Friday, January 27, 2017

Full Brain Leads to Summer Study List

Full brain happens to students and educators. It's that feeling that your brain is at its limit, and there's little room for new ideas at the moment. In a sense, that's where I am now. As far as this school year, my team and I are employing a considerable number of new ideas, ideas we read about, discussed, and planned months ago and now efforts we are putting into place. The details related to implementing these efforts are considerable, and to do a good job with the new efforts we are engaging with takes considerable brain time and energy. Currently those relatively new ideas include the following:
  • Cultural proficiency efforts to deepen our educator, student, family, administrator team
  • Frederick Douglass' Study/African American History Museum Field Study
  • Math/STEAM Lab creation/organization
  • Embedding Boaler research into the math program
  • Use of sensitive accommodations, strategic process, and support to support every child's positive learning. (We are employing a new model of teacher meetings in this regard)
  • Efforts to review and update scheduling as we continue to build our shared teaching model for best impact and teaching
  • Potentially elevating the strategic process we use to create and make decisions by inviting a coach to lead us in "hosting conversations" efforts at our PLC.
  • Updating our blended learning efforts and impact.
As soon as "full brain" occurs during the school year, I start to create the summer study list--a list of topics I'll study when I have the luxury of an open mind and time to learn, imagine, and create. This summer's study will continue to grow, but for now it will include the following:
  • Gaining special educator professional development points at the MTA Summer Conference. This is a state requirement and one that I'll meet. As I take this, I'll focus mostly on the kinds of accommodations we can put into place to better support all learners.
  • Continued reading and study of Emdin's book, For White Teachers. . . This book has much to offer and I will continue to read and study Emdin's words as I think about the school year ahead.
  • Continued efforts to grow our teaching/learning program with regard to cultural proficiency by learning about ways to introduce students to cultures represented in our school community. This year we built our efforts to represent African American cultures, and next year I'd like to develop our inclusion of East Asian and/or Central/South American cultures through reading, writing, field studies, and/or expert visitors. 
  • Continued efforts to update our STEAM curriculum in ways that create responsible planetary citizens. I want to revisit this work in the spring and think about how some tools and resources may help us to better meet this curriculum goal. I started the year with this hope, but then was rerouted due to a number of systemwide priorities that took precedence.
This is a post I'll revisit in the next few weeks and months as I reflect more about the study to come.