The Weather is not the Climate

“Please dad, please!” my youngest, Maggie, begged. “Can I please go play in the snow, it’s winter time now.” She didn’t need to remind me, I was frustrated enough with Mother Nature’s mischievous ways and did not need a reminder from my 5 year old. I explained to her how winter had not really arrived, it was simply a sloppy layer of snow that would quickly melt in a day or two. Mistake. As tears rolled down her cheeks, she pleaded with me to let her go to mini-mountain, a hill in the park at the end of our street. I knew the hill all to well, as I’ve pulled my kids up on many blustery, winter days. “I’m sorry honey,” I explained, “but mini-mountain is too muddy to go sledding on today”. She did not get it, to her, the weather of the day signaled that winter, and all it’s glorious fun, had arrived. Fortunately the forecast is calling for warmer temperatures which means my kids can return to bike riding and playing in the back yard for a few more weeks. It also means I can blow my sprinklers out! Good thing the weather is not the climate!

This unwanted dumping of snow has me thinking about our school climate, and how sometimes the odd storm can roll in. Occasionally things can feel like they have gone sideways in our building, as issue after issue arise. We find ourselves at the end of the day, hair disheveled, a bag of Skittles (therapy candy in my office) in hand, eyes wide, looking at each other and we ask, “what the heck was that about!?!” But are those days, those crazy, whirlwind days where nothing seems to go right, indicative of our school climate? Or are those days simply anomalies like what we have recently gone through with our September snow falls? In his book, Collaborative Leadership, Peter DeWitt (@PeterMDeWittdiscusses school climate. In a section titled, School Climate: The Plate Everything Lies On, Dewitt quotes Jonathan Cohen of the National School Climate Center (yes, it’s actually a real thing). He states that school climate is defined as,

the quality and character of school life. School climate is based on patterns of students’, parents’, and school personnel’s experience of school life and reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures.

The quality and character of school life. As Jesse and I begin to spend more time in your classroom and in the hallways, we are seeing, hearing, and feeling more of this quality and character of school life. I heard many incredible things last week, one of which really stood out to me, and really tugged at my heart strings. At our EA meeting last Thursday, Cora was describing her week, and was talking about her experience working with one of our newest students. The little guy is a very curious fellow, and has really kept Cora on her toes, but it was his outlook on life that she wanted to share with us. I’m paraphrasing, but she said, he’s always so happy. He has every reason not to be, yet every day he is smiling, curious, and full of wonder. If anyone is ever having a tough day they need to spend some time with him and it will brighten their mood. Cora shared this during our round table portion of the meeting, and she could have shared anything, but she chose to share a highlight which had a positive impact on her. She did not choose to complain about something, and I believe this is a reflection of our school climate.

We are a staff that works together to look for the good things around us, and I truly believe it has an impact on how our students view the world around them when they are in our building. When I think about our school climate, the quality and character of school life, I think about things like Cora’s celebration. I think about a boy who has brought in bags and boxes of produce from his own garden. I think about a little Kindergarten student who always has a little gift, even if it’s just a high five, for Miss Corinne. I think about a grade 11 girl who came to my office to share with me how much the entire class enjoyed a substitute teacher they had for some of their classes. I think about the new students that have joined our #WaldheimSchool family this year, and how they are fitting in seamlessly. I think about the community support we are seeing in terms of our SCC and our volunteer coaches. I think about the progress so many of our elementary students have made this year. We are not perfect, but we are sure doing great work and are striving to get better every day.

Take a moment to think about your classes or classroom. How would you describe the climate? How is your classroom climate impacting the overall climate of the school (or as I always ask, how are you part of our story?)? What have been the storms that have popped up, and how have you weathered them? How have you grown from them? As you know, there will always be those moments that leave us scratching our heads, either out of frustration or confusion. It’s a good thing these are not the norm, they are the exception. It’s a good thing the weather is not the climate.

