Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’

What Will Students Need for the Future?

As educators, it is important for us to look beyond today to determine the skills our students will need 10 years from now–for a job that may not even exist today.  This is quite challenging!  Research does tell us that there are some areas on which we should focus:

1.  Creativity and Innovation:  This means students are creating new and worthwhile ideas, elaborating/refining/evaluating ideas to improve upon them, exploring diverse perspectives, and embracing failure as an opportunity to learn and create a better outcome (click here to learn more!)

2.  Critical Thinking and Problem Solving:  This means students are using a variety of reasoning techniques, evaluating simple and complex systems, analyzing evidence, drawing conclusions, solving problems (in both predictable and innovative ways), and finding better solutions to problems (click here to learn more!)

3.  Communication and Collaboration:  This means students are able to articulate ideas orally and in writing, listen, decipher the best method to deliver a message, work with others well, be flexible, be willing to compromise to achieve a goal, and be responsible (click here to learn more!)

These 21st Century Learning Skills are just the base knowledge and skills our students need to have in order to succeed beyond our walls.  There are also other skills that will be necessary on the job, often referred to as “soft skills”.  Employers are stressing that they need a workforce that will show up to work on time every day they are scheduled and that can communicate, have a positive attitude, work as a team, network, problem solve and be professional.  (click here to learn more!)

Along with the content standards that need to be covered, these skills are essential for student success. The question then becomes–how do we deliver those skills?  Stay tuned for next week’s update!

PTSC Standouts:

I’m excited to celebrate with Boone Grove High School tomorrow morning as they honor students who are receiving academic honors. The breakfast will recognize and congratulate students who have maintained a 3.5 GPA or higher at the end of their 3rd, 5th and 7th semesters.

Important Dates:

  • March 3-21, 2014:  ISTEP+ Applied Skills Testing Window Grades 3-8
  • March 17-21, 2014:  IREAD-3 Assessment Grade 3
  • March 19, 2014:  BGHS and BGMS Online Day
  • April 1, 2014:  Come support the BGHS Girls Tennis Team at Panera Bread from 4-8 pm.  Bring in the flyer below (paper or show on your smart phone) and the team will get a portion of their receipt; the more receipts the higher the percentage.  The team is working hard to earn enough money to buy a set of tennis uniforms for BGHS.  Come out and support our Tennis Team!

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 11.33.10 AM

  • April 15, 2014:  American Teens in Crisis Conference (www.pathblazer.org/ATIC2014)
  • April 21, 2014:  Regular day of school–snow day make up day for January 8, 2014
  • April 21-June 4, 2014:  ECA Algebra 1, English 10, and Biology 1 Testing Window
  • April 28-May 13, 2014:  ISTEP+ Multiple Choice Online Testing Window Grades 3-8 (extended window)
  • May 5-23, 2014:  CoreLink Online Assessment Grades 3-8 (extended window)
  • May 23, 2014:  BGHS and BGMS Band Concert at 7 pm at BGHS.  Come out and enjoy the last band concert of the year!
  • June 2, 2014:  Regular day of school–to make up for our snow day on January 27, 2014
  • June 3, 2014:  Regular day of school–to make up for our snow day on January 28, 2014
  • June 4, 2014:  Regular day of school–to make up for our snow day on February 5, 2014
  • June 5, 2014:  Regular day of school–to make up for our snow day on March 12, 2014
  • June 8, 2014:  BGHS Graduation

Things to Know:

  • Every Wednesday is a 30-minute delayed start.  If we have a 2-hour delay, students will arrive at school 2 hours after the regular start time for the building.
  • Now hiring substitute teachers!  Please contact Linda Dusek at the administration building if you are interested in substitute teaching and she will help you start the application process and discuss qualifications.
  • We are also looking for bus drivers to drive our extra-curricular runs.  If you are interested, please apply online.


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Scott Maxwell

This summer I’ve been expanding my collaborative community through social media.  I have been amazed at what I’ve been able to learn and people with whom I’ve been able to connect even though they live thousands of miles away.  I have learned about the power of building a collaborative community/professional learning community through my use of Twitter.  (Follow me by searching for @DrStaceySchmidt)

Take a moment now to pause and consider these three questions:

1.  Who is your collaborative community?

2.  Who is your mentor?

3.  Who is mentoring you?

Hopefully you can answer those questions–but if not, you can start to build your community today!

