The journey continues: Deeper Learning – Year 2

We are continuing our journey to learn, work, and apply deeper learning as a district.  (Year 2) This past Monday, during our PD day, we stayed the course and teachers brought deeper learning artifacts to share/discuss/reflect on.  We also introduced metacognition/reflection strategies to use with students.  Our equity coach, Andrea Laning,  provided equity training for our staff. While I am only reflecting on the deeper learning portion of the day, I do see the the connections of equity and deeper learning – especially when you think about personalized learning.  But that will be a future post!

We are also in year 2 with our district’s adoption of K-12 ePortfolios.  Currently, we are using SeeSaw in grades K-5 and Google Sites in grades 6-12. The ePortfolio is turning out to be an excellent measurement tool for students to:

  • Demonstrate deeper learning and the skills, knowledge, and experiences acquired by that learning  – maybe even dispositions?
  • Demonstrate short and long-term growth
  • Showcase 21st-century competencies (Ours = Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Community Service, and Careers) embedded in learning IN and OUTSIDE of school
  • Make thinking/learning/skills visible
  • Become independent, self-directed thinkers and learners

We kicked off the day with several educators (from each of our buildings) to showcase student learning artifacts!  We then had some time to discuss/reflect on what we saw and heard from those short presentations as well as our own deep learning digital artifacts.

Deeper Learning Reflection Quesitons

Year 2 – Deeper Learning Reflection Questions


Our educators submitted their artifacts (via Google Forms) and reflected on them based on the questions above.  OH MY.  It is this that gets me really excited because, at a district level, we can see all of the great things our teachers are doing as well as the great things our students are learning!

Are we there yet? No.  However, I now have a measure.  56.6 % of our teachers feel their artifacts either meets or exceeds deeper learning.

The written reflections about the experience were incredible.  They included thinking about “all” students achieving at high levels, as well as thinking about the engagement of all students.  The majority of educators also had great insights on how they could improve the experience the next time.  Right now, this information is only available to our admin and coaches. I honestly think it would be valuable for all educators to see this and the learning potential could be HUGE!

Part 2 – Metacognition/Reflection

The second part of the deeper learning portion of the day – was to focus on Metacognition/Reflection.  Instead of lecturing and front-loading the information, we flipped it and had participants read or research on the topic, discuss it, and more importantly THINK about it.  They discussed and posted to our Mentimeter form. (PS cool tool)


I designed a thinking map (using Googlel Draw) for this activity so that our educators to somewhat document their understanding of the topic that included some thinking prompts.  that one could either draw or submit via Google Drive.  Some of them even tweeted it out!



We collected thinking maps from all of our staff.  Our intent, as with any formative assessment, is to follow up and provide feedback to our teachers.  We also will use the information we have collected, to better differentiate the next PD day in January.  Deliverables – Teachers are to bring a deeper learning student artifact that also has a  quality student reflection.

Modified presentation from Nov 6

Some considerations for improvement

  • Timing and activities.  Some of the activities might have seemed rushed.  But, I am happy to have modeled metacognition/reflection (thinking map, survey) through this experience!
  • Be clear about the learning target
  • More collaborative activities – including collaboration outside of team/plcs – cross building!
  • Have a high energy starter.
  • Google doc artifacts that were shared – needed “everyone with the link can view”.
  • Can we flip some content?
  • Differentiate!  Now that we have collected some formative assessments, I believe we will be able to do that better.
  • Share artifact submissions/ reflection across the district with teachers.



New Year, Same Goals – Part 1

Tonight, as trick or treating comes to an end, I have been reflecting on my professional goals for this school year.  Last year, I had 3:

  1. Increase my leadership presence in and outside of my district
  2. Deepen Understanding of today’s educational environment
  3. Determine future of 1:1 devices

After sifting through my goals and evidence (below) I have decided to stick with these goals for another year.  

