Each of us together makes Piedmont work - this post is about us respecting the contribution of each of the different styles, we are like different chefs.
Here at Piedmont we are pretty awesome at sharing the load according to our own passions and what we are each best at. For example, I just ended an awkward sentence with a preposition and now someone from the ELA department will offer to help me edit future blog posts next time they stop in for a chocolate. )
There is something magical about watching an artist at work and that is exactly what I do around here daily -watch and marvel at your diverse artistry.
I watch as you plan, haggle, teach, interact with students, direct traffic, handle medical emergencies, complete paperwork, etc. and sometimes it is the same person on the same day doing each of these with aplomb! We all have our gifts and rather than be a cookie-cutter school, we shape the menu by contributing our best dishes to the table of education.
We are all like chefs in teaching. We are trained in our techniques and we all need each other for a well-balanced meal/school but we should not judge one chef's work as good an another's as bad based only on our tastes or cooking philosophy. If we waste precious energy judging the sushi chef-saying "how can they be so lazy not to fire up an oven? they serve raw food!" then we are missing their gift entirely (and also being disrespectful of their training- do YOU know how to remove puffer poision? I didn't think so.)
What about the fry cook? Don't blame them that they are not serving molecular gastronomy when if you were in their situation you have no idea how soggy your fries would be. You may think fries aren't very important in the big scheme of things, but have you ever had soggy fries? It is sorely disappointing, my friend.
You might think I've gone too far with this cooking metaphor, but we are like that here a little bit. We form teams by grade, by content area, by early riser versus rolling in at 8:30 we all JUST A LITTE BIT judge each other sometimes and we need to stop and appreciate. That person you think is too gruff with the kids is also first one that the abused sought the protection of and felt secure enough to confide in. That person who is not following the curriculum pathway you think they should - their class kept a student from dropping out. You see where this is going, right? That person who is driving you crazy because they don't value x as highly as you do - they can teach the heck out of y -way better than the rest of us could.
We are all cooking up a beautiful meals in our rooms- different according to each chef. Some of us struggle making healthy menus. Some of us have well balanced meals but struggle with plating it in an appetizing manner. We can't help minimize each others' weaknesses if we are busy blaming the cook for not being more like ourselves.
Shout out to all of you - I admire you! I'm sorry I judged your cooking and I learned my lesson when you judged mine.
PS:All these examples are made up but this post was actuallly written at the request of a coworker who is feeling judged and unappreciated and like others don't see all they do- and they are right, we don't! Who is it? They told me not to say.
Maybe it is the next person you see in the hallway. Pretend like it is.
More of me using food metaphors to discuss education: the State of Education in Cake.
More of you being amazing - Celebrating Piedmont.
This week Ms. Barone, Ms. Newburger and I went to Mooresville with CMS to get an idea for how to best use our 1:1 Chromebooks when they arrive soon! Here are photos and takeaways that might be of use to classroom teachers from that trip and some webinars I attended:
Good teaching and planning is even more important in a 1:1 environment. This is a slide from the IB Middle Years Webinar. If you are a Piedmont teacher and would like to get better at writing unit planners and rich broad and deep essential questions, see Lisa Gurthie for the code to join and you can complete the webinars with you PLC for MyTalent licensure renewal credit.
In a PLC rut and need to think better about working together to use each others strengths and minimize weaknesses? An ASCD webinar I attended shared this slide- 12 steps one teaching team follows in their PLC for each unit . For info on the IB steps unit planning see me for the code to the IB webinars .
Hints for Running a 1:1 Classroom: Kahoot and More
In preparation for us becoming 1:1 very soon (!) Here are a few ideas and hints from the teachers in Mooresville, NC:
I can't tell you how much teachers and students of all ages love the free site Kahoot! Click the image to make your own account and try it. It was by far the single most recommended site of the trip. It is a classroom response system like Poll Everywhere or Socrative but it is super fun, requires no login and is gamified!
A teacher showing Jake Standish how students keep their own spreadsheets to track pre and post-test scores so they can be responsible for their own growth. You can assign tests via Google Classroom and students will receive automatic notice of each grade. (Schoolnet will also autograde and will submit the grade straight to Powerschool- you don't have to enter a thing!)
One undervalued use of computers image search is for tracing! No need to be an artist when you've got google images and clip art! And sometimes a nice search is what gives you your own ideas and helps you make a great project!
A Few Social Takeaways:
I used to think having students make their own rules was disingenuous, but this teacher really had students live own and love their rules. She kept them up on an easel and students themselves changed to their rules as they walked in. Constant reminder and all were on board. Notice how beautiful the rules are, too. They ARE a "flamily" : )
Random Lesson Ideas to Steal:
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Lisa Gurthie is the PD facilitator at Piedmont IB Middle School. She specializes in tech and arts integration, interdisciplinary holistic education, and unschooling school to reconnect academia to real life. One day she will modernize her "about" page. She curates this blog for the professional development convenience of the teachers at Piedmont, but the editorial comments are her own.