To help encourage conversations and dialogue about opening up opportunities, fostering empowerment, and expanding the imaginations for our students and their hopes/wishes, our topic/question for the week is: What is one thing we can do at Blake to help open up more opportunities for our students? Opening Up Opportunities (Week of 10/29/17) (This is an anonymous Google Form)
Blake's Guiding Lights
Blake's Core Values: Respect, Responsibility, Resourcefulness, Reflection
Our Essential Question: How can we cultivate and curate the progression of student learning and growth?
Our Mission: Blake Middle School believes in a living mission statement, based on the concept that our community seeks and respects knowledge, integrity, character, wisdom, and the willingness to adapt to a continually evolving world.
With a lovely stretch of weather to end the week, it was nice to get outside and enjoy the New England fall. After a nice run with the MHS X-Country team Friday afternoon, I took the kids to the Medfield-Falmouth playoff football game and enjoyed watching the win. Saturday was spent at pre-Halloween festivities - the annual Spookerfest soccer gala and a nice get-together with friends for their Spooky Trail potluck family party. Our Sunday afternoon included final prep for costumes and some pumpkin carving - always fun!
- What are the attributes we believe are important for all Blake teachers to embody?
- What are the attributes we hope all Blake students will embody when they leave Blake?
- What helps you learn? (asked of students and staff)
- How can we empower our students?
- As educators, who is our audience?
- Whose voice isn't heard in many of our conversations as educators? (I am borrowing/stealing this question from Dr. Ruha Benjamin - see below)
- What is the most authentic way to assess student learning?
- What are true measures of student learning and growth?
- How do I want to be assessed as a learner?
I look forward to sharing with our staff and community some of the ideas presented by Andy Hargreaves and Dr. Ruha Benjamin (keynote at Day 1 of #MassCue17), as they both directly relate to the work we are doing across the spectrum of our initiatives. I invite everyone to engage in these ideas and questions as they help us to examine our own thinking and beliefs and, in turn, both validate and adjust our practices. With the spirt of sharing in place, I have shared some thoughts, notes, and posts below from a couple of the presentations so that we can all learn and discuss together and openly. They are in no particular order, and some may need more explanation than others, but my sharing also holds me accountable - so, please be sure to do that as the path towards progress is not always linear and clear and we need each other to move forward...
Challenge Success - The Well-Balanced Student (Notes) - Jon Kleiman
- Whose voice isn’t heard?
- What does a successful school look like?
- Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students by Denise Clark Pope (interesting to note this was written in 2003)
- How useful does your homework feel?
- Importance of sleep
- Are we addressing symptoms or the problem?
- Is the focus on grades/achievement or learning/mastery?
- Health tolls from this stress (sleep deprivation, lack of resilience, anxiety and depression, bullying, drug abuse, …)
- Is it possible to have balance in today’s fast-paced culture?
- Rigor vs Vigor
- Chores are good for kids - empathy
- Hour before bed - no media…
- Playtime, Downtime, Family Time (PDF)
- Free Reading…
- SPACE - Students’ schedule & use of time; Project & Problem-Based Learning; Alternative & Authentic Assessment; Climate of care; Education
- David Brooks - resume virtues vs eulogy virtues (The Moral Bucket List)
(Majority of bullets below are from Ruha Benjamin's keynote)
- Need to question the purpose of various types of technologies
- Need to talk about the purpose of educators - build collective purpose
- We often ask our students to amputate what is most important to them to do well in school - in order to fit the square box
- How do we enliven and regenerate their purpose?
- Empathy and understanding of the world is critical
- Is school a place where we can talk and learn about what is most meaningful?
- Young people are saying ‘you need to meet us halfway’
- Can we regenerate empathy?
- Does it have to end at the biological and physiological?
- Let’s begin to hone a broader imagination
- 5 tools (SHALT)
- Social Literacy -
- Historical Literacy
- Affective Acuity
- Linguistic Reflexivity
- Technological Humility - coming up with fixes (outsourcing decisions that humans would be making - we are missing something)
- Overserved - is underserved a word?