Leadership Presence Wheel

Image Credit –

Goal 1 – Improve my leadership presence

I am not sure I will ever fully “arrive” with this goal but I know I can always continue to improve.  As I reflect back on what I did to learn/sharpen my skills I certainly feel I had a successful attempt last year!  

Action Steps

Meet and connect with peers and colleagues.  I will be honest, I am needing connection and networking right now… I actually am craving it.  Last year, I felt hyperconnected both f2f and online.  This year is different for me. The startup of the school year does not lend itself to allow for networking.  My personal life was certainly more chaotic than normal.  I miss #wsucohort1 and the regular conversations, debates, ideas, and action that came from that group.  I recognized missing connections this month when I was chatting about personalized learning with @travislape or visiting @katiemorlock and talking about student agency.  Or chatting with a steering team at WSU about the future of the ed leadership program and numerous convos with teachers and coaches in my district.

  1. Shadow 3 leaders in their field.  I would also like to shadow a  leader outside of education.  Maybe an entrepreneur?
  2. Attend MASA Executive Development Committee meetings
  3. Attend TI meetings both in SE MN and in the Metro Area
  4. Continue to build PLN.  Seek out and be active in a few more twitter chats! Both formal and informal!
  5. Continue walkthrus with coaches/principals – I would love to see 100% of classrooms.  (At least beat my goal last year of 25%)
  6. Personalized Learning Training Cohort (Both Leaders and Teachers)
  7. Connect 1:1 on a regular basis with a team of educators.  I have a desire to connect with educators to first and foremost learn and grow.  From my 360, as well as my own self-analysis, I need to learn what best practices and innovation (with or without tech) looks like in our schools and especially our lower grades.  However, my dream would be to have a couple of go to people in each building.  Interested?

Powerup Communication Skills.  

  1. Share strategies and success stories.  This year, 3 -5 grade has been added to our 1:1 program. We have migrated to Chromebooks in our HS. We are on year 2 of our ePortfolio adoption.  As we continue down the road of deeper learning and innovation, I would like to figure out a way to regular communicate strategies and success effectively.  I feel I do a fairly good job with Twitter – but I am missing quite a few educators if that is my main method.  I am actually curious about using a blog/vlog similar what @AndyLeiser used.  (USing SeeSaw Blogs)!/  Stay tuned!
  2. Continue to design and develop PD. I hate Sit and Get. Looking for innovative models I can use with both large groups 120+, medium groups 30+, and small groups 5-10. Model. Model. Model.
  3. Continue to build and practice coaching skills. Model. Model. Model.
  4. Explore co-teaching?
  5. Continue to blog.  Minimum monthly.  Don’t always try and write a book!
  6. Define and communicate my city on the hill. One of my favorite quotes my 360 was “Make sure to clearly define your “city on a hill” that you are trying to get to. Develop a path to get there and help people see how they can get on the path and move the same direction. Also, make sure that you are not overextending yourself in so many different areas. Make sure that the teams you are on feel supported by you since you are the one with many of the solutions they need.”  I have since created a scale that helps define a vision for technology.   I believe with the connections and learning (above) it will help me to understand if this vision is actually applicable in all grade levels.  We have included it in our walkthru observation tool as well.  This at least will provide a measure of where we are as a district.  And more importantly, is our PD efforts making a difference?
    Student Learning Tech Enabled
    Passive Learning – Students passively learning (reading, listening to lecture, watching videos provided by teacher) Student use of technology – Passive – Students begin to use technology tools to build upon prior knowledge and construct meaning. (Reading, Watching online Videos, Taking Notes)


    Drill and Practice Learning – Students use manipulatives, flashcards, worksheets, etc. to practice skills or memorize concepts. Student use of technology – Drill and Practice – Students manipulate technology tools to practice skills and/or memorize concepts. (Can be app based manipulatives, formative assessments, digital worksheet practice)


