Year two of teacher leadership is underway! Last year we focused our first days with teachers explaining what the teacher leadership program would be: relationship building and working with teacher leaders in various ways. This year, our focus will be on our WHY!
According to researcher Simon Sinek, most organizations frequently discuss what will be done and how it will be done, but rarely, if ever, do they talk about WHY they do something. This is what sets successful employees, students, companies, CEOs (you name it…) apart from others.
For teacher leadership, our WHY revolves around student achievement: academic, social, emotional, and an overall passion for learning. We plan to impact student achievement at Jesup CSD through collaboration, modeling, co-planning, and co-teaching. This year, we’re striving for deeper reflections, data-driven instructional planning and implementation, and a continued collaborative environment.
This year connector teachers will be completing a coaching cycle with each teacher throughout the 2017-2018 school year. This goal was initially put forth in 3rd quarter of last year and will be completed this year.
Specialist teachers will facilitate focus groups in the areas such as: classroom management/culture, assessment, technology, & differentiation. These groups will provide another resource for teachers to expand their professional learning. Mentor teachers will use an updated, flexible calendar to provide support for mentees.
We’re looking forward to supporting everyone’s WHY this year to maximize the impact on student achievement! Do you know your why?
Overarching Goals for 2017-2018 to Kick-Off the Year:
Collaboration, Creativity, & Growth-Mindset: Reasons to Try BreakoutEDU
Escape rooms and breakout boxes - you may have started to hear more about these things in the last year. They've popped up all across the area and now, the AEA offers schools BreakoutEDU boxes for check-out. If you've never done one before, these activities challenge students (players) to work together, push through challenges, and problem-solve with each other.
Getting Started & Planning:
If you're thinking about trying one, here are some resources to get you going:
Examples & Ideas:
Breaking out of PD:
We gave it a try and asked our high school staff to use their knowledge of their PD initiatives this year to complete the breakout. 3 of the 4 teams broke out in the allotted time, and although we may have helped a little, it was a great experience for everyone (both as facilitators and as players). The teachers brainstormed some ways they could use these in their own rooms. Thanks for giving it a try with us!
Teaching Like a Pirate: Getting Started
It started with a book called Teach Like a Pirate. I read it this summer and became engrossed with it. It had such great ideas and changed the way I thought about student engagement in my room. Suddenly, I started questioning myself, why had I done that lesson this way instead of this alternative? I asked myself why I hadn't tried to be more creativity with that group of wild ones instead of falling back into the same-old. It changed my thoughts about how to get "buy-in" from students and create suspense that we yearn for in our every day life. I don't go to movies unless they catch my attention, so why would a kid learn my lesson unless I sell it to them? Food for thought!
We went to see Dave in Des Moines in February, from there, we were all hooked! Dave's enthusiasm for education and real-world examples made it easy to connect with. We couldn't think of a better way to share what we had learned than to help others experience it themselves....and the J-Hawk Hook Challenge was born!
The J-Hawk Hook Challenge: Embracing the Change
We asked you to get involved! What a great way to keep student engagement high in the time of the year when it seems to be diminishing. The first day, we (the Connectors) walked around in full pirate gear (The Costume Hook) - I'll tell you from experience, there might not be a better way to create suspense for students than to dress up. I've never had so many stares, comments, and questions about why I thought a pirate was the best option that morning when I woke up! I know Michelle got some looks when she went to rural that day!
In short, we've already seen some great hooks being implemented in various rooms! That isn't to say that they haven't been there all year and couldn't be in other, but it has been fun to share them and talk about them together.
I've heard teachers say that it was "great to do something different for a day" or that they thought it was a "good challenge for themselves that the kids had fun with." If you haven't had a chance, check out the #jhawkproud feed to the right of this page to see some of the great things our teachers have tried so far!
Thus far, we've had 18 staff members participate in multiple hooks! We'll be holding a drawing for some goodies at the halfway point (Monday) for anyone who has participated thus far! Thank you for participating!
Skyping with Dave Burgess: A Recap
Wednesday, we were lucky enough to chat with the pirate guru himself, Dave Burgess after school. He talked with us about his vision for Teach Like a Pirate (and his publishing company), his beliefs about education and student engagement, and answered any questions we had for him.
Here are some the takeaways from our chat with Dave from those who came to chat with him:
- "To embrace the fidget toy! If kids are interested in them, make it a relevant lesson in your classroom."
-"Teaching like a pirate is change in mentality, not a strategy. To teach like a pirate you must be willing to be flexible, a little off-the-wall at times, and adapt to a change in the times."
