Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Unleashing Our Collective Genius (Part 1)

Here is a copy of my e-mail to the faculty yesterday afternoon to prepare us for the weekly AM CPT Genius Hour (As I wrote about in a previous blog) that will be happening at our school, beginning on Wednesday morning:

"You are a genius, and the world needs your contribution" - Angela Maiers.

Over the years, our Department Chairs and School Improvement Team have relayed the faculty’s concerns over prescribed CPT and PD time, and we continue to recognize that you should be learning what YOU want to learn in addition to what we need to let you know in order for us to navigate the course of the school year.

AM CPT Time/PD Time/ and in the future, Duty Time can and will be allocated to allow all teachers the opportunity to develop and share your interest/passion about whatever it is that you want to explore or share with others. To improve your practice or the school.  And to do it alongside whoever you want to work with.  

I understand those who may be nervous about starting something this open ended, or people who may think this is another thing you "have to do,"  but it's designed to be helpful, useful, interesting and benefit you in ways prescribed PD can't.  

Try something.  Learn something.  Do something.  Things will not go perfectly, but that is OK.  We will learn so much together this year if we try. It's not a failure or a bad experience for anyone to have to stop, regroup, take a few steps back and continue on or try something new. It demonstrates that we are learners too.

We understand that Creativity Requires Time: http://youtu.be/VPbjSnZnWP0  
And there are no correct answers: http://youtu.be/9TskeE43Q1M

So have FUN.

On Wednesday morning, please go to the rooms assigned as a starting point.  

You were grouped together there for a reason, I promise. You figure out why.  :)

Start talking to one another and find out why you might be in that room.

(Here’s the ‘flipped classroom part) Ahead of time, consider these thoughtfully and be prepared to share out your answers to the group before proceeding:

“I can help people with…. “  
“I could use help from people with…. “  and
“I am interested in…  I want to learn how to… I want to develop….  I want to try…..”
(It is very possible that you will have more than one answer to any of the prompts. Good.  Write them down.)

After sharing, armed with that new information, start to mingle and see what connections you make.  You can stay there for 10 minutes and see if working connections are made or you can try any of the other rooms to start a discussion or start to form a working group of geniuses.

Keep in mind, you can create something by yourself or with partners. However, Genius Hour time is time to learn, to create, to share, so find something that excites, energizes or interests you and other people who you want to collaborate with.

What can the end result be?  Whatever it is.  Ideally, something that can be shared with the faculty or the world and benefits you and/or the school.

What should be expected of you?  That you use the time to learn.  To grow.  To benefit the school in some way.

At the Conclusion on Wednesday: Consider the time frame and how long you will need to spend on your activity and let us know how long you estimate this will take, who you will be working with and where so that we can publicize what you are doing and let others who may be interested in helping or learning from you in on the action as well.  You can enter it in THIS FORM.  If you don't have an answer yet, that's OK.  We will continue this process until everyone has an idea.

We have so many smart, creative, dedicated people on our staff. I'm really looking forward to seeing the collective genius of our faculty unleashed.
Timothy S. Chace
Assistant Principal
East Greenwich High School
300 Avenger Drive
East Greenwich, RI 02818
(401) 398-1300
@MrChaceEGHS on Twitter  

I am absolutely certain that this endeavor will result in amazing collaborations, products and results produced by our faculty, because I know from experience that we have some of the smartest, hardest working, most collaborative, creative educational risk takers anywhere and they have our full support to make something special happen for themselves and our school.

I am also certain that this process will have interesting starts and stops and bumps in the road along the way.  And it is my intention to chronicle it for you in my blog for the benefit of fellow administrators who are willing to give up control and trust their teachers to do what's best for their own professional development practice and their school's improvement. 

As Sean Junkins, a distinguished educator from South Carolina Tweeted recently, "PD isn't a three hour workshop, it's a career long process in which educators fine tune their craft to meet student needs."

It is my hope that others can benefit from our experience, learn from our mistakes and provide us with feedback and suggestions moving forward that can help us more fully unleash our collective genius. 

Stay tuned...  Something awesome is happening in EG... again. 

1 comment:

  1. I love that teachers can move to different rooms if they don't make connections in the first! I'd love to see the form, but it's not hyper-linked. Could we see it in some fashion? Then we can use it at our schools, as well. THANK YOU for starting something with staff - I'm sure they appreciate it. And THANK YOU for sharing the details it with the world - then others can try it, as well!