    Active Learning – Students create artifacts, of their own design, to construct deeper understanding and make learning/thinking visible to their teacher/classroom. (Creating, Critically thinking, Collaborating, Communicating) Student use of technology – Active – Students make connections with technology tools or design digital artifacts  to construct deeper understanding and make learning/thinking visible to their teacher/classroom (Creating, Critically thinking, Collaborating, Communicating)


    Transformative Learning – Students create complex artifacts, of their own design,  from real-world problems, to raise awareness, publish works, advocate for an issue, or take action on real-world problems for audiences outside of the classroom. Student use of technology – Transformative  – Students create complex digital artifacts, of their own design, from real-world problems and use technology to raise awareness, publish works, advocate for an issue, or take action on problems for audiences outside of the classroom.



If I am successful with my action plan, I believe I could improve the outcomes of my 360 survey.  I also feel I can improve several survey questions in our 2016 21st Century Instructional Practices study.  Specifically, I would like to see 5% to 10 %   improvements in these areas:

  • Teachers in our 1:1 classrooms providing more authentic learning experiences – From 48% of classrooms to 58% of classrooms.
  • 35 % of Students (in 1:1) reported that they have NEVER created digital products/artifacts of their own design – I would like to decrease that number to 30%

Increase the number of people who consider my communication skills and stakeholder centered leadership as strengths or exceptional strengths by 5 %.

I will follow up with another post at a later date about the following goals.  Stay tuned!

  • Deepen Understanding of today’s educational environment
  • Determine future of 1:1 devices



2016-17 Goals/Evidence

Improving my leadership presence (GOAL)

Deepen understanding of today’s educational environment (Goal)

GOAL 3 – Determine future of 1:1 devices at Byron Public Schools

  • Evaluate current state of technology and 21st-century instruction practice
    • EvidenceCompleted Spring 2016
    • Tech Committee Work, Surveys, Timelines, Board Presentation
    • Result – Added Intermediate School to our 1:1 (with iPads) and switched to Chromebooks in the HS.  We now have devices 1:1 in grades 3-12.  However, access in only a single step! (reflection/publication to MASA Newsletter)


In my current grad class through Winona State University, Innovative Instructional Leadership, my students having been studying the diffusion of innovation, discussing/reflecting on leadership traits and applying design thinking strategies to create solutions to identified problems.

Influencer: The new science of leading changeAn activity we are working on right now – is a jigsaw of the book Influencer: The new science of leading change.  While I am writing this post -first for my students – I also felt it was worthy to post to my blog for my own reflection and opportunity for feedback from my PLN.

This book provides leaders, established or emerging (this means you students!), insight on how lead successful change.  This is not change for the sake of change.  Remember, our last face to face IDEATION session indicated nearly half a whiteboard of challenges from the perspective of students, teachers, and administrators.

Design thinking defining/ideation with #wsucohort1 – Feb 22, 2017

Chapter 2 highlights that there are 3 keys to influence:

  1. Focus and Measure
  2. Find Vital Behaviors
  3. Engage all 6 sources of influence – Personal, Social, and Structural Motivation and abilities.

Focus and measurement is crucial.  You have to have measures of where you are – and goals of where you are going.  Then measure again. What were the results?

Side Thought:
For many districts, the big measures tend to be test scores and as districts transition to personalized/project-based environments, I do believe, that we can give students great learning experiences (authentic/relevant) and still increase test scores.  It has been so fun to see classrooms that are actively applying these new pedagogies.

From Michael Fullan’s, A Rich Seam

One mistake that I have seen (that I have also been guilty of) is focusing and getting so excited about the innovation – that the original learning goals get lost. We need to make sure we focus on our standards and continually assess our students meeting and exceeding those standards. This will help determine when we may need to provide extra support for our struggling learners.

But…. I see the need for other measures beyond test scores.  Of course, there are surveys and observations (as seen in a report But I am not sure this is enough.  I would really love to understand the district/school measures that go beyond test scores and are extremely effective.

