Time for Innovation – Fed-Ex Prep

Standard

“Fed-Ex Prep.  Is this a model for delivering instruction?” I laughed as I skimmed the title of a blog tweeted this morning.

I was reminded at a meeting this past week that, much like our own students, we are all on different levels of teaching, learning and leading.  Where SBG is old news and mastered by several, I am new to this circle and it seems to be a pretty new topic within my building, even district in certain grades.  But by sharing our experiences, we give others opportunity to challenge us, encourage us and help us along the journey.

When we tap into our own resources – you know, the teachers in our local classrooms – I think we’ll find our most innovative ideas.  We are educators – we are professionals – we are learners.  When given the opportunity and time to sit with other educators, great ideas are brought to the table!  When given an opportunity to choose an area of research or growth, we will pick something of interest – something that will allow us to focus on ourselves as teachers, in our own classrooms – we play the part of learner and finally through sharing with colleagues – we are leaders.

I enjoyed reading Chris Weir’s post on Fed-Ex Prep.  Very interesting way to distribute prep time among teachers.  Note it was voluntary – kudos for those who accepted the challenge!  With limited time and money – this is a fantastic way to give teachers some flexibility in their professional growth… time to develop some innovative projects for their classrooms.  Wow.  The connection between the administration and classroom that evolved.  It’s sharing ideas like this that taps into our minds.  Only 3 of the 16 took him up on the idea – but what an impact in those classrooms and that school.  I am sure this will lead to even move innovative ideas in their school/district.

Our leadership may have many ideas of how to reach our goals – sometimes those are great ideas and other times, not so great.  But when they seek teacher input and ask teachers to share research/practice-based strategies, that’s when I think we’ll see true professional growth.  I believe this is part of the big picture with our Leadership Network in Kentucky.  Teacher Leaders from the district level bring information from the regional meetings – to local PLC’s.  Valuable communication between real-time teachers from different buildings is now possible and the abundance of valuable resources will finally be shared.

Currently our district PLCs are focused on Math and ELA within grade at the elementary, and departmentalized at the middle and high schools – for the simple fact that we now have the New Common Core Standards.  However, this is a learning model – I truly see our district eventually asking for teacher input on what growth needs they have and those suggestions will determine future PLCs.  For example, wanting to transition to Standards Based Grading, I hope to find Primary teachers (who, from what I’ve observed, are masters at SBG) to share ideas / strategies with me to make my/my students experience a positive one.  Collaboration between a high school teacher and a primary teacher – isn’t that what’s its all about?  Just having the time / means to sit down and have those discussions is the challenge and probably the reason its not happened as often in the past.

If we “buy-in” to what we’re learning, we are motivated to learn more – we become excited and start talking about the “cool stuff’ we’re learning, which leads to others becoming interested, which leads to their motivation – and the cycle continues.

I appreciate Chris Wejr sharing his reflection on prep time- it truly is innovative in itself, but without the FedEx model available to me, I’ll be happy to learn from anyone willing to share with this radical rational…

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