Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Thinking about the mechanics of change

Where do we go from here? How do we get there?

In thinking about our new Academies and especially the Information Technology Preparatory Academy for our 6th, 7th and 8th grades I have been pondering next steps and the mechanics of change.

In an organic and almost spontaneous way many good things have happened throughout the Academies including a deeper sense of collegiality and professional learning networks among the teachers in each academy. As different people try things like the LCD projector they in turn share their new expertise with others. All of this is very positive and will provide a foundation for systemic change.

In the primary grades last year there was some major systemic change as they embraced the Reading First program. In reflecting on that experience I had an Ah Ha moment….

Believing in the vision while not knowing the particulars of the how too is the first step but then we must come to grips with the fact that….

New ways of doing thing are time consuming so it is not business as usual.

Some things have to be modified temporarily (like how much material you can cover) to allow for the learning curve involved in changing how you teach.

To that end this is what we are doing now:

Technology Integration Template/Plan

How can we better engage the students and teach to multiple modalities by employing “digital pencils”

Disclaimer: Lessons learned from the implementation of Reading First. New ways of doing things are time consuming. Our overarching goals are to engage the students, have them take ownership of learning , stimulate their ability to do critical thinking and to find and utilize information (knowledge).

These become our power standards and take a place of primacy in our curricular planning (coverage of content maybe temporarily altered).

Part One

What are we currently teaching?

What creative tools can we use? Are there some simple first steps?

(What traditional activity will this replace)

Part Two -To get the desired results

What do we need to discuss (concepts and directions) and model for this to be effective?

Do we (students and teachers) have clear criteria for assessment?

This is the best statetment of vision I have seen in a while! Thanks Chris for your profound words...It certainly speaks to our vision[ substitute IT Preparatory Academy]

From Chris Lehman’s ribbon-cutting remarks on Thursday…

There is another idea central to the creation of the Science Leadership Academy– and that is that schools can no longer exist in a vacuum in our society. We need students to be able to see beyond the walls of their school, beyond the boundaries of their neighborhoods to the see themselves and their learning as part of a much larger world. We live in an age of interconnectedness, where the global village has allowed us access to information at a rate faster than in any time in human history. We must give students the tools to critically analyze that information, to make judgments for themselves, to draw their own conclusions and then to join that debate as informed and impassioned citizens of this country and our world. Today, more than ever before, it is our task to prepare students to be involved in the world around them, to be content producers as well as content consumers, and to be active participants in their immediate community of Philadelphia and the world beyond our city limits. Our students must understand that learning is not limited by the walls of the school or the hours of the school day, but rather that it is a lifelong, 24/7/365 endeavor.


Chris Lehmann said...

My pleasure... and good luck! It's really a ton of fun, trying to pull of your dream. :)

Barbara said...

Amen to that! This year is the most fun yet and the little stuff doesn't get me down!