On August 24, 2017, our #G2Great community welcomed back Pernille Ripp with open arms. We celebrated her book, Passionate Readers: The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Childwith a thoughtful and heartfelt conversation about what it takes to be a teacher of reading. Pernille is a teacher, she is one of us. She is open and honest about her own personal struggles and shares her celebrations and successes. She lets us into her classroom, and in doing so, we see our own teaching lives revealed.
As I read through my Twitter feed, I imagined that I was part of an extended faculty. A member of a dynamic group of educators who cares deeply about our profession. Teachers who understand that together we are changing lives. We are united by a shared purpose and our conversations with Pernille are a prelude to all the good work that lies ahead of a new school year.
As you read this post, imagine we are in the faculty room, and we are having a good conversation, thinking about the complexities of the work that goes into helping students discover their passion for reading. What is the most important thing to focus on? What should I do to set up a successful year? What do I do if students don’t even like to read?
Establish Reading Rituals…
Nurture Reading Identities…
Create a Reading Culture…
Set Attainable Goals…
Design Learning Environments…
Prioritize Time to Read…
Honor Authentic Choices…
Share Your Hopes & Dreams…
Thank you Pernille, you inspired so many of us to dig deep and share what we know. This chat was a glimpse into your marvelous book, which is a beautiful read that is both poignant and practical. Together we can wrestle with the big important questions, and find solutions through our collective wisdom. Fortunately, there are so many talented teachers to learn with as we begin this exciting new year of learning for students as well as ourselves.
This post is dedicated to the vibrant #G2Great Professional Learning Network, (PLN) because we are a community of educators who are unafraid to try new things, to learn, to mix it up and push ourselves forward in the name of our students. In that spirit, this post is beginning where our chat ended with our future technology goals. To boldly step out of our comfort zones and meet learning at the cutting edge of the 21st Century.
Our last question initiated BIG GOALS for future learning…
Global Read Aloud is an opportunity to connect and learn around story with a digital backdrop. According to Katie and Lindsay, “In this age of digital tools and multiliteracies, there are increasing demands of students to collaborate in order to consume and produce multimodal texts in online spaces.
If you are interested in learning more about Global Read Aloud: “The premise is simple; we pick a book to read aloud to our students during a set 6-week period and during that time we try to make as many global connections as possible. Each teacher decides how much time they would like to dedicate and how involved they would like to be. Some people choose to connect with just one class, while others go for as many as possible. The scope and depth of the project is up to you. While there are official tools you can use such as Skype, Twitter, Write About or Edmodo, you choose the tools that will make the most sense for you. Teachers get a community of other educators to do a global project with, hopefully inspiring them to continue these connections through the year. “ – Pernille Ripp
Twitter provides a unique social learning environment, It gives a space for intellectual engagement through live interactions with others. Katie and Lindsay underscore the importance of Twitter in their book, “Twitter provides students with a digital space to connect with other readers and authors to share and discuss books.” However, due to its organization and fast pace, Twitter can be daunting. There is a solution. Tweetdeck is a web-based tool that helps users to organize their Tweets into more manageable columns. It offers many useful features such as enabling users to “pre-tweet” or schedule tweets ahead of time. This is especially useful when planning and facilitating Twitter chats.To learn more, watch this video.
Understanding why a goal is important is essential, answering what you will do to accomplish the goal ties it to an action. This article offers 15 dynamic ways to make reflection a habit of mind in the classroom. In their book, Katie and Lindsay remind us that, “In the 21st Century, information is updated and readily available in real time.” Collaboration, and reflection begin with us. Teachers who lead by example, are the ones who will give students experiences that will help them grow to meet their potential.
If you visit Kate Messenger’s blog, you will see that she has created a platform to connect readers and authors through FREE Skype visits. Technology offers virtually limitless opportunities to provide access that would otherwise had been impossible. All we have to do is step out and take a risk and try. In Katie and Lindsay’s words “It is through the struggle that we learn. Additionally, the struggle provides you with thoughts and ideas to share with your students…”
Flipgrid allows teachers to create video discussion platforms. There are so many creative ways to incorporate this technology tool that are too numerous for this blog post! The important thing about Flipgrid is that it is a tool that amplifies student voice from pre-K to college aged students and beyond. It’s ok to start small with this technology, but the important thing is just to start. We need to start because we are educators, “As teachers we have the responsibility to equip our students with the tools that they need to fully participate in our interconnected, global society.” – Stover & Yearta
Thank you for writing this book Katie and Lindsay. It is an incredible resource that teachers need to have in their hands so they can put your ideas to work in their classrooms. I especially love that at the close of your book you extend an invitation to keep the conversation going through Twitter. That’s just what you did, and now we have even more resources and ideas to explore. That is is what learning is all about, and we are educators who fully embrace a learning lifestyle. We are flexible thinkers who are fueled by a collaborative spirit ready to take the next step forward together.