Here’s what is on the horizon for another busy week:

Monday:

  • Briane Saathoff will be coming out for a visit
  • 9 – 12 staff learning meeting (see agenda sent on Friday)
  • Spirit week kicks off

Tuesday:

  • Shantel, Steve, & Bruce at LF meeting
  • SCC meeting (6:30)
  • Spirit week continues

Wednesday:

  • Spirit week continues

Thursday:

  • Terry Fox walk
  • Spirit week continues

Friday:

  • Spirit week concludes with SRC assembly (details coming out this week)

As always, create a great week!

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What Would Dr. Dre Say?

As I was tidying up the dishes my oldest boy, Bobby, who will turn 12 in approximately 3 months, made his way back up stairs from his basement bedroom. He announced to me he was going to practice his piano, something my wife and I try to get him to do on a regular basis. “Our pleading and prodding is paying off” I thought to myself, he was doing what we had hoped he would do, practice! As he sat at the piano and started playing, I noticed this was different, and frankly, it wasn’t that good. As he played it sounded strangely like a cat walking across the keys, as I said, it wasn’t very pleasant. This went on for a short while, and I could sense some frustration in him. “Hey Bobby” I asked from the kitchen, “what are you trying to play?”

“It’s something I heard on a meme on YouTube” he responded. No sooner did he say that, than he was up from the piano bench and running back downstairs to his room. I thought he’d given up due to frustration, however I was surprised to see him return back upstairs, this time with his tablet. He spoke into the Google search engine, asking it to find him information on how to play the song he was trying to replicate from what he had seen and heard. After a couple of quick searches he had found what he was looking for, and as he pressed play I realized what it was he was trying to replicate. If you know me, you know that I’m not a big fan of music by artists like Dr. Dre or Snoop Dogg, it’s just not what I choose to listen to. But my son liked the sound of the piano from the meme and wanted to learn how to play it.

Undaunted, he sat at the piano and tried over and over and over. It was brutal, but he did not give up. He had found a tutorial on YouTube that was guiding him, and he would watch a few seconds, pause it, try to reproduce what the anonymous hands on the video had done, and then he would repeat the process. On and on this went for several minutes, until he nailed it. It came right out of the blue, but what he was playing sounded very much like what he had been listening to. The next thing I heard was real music to my ears, Bobby was so excited that he actually cheered when he recognized that he’d had a break through. I heard things like, “yes!” and “awesome!” As a father, I was proud, and always the teacher, I was so happy to hear my son celebrating his learning.

In that 20 minute span, my son, through no intentions of his own, made me stop to think about what real learning is. It was in those moments that I saw and heard what I wish I could see and hear every single day in every single classroom, not only in our school, but everywhere. Neither my wife, nor I play the piano, but we wanted to give our kids the opportunity to learn, and if they wanted to pursue it, we’d make that happen. So the ingredients were there for him tonight. He was motivated by something that interested him. He had a base knowledge from which to build. He had the tools he needed; those being the piano, his tablet, and the WiFi. He had time and a safe, non-judgmental (remember, I just thought to myself it sounded like a cat on the keys) space in which to work. He also had the freedom to stop when he was satisfied.

I think about the things he didn’t have. He didn’t have assigned music sheets chosen for him. He didn’t have a timer sitting on the piano, nor did he have a person sitting beside him giving him feedback. He had a video tutor, and his ears provided all the feedback he needed. He was not playing for a grade, he was playing for himself. As he struggled he saw and heard hopewhich was the feedback and encouragement he needed to keep playing. In the end, he had success.

Scenes like this play out all over the place, time and again. You see it at skate parks where boys and girls try and fail at stunts. You see it on playgrounds where kids try to master their skipping while singing, “strawberry shortcake, huckleberry pie….” (it’s in your head now, isn’t it). You see it at the lake where people try and fail to master the art of paddle boarding. If you look, you see it everywhere. But, do you see it where it matters most? In the classroom.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by!

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Let’s Go for Coffee

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love a good cup of coffee. It can be iced or hot, black or fancied up, I just love the whole coffee experience. This was one of the pleasant surprises when I began working in Waldheim, the wonderful coffee shop, Departures. It has become a favorite place for me to pop in for a cappuccino or a latte, and while it would be easier and cheaper for me to simply brew a cup at work, there are a couple things that keep me going back. The two things that bring me back day after day are the art and the atmosphere, and recently I was thinking about what great teachers are doing in their rooms that are similar to what’s happening at Departures.