Vital Behaviors. What are the behaviors in an organization that drive results? What are the vital actions that drive change?  What are the vital actions that are “culture busters”?

Side thought: Once we have clear and compelling goals – how often do we find and share those stories of change and success?  Stories can have an amazing impact on an organization/culture.  On the other hand, how often are we willing to address those culture busters? Often, we let behaviors continue because of the fear of confrontation.

The 6 sources of influence.  How do we motivate or enable a vital behavior to reach our desired goals?  Motivation – one’s desire to make the change.  Ability – one’s talent, skill, knowledge to do so.  How often have our students not “reached their potential” due to motivation?  Or how often have we seen students create great strides due to a huge increase of motivation?  How do WE react to change when a change is imminent? Can I do it?  Will I do it? Why should I do it?

These domains are further divided into 3 subgroups – personal, social and structural.  “These three sources of influence reflect and separate highly developed literatures: psychology, social psychology, and organization theory.” (p 69).

It is these 3 sources of influences that are jigsawed and will be shared upon our next f2f day as teams of students will be delivering short but quality PD to their peers (not sit and get PD!).

It’s important to think and reflect on these influences as both a leader within your classroom and a leader within your school or community.  Not all will be equivocally useful -but will offer ideas to support revisions to solution prototypes!  When reading this book it’s important consider our role as an influencers and our role to influence other influencers!


Google Classroom – A differentiated experience

Today I am facilitating a f2f PD session around Google classroom and wanted to do a quick reflection before my next session.

Knowing we have users with different abilities, I decided to do a 1 question survey – to find out how comfortable our staff is with the tool.  Below is the results of this survey.

Results of Survey






I was surprised at how many staff had already adopted the tool.  I also recognized – that the Spray and pray – One size fits all PD session was not going to suffice to be adequate to all of our teachers’ needs.  And so, I decided to use Google Classroom (blended learning) and stations – to differentiate this experience for our teachers.

We also are going down the road of standards-based learning in our district.  Last year teachers determined their course ELO’s (Essential learner outcomes) based on standards. They also started creating scales (building on 1-4 model) to show the progression of learning those critical ELOs. For those of you who have adopted Marzano – you should be very familiar with this.

However, I wanted to also model this idea of progression, (a path to mastery) and create learning experiences to go along with it and differentiate the experience.  Having observed Daily 5 station work in the elementary school – I decided to create stations within my classroom for the day and test it out with adults.  Here is my concept idea.  Please feel free to comment or make suggestions to make this better.

I also wanted to try to create an experience where the learners also had access to personal TV screens (after my visit in Burnsville a few weeks ago)

2016-12-16-10-05-04How did it go?

My 1st session was a great learning experience and by the second session, I felt I was getting better at it.  The opportunity to use technology (like Google classroom or any other LMS) to blend this experience was invaluable.   Also, providing direct instruction to those who needed it (small groups vs large group) also helped.

I also wanted to do a 360 recording of this video so I could have some time to observe myself as well.  First 2 sessions did not work, Hopefully, I will get a recording soon – I will add it to this post if it works!

Stay Tuned!

Is this a breakthrough idea?

Disclaimer: This blog post is just an idea.  It is nothing that has been shared with anyone in the district.  It is nothing that is even “in the works”.  Several factors in the past 2 weeks have contributed to this idea and even the idea of blogging about it.

