking daily.

I cannot imagine telling a student of mine that they are writing too much as a total practice. I cannot imagine getting to peek into the journaling and sketching of a writer – of a thinker – and telling her that she is writing and sketching and thinking too much.

My most influential teachers wanted me to be a lifelong learner and thinker. Mrs. Webb, Mrs. Fuller, Mr. Brewbaker, Dr. Butters, Dr. Cook, and Dr. Pajares – they all encouraged me to draw, write, sketch, journal, try, fail, try again, reiterate, prototype, and construct meaning.

So, I’m going to keep writing and sharing at the pace that I feel is appropriate for my thinking. I hope that doesn’t make me stubborn or obnoxious. I pray it does not make me seem non-empathetic. But I have a lot to learn in my second half of life. I have a lot of thinking to do. I have a lot of doing to think. I have to keep writing. I desperately want to be one of the solutions finders. To contribute to that team. I’m going to keep pushing.

If you are experiencing a filter issue, then I am happy to help in other ways. I have some experience and learning to share about how to manage a vigorous reading stream. But, I’m not going to slow down my writing and thinking. I’m mostly writing for my own thinking and learning. But I do it “out loud” so that my nodes of thinking might connect with those of others. Even when I receive no comments, I find the writing incredibly helpful to my thinking and understanding. But…when I receive even one comment on my blog, something magic happens. I get stretched, encouraged, challenged, and supported. I get feedback, pushback, and reciprocal questioning.

And I grow.

I’m gonna keep growing. I’m gonna keep writing. I’m gonna keep thinking and trying to understand. And I’m here to help if I can about how people filter and control the flow at their end of the faucet. But I’m gonna keep water in the pipes for those who want to open the flow.

Murmurations on Schools of the Future #WhatIfWeekly

Openness. Schools that embrace it and welcome it will thrive. Schools that resist it or imagine that they can control it will struggle significantly.

In sequel to yesterday’s post, I offer this #MustWatch TED Talk by Don Tapscott. Brilliant! In 17 minutes, Tapscott summarizes the essential path points to thriving as a school of the future:

  1. Collaboration
  2. Transparency
  3. Sharing
  4. Empowerment

From the admin to the teachers, from the students to the parents…from the interior to the exterior, from the past to the future – the four principles above will define the schools of the future and the future of schools.

If you are serious about enhancing and improving education and school, watch Don Tapscott’s TED. Be a part of, not apart from, the murmuration.

Synergy-PBL: Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom #CFTSI12 (After 3) Coffee and Dessert: What Will Sweeten Your Teaching After #CFTSI12?

On Monday and Tuesday, June 25-26, Bo Adams and Jill Gough facilitated a ten-hour workshop on PBL at The Center for Teaching Summer Institute (#CFTSI12 on Twitter). With this post (see below the bulleted list), we are hoping to encourage and support the most important part of any conference or institute for professional learning – the “taking-things-back-to-school-to-enhance-learning” part.

Synergy-PBL: Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom #CFTSI12 (After 3)
Coffee and Dessert: What Will Sweeten Your Teaching After #CFTSI12?
(180 Days of Possibility in 2012-13 – Keeping the Conversation Going)

CHALLENGE: Many believe that this is actually the best part of the meal. The #CFTSI12 for Synergy and PBL is complete, but the fun, decadent portion has just begun. As we all know, peak learning tends toward project-based experiences, and students long remember the sweetness of the projects that they taste and savor. Additionally, Steven Johnson advocates for coffeehouse environments that create the conditions for great conversations and colliding hunches. So…let’s feed our sweet tooth and share in those magical after-diner-coffee conversations. When (not if!) you implement PBL with your student learners, share the plates and cups with the entire table – POST your writing, resources, insights, and struggles regarding your PBL implementations. If you have a blog, please consider cross-posting to Synergy2Learn as a contributing author. If you don’t have a blog of your own, we still invite you to post to our collective-wisdom site for PBL – Synergy2Learn.

  1. When you are ready to share and contribute, email Jill and Bo, and we will set you up as “contributors” to the Synergy2Learn PBL blog.
  2. After you are set up as a contributing author, you can keep on posting about your pursuits and accomplishments with PBL.
  3. Even if you did not physically participate in the #CFTSI12 for Synergy and PBL, this offer still applies!


Coming Soon…

Amazing stories of PBL experiments, implementations, and accomplishments from our #CFTSI12 participants and blog readers (hopefully!)…

[Cross-posted on Experiments in Learning by Doing and Synergy2Learn]

CHANGEd: What if we committed to visiting our peers more often? 60-60-60 #47

Thanks to Megan Howard’s riffs on the 60-60-60, I am bumping a scheduled post. She has me thinking about interdependence and making certain that we close the gap between metaphors and action. In fact, schooling has been a very silo-ed endeavor for practitioners…for a LONG time. Kathy Boles, at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, calls school the egg-crate culture (think of a school building and the dozen eggs in your frig!).

So…how do we school folk work to become interconnected, interdependent practitioners? How do we take action to become more advanced professionals? One major, critical step is simply to visit each other’s classrooms. Yep. In fact, if anyone thinks that the Junior High School where I currently work has moved closer to 21st C education in the last decade, I would argue that the journey really began with peer visits – just committing to visiting each other’s classrooms and practices on a regular basis.

If you say that your school and your teachers are great, then take advantage of the single most valuable professional resource that you have at your immediate, daily disposal…take advantage of having each other just steps away. Connections don’t just happen…we make them happen.

Go. Do. Visit. Share. Learn. Grow. [Rinse & Repeat!] It’s good for the head and the heart! And with practice, the mindset spreads, other interdependent innovations emerge, and the ripples in the pond radiate outward. The tribe bonds and grows.

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

CHANGEd: What if we really engaged storytelling? 60-60-60 #3

What if…we really engaged storytelling? In A Whole New Mind, Dan Pink declares the invaluable nature of story. Countless experts implore us to develop storytelling’s power in communicating. On Thursday, @epdobbs and I participated in NPR’s StoryCorp. This priceless experience keeps me thinking about how to utilize story more deliberately in our educational designs and transformational efforts to enhance school.

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