Ten years in the classroom is now approaching.  Last year I got adventurous with my professional goals and decided to link using Facebook as one of my goals.  At first I was scared about going down that road and so were many others, but it worked out just fine.  This year I may have gone overboard....

Back in March I had a reflection time that took me to a place that I felt was being a responsible educator, I examined how students were truly doing in my classes.  From the first look it would appear they were doing great, and for the most part they were.  But there were some that were not performing at the level that their grade said they were.

At this time I decided to get even more adventurous.  The State of Oregon recently adopted HB 2220 which defines proficiency and lays out groundwork for schools districts start implementing in the coming years.  While our district is not based on proficiency, I took it upon myself to implement a full proficiency based system in the classroom.

As the year progresses, I will be posting my trials and tribulations on this blog to share with all of you.

  • Showing up – Rosabeth quotes Woody Allen’s famous saying that 90% of success in life comes from just showing up, and I agree.  In the context of leaders and entrepreneurs that means getting started on things and being visible, and that includes when things are difficult/might not work.  In fact, not putting off the difficult things is what separates effective people from the rest.
    • Speaking up – we all know that great leaders make great speeches, and often those speeches come to define the period of leadership – think about Martin Luther King and you quickly think about his famous “I have a dream” speech.  It is still inspiring nearly 50 years later (if you haven’t heard it recently listen here – 9mins in is a good place to start).  More prosaically CEOs and founders are most effective when they are vocal within their companies shaping the debate and articulating the conclusions at team meetings.  I recently asked a former employee of successful UK SEO/SEM agency The Search Works why the company had prevailed over its competitors and his answer was that Nick Hynes, the CEO, had a special talent for articulating the vision and direction of the business and getting everyone at the company believing and pulling in the same direction.  Think about that for a moment.
    • Teaming up – great companies aren’t built by individuals, they are built by teams.  Usually that is a team of co-founders and in just about every case there is a team of executives who have real power and operate as a team.  Delegation is a pre-requisite for success.
    • Looking up – I’m going to quote directly from Rosabeth’s post here, as she nails it “Looking up: the power of values. Higher principles help people transcend the conflicts and concerns of the moment. Standing for something larger than mere self-interest gives leaders moral grounding and provides a basis for inspiring and motivating the work. Those who are honored as great leaders are not merely good at getting results efficiently, they are able to find grander goals that help people look up to see the big picture and set their sights higher.”
    • Not giving up – much has been written about the importance of persistence, and for good reason.  It is something that is easy to forget when the going gets tough and reminders are useful.  As Rosabeth says “everything can look like failure in the middle”.
    Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.
    Some teachers say they use rubrics for everything and they do.  Some of those rubrics that I have seen that they use are horrible and just thrown together without taking the learner into consideration nor do they even define the proficient level for each student.

    Here is a post from ASCD about creating rubrics and online tools you can use to create yours.

    Education Update:Planning for Processing Time Yields Deeper Learning:Guidelines for Creating Rubrics:

    Identify the proficient level first. In a four-tier rubric, we recommend that teachers identify level 3 of the rubric first. This level is an acceptable score and shows proficiency at performing the task or understanding the content.

    Build the rest of the rubric around proficiency. From this point, building the remainder of the rubric is fairly easy: a 1 shows minimal understanding or performance; a 2 shows some understanding/performance but with significant gaps; and a 4 shows an advanced level of understanding or performance.

    Focus on growth. Finally, we recommend that if you use a 0 at all, it should state "Not enough evidence at this point to assess understanding." This way, even scoring at the lowest level of the rubric sends students the message that their level of performance can be improved.

    10 Ways To Make Each Day A Leadership Masterpiece - Forbes

    1. Excel in the moment. 
    2. Invest in a relationship and build trust.  
    3. Help someone else achieve and grow. 
    4. Listen. 
    5. Connect someone to your vision, mission, and priorities. 
    6. Thank someone. 
    7. Prepare for the known and study for the unknown. 
    8. Prepare for an important decision. 
    9. Leverage white space. Avoid the trap of filling every minute of your calendar.  Better to commit to less and deliver more than to promise and not come through.
    10. Grow physically, mentally, spiritually. 

    Self-Paced Professional Development

    Here are some options for self-paced, learn-when-you-can professional development. Your district will not hand you these options, but I encourage you to seek them out.


    iTunesU
    iTunesU is an iPad-based repository of courses, lectures, and resources for teachers and students. The content can be accessed exclusively on the iPad, and the material is all vetted for accuracy and copyright. Courses can be accessed or created by individuals or teachers through iTunesU Course Manager. Course manager is only available on the Apple platform and when using the Safari browser.
    Coursera
    Coursera is a free online course catalog that allows anyone in the world take courses from some of the best instructors on the planet. Coursera does not offer accreditation for teachers yet, but they are advocating for this issue. Regardless, this site is chock full of courses that anyone can take at any time.
    Google+
    Google+ is emerging as a credible venue for professional development and anytime learning. It's a free platform, and if you work in an organization that employs Google Apps for Education, you already have an account. Google+ offers Google "Hangouts" as the venue for presenting professional development sessions. The best part about this option is that Hangouts are archived on the YouTube account of the author or group.
    Twitter
    Everyone in education loves Twitter. Twitter can be a great venue for learning if you organize it and filter it (I recommend TweetDeck). Jumping headfirst into something like #edchat will only confuse and overwhelm you. My recommendation is to use Twitter sparsely at first. Find a few educators to follow, and spend a good amount of time listening, reading and processing. Follow Steve Anderson, Kristen Swanson, Alec Couros, John Spencer, Lyn Hilt, Rich Kiker, Dean Shareski, Joyce Valenza, Kyle Pace and Edutopia -- to start. But start simple and listen to what the aforementioned educators have to say.
    EdCamps
    EdCamp is the standard professional development for education. I've attended and organized several EdCamps and find them to be the most rewarding experiences that I've had in education. I've made great connections and friends as a result of this format, and it is a professional development that allows everyone to participate and have a voice.