  1. One of my grad student’s (@JG0005) blog post called Exposed that shares her thoughts about transparency at the beginning stages of a teaching idea and early implementation phases.  This post is a front end idea.
  2. Innovator’s Mindset Mooc discussion – A discussion about Inquiry based PD with George Couros (@gcouros) (2/15/16)
  3. School discussions about what PD will look like next year.  
  4. A Google Hangout with Scott Mcleod (@mcleod)  discussing Trudacot (2/17/16)
  5. A BAM Radio show interview with Brad Gustafson (@GustafsonBrad) and Ben Gilpin (@benjamingilpin) around creativity in learning/teaching (2/18/16) – My takeaway thought – What are the enablers of innovative teaching?  Does innovative teaching lead to creative learning?
  6. Our district strategic plan
  7. Reflections from chapters 4 – 6 Innovator’s Mindset book. 
  8. iPad/21st Century Feedback surveys – We have a good baseline.  Its time to start acting on the things that matter to us.
  9. Observations of current grad class – Connected Educator Connected Classroom.  First round of lesson plans have come in – and I am super excited from what is being shared. Amazing stuff in development. 
  10. Reflections of – This week at the elementary, I was excited to hear that some of the teachers implemented some of the ideas (with great success!)shared at previous sessions. I find these short conversations (½ hour or so) is enough for some teachers to have an idea and implement.  (reports of both student engagement and observation of teacher engagement).


Image Credit –

Breakthrough Idea – Teacher/Admin Genius Hour

Image Credit –

Big  Idea – Consider  Teacher Genius hour as a model of PD.   (Maybe Admin Genius hour too? – would love seeing administrators model ways they are being innovative – including this tech director)

Genius hour is a movement that allows students to explore their own passions and encourages creativity in the classroom. It provides students a choice in what they learn during a set period of time during school. (


Driving Questions

  1. What effects does innovative teaching have on learners? (engagement, achievement, skills ect)
  2. Are we delivering on the vision and ALL priorities of our strategic plan?
  3. How do we move from pockets of Innovation to fostering cultures of innovation/learning?
  4. How do we give teachers ownership of PD and honor/celebrate their work?
  5. What opportunities does a  personalized inquiry based PD bring to our district?
  6. How can we creatively tackle roadblocks that get in our way?
  7. How do we empower all of our staff to take risks?
  8. Would modeling self directed learning at all levels in an organization lead to more opportunities of self directed learning for students?


Here are a few things that I know about PD.

  • In the book Drive, Daniel Pink shares that employee engagement today relies heavily on 3 things. Autonomy, Purpose, and Mastery.  
  • The best PD is pd that is embedded in the school day.  In a recent district survey, the number one barrier to effective use of technology is time (27%).  
  • The best PD is not a 1 and done, but something that is continually supported and followed up on a regular basis.
  • Learning is not just passively listening to a presenter’s lecture at a workshop, but an applied understanding of an idea/concept into the classroom and reflecting/presenting the results the experience.


First run…. A potential plan – Draft Draft Draft!

  • Kick of the event with PD time to explore the topics in @mcleod’s and @jgraber Trudacot lesson design tool.  There could be others but I really like the focus on students and deep relevant learning.
  • Teachers pitch ideas.  Either they create a new lesson or re-design an existing lesson that is improved “significantly” based on Trudacot topics to engage learners and deepen learning.  Maybe do a critical friends session.  The end result – must have a positive impact student learning in some way.  
  • Teacher ideas can be collaborative (seeking partners or team events) or independent.  Would love to see teachers collaborating across the disciplines
  • Decision is solidified, and teachers create an action plan
  • Create mini workshops or coaching sessions based on teacher needs to complete goals.  
  • Planning process is documented/journaled/or blogged along the way.
  • Teachers implement action plan/lesson idea into the classroom.
  • Teachers collect evidence and reflect on the process
  • Teachers (and maybe students too?) present their findings science fair style.  Or I am  thinking it would be cool to have a Ted Talk style presentation – short and sweet – 5-7 minutes tops.  Maybe Pecha Kucha Style?
  • Would love to invite the community to this event.  Maybe even other districts.  I consider this a celebration of the work of our Teachers AND an opportunity to share ideas to others in hopes it generates more ideas and action to try something.


ROADBLOCKS and “Yeah Buts” to overcome

I don’t have time for this.  I get this.  We need time and time needs to built into our system.   My dream would be time each week (just like a true Genius Hour project) to be dedicated each week.  However, ½ days every 2 weeks might work or  even 1 day per month.  If we do not have calendar time to support this idea, I do not believe we can have “systemic” success.   Can this be revised? Absolutely – but I am just sharing my “dream scenario” at this point.