First, the art. I have an espresso maker at home, and buy good coffee, usually from Starbucks or McQuarries Tea and Coffee Merchants. When I’m craving a good cup of coffee, I dig out my maker, the coffee, the milk, and some flavoring syrup. I load up the portafilter, tamp it down, and begin to brew. After the shots are pulled, I begin steaming some milk, making sure to create some foam for the top. Once this is all done, I put it all together, and sit down to enjoy my creation. Every time I make a coffee this way I think to myself, “well, it’s okay, but it’s no Departures”. While the baristas at Depatures or Starbucks are using machines that are much higher quality, I believe it’s something more than that. It’s the art that they bring to their creations, and it’s an art that has been learned and honed over many, many pulls. It’s the same way I feel when I get to watch the incredible work that is going on in our classrooms. There is an art to the way Glen moves effortlessly through the shop that makes every student feel like they are important to him. There is an art to the way Steve captures every student with his combination of wisdom and wit. There is an art to the way Trace makes every athlete in his gym classes feel like they can do it. There is an art to the way our teachers and EAs do what they do. As you think about yourself as an artist, who have and continue to be your mentors? Who do you think you are impacting?

Second, the atmosphere. There are many coffee shops from franchises like Starbucks to local shops like City Perks, and while they all try to bring their own unique twist to this industry, they also all have things in common. Coffee shops are more than a place to quickly grab a cup to go, they are places where people go to meet friends, to work, to read, or just to relax. It would seem strange to go to a coffee shop today and not have access to free Wi-Fi while sitting in a comfortable chair with a plug-in handy. It would seem strange if there were no music playing and no art hanging on the walls. And of course, it would seem very strange if there were no friendly, knowledgeable baristas there to greet us and share their art with us. It’s the same way I feel when I get to walk into your incredible classrooms. The way Sharlene has made her room a safe, caring place for kids to explore and wonder. The way Katie and Cara have created environments that are like the fertile ground of a garden, just waiting for the kids to plant their seeds of learning on the walls to share with others. The way Ellen spends hours making what could be a sterile science lab into a place where the kids feel welcome and are encouraged to wonder. The way Joanne and Brenda take their smaller canvases and create beautiful spaces for some of our most vulnerable students to feel safe. The way Jamie and her crew work tirelessly to make sure the school is safe, tidy, and inviting. As you think about your room, what have you been intentional of as you’ve tried to create an atmosphere suited to bringing MPSC to life? How will you know if your ‘customers’ are satisfied?

My friend, George Couros (@gcouros) often speaks about his incredible parents, and how they created a thriving restaurant business in Humboldt by keeping things like this in mind. They created a successful business by caring about their customers and serving great food. How can you use the model of a successful coffee shop or restaurant to make your students’ learning experiences the best they can be? 

Look at your learning space with 21st century eyes: Does it work for what we know about learning today, or just for what we know about learning in the past?
Sir Ken Robinson
The Third Teacher (2010)

…now I’m craving a coffee!

Here’s what lies ahead this week

Monday:

  • K – 4 staff meeting (agenda)
  • Classroom visits: listening to the learning

Tuesday:

  • Grade 8 bike trip
  • Bruce & Jesse at ALT, Steve acting admin

Wednesday:

  • Classroom visits: listening to the learning

Thursday:

  • Classroom visits: listening to the learning
  • Meet the Family BBQ (4:30 – 6:30)

Friday:

  • Classroom visits: listening to the learning

As always, create a great week!

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The Ritual of Reflection. June 4 – 11

Evan battles for 3rd place in his heat.

