Thursday, March 10, 2016

District Referendum and Non Referendum Improvement Projects

It seems now more than ever the educational literature has a plethora of information on the importance of personalizing the learning for our students.  As I pass through classrooms in the District, I see teachers personalizing the learning and utilizing their individual talents to create a culture of personalization.  Next week, a dozen Mauston teachers and administrators will take part in the first session, in a series of sessions through the fall 2016, about ‘how to personalize learning in our schools and classrooms’. 

Learning how to design personalization in schools and classrooms is very much a part of our larger District Vision 2020 under the area of Quality Instruction and Achievement for All.  We know a great deal about how to do this and we still have so much more to learn.  Here are a few ideas from Eric Jensen’s new book, Poor Students, Rich Teaching: Mindsets for Change.  I have listed this book under suggested readings as well. 

Share Progress on Goals

In Chapter Four of Eric Jensen’s book he talks about the idea for teachers to share their personal goals with their students.  Students love the idea of you sharing your goals with them!  This is a very effective way to foster a relational mindset with your students.

Post your personal goal in the classroom (since you are asking students to do the same), and share your progress all year (or semester) long.  Sample goals include:
  • Starting new eating and exercise habits Participating in a community project
  • Helping your parents with a goal
  •  Completing a teaching improvement list
  • Running a half-marathon
  • Losing weight
  •  Mentoring someone
  • Growing a garden
  •  Learning a new skill or sport
  • An Educator Effectiveness goal you have set for yourself

Share your key milestones and celebrations and how you overcame issues along the way.  When you share all the micro-steps forward and the nearly predictable setbacks you experience, students will see that mistakes are OK and make way for improvement.  Your journey over the course of the year will be a drama akin to must-see TV show.  In short, as you make progress through obstacles, students can see themselves succeeding and that they are contributors to your growth.  This is an exciting way to influence students!