Accountability. What about those who do nothing?  In my mind, most teachers would love an opportunity to have time to focus on creative lesson planning/mini action research – However, we know there will be some who will try to get by with as little as possible.  I do think a presentation expectation in front of peers, school board, community – could eliminate this factor….

We don’t know if it will work.  Lets face it.  There are many things we do NOW that do not work.  We have spent many dollars in PD that has been ineffective.  In my opinion, This has all of the makings of success.  The timing is right.  The focus on learning experiences is perfect.  What is the worst thing that could happen? We need breakthrough ideas and we need an avenue to share them and celebrate them!

But some people are more innovative than me.  Some people will make me look bad.  OK – this is a big BIG mindset issue.  We should celebrate everyone’s wins no matter where they are.  The only thing that would look bad is if you do NOTHING. Then that would be on you.

But what if my results are not good?  This idea is about an innovation journey. It’s about failing forward.   Even if results are not as great as one would wish – did you learn and grow along the way?  Even though the results were not as good as you wished – would there be things that you could “tweak” to make results even better.  There may be opportunity for feedback from peers – that could make the product so much better.

So there you have it!  – As this is at an infancy stage right now – there are plenty of opportunities for improvement.  But I do believe going down this path could be inspiring.  I think the creative ideas and innovative actions of our teachers can better define our future at BPS!

So what do you think… Is this a breakthrough idea?  Have feedback? I would lOVE to hear from you!

Image Credit –

My Why…

Our district administrative team was at a leadership training today with several districts from MN.  Towards the end the day, We watched Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” video.  It had been a while since I had seen it, but good to reflect upon the vision of our district.

As a homework assignment, we were to reflect on our why.  Why are we in the positions were are in? Why do we come to work everyday? And what is our why (vision) for education?

Below is a few things that drive me. That I believe to my core….

  1. Foster self-directed learners who persevere through difficulties.
  2. Engage learners in authentic tasks to create authentic products for an authentic audience.
  3. Develop student leaders with global and empathetic view of the world who actively act upon problems we face today and tomorrow.
  4. Personalize the education of our children to meet core curriculum as well as their passions and interests.
  5. Create a culture of shared leadership and learning in our organization’s system to provide 1-4 that engages all stakeholders.
A graphic of My Why...

A graphic of My Why…


I know this probably sounds like a lot of fluff but this keeps me up at night.  My why keeps me coming to work even when times get tough and it would so much easier to quit. As a tech director, you would think I would focus on technology – and trust me – I do have a passion for tech, but it has taken me years to realize that focus is not about technology – rather focus on those relevant tasks and let technology amplify….

  • Amplify learning
  • Amplify student voice/choice
  • Amplify our students’ opportunities to make a positive impact in our world.

So, what am I missing?  I would love to hear your WHY.

School Leaders: What does your digital footprint say about you? Your school?

Over the next couple of weeks our leadership team is leaving room on our weekly agenda to discuss  DIY PD with twitter as well as sharing our district’s story using social media.  What is our brand? Who is telling our story? How does social media impact our story?  What does my digital footprint say about me as a professional?

To start, I sent a short google form and asked team members to share their professional interests and current twitter use.   I took the time and selected  hashtags that would be relevant to them. As for their Twitter use (below)  I could care less if someone is a beginner… this isn’t an evaluative question – this is a question to guide learning.  My goal – to get all of our team at a level 3.

1 – Beginner – I am fairly new to twitter and I may know some features, but not all features. It still is a little bit of a mystery to me.

2 – Developing –  I know the basics of twitter. I can follow, retweet, tweet, reply, send pictures. Hashtags may still be a little of a mystery to me. I understand there is potential to support my growth – I am just not sure I am there yet.