“You go, I’ve got it. Things will be fine here.” These were the words that met me Friday morning as I arrived at the school. Jesse knew I was planning on heading up to Prince Albert to watch our provincial track athletes, however due to circumstances, I felt I should stay at the school. He reassured me he had already arranged the day, and felt that it was important that I go and cheer on our students in their events. So, I hopped back in my vehicle, pointed it north, and up to PA I went, ready to cheer on our kids in what I was anticipating would be a cold, rainy, and windy day. I am so glad I was able to watch a few races, the kids were amazing, and it will be fun to add some new names to our provincial track banners!

This weekend was a good reminder of the importance of rituals, and working together, as the kids and I had a lot going on. Krista was busy volunteering with the Girl Guides at Buster Days on Saturday, and working at the hospital on Sunday. This meant I was in charge of the kids, and as I said, we were busy, busy, busy. On Saturday morning we once again took part in what has become an important ritual to my son, Bobby, as we attended the annual Buster Days pancake breakfast. Every year we do this, and every year I am amazed at how important this is to him. After all, it’s not like this is a gourmet breakfast, it’s mass produced pancakes and sausage served with weak lemonade and lukewarm coffee.

Eva & I had a blast doing this one.

Whatever it is, it’s a ritual, and it is important to him, therefor it’s important to me. After the breakfast we returned home, and given that the weather wasn’t the greatest, we decided to get to some crafts the kids had been waiting to work on. Eva, Charlie, and Maggie had bought some wooden bird houses at Michaels earlier this year, and have been waiting and waiting to get the chance to paint them. Eva painted away, inviting me to add my design to her house, while Charlie and Maggie were busy slopping on gobs of color here and there. It was a great time, and in the end the houses ended up looking pretty cute, maybe even inviting enough for a bird or two!

When you think about the important rituals and teamwork that happen at our school, what is it that comes to mind? Is it the annual celebration of excellence that you think of? Is it the difficult process of saying goodbye to your class? Is it the process of preparing final progress reports? Maybe it’s the opportunity to share all the great things about your kids during our transition meetings. What ever it is, I truly hope that one of the rituals you take time for is reflectionToo often, we get caught up in the hectic nature of June as we try to get everyone across the finish line in one piece. I’d invite you to take a bit of time to think about everything you’ve accomplished this year. Celebrate the great work you have done, and think back to your presentation, and how proud you were to share what you were working on. I’d also invite you to think about how you have brought My Prairie Spirit Classroom to life in our school this year. As I walk the halls and visit classrooms, I’m amazed at how effortless you all make it look, and I’m enthused by the constant desire to get better and better. Finally, as you reflect, think about how you want to grow as a professional, and think about what it could look like next year after you have successfully accomplished your goal(s).

With four weeks to go, there is a lot of work yet to be done, here’s what lies ahead for next week:

Monday:

  • K – 6 swimming, day 1
  • Bruce away (pm ~ medical)

Tuesday:

  • 1 – 3 Reading Data due
  • Classroom visits: how do the kids feel they have grown this year? What evidence can they point to?

Wednesday:

  • WHRS 4-6 track and field in Duck Lake (Jesse, Dwayne, Leah attending)
  • Bruce away (pm ~ classroom environment meeting)

Thursday:

  • K – 6 swimming, day 2
  • Classroom visits: how do the kids feel they have grown this year? What evidence can they point to?

Friday:

  • Classroom visits: how do the kids feel they have grown this year? What evidence can they point to?

As always, create a great week!

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It’s Not a Pond, It’s an Ocean! May 22 – 25

As the familiar miles rolled by, the kids continued to ask, “dad, are we almost there?” We’ve been to Waskesiu dozens of times, either on a day trip like we were on Sunday, or for an extended holiday, but each trip is met with the same curiosity on the drive north, “dad, are we there yet?” I have come to expect this question, and have realized the best answer is always the truth, because saying, “just a few minutes” when there is actually close to an hour is usually a tactic that backfires. This past weekend we ventured up to enjoy the amazing weather, and the kids had already planned the entire day. Eat a quick lunch that we threw together before we left, hit the beach with shovels in hand, dig a few holes, throw a few rocks in the water, play on the play structure, grab an ice-cream cone, go on an adventure, then supper and finally, sleep all the way home.

Smoke hangs over Waskesiu Lake.

