Thursday, June 14, 2012

Officially Over

It's hard to believe that the school year is officially over. For the first time ever we didn't have to attend extra inservice days after the kids ended the year. When I finished yesterday, I walked out knowing that I didn't need to go back today or tomorrow unless I wanted to. Of course we're going back tomorrow for some final clean up and to start planning for next year, but it's our choice.

I also walked out of school yesterday knowing that the challenge I talked about had just gotten a bit bigger. Now, with about 15 hours between me and the initial shock, I know there's nothing I can do about things. Thanks to my wonderful friends and many repetitions of, "Everything happens for a reason," and, "There's no sense worrying about things you can't change," I think I'm finally starting to believe those things. With all the bull out of the way, we can really focus on moving forward towards my hubby and our friend starting their own business. Scary, for sure, but I know my hubby has the knowledge and skills to do it... the money, not so much, but we'll work that out. Any backers out there interested? Let me know! :)

So last night when I couldn't sleep I decided to take some time to finally catch up on my Google Reader. I can tell all my education friends were in the same boat as I am with busy ends of the school year because I wasn't nearly as far behind in my reading as I expected! I was also really excited to find some great posts, and I saved those tabs for this morning. It was easy to read at 1AM, but I wanted to make sure my comments were somewhat coherent so I saved those for this morning.

Here the posts that really struck me last night:

The 90-9-1 Rule by Laura at Musings About 21st Century Learning. This post really spoke to for a couple of reasons. First, this year during my PLP work in my community and as a coach we discussed the idea of lurking at length: what is the value, when do you move on from lurking, are you shortchanging your community if you are a lurker, and how do we help community members move on? I've also seen a great deal of the 90 in my real life. I'm interested to reread this post and the comments and add my own two cents based on my personal experiences.

Teacher As Travel Agent by Sheryl at 21st Century Collaborative. Sheryl always brings up amazing points about balancing learners' passions with the knowledge they need, but what struck me in this post was the comment:

Why does it always go back to what we learned when we were in Kindergarten?

I have pondered this thought long and hard this year because my kids struggled to "play nicely" and share. Why does it go back to kindergarten? Because those building blocks are a vital key to success.

If You Could Not Fail by Cale at The Learning Nation. After opening up this tab and continuing to read I believe I found the back story to this post that's coming out of Canada, although sadly I didn't keep that tab open and don't have it handy to link right now. In any respect, I thought it was interesting because I just did my own post about this topic, and I can't say I ever thought about the *need* for kids to fail. In my mind I saw it more as if you keep working towards a goal, here's what you can achieve. I'm very interested to continue reading this thread to see where it goes.

Virtual Schools: From Rivalry to Partnership by Tony at Transleadership. I had the pleasure of "meeting" and working with Tony during my PLP coaching work, and I am very interested in learning all I can about his virtual high school. In an age of choice and vouchers, I personally feel like public schools need to branch out and provide more opportunities for all learners. Different doesn't equal wrong, and I'm looking forward to participating in this discussion.

A Wicked Problem by Shelley at Wright's Room. The interesting part of Shelley's post is that everything she mentions as necessities: administrators who are visionaries not managers, deeply engaging experiences for students, and encouragement and support for risk-taking students; are all the roadblocks my partners and I experienced while trying to bring change to our school. I love when Shelley says,

There were other times it felt disasterous, but here’s the thing, we all survived. It’s hard to change; It’s hard to wrap our minds around something so foreign to the traditional school system so many of us are products of, but our students need us to engage in the hard work. 

Despite the road blocks, my teammates and I have pushed on, and I am curious to read the comments and see how others have started the ball rolling to change their schools. I'm sure we're not the only ones to get the backlash that we did, and I'm curious to hear how others weathered the storm.

So there they are, my top 5 midnight finds. Now to go back and add my comments now that it's light out!

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