-Being a pirate means being different, venturing into uncharted waters, and sometimes being a little spur of the moment. All of these are necessary in teaching and these hooks allow you to try to find that "thing" that gets your students engaged.
-"Connect with other educators and use each other. Twitter is a great way to find resources and ask others for their input if you aren't able to do so at school."
Mr. Ruehlow worked with a group of 8th grade boys at Prairie Grove to complete a shelving project in the basement. The students were applying the math skills they had been working on with their teacher, Mrs. Shonka to a hands on project.
Check out the #jhawkproud tweets to the right of this page to see some of the awesome hooks our teachers are already using! We sure have a great group of rockstar teachers!!
Mr. Hannam took his 5th grade science class out to the greenhouse this last Wednesday to kick-off a unit on plants. With the help of Mrs. Dillon and Danielle Youngblut the 5th graders learned how the greenhouse works, what type of plants that they are growing, and had some of their questions answered.
I reached out to a Connector to co-plan and co-teach a unit with me. I was a little bit skeptical at first because I had never done something like this before, but I really wanted to change things up in my classroom and try something new. I am really glad I decided to do a co-teach. During our planning we came up with some really creative and unique ways to teach. I feel this experience was beneficial to my students also. The students are at very different levels of understanding Spanish. We were able to break the class up into 2 sections and differentiate the content. It was also nice to have help in checking papers and creating materials! I would not hesitate to reach out to the Connectors in the future! --Justin Liddle
During my time with a Connector, we worked with pacing techniques and different ways to engage students in 7/8th grade band. One suggestions was to try "station rotation"and let the students self learn throughout the class period. Over the last couple of months, I have been continually using this method and it has been WONDERFUL! My students are actually stepping up and learning their music faster than they did the first semester.By doing this, I have been able to pace out the class period into smaller, more manageable chunks, which the students really like. It also allows me to work more on an individual basis with the instrument sections. I have enjoyed the extra set of eyes and ears in my class, especially as a first year teacher.--Mollie Emerson
Working with a Connector has been a huge asset in my classroom! Teaching in the rural school can be overwhelming when one tries to teach spelling, math, handwriting, reading, language arts, science, and social studies to four or five grade levels. I was excited to have a Connector's assistance in helping me look at my time management in a different light. I was able to break down my school day and make it more manageable to fit all the groups without being so overwhelmed. Ideas were shared from previous teaching experiences and by watching other great teachers here at Jesup.
I walked away from my experience with these things:
Keep lessons interesting
Learn comprehension strategies
Engage students everyday
New and better schedule!
For this coaching cycle, I teamed up with a Connector to do a unit on theme using the novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. The collaboration provided an invaluable tool that was an essential guide in my overall unit. When I first sat down with the Connector, I probably overwhelmed them with my ideas for this project! I had done a lot of research prior, and I knew I wanted to incorporate many elements and standards to create something awesome. For a new teacher, planning a unit alone can be scary. Luckily, the Connector was there to basically let me take the reigns, but hold the road-map. They made sure I was clear on which standards were the most essential to be covered. Next, they provided a wonderful array of resources, including videos, websites, and even picture books from the public library! They would pop in every so often and share a thought or idea. They came and observed the class, took notes, and left me with some ideas to adjust the unit accordingly. They also served as a great tech resource, too! We discussed using different online tools, and ultimately decided on Padlet, which worked well. I have thus since continued to use Padlet in my formative and pre-assessments. I really believe this coaching cycle was just the right amount of support I needed to be successful in my planning, preparation, and assessment. --Ashley Chase
The Connector helped with two little boys in my classroom. They can read and do some math problems, and I needed some help taking them in the next direction. The Connector worked with them a couple times a week for a few weeks, got them hooked up with an appropriate app and made them individual homework books. The boys loved meeting with the Connector and loved the challenge! They didn't hesitate when I needed help and was more than willing to jump right in with us! I have really enjoyed working this experience! --Brook Kaufman
During our time together, we worked on pinpointing behavior problems with a particular student. We were able to bounce ideas off of each other well, be open and honest about what is working/not working, and what we think might be the best possible solutions. Through this process, we saw an improvement in the student's ability to self-regulate and understanding of his actions. We collected data which showed that major incidents in behavior were fewer and several "times" throughout the day improved dramatically because of one-on-one interactions and teaching moments. --Keri Griswold
I drank the Kool-Aid, and I'm hooked. Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess really fired me up and brought my attention back to student engagement! I've been following their Twitter Chats and trying to implement some of these things in coaching cycles I'm completing or throwing them into conversation with teachers during brainstorming sessions! Here are a couple of examples:
Interested in Trying a Hook...Let us Know!