3 – Proficient – I have a personal learning network that is tailored to my needs. I not only listen and learn, but contribute back to my network. I use twitter on a regular basis to support my growth and use it to showcase the passions and talents of others.

4 – Innovating – I can provide PD around Twitter.  Twitter is just part of my DNA

5 Stages of Twitter Use

5 Stages of Twitter Use

Brad Gustafson’s post “For the Kids” is an excellent way to start a social media conversation as well as taking some time observing his school’s #GWGREATS hashtag. On a personal note, I love LOVE learning about all of the great things our teachers and more importantly students are learning about.  I think its our important for our community as well. While we do have a successful facebook page –  it is manned by a few.  Twitter and hashtags can allow anyone to contribute!

Here are just a few guiding questions (and a few of my thoughts) to start your conversation with instructional leaders:

  • How do you personalize your learning ? When one properly creates their personal learning network (PLN), learning can happen when and where you need it.  Twitter has become the most positive PLC anyone could ever ask for.  I have been fortunate to connect with others (tweeps) to learn personally/professionally  but more importantly to create opportunities for our staff and students to learn.  This takes time – but so so worth it!
  • Who will model good use?  Whether you like it or not kids, as early as 9 or 10, are signing up for social media accounts.  Who do they look for? People they know.  I would much rather have my child  follow a teacher/admin who models and is developing a good digital footprint than some of the pop who has little or no moral intentions.   And even if they do follow those pop stars (you know they will) we can provide opportunities to model good use of technology.
  • Who is telling our story? Branding (AKA TELLING OUR STORY) our schools is a great way to share with our community about how we learn, share, innovate, and inspire our staff and kids.  Its a great way to cross-pollinate ideas from classroom to classroom, building to building or district to district. I also find it great to keep up to date.  Just this past weekend I was watching our #cybears hashtag to keep track of the progress of our robotics team!  We have a great facebook page – however it is only managed by a few.  Using twitter and a hashtag – allows anyone to contribute to our story – including students.
  • How do we continue to seek talented staff? How do we attract families to our community? As more and more people use social media to interact or learn – they also will use it to shop for jobs and schools.  We want families to seek Byron as a great place to educate their kids. We want talented staff in our district. Our schools footprint should be transparent and show why Byron is a great place to work and learn!  For school leaders…. our personal profiles should indicate we are great people to work for/with.

Here is an agenda I used the other day.  Feel free to tweak and use with your own teams.   If you have other ideas -share them out!

What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. ”
William Shakespeare

As I reflect on 21st century learning and the support systems (in the form of people) new education leadership roles have emerged across our state.  Here are just a few titles I am aware of:

  • Data Coach
  • Instructional Coach
  • Curriculum Instruction and Assessment Coach
  • Personalized Learning Coach
  • Technology Integrationist
  • Digital Learning Coach
  • Innovation Coach
  • Media Specialist (Suggested by @blueskunkblog  – added 1-8-2015)
  • and dozens of others….

After reading A Rich Seam, by Michael Fullen and Maria Langworthy, it is clear to me, that  new pedagogies are emerging that blend pedagogy, technology and innovation, and new partnerships between teachers and students.  Technology  is no longer an addition to pedagogy but instead meld a new pedagogy.   Fullan and Langworthy (2014) share the following graphic and explanation:

How New Pedagogies are Different

How New Pedagogies are Different, A Rich Seam, Michael Fullan

“The above diagram helps summarise this discussion of how the new pedagogies and deep learning differ from the model of education that dominated much of the last century. First, this model is new because it aims to achieve deep learning goals that involve the creation and use of new knowledge in the real world. Second, this model becomes manifest in the new learning partnerships that emerge between and among students and teachers when the learning process becomes the focal point for the mutual discovery, creation and use of knowledge. Third, this model responds to and is enabled by digital access inside and outside of schools.”

This work also aligns to a post by Scott McLeod – 3 Big Shifts – in which Scott shares there are 3 shifts that are or need to happen in schools today.

