Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I know the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time...But sometimes I forget

Where have I been? This is the season when my administrative role focuses on a broad range of issues that take me away from my day to day work with curriculum. It has also cut into my time for professional reading and when you are not reading it seems that it is much harder to write because you are not engaged with new content and ideas. ( I know that is pretty obvious…but it seems important to articulate this simple truth and to own it)

In the last several days I have begun reading and I also have been engaged in some reflective work as we begin to prepare for next years accreditation. So over the next several days I am going to blog a variety of things that are beginning to percolate to the surface.

Over the last year I have been exposed to a lot of cutting edge ideas. I have been challenged on many levels to provide leadership, support, professional development, and direction to the faculty to ensure that we are pursuing best practice across the curriculum. I have had the opportunity to hear some truly dynamic and motivational speakers including Paula Rutherford and Robert Marzano. I have talked about assessment with Scot Mcleod and I have picked the brains of many who are brighter than I am. Each interaction has left me excited and with a vision for what we can do and where we can go in ensuring that we provide an excellent education. But the real task is to translate the ideas and the head knowledge into practice.

A key to learning, a key to professional development, is to find a way to break the work down into “bite size” tasks. As an instructional leader who gets very excited about the possibilities the most challenging thing I need to do it is promote and encourage change and growth without overwhelming the faculty. Compassion and fear of overburdening already busy teachers however can paralyze our growth and so today I hit on an idea that I think will work. Daily 5 minute tasks that keep us moving forward seem relatively painless and which over the course of several days will yield real accomplishments.

With the second semester just beginning it is time to review our curricular standards to take stalk of student mastery and of what standards we have covered. We need to complete curriculum maps for second semester but that always sounds like a daunting task to teachers who only have two prep periods per week. Math is our focus subject this year so one page a day I am distributing standards work sheets to mark mastery level of the benchmarks taught. By next week we will be looking at a completed standards worksheet and be ready to plan for the rest of the year.

1 comment:

Janice Stearns said...

Hi Barbara,
I understand about the roadblocks to not posting. Sometimes, I only have time to read and reflect, and if I could type while driving, I might get a blog post or two out.
I think you are right in that it's hard to remember to take smaller steps. Sometimes change can be overwhelming. I know your leadership is creating a culture of learning that will bloom as times goes on.