- Learning to Walk Together
- If we can imagine it, we can create it
- Making happens everywhere
- How do we scale innovation?
- In a few words how would you describe an innovative learning environment?
- What is the problem that this is going to address? (whatever it may be)
- What types of teaching do we want to see?
- How does it align to what we are doing?
- Pillars of Future Ready Learning: Personalized Learning, Deeper Learning, Enhanced Assessments, Digital Citizenshipo
- Support and encourage early adopters
- Evaluating Progress and Sustaining Innovation
And, two posts that hold significant meaning and implications for our work - fostering moonshot thinkers and prepping our students to lose their jobs...
Creating Tomorrow’s Moonshot Thinkers
by Justin Aglio and Esther Wojcicki in Getting Smart
This post highlights the Montour School District in the greater Pittsburgh area, particularly the construction/vision/philosophy of one of its elementary schools. I love the language/concept of fostering 'moonshot thinkers'.
As John F. Kennedy eloquently stated in a 1961 speech about space travel, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Moonshots in education involve goals that are difficult, perhaps seemly impossible, to achieve; however, we need these now and in the future to prepare our students for success.
Today’s students will enter an automated economy to do jobs we can’t even imagine. Please join Montour and millions of educators around the world in encouraging them to become moonshot thinkers. Together, we can impact the future of education to make all students successful.
Preparing Students to Lose Their Jobs
by Heather McGowan & Chris Shipley based upon a prior article with Alan Ritacco in LinkedIn
I found this post to be eye-opening, transformative, and affirming as it sheds light on an important perspective/glance at the future for our students. The authors highlight and discuss the impact of atomization, automation, and augmentation on the workforce dynamics. The 'Agile Mindset' is a mindset we should be discussing, exploring, and implementing for our students and staff (Empathy, Divergent Thinking, Entrepreneurial Outlook, and Social and Emotional Intelligence). This is a must-read for parents, educators, students, and the greater community.
If you are a young college graduate entering the workforce today, odds are, you’re going to lose your job. Often. In fact, students entering the workforce today can expect to have as many as 17 different jobs in at least five industries, according to The New Work Mindset, a report issued by the Foundation for Young Australians...Just as high-paying social media jobs, for example, were not imagined even a decade ago, how can schools teach skills and knowledge important to jobs we can’t begin to see, let alone understand. And even then, these new jobs might be fleeting. In the not so distant future, chat bots may work along side and potentially replace humans doing the work of social media management. In other words, that social media job that was hard to imagine ten years ago may be completely transformed in the next ten years, if it still exists at all.
It is important to understand, though, that no matter what the number, technology isn’t necessarily replacing jobs; automation of tasks is reshaping what human work entails (although there may be all together less human work). Human work, then, should focus on uniquely human skills enabling human and machine to work side by side, each doing what they do best. This trend has existed throughout history as we create more value with fewer human workers.
Higher education and workforce development have operated like application development; skills are defined in curriculum and applied to the student. . This approach is reaching its useful end. Just like an old computer becomes obsolete, so will this application transfer process Instead, schools need to focus on providing students with an operating system upgrade, developing fundamental abilities to acquire and shed rapidly changing skills requirements (a metaphoric app update). This foundation instills the ability and agency to continuously learn and adapt. This is a big shift in how we think about preparing a workforce.
If students are to thrive, they must learn that job loss is frequent and change is necessary. They will learn best if faculty, too, transform themselves from the sage on the stage to an expedition leader and coach, helping students socially and emotionally build resilience, grit, and adaptability to navigate the unknown waters of the future of work.
Preparing students to lose their jobs, fostering moonshot thinkers, sharing ideas, continually learning, and keeping our ideals and hopes on the forefront of our thoughts and actions - that is an ambitious set of mantras and goals, for sure. I thoroughly believe the challenges we are taking on as a staff and community - with dialogue, pushback, disagreements, and support - will make our students better and improve our practices as educators. They will help to support the opportunities we currently have and also hopefully open up others we may not yet see.
I look forward to the work that lies ahead for all of us.
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