LInks to share…
From Pencils to Podcasts by Katie Stover Kelly and Lindsay Yearta
On Thursday, July 13, 2017 #G2Great welcomed three dynamic leaders Jessica Johnson, Shira Leibowitz, and Kathy Perret co-authors of The Coach Approach for School Leadership. Their book examines how to find the balance between the roles of learner and leader while fulfilling all that comes with the charge of being an administrator. They believe that if administrators can integrate instructional coaching techniques into their roles, they will lead their faculties to embrace learning with a sense of team spirit. Our #G2Great PLN welcomed their “coach approach” with great enthusiasm, understanding that when we view ourselves as learners first we are also leaders on a mission to improve education.
If we are willing, we can live the life of a learner in whatever our roles as educators and that is a powerful proposition. Any one of us who is willing to step into a leadership role understands that education is very complex and none of us knows all the answers. We also understand how important it is to “walk the walk” our actions, or inactions, impact the culture of our schools. If we adopt a coaching stance, we also understand that no great work can happen unless there is trust. For all these reasons Johnson, Leibowitz, and Perret coined The Coach Approach Mindset using the acronym HAT:
It’s never about the administrator, coach, or teacher the real work is always contextualized by the learners themselves no matter who they may be. A leader’s first priority should be to help learners achieve their best possible selves. However, before we can proceed we need to know what do our learners need? This is how we begin to adopt a coaching mindset.
Q2 Coaching is part of so many roles in education. What are key characteristics of your coaching mindset?
In writing this post, there is a need for many voices to define the key characteristics of a coaching mindset. Effective leadership requires a plurality and diverse perspectives. In order to define what makes a great leader or coach, we need to understand that a coach’s’ role is not defined by the coach or leader. It is defined by those we are honored to serve. While reading this post, repeat this as if it were a mantra, “Any one of us can be a leader.” If we are leaders who view our role through a coaching lens, we understand that any actions taken must reflect the needs of those around us. As we continue to make trust our priority and safeguard it, we all can continue to be our best for the students under our charge.
If the #G2Great PLN were a dream faculty, this would be our collective Top Tenfor how we would define the characteristics of a coaching mindset:
1. Growth is essential for everyone. It is contextual to the team you are part of:
2. Listening is essential for learning. It is an active presence in all that we do:
3. Positivity is essential because we find what we seek. It colors the context of our work:
4. Collaboration is essential because we all have something to offer. It requires ongoing practice:
5. Relationships are essential because they open doors to learning. Focus on care and trust:
6. Teamwork is essential because it expands empathy. Shared understandings help everyone to thrive:
7. Belief in potential is essential. Let your actions prove that you believe in other’s success:
8. Vision is essential because it is the underpinning for intentional work it requires flexibility:
9. Creating culture is essential. What do you want most? Look at it from every perspective:
10. Reflection is essential as we continue to learn we shape ourselves around other’s needs:
Coaching work begins to happen once you realize that the very nature of coaching is to lead others to self-discovery.It is the purview of each coach to believe in the power and potential that every teacher in the classroom possesses. As leaders, we do not distribute knowledge, but rather we thrive on the quest to learn more with and from teachers.
Our last words of wisdom come from the authors themselves, as they continue to strive to lead and learn by example:
Don’t be afraid to try new things
Set meaningful goals to work towards
Always question your purpose and recalibrate your path if necessary
Thank you, Jessica Johnson, Shira Leibowitz, and Kathy Perret for working to help us be our best possible selves as we continue our work as learners and leaders!
Kathy Perret offers Virtual Coaching for Instructional Coaches and School Leaders with testimonials on the home page. My first call with potential clients is always free. website http://kathyperret.net
Jill and I believe deeply in the impact of partnerships because the key to empowerment begins when teachers work together. Through these collaborations, we can inspire, support, and challenge each other to grow as professionals. Partnerships help us to feel safe as we embrace the notion that it is good to step out of our comfort zones. In doing so we yield greater rewards for ourselves and our students. Every Thursday night we gather with our #G2Great PLN to learn together. This community is devoted to helping each other find our brave and push ourselves to be more responsive to the needs of our students.
