Thursday, October 23, 2014

New York City Gathering: Rich, Engaging and Inspiring!

I have just returned from a very dynamic and inspirational gathering in New York City with other amazing and I mean amazing educators!  I am really thinking deeply about many things...

My journey began with a visit to Harvest Collegiate High School in NYC.  I had the pleasure to see John McCrann in action with his students.  I was deeply impressed with not only the level of engagement, but the almost seamless way John interacted and connected with all of his students.  The words he used were high level and rigorous as he explored triangles with his students.  Right away I was struck by how he spoke when he needed attention.  "Quiet, silent eyes on me".  The students understood this was a time for redirection and check in. Another phrase that he used that was also not only effective, but inviting and positive was "I need your silent attention". Then students would raise their hands in support of this request and support the learning idea that was being presented. I share this because it struck me how well respected he was by all of his students and the care in which they all seemed to work together.

Since I have been back in Vermont I have also been using some of the words and phrases modeled by John.  They have been successful in Kindergarten too!  So already as my fellowship begins, I have had an opportunity to see some impact in action.  I am so very grateful for this experience. I then begin to meet others, who I know are here, in this fellowship, like me, to collaborate and share their voices to make a positive impact in regards to education. 

Some big ideas for me from this experience.....

1. Collaboration is vital.  Teachers can not work in isolation.  Together our voices carry and have impact in regards to change that benefits all students.
2. The value and importance of maximizing opportunities is necessary.  As educators we need to be explicit and meaningful in all our efforts when we are engaged with our students.  They need us now, excited, supporting them 100%.
3. The urgency for knowledge about the world and the words/vocabulary we use.  All students need a rigorous learning environment.  The higher level experiences and vocabulary are important for all learners.
4. Poverty is real.  All students need high expectations.   Learning is for everyone!
5. Together as a collective, collaborative, positive and professional group we can impact change.

I am grateful for being a part of the America Achieves Fellowship.  This group is filed with inspirational educators who are passionate and engaged.  I am thinking about how we are all working collaboratively in regards to change.  Really amazing......

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