3 Big Shifts

3 Big Shifts, via Scott McLeod, Dangerously Irrelevant

As we think of these shifts in education and/or the new pedagogies that focus on the deep learning  – are our leadership roles also shifting to support these new pedagogies?  For instance, do technology integrationalists also coach these new instructional models?  Do our instructional coaches have discussions about technology?  Do we still need separate roles or are these roles becoming a blend as well?

So it leaves me to ask you – Has your leadership role evolved to support these new pedagogies?

  • If so, how was support given to you? What kind of development did you receive?  What resources were you given? What challenges have you overcome?
  • If not, do you find value in this idea? Or do you think we still need separate people (tech, instruction, data, ect) to support these new learning environments? If you like the idea, what support do you need? What roadblocks would you encounter?


Fullan, Michael, and Maria Langworthy. How New Pedagogies Are Different. Digital image. A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. N.p., Jan. 2014. Web. Nov. 2014. <>.

Mcleod, Scott. 3 Big Shifts. Digital image. Dangerously Irrelavent. N.p., 22 Sept. 2013. Web. 21 Dec. 2014. <>.

Keep learning… Geographic Information Systems

GIS - Designing for our Future

Image Credit – ESRI.Com

Did you know that schools in the state of MN can get a FREE site license for ESRI ArcGIS?  Today  (Friday) a couple of my teachers and I sat down with a rep from MDE and a GIS Analyst to discuss how we can adopt GIS (Geographic Information Systems) into our classrooms.  I never realized how powerful mapping can be and how applicable it is across the disciplines!  Check out this website ( to learn more how  teachers and students are utlizing the tool!  And they even have an iPad version/apps to support learning on the GO!  You can also visit MDE’s website to learn more about the initiative.

Celebrating #EduWins with #Edtech

Communicating Globally in Special Ed – Thursday was such a fun day.  @amberaslakson invited me into her classroom to observe her kids interviewing kids from Canada via Skype.  They are doing a book study with the canadians with the book  The 14th Goldfish.  They have been collaborating with kids via Edmodo and were ready to go live with a skype convo.  Something happened and the skype never occurred but I did enjoy my time interviewing the kids.  They were incredibly excited to share and my favorite moment was when one 6th grade student piped up and said – “Blog, I love to Blog. Its my favorite thing to do.”  These kids have had numerous skype discussions with kids all over the globe in @amberaslakson class and it shows.  I observed these kids had a deep understanding in communication etiquette in technology communication (whether online discussion board, responses to blogs, or skyping live).  This skill is incredibly invinvaluabled will take the a long way!!! Way to go!

Drawing by Byron MS Student

Not your Momma’s PE Class – Our HS PE class was  recognized for  innovating and personalizing physical education when our local news crew (KTTC) came for a 1 hour observation/interview.   This is a teacher led initiative and I am amazed at how far they have come in just 2 years.  Please take some time to watch the video – its just one way they are transforming PE.  I have also learned they are integrating iPads and ePortfolios as new forms of assessment.

One thing that resonated with me after a 1:1 conversation with a PE teacher,  was how our district’s vision set the stage for these teachers taking it upon themselves to innovate in their program. They also took action when our superintendent stood up in front of the entire staff and said we should not be afraid of failure.  So many things are unknown when you begin to transform your classroom, school, district.  I am so thankful they took some risks as it is benefiting our students! THANK YOU!

Kttc Story - PE

Observing iPad use in classrooms – Next Tuesday, Nov 18, teachers from Rochester Public Schools will be coming over to Byron to observe the integration of iPads to support learning and teaching in our MS/HS classrooms.  I sent out an All Call for teachers to sign up for the event.  Boy – did my teachers represent! Here is our list.    Our teachers definitely doing some amazing things…and this is a great opportunity for me to learn from them.   My take away – I think I will take this opportunity and go on a tour of these classrooms as well.  CANT WAIT!