Gravity and Renee joined the #G2Great community and began with a question most of us can relate to:
Decision-fatigue, the challenge teachers face in making a multitude of daily decisions, plagues us all so this question ignited a dynamic discussion! It turns out that making small tweaks can generate a big instructional impact within this process for teachers and students alike. This is just what so many of us needed to hear and what followed were some brilliant tweets! As we read through the tweets, we realized that many of us shared common beliefs – the seedlings for every great partnership! So we partnered your voices and through our G2Great collaboration we formed a supportive community where we could all appreciate advice that can empower what we teach tomorrow. You see, we are no longer separated by distance because we have a social media partnership where we can all lend our voices. We realized that these tweets were like the expert advice from colleagues. Using this expert advice, we generated A Top Ten Tips and Tweaks.
TOP TEN TIPS and TWEAKS
If you are reading this blog, then you are already a teacher who is a learner at heart. We hope that our words bring you strength so you may leave here empowered to teach tomorrow. Success is just one small tweak away. Every day we make a ton of decisions some small, some huge. Our most important job is to help students feel empowered and capable to work on their own. This is true for us as well. Gravity and Renee wrote these books to inspire us. They believe in us and now we have our collective thinking to help us to believe in ourselves as well. Thank you Gravity & Renee!
Growing up, Thursday nights meant Cheers, Seinfeld and Friends. NBC ruled the ratings, but after those shows went off the air, the truth is Thursday nights really have been blah. That was until….#G2Great. While only in its second season, the ratings are through the roof. Not many Twitter chats trend almost every week and word has spread across the Twittersphere that #G2Great is the place to be. This past week’s episode, Dream BIG: Envisioning Possibilities, did more to inspire than Sam, Jerry and Rachel combined. We might be biased, but this episode was right up our alley because the scenes are near and dear to the work that both of us feel so passionately about.
One moment as we go to a commercial break….
We co-produce a small, independent blog 2 Teachers Let Me Shine. At the heart of this production, is our curiosity in identifying the critical factors that need to be in place in order to let students shine.
Now we return from our 30 second commercial break (Hey, 30 seconds is nothing these days)
Four highlighted scenes of this, sure to be Emmy Award winning episode saw the starring cast of #G2Great educators talking about the very things that inspired us to spin off our own dedicated journey. Those four critical factors that let students shine also just happen to let students and teachers Dream Big…
Critical Factor #1: Building Relationships
If Neilson ratings were the only validation of the success of a show, we would be left with very few shows. (Horror!) The truth is, shows captivate different audiences because they build a connection and foster relationships with their viewers. In our ever obsessed data driven world, it’s very easy to lose sight of the lives in front of us. In order for people to dream big, we must grow relationships which requires us to dig deeper than the number on a chart. #relationships
Critical Factor #2: Forming Community
Many successful shows have been built on the camaraderie of the cast. There is little doubt the behind the scenes deep friendship of the entire Friends cast was key in making their on screen acting even stronger. Similarly, the stars of #G2Great have created a powerful learning network (PLN) which pushes everyone to “build bridges” to Dream Big. Isn’t it our responsibility to create these bridges for our students? #community
Critical Factor #3: Seeing Strengths
Casting agents are faced with the difficult task of matching roles with actors which requires not only knowing the actor, but identifying their strengths. Could you imagine anyone else but Ted Danson flourishing in the role of Sam Malone? Likewise, we must find those secret places in the hearts of each of our students, their own individual strengths, and bring them to the surface. #strengths
Critical Factor #4: Risk Taking
The amount of piloted shows that are tried and rejected is jaw-dropping. What makes directors and producers keep trying? It is a culture of risk taking; failure is expected and embraced as part of the process. What we see on TV is a result of the many dreamers, but behind the scenes are countless tries. Without perseverance, we would never find the gems. Similarly, the cast of #G2Great made it clear that we need to embrace this risk taking and growth mindset in our classrooms and schools in order for our students to Dream Big. #takerisks #growthmindset
#G2Great is no longer a pilot! It is here to stay. You too, can be in future episodes. It is a place where the cast of characters always Dreams Big and lets each other Shine. #2tlmshine Join us!
Our friend and fellow #G2Great cast member Trevor Bryan encapsulates it so perfectly….
When I asked Kimberly about her #G2Great chat vision, she quickly expressed her desire to “stimulate teachers’ ability to influence through professional learning and self-discovery.” We can leave a lasting imprint of influence as we inspire or are inspired by others in positive ways. Certainly her goal was in part met by virtue of educators participating in our twitter chat. But how do we accomplish this even when we are surrounded by negativity? As we explored this question, our #G2Great family left a collective trail of influential imprints.