As we walked towards the main beach it was apparent there was going to be some minor adjustments to the plan, as the parking lot was packed, and the beach was equally crowded. On our last trip the kids had most of the beach to themselves as there were only a few other people crazy enough to venture north before the ice had even started to break up. Just like their names in the sand being wiped away by the water, the kids’ disappointment with the jammed beach quickly disappeared as they found what they considered the perfect location by the water to start their “project”. With shovels in hand they began to dig. Bobby barked orders as the kids brought rocks, and shovel loads of sand to the make shift pond that was taking shape on the beach. The dam was breached several times, but on each occasion the excitement was tempered by team work as they fixed their barrier and continued working. As is the norm with these types of things, be it drawings, snow forts, or Lego creations, I usually am not allowed to inspect their work until they are all satisfied with what they’ve created.

Sunday was the same, I sat patiently by the cooler, enjoying a snack and the sun, until all four of the kids came running up to me to invite me to have a look at their handy work. Not wanting to spoil the fun, I didn’t give away the fact that I’d been watching the whole time, and as I made my way over I saw a pond made from sticks, sand, and rocks. On top the walls were decorated with feathers and more twigs. The kids were so proud of their work, and quickly asked what I thought. As Bobby will attest, I can be a bit of a know-it-all when it comes to things like crafts, snowmen, and sand castles, but today, the only feedback I gave was a resounding, “wow! What a great pond! You guys did awesome”. This was met with Maggie’s response, “it’s not a pond daddy, it’s the ocean!”

My goal for the day was for the kids to have fun outside, to play together without knocking each other over the head with a shovel or pail, and to enjoy their time together. I didn’t share this with them, but from afar I was able to observe, and in the process continue to learn about my kids. It’s becoming more and more apparent that while Bobby is the leader due to his age and ability to do (and reach) things the others cannot, it’s Maggie, my 4-year old who is developing into a leader. By allowing them the time, space, and tools to create as they desired I was able to watch this unfold. Fast-forward to Monday afternoon, and my kids were explaining to their grandma what they had been playing just the day before. She listened and smiled as the kids shared stories of digging holes, making new friends, and getting soaked by other kids jumping in the pon…er, ocean.

As I sat down to write tonight’s blog entry, my mind wandered, wondering what to write about, and how to make it, even slightly, relevant to what we are doing at Waldheim School. The more I thought about it, the more I connected what the kids created on Sunday to what we created this year through our adult learning. Each of us moved through the summer of 2017, wondering to ourselves, “how much longer?”. Each of us approached the year with a general understanding of what lied ahead, but also brought along a degree of uncertainty. Just as the kids had shovels and pails, we had our tools. We had our curriculum, our books, our journals, our colleagues, our PLNs, our LFs, our experience, and our drive. Together we worked to start designing and mapping out our adult learning journey, and together we dug in and started researching, practicing, creating, and ultimately, presenting. I’m proud of the pond we started to build, and the way we have grown together. Sure there were missteps along the way, but as David Guenther would say, there is no learning without failure. As May continues to melt off the calendar, I’m filled with pride with what we created this year, and I truly appreciate the hard work you’ve all put in to get us to this point on our journey. Looking back, I can honestly say we’ve created an amazing pon….ocean of learning.

Here’s what lies ahead for this shortened week:

Tuesday:

  • Grade 8’s at cardboard boat races
  • Facilities department beginning to change out bulbs in gym
  • Classroom visits: what are the kids writing, reading, and talking about?

Wednesday:

  • Bus driver meeting in staff room (9:00 – 9:30)
  • Final preparation for elementary track and field
  • Classroom visits: what are the kids writing, reading, and talking about?

Thursday:

  • Elementary track meet

Friday:

  • District Track (Evan, Trace, Bruce away)

As always, create a great week!