For those of you looking to build a collaborative community, I have found some tools that have really helped me that might help you, too.

1.  Feedly:  I used to use Google Reader, but when they eliminated that tool I switched to Feedly.  I actually like it better once I got my many blogs and news sources categorized in a way that made them easy for me to digest.  It is easy to add feeds and delete feeds.  This is the main tool I use to keep current on what is going on in the world.  I schedule time each morning to read using Feedly.  This tool makes it easy to skip over items that do not peak my interest and mark entire categories as read if I have fallen behind.  I give myself permission not to feel guilty when I mark a category as read even if I haven’t skimmed it!

2.  Buffer:  This is awesome!  I’m not sure it helps me with my goal of being more relational in my use of Twitter–but it sure makes posting to Twitter easy without overwhelming the reader with too many posts at one time from me.  When I read something interesting and want to share it on Twitter, I can pick the Buffer option (after installing it one time) and it will posts my tweets based on a schedule that I have set for the day.  Super simple!

3.  Pocket:  How many times did you find something online that you really liked–but when you went to find it later could not remember where it was?  Hopefully I’m not the only one that had that happen all the time!  Good thing I found Pocket, a handy app to use when you find something online you want to save.  I have a tiny Pocket icon in my browser and when I’m on a webpage I want to easily find again later, I click on my pocket and it saves the page for me!  Brilliant!

4.  Diigo:  Diigo is very similar to Pocket, just more advanced.  Diigo also allows you to collect, analyze, and organize the things you find online and also share them with others.  I have seen many presenters use this tool very effectively for sharing tools with their audience.  I admit I haven’t mastered the use of this–but it is a great tool!

These are the tools I have found to be useful–there are many more out there just a Google search or a Twitter question away for you to discover.

“The innovation point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams.”

— W. Arthur Porter

But reading and sharing what I’m reading is not enough.  I have come a long way, but I need to take the next critical step which is to contextualize my learning and build on these new ideas to foster a culture of innovation in my district.  It’s great that I’ve read and shared what I’ve been reading–but so what?  Perhaps I’ve changed some practices to model myself after others who I think are movers and shakers–but is that innovation?  No!  How have I used what I have learned?  I need to use my new knowledge to transform practice.  All the knowledge in the world will not make a bit of difference in transforming culture, instruction, or learning if I’m not taking it and translating it into action.  Rather than just consuming and regurgitating content I need to also become a creator and builder of content.

So it’s time for me to up my game.  The great part is I don’t have to be the lone ranger–I can surround myself with collaborative community.  Don’t go it alone–join the team as there is power to sharing ideas and build new ideas–together.

Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”

— Theodore Levitt

We have two dogs.  They love to run and play together, be near each other, and panic if one leaves the house without the other.  For dogs that play so well together, it is amazing what happens when a rawhide is introduced into the relationship.  This is a picture of Em.  She knows if she dares to drop the bone, our other dog Elle will grab it and hide it.

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This is Elle.  When she finds a bone that Em may have put down for one moment she grabs it, runs, and tries to hide it where Em will never find it.  One day I walked into the bathroom to find her on top of the clothes hamper assured that Em would never find it there (too bad I caught her).

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Sometimes this very same behavior is what we see in schools.  Teachers/administrators have great ideas and they keep it to themselves, not necessarily because they are afraid of someone taking it, but because they have become a silo of excellence working in isolation from others.

Alternatively, there is a danger now as teacher evaluation has evolved impacting pay based on student performance for teachers/administrators to consciously decide to become a silo of excellence insuring their scores are high and hopefully capturing a larger portion of the performance pay when their students do well.

We need to create cultures of collaboration within our schools!  Regardless of how our pay is determined, it is imperative that as educators we continue to work together valuing community and collaboration and how much we have to learn from others.

How do we do that?  Join me for tomorrow’s post where I discuss how we can work to foster that culture of collaboration within our schools, central offices, and now through avenues like Twitter–build professional learning networks beyond our walls and communities.