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As the 9th largest school district in the state of Ohio, the Hilliard City School District serves more than 15,500 students in grades K-12, through three high schools, three middle schools, two sixth-grade schools and 14 elementary schools.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 12, 2012

On Feedback: Thirteen Practical Examples Per Your Requests

The influence of feedback on student achievement is well documented.  Of course, it is also one of the seven characteristics of highly effective teaching that we have identified for our teachers.  Many schools have chosen feedback as an SIP focus for the year, and many of you are having ongoing conversations with staff about what quality feedback looks and sounds like.  Author and researcher Grant Wiggins recently published a blog entry with real, concrete examples of quality feedback.  

Here's one of my favorites (connecting to the feedback look for - "Students give feedback to the teacher about what they know, what they understand, where they make errors, when they have misconceptions, when they are not engaged, etc."):

"Every Friday, teachers collect index cards in response to two questions they pose to their 6th graders: What worked for you this week? What didn’t work for you this week (and why)?  Teachers report back to students on Monday, with a summary of adjustments that the teachers might be making, based on the feedback."

Take a look at all 13 examples and think about how you can share and discuss these with your staff.

The Future of Learning in a Networked Society

I've selected a video this week that ties in nicely to our ongoing focus on Innovation in Education and the need for change for the types of students we see today.  

“This is the first generation of people that work, play, think, and learn differently than their parents … They are the first generation to not be afraid of technology. It’s like air to them.” – Don Tapscott

If you can't squeeze in 20 minutes to watch the entire video, at least take the time to watch the first 5 minutes, as they truly capture the entire theme.

Off the Clock: Giving Students More Time to Demonstrate Learning

As you know, our district's CIP has an action step around grading and homework practices.  This week's article, Off the Clock:  Giving Students More Time to Demonstrate Learning, provides fodder to continue our thinking about these somewhat controversial topics.  Teachers make independent decisions about how and what constitutes a student's grade on a daily basis.  Often, their grading practices mimic the way they were graded in school.  When we pause to consider if our practices make sense in today's educational landscape, we often discover that they do not.

Today's article asks us to think about the antiquated practice of restricting the time students are allowed to demonstrate their learning.  Author, Kyle Redford points out that in our professional careers, it doesn't matter how long it took us to prepare the presentation or complete the report.  He correctly states, "Individuals are evaluated on the quality of their work."  I believe a School Improvement Team could have a meaningful conversation around this article.  

Performing Innovation Before the Norming and Storming

Jeffrey Phillips defines “forming and norming” as those meetings in which leaders trying to kick off an innovation initiative are blocked by issues, obstacles, and gripes that really aren’t reflective of the innovation, but have to be addressed before any innovation can truly begin. According to Phillips, it’s quite rare that a kickoff is actually about the innovation. Let’s face it. Until folks have shared their two cents’ worth and cleared the air about other issues, innovation takes a back seat. Too often, the very roadblocks that stymie innovation should have been addressed well before the big kickoff event. Phillips calls this “skipping the forming and norming, and moving immediately to the storming.”

Leaders become frustrated when laying out and implementing an innovation doesn’t happen naturally or easily, but this frequently happens because we have ignored the layers of issues and resistance created over time. Instead, Phillips reminds us to “clean up issues, communicate [our] goals, and set a consistent infrastructure in place.” Otherwise, the intended innovation will land at the top of the stack of other poorly defined, poorly supported projects and initiatives. So, the message is simple. Address key issues early, or as Phillips puts it, “...start the forming and norming activities early, so when your team is ready the storming and performing can begin in earnest.” 

Performing Innovation Before the Norming and Storming

Preparing Students for the Real World

I had the pleasure of taking a quick vacation to Florida this past weekend for a family members wedding. It's always great to reminisce with family isn't it? Catching up on what has been happening since the last time you spoke is always worth the travel time, until you broach the subject of education. You know what it's like, you're the educator so all targets zero in on you. This time I listened to a diatribe about how our students and teachers are failing and why can't they just learn like "we" did and perform like "we" did? I bit my tongue until I couldn't take it anymore and gave my best political answer to shut down their thought process. When boarding the flight this article popped up on Zite, and I thought it would be a good summary of the thoughts I wish I would have conveyed. All students are not the same, and they are dealing with so many underlying things that sometimes we aren't aware of it until we read a story like this. 

Preparing Students for the Real World

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