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I Saw This Going Differently! May 7-11

A beautiful Sunday morning, I’m enjoying my coffee as I prepare to pack up the van and hit the road with the kids for what should be a fun day in Waskesiu. We love doing these day trips, the kids have their routine; grab some snacks, a couple of toys, a few books, a bit of arguing out the door, and we’re off. Today I’m hoping the kids get to see Waskesiu in a new way, I’ve never had them there at this time of year, so I’m wondering what they will see and hear. I wonder what they will learn about how their favorite place looks and feels in spring.

The kids made the space their own.

The more we visit Waskesiu, the more at home the kids become, especially the twins, who have learned what the expected behavior is from their older siblings. What I have also found is their independence continues to grow, which allows me to be more relaxed, and do more watching, versus all the hovering and correcting I felt I needed to do. This makes me think about our classrooms, and how our students come to know what’s expected over time. Thankfully students in our rooms are not still in the figuring it out stage, routines are in place, and kids know, understand, and appreciate how things work. With the recent addition of David’s class in the library, we’ve been able to see this process repeat itself as Mr. G has transformed his space of desks and books into a classroom. It’s been a fun process to watch, and it’s apparent the kids take pride in their room.

So why is it that sometimes, during a learning task, things seem to go sideways? You have what you feel is a perfectly designed lesson, the expectations are clear, and your assessment rubric is in place. The kids are ready to go, but then it happens, they disengage, they miss the mark, and you think, “I gave up my Sunday night for this?” I’ve been there so many times, and wondered, “what’s wrong with me?” or “I thought the kids would love this!”

Kids may fool around, but when they cannot produce anything for assignments that they know will impact their grade, there must be something else going on that I’m missing.

I would talk with other teachers, and my administrators wondering why things weren’t working. Often times we’d discuss the need for me to scaffold my lessons better as the kids were off task because they were either bored or confused. The above quote comes from a good article that talks about doing more than just providing the scaffold, it talks about the need to teach kids how to use the scaffold. What it speaks about reflects the beliefs around effective teaching and assessment we find in our #mpsc documentIt is so nice to be able to see the connection between what we are working on as a school and a division with what is currently being written about in professional articles. If you have a moment to read the article, I’d love to hear what you think. What does it make you wonder?

Here’s what lies ahead this week:

Monday:

  • Brad Nichol out to learn with Evan, Ellen, Amy, and Shantel
  • L4L presenters (Corinne, Jamie, Jamey,  Kimberly,  Jesse, Brenda) meeting after school

Tuesday:

  • Classroom visits: do kids know the BIG idea?

Wednesday:

  • Brenda & June learning together at KCC
  • Classroom visits: do kids know the BIG idea?

Thursday:

  • Celebration Day!!! We get to share our school’s learning story at Learning for Life

Friday:

  • Game Night! Talk to the SRC for more information
  • Classroom visits: do kids know the BIG idea?

As always, create a  great week!

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They May Still Need Training Wheels. Apr. 23-27

Well, I just counted them again, and I have all 4 kids, none of them blew away in this wicked wind! It was fun to watch them get back on their bikes and wiggle carts in front of the house, they had a blast and love being outside. While they were playing it gave me a chance to do a bit of tidying up of the yard, but there is still a lot to do. Hopefully you found a way to enjoy the better weather. Two really cool things to share from the weekend. First, my 7-year old, Eva, had a friend over on Saturday, and Eva was making muffins. It was quite a mess, and to be honest, they seemed more like scones than muffins, but they went good with a coffee. What was cool was listening to her explaining to her friend how to measure out things like flour and sugar, and how only she could put the muffins in the oven. I didn’t record my wife teaching Eva, but I’m sure it sounded very similar. #side-by-side! The second cool thing was watching my 11-year old, Bobby, help my 4-year old, Charlie with his bike. Last summer, Charlie was still in the age of training wheels, and after watching his twin sister rip up the sidewalk on two wheels, he’s determined to get his two-wheeler going. Bobby was trying to give him tips, trying to help by holding his seat, and trying to help by cheering him on. Alas, it didn’t work, and Charlie found comfort on his other bike (a tricycle), which allowed him to be a part of the game they were playing.

Dunning sisters learning together.