Kimberly’s message of hope in education comes at a time when her voice is desperately needed. As I perused tweets of influential possibility, I uncovered five points that we can all embrace as we strive to leave our own lasting imprints of influence:
Influence is anchored in our purpose
Our purpose is grounded in the innermost beliefs that lead us to do great work each day in our own arena. These beliefs inform and inspire our purpose so that all we do contributes to those beliefs. Without purpose, our path will be littered with the ‘stuff’ that can blind us to influence imprints worth leaving. Our purpose as educators is centered squarely on the recipients of our efforts – students. We seek to understand so we can make decisions that will lift their learning lives, decisions that are inseparably intertwined with our beliefs. Our beliefs are always in our sights so believability (What IF) is transformed into BELIEF-ability (What IS), as our actions reflect that we can be trusted to make decisions based on the beliefs we purport to hold dear.
Influence rises from learner “WANTS”
But purpose grounded in our beliefs is only the beginning. In order for us to truly have positive impact, we must be willing to acknowledge and respond to the WANTS of others. Our students’ wants begin with their desire to learn combined with unique needs they bring to the learning table (which varies from child to child). These wants amplify our determination to celebrate each child and honor their learning desires and needs. To do this, we set aside our professional agenda to make them our priority. We accomplish this goal by establishing relationships that help us to truly know students so that we can we tap into their WANTS at even greater levels. We believe every child desires and can achieve success and do all we can to help them become their best self in every possible way. We leave imprints of influence by assuming responsibility to meet their specific needs, refusing to be dissuaded by distractions that impede our efforts.
Influence extends beyond our four walls
Each child who walks into our classrooms brings more than their learning self to school – they also bring their lives outside our doors where they spend the bulk of their day. Understanding this life beyond the school day can help us create a bridge between home and school, a bridge that can strengthen our efforts from both perspectives. We are given a precious gift of time with students, but lasting imprints of influence come from creating this home-school connection. Building an instructional bridge of influence that follows them once they leave our care allows us to ‘step into shoes’ of parents and join forces with them to enrich and extend our efforts even if children are not with us. Understanding and respecting the “wants” of others is a courtesy we offer not only children but parents. Respect is earned and we earn respect when we afford are willing to afford others the same level of respect we desire. Respect is a two-way venture.
Influence is nurtured in the company of others
We have all experienced a sense of professional loneliness even when surrounded by others. We can still leave lasting imprints in a lonely environment or when our words fall on deaf ears, but this is a challenging journey that can derail our efforts and rob us of the joys that enrich the experience. Yet if we are willing to take active steps to find our professional joy tribe of others who believe in our journey, we enter a celebratory exploration of enthusiastic dialogue. These collaborations can transform our teaching in ways that merge our efforts and leave collective imprints of influence as we walk alongside positive, uplifting others. More often than not, we find that our influence is multiplied and even changed by this collective experience along the way. Thoughtfully reflective joint ventures can be a powerful meeting of influential minds.
Influence begins from within
Kimberly’s tweet is a reminder that each of us hold the power of influence in our hands. Force and coercion seem to be commonplace in schools of today, but we cannot allow this to sap our energy and blind us to our influence potential. In spite of the popular but ever so flawed notion that we can force influence upon others through compliance, influence will occur only when we assume personal and professional responsibility awakened by our commitment and dedication to our profession. Influence is not an act of being, but a lifelong process of becoming. The good news is that no one can rob us of our influence potential unless we allow them to do so. We all hold in our hands the potential to influence others and leave a lasting imprint. Teachers have always had the ability to positively impact others, even when it may not feel that way.
As I ponder Kimberly’s points, I am in awe of the immense potential that each of us have to be influential. You don’t have to write a book, stand on a stage, or have power to be influential (in fact some do those things without being influential). Your book is the book you write as you gaze into the faces of hopeful learners. Your stage is the stage you stand on each day to elevate the learning lives of students. Your power is the quiet impact you have on your own practices when you seek to understand and enrich your work day after day. Each of us leave imprints of influence every day – even when we are not yet privy to that influence at the time.
Never underestimate your influence on others and those they in turn influence, knowing that we can’t be influenced unless we are willing to beinfluential. This is a ‘heart decision’ we make out of deep commitment and dedication to our work and our responsibility to do that work in the most effective ways.
Yes Kimberly, tomorrow is ours to win or lose and with the student stakes so high, winning is the only option. Thank you for leaving an imprint of influence on each of us and for inspiring us to bravely forge ahead as we strive to leave our own lasting imprints of influence on others so…
I hereby make a Heart Decision to Win Tomorrow by approaching my work through a lens of joy and wonder where the magnificent realm of possibilities will forever remain in my sights. I choose to spread a light as candle and mirror. I choose to leave a lasting imprint of influence on others and embrace the imprints they leave as I continue on my learning journey. I choose…
Will you join me friends?
Below are just a few of the many inspirational tweets from our dedicated #G2Great friends