Tonight, we kicked off the first team leader meeting of the year for the new cohort of the Digital Learning Collaborative.
The DLC, if you didn’t know, is a two-year professional development program we’re in our third year of developing. Year one is a year for personal and professional learning. Year two, which we’ll kickoff later this month for a different cohort, is a year of teacher inquiry into what happens for students when we use technology in the classroom.
Last night, we attempted, with our teacher team leaders, to set the culture for what it means to learn as teachers in community. We reviewed some of our habits – making sure we have a plan for all of our monthly team meetings, how we use Google Docs to share those plans and to share notes we take when and as we meet, and making sure that we’re separating time for learning1 from time for collaboration and sharing. And, yes, that’s messy. Messy is okay.
But we spent the bulk of our time last night reading and thinking and talking to each other about a couple of pieces, written by Will Richardson, that explore connected and passion-based learning not just for students, but for teachers, too.
That led to some good conversation. I heard Kelly, a first grade teacher, when she asked about how we help connect students to passions that they might not realize they have, and how we can encourage students to explore areas of themselves and the world when they might not have any knowledge about, well, much of anything. I heard Rebekah, a high school math teacher, when she said that somewhere, students have learned that it’s cool to not like math.
I hope that folks heard me when I invoked Mr. Rogers, and his definition of teaching, the idea that what teachers do is that they love something, and they love it in front of their students. Passion, indeed.
I heard Mollie when she said that it was important for teachers and students to follow their passions, and that, in a time of scripts and pacing, we’d do well to make sure that we’re injecting student interests and differences into our work.
I heard others, too. It was a fine culture setting conversation.
We also talked about the power of reflective writing, and took some time to write together, as we will do during all of our meetings. While I cannot share their writing with you just now, know that we’ll be hearing more from these teacher leaders and their teams as they begin to dig into their learning this year.
It was a fine start2.