This makes me think of the learning that has been going on in our school. Sometimes kids are ready, and can move to that independent stage where they can teach others, like Eva and her so-called muffins. Others are not ready, no matter how much we cheer them on and help balance them, they just need a little more time with their training wheels. This past week there were so many examples of side-by-side learning going on in and out of Waldheim School. The play, Annie, was an incredible success, and Joanne could attest to the side-by-side learning that was going on during rehearsals leading up to the performance. As I watched and enjoyed the acting, I was struck by how effective the music and lighting were.

Don’t worry, they got this covered!

Behind the scenes was an interesting crew helping bring the magic to life, there were veterans from grade 12, who had been running sound and music for years teaching the next generation of kids in grade 8, 9, and 10. Lots of #side-by-side! There were also many examples on staff last week of collaborative learning. Brenda and Steve were hard at work helping teachers, the EAs worked feverishly on their presentation during their EA meeting, and David and Brittney were able to spend a whole afternoon planning together on Friday. All of this in the name of what’s best for our students. Hats off to all of you and your efforts! All this side-by-side reminded me of a blog post from my friend, George (@gcouros), who wrote about a conversation he had with a group of leaders. He talked about the impact that performance has on people. If you have time, have a look at the post.

Here’s what lies ahead on this busy week:

Monday:

  • Staff meeting (Leah, Shantel, Brenda presenting)
  • Bruce & Jesse presenting at PSSD AGM at Division Office (5:30 pm)

Tuesday:

  • Classroom visits: What would you like us to notice?

Wednesday:

  • Lockdown (am ~ details to be sent out prior)
  • Assembly (1:00 ~ note: part of assembly will include cheque presentation from Affinity Credit Union)

Thursday:

  • Hold and Secure (am ~ details to be sent out prior)
  • Classroom visits: What would you like us to notice?

Friday:

  • Classroom visits: What would you like us to notice?

As always, create a great week!

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One Eye Open. March 26 – 30

A very quiet long weekend here, we found ourselves busy with the day to day that is our lives with four kids and a dog. I did manage to get out a couple times for coffee with the kids to their favorite place in Martensville, and we did spend a lot of time playing with Bella inside and out, especially on this nice Sunday. Hopefully you were able to rest and relax after two busy nights connecting  with parents and students during our conferences.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we look at our learning in our school through two lenses of the same binoculars, one is focused on the here and now, while the other is focused on the long term, years into the future. I wonder, sometimes, do we spend too much time with the same eye closed? I recall a particularly challenging group of students I worked with years ago, and as a beginning teacher I was solely focused on getting through the year, not only was I looking just through one eye, I didn’t even consider the long term view! What I found was that I was in survival mode, a place that wasn’t much fun for me, and likely wasn’t too great for the kids. What I realized years later, was that I simply passed on a group of students that presented the same learning challenges for their next teacher, I spent the whole year with one eye closed.

I’d invite you to think about where you are right now with your learners and the journey you are walking with them. Are you looking to survive the year, or are you thinking about what each student needs to be a graduate of Waldheim School? If you were to have a transition meeting tomorrow with next year’s teacher, what would you tell them about each student? What work still needs to be done? What are your greatest celebrations? When I think about the things I’m seeing in our school, I would celebrate the way each of you are finding ways to challenge your learners as you help them grow. Nothing illustrates this better than this image from last week:

Gr. 5 Hardy Genius Hour Presentation at #WaldheimSchool

Looking at this picture:

  • What kind of learning are you seeing?
  • How is MPSC alive in this image?
  • What does this say about how the teacher knows her students?
  • What insight did future teachers of this group gain by participating in this event?
  • What are you wondering?

I’d love to hear some thoughts.

Here’s what lies ahead for this shortened week:

Monday:

  • Ken Dueck workshop for grade 4 & 5 (parent & teacher workshop after school ~ all are welcome to attend)

Tuesday:

  • Greg McJannet (U of S) here to observe student teachers

Wednesday:

  • Library to classroom transition work

Thursday:

  • Locker/classroom clean up
  • Library to classroom transition work

Friday:

  • No school ~ begin Easter break

As always, create a great week!

 

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