Day1: Never Stop Growing

Today the teachers have begun to come back. I may have been singing The Boys are Back in Town this morning. We welcomed back some of our teacher leaders. I will be spending the next two and half weeks leading(learning) professional learning for various groups of educators. I realize that great PD causes the leader to learn as well as the audience. I am committing myself to pause and reflect on what I learned.

Session: George Couros


My favorite moment: When he called me out for using the giant post-it notes. We do all this work, and then we never capture the notes from them. I can do better. I had a PD planned for next week, and I am adjusting to make better and resource for teachers. I saw several great ideas on how to engage a large audience. I will

My Next Steps: I had a half day PD  planned for next week, had being the key word. My goal is to get rid of the giant post-it notes. I plan on being transparent about my new learning and how I adapted it based on my new learning. If I don’t grow and apply my learning, why should I ask others to do it.

Thanks, George Couros for pushing me to grow!



Advice: Is it useful?

My current read is giving me so much to think about.  The book is Quiet Leadership by David Rock.  He is also the author who inspired by previous post.  I am only 18 pages in and I have some action steps because it.  Join me in this journey as learn with this book.

The image below really spoke to me because my district is in the process of implementing the PLC process and have spent time talking about mission, visions and values.  I know some people are like “move on already,” but this image really gets to why we need to think about what lies underneath the surface.  Also if you focus on the results, you ignore all the other things, you won’t get anywhere because it is only the tip.


Another big take away is that no two brains are exactly alike.  It explains my frustration when I share space (physical or virtual) that needs to be organized.  So often, it takes me longer to find something because I have to figure out how the person was thinking when the put something somewhere.

Our environment literally shapes the physical nature of the our brains; therefore our brains are already quite different to each other’s at birth.

He therefore suggest that advice is useless because we are telling people what we do and it does not what they would do.  Below are two of my favorite quotes about this:

Highly successful, intelligent people are blind to the fact that they are trying to do make connections for people, assuming their brains are similar enough for this to work.

Doing the thinking for other people is not just a waste of our own energy; it also gets in the way of other people working out the right answers.

What does this mean for me in my role? What are my next steps?

I am going to work on not giving advice as if they are me. I want to ask questions to prompt thinking and let others make their own connections.  I am going to be observant as I work in reflective conversation with others.  Are they making connections?  Are they doing the thinking?

The other section I read was about how our brain uses experiences to hard wire our brain and these hard wires drive our perception.   I think this is important.  As leaders, we can change a person perception because it is his/her reality.  This hard wiring is double edged sword.  It allows us understand the information rich world with without being overwhelmed, but also allows us to defend our mental model against overwhelming evidence of the contrary.

Here’s a gem from that section:

Perhaps you have noticed that when we are for an idea we are more likely to allow tenuous links to become fact, and when we are against an idea we see even strong evidence as irrelevant.

So I could draw some connections for you, but remember I am letting others think and  draw their own connections.

EdCamp comes to Monroe Monday!


I have been so inspired by the EdCamp movement so…I convinced my principal that we should use the morning for EdCamp Monroe.  Actually, I asked and he said “Yes!”  Have I mentioned that my principal is awesome because he allows me to try new things?

I jumped in with both feet reading amazing blog posts about how to in school.  I modeled our EdCamp after Joe Mazza and Christopher Wooleyhand.  Here is Joe’s post and here is Christopher’s post.

With my principal, we developed the 3 areas of focus: Boys Town Well-Managed Classroom, Academics; and Technology.  So I sent an Google Form to the faculty asking about what they wanted to learn more about.  On Friday, I shared our agenda via Google Docs.  Here it is below:

Time IMC Location #2 Location #3 Location #4
8-8:20AM Discussion Leader Sign-up/Chromebook use Everyone
8:20-8:35AM Session Groundrules / Q & A Everyone
8:35-9:10AM Session #1 Planned teaching-TJ
9:15-9:40AM Session # 2 Planned teaching-TJ
9:45-10:20AM Session # 3 Planned teaching-TJ
10:25-11:00AM Take aways & Ah-has! Everyone

Everyone will attend one of TJ’s session.  This is a replacement for Wednesday’s meeting.  The other choices are yours.  If you might want to help with discussions, begin thinking about what you have to offer on these topics.

Other Possible Topics:

  • Smartboards 101
  • Smartboards Advanced
  • Tier II plans
  • Excel/Google Sheets
  • Reading Mastery
  • Math Facts
  • Math Small groups
  • Collaborative Structures in math and reading
  • Independent work
  • Time management-for independent reading/Data notebooks
  • Treasures
  • Positive and negative consequences

As teachers eat some amazing breakfast pizza, they will log on to Chromebooks and sign-up to be discussion leaders.  We already have a folder on Drive to add notes and to backchannel communicate.

At the end, I will send out a survey with these key questions:

  1. What did you like about our EdCamp?
  2. What are your next steps based on what you learned?
  3. What are suggestions for a future EdCamp?

The morning will be full of new learning for all of us.  I can’t wait to share what I learned from the brilliant people that work with me.  Hopefully, I will be able to sleep tonight!