Sunday, May 10, 2015

How will you choose to end the school year? ... (100)

The weather is getting warmer...

There is more and more to do outside...

The always exciting standardized testing is either over or coming to a close soon...

You're tired and your patience is wearing thin...

Summer is getting close...
At this juncture you have to make a choice about how you wish to end the year.

This goes the same for teachers and administrators who are equally feeling the tension of the end of the year push.

Are you going to do as you've always done and play it safe?

Are you going to cut a few corners and take the easy route because you know there are only a few weeks left so what's the big deal?

Are you going to lower your expectations for not just yourself, but also for those around you?

Are you going to end this year quietly and uneventfully...?

We all have a choice to make.

We all have these last few weeks to make a bigger or more positive impact.

We all have a choice to make that will determine how our students remember us...

Remember teachers, if you don't want your students to check out early and coast through the end of the year, then you better not get caught doing just that.

This also goes for administrators... don't get caught checking out early if you expect your teachers to push strong through the end of the year.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

How we ask questions is important too (99)

#teacherappreciationweek Thank you for all that you do!

Also, have you registered to attend or possibly even present at the FREE #4riversconnect learning event hosted by Union this July?

Read more here:

Asking the right questions is obviously important.

At the same time, though, how we ask those 'right' questions is also important...

For example, read the three questions below...

  • "Don't you think we should go ahead and make the change?"
  • "Do you think we should wait any longer than we already have?"
  • "Can anyone think of a good reason not to buy that book?"
In all three questions above we are making it known what we believe. In the first question, we clearly think we should go ahead and make the change. In the second question, we clearly think we shouldn't wait any longer. In the final and third question, we have already decided to buy the book.

We all do it. We ask leading questions. Or we ask limiting questions. Or we ask questions that assume a certain answer like in the three examples above.

What if instead we asked these three questions?

  • "What do you think we should do about the change we are discussing?"
  • "The team has already met twice to discuss this issue. What do you think we should do now?"
  • "What do you think is the best way to learn the information that's in the book?"
By slightly changing the way we ask our questions, we leave room and space for a variety of responses. It's this space that leads to truthful discussion and conversation without limitation.

Also, try and avoid 'either/or' questions...

When we ask 'either/or' questions we limit the response to either one answer or another, without any flexibility or deviation.

Instead, just state the problem. Then ask "What do you think?" Or "What would you do?" Or "How should we handle this?"

As educators, we ask lots of questions every single day. Let's be aware of how we are asking those questions and figure out ways to push our kids in their thinking. Let's focus on asking questions that allow our kids the flexibility and freedom to let their thinking take them wherever it may lead...