Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Whether planning for a long bike ride, or looking at the weeks and months ahead in the classroom, in order to have endurance and success one must build a base. On the bike, this might involve cardio workouts and/or saddle time on the trainer through the winter months. The disciplined rider knows that the payoff will be worth it. The shift from indoors to outdoors is manageable and eagerly anticipated because the body has been conditioned and the mind knows how to focus. 

For optimal performance in the classroom, educators also need to engage in active, purposeful training. Traditionally this took the form of a one-size-fits-none institute day by an “expert” who was from out of town and out of touch. I have the pleasure of working in a district that no longer subscribes to that model. South Berwyn D100 has been exemplary in making the shift to relevant, useful, and personalized PD. At our January 20 Institute day, following “Ignite” sessions in which several teachers shared cool resources for leveraging our 1:1 technology, we could choose from over 60 workshops all presented by D100 staff. Check it out at http://tinyurl.com/D100-1-20PD. Each week we also share “Tech Tuesday Tips” in which teachers are encouraged to check out useful apps, websites and resources. Additional examples of personalized, ongoing learning that is accessible can be found at http://tinyurl.com/WPSMiniCon14 and http://tinyurl.com/DGPlaydate

Let’s just remember that, whereas as no one else can prepare you for a challenging ride on the bike, no one else can prepare you for the classroom. The shift to owning your classroom “training” has occurred and each of us needs to gear down and move forward. Using a personal learning network (PLN) for ongoing support will be addressed in an upcoming blog.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Great Quote

Wayne Gretzky once said, "A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." Cyclists know this is true: for success on a steep climb it is helpful to know the length of the climb and the max grade, and then shift before it is too late (read: walk bike in humiliation, or worse, fall.) Educators need to know what the future (immediate and long-term) holds for our students, and prepare them for that. Doing what worked in the past or what one is comfortable with is a disservice to today's students. This shift requires honest reflection and a willingness to change. It also requires learning from others and taking chances. Extending the metaphor, give yourself permission to fall. "You can't fall if you never climb" (Dr. Seuss).