Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Amazing Learning at MassCUE 2014: Day One

MassCUE 2014 Inspired Creativity
Yes, my head is spinning with new ideas from the first day of MassCUE #2014.

The first takeaway came from meeting Plymouth educator, Linda Lonergan. Linda is helping her staff prep for PARCC. All the teachers at her school took the test, then Linda graciously shared with me her vocabulary lists of PARCC words--an important share since teachers in her system felt that a lot of the vocabulary was new.

The end of the day brought me back to PARCC prep too as I attended Carol Trulli and Brenda Lomanno's presentation on Flubaroo Script and Google Forms. As noted by one of the attendees at the workshop, this is one more way to prep students for PARCC and also efficiently assess students' learning.  They provided great notes and a website to follow. I look forward to using this soon.

The keynote, Steve Gross, Chief Playmaker Life is Good, was wonderfully insightful and inspirational. At the bottom of the page, I added a Storify of my tweets during that talk.  Words I will want to look back on in the days ahead.

Gross discussed "in the box" and "out of box" ideas. 
I was so inspired by Gross that I attended his follow-up session which included the following points to ponder:
  • Perhaps we need more assessments, broader assessments as what gets measured, gets done.
  • Gross and his team have created play assessments. A colleague has offered to look those up and share.
  • Successful teachers have a sense of play. 
  • He recommended the book, The Advantage, as a source of good information for organizational health. 
  • We discussed "in the box" change, "out of the box" change, and "way out of the box" change--nice distinctions with regard to perception and action. He noted that "out of the box" and "way out of the box" change requires team, collaboration, and working together. 
  • He also identified the distinction between "snake brain" which is all about survival, "mammalian brain" which is concerned with connection, and the human brain or prefrontal cortex which is where school as we know it and knowledge attainment occurs. He noted that if we don't care for snake brain and mammalian brain, we can't learn. There are lots of implications here for how we build positive structures, schedules, climate, and culture at school.
  • He shared the quote, "Pay attention to the little things because one day you may realize those are the big things."
  • Gross prompted us to think and act with greater creativity, and shared a number of good ideas such as "news ball," his dad's "calculus of every day living," "the high five tension breaker," and dance to offset stress and bring people together. 
  • He reminded us of the fact that some of the work we are most committed to and passionate about will not be finished, but will contribute to progress. Even progress that's not visible can lead to positive progress. 
  • He relayed research about burnout that showed when human service workers see themselves as helpers who give it the best they have and are members of team ("one is none") burnout is less likely to occur. Burnout occurs when people feel they have to rescue and save which is often an unreasonable expectation. 
Lunchtime found us talking shop as teachers from our district discussed ideas for better practice and share. It was interesting to hear stories and ideas from teachers I admire, but that I rarely get to see or talk to due to the distance between our buildings, schedules, and other commitments. 

After lunch I shared my presentation. I hope it was helpful to the audience as I always find it more difficult to share when I don't have a personal connection and I'm meeting people for the first time. It's that personal connection and student coaching that makes the teaching inviting at school.  This is a link to my presentation if you'd like to take a look. 

It was wonderful to see people from my Twitter PLN in real time including Dori Kondradki and Joe Scozzaro @joesco77 One great draw to this conference is the many amazing and committed educators you meet. I started the day with a great interchange with a vendor from my hometown and ended the day with a nice conversation with a couple of teachers from North Attleboro. 

This Storify captures points from Gross's keynote that captured my attention as well as a few other nuggets of gold from today's MassCUE conference. There was probably a glow outside of Gillette Stadium today due to all the great learning and share happening--learning that we'll be able to bring back to our schools to positively impact students. I'll post again tomorrow with highlights from another day of learning.

More Notes: MassCUE Day Two 2014