Collaborative Team Teaching

Collaborative Team Teaching
Amy Choi and Pam Ambler presented a compelling and highly useful workshop for team teaching pairs on the first day of pre-planning. As the Upper School scales collaborative team teaching up from Humanities 9 to Humanities 10 and several new inter/multi-disciplinary courses this year, the models and tools they provided will be key to our success.

This workshop was the result of a grant that included elements of design thinking.

Collaborative Team Teaching: Challenges and Rewards
Team Teaching: Advantages and Disadvantages
Team Teaching Benefits and Challenges

Leadership Badge Series

Leadership Badge Series

Here is a badge design I am experimenting with as a way to show appreciation and recognition for leadership. This badge does not have a ‘submit evidence’ but it is awarded by me or it has the ‘nominate a peer’ option.

This is the first in a series of leadership badges I will design and issue.

What do you think?

Leadership Badge Series

Great by Choice

Great by Choice

Great by Choice

In preparation for an upcoming executive team meeting, our team read chapter 2 of Jim Collins’ book ‘Great by Choice.’ The introduction was particularly fun to read as it compared two expedition team leaders – Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon, in their preparation and pursuit of being the first to reach the South Pole. ‘One leader led his team to victory and safety. The other led is team to defeat and death. What separated these two men?

Some favorite quotes:

‘You don’t wait until you’re in an unexpected storm to discover that you need more strength and endurance.’

‘You prepare with intensity, all the time, so that when conditions turn against you, you can draw from a deep reservoir of strength.’

‘And equally, you prepare so that when conditions turn in your favor, you can strike hard.’

‘Amundsen systematically built enormous buffers for unforeseen events. He designed the entire journey to systematically reduce the role of big forces and chance events by vigorously embracing the possibility of those very same big forces.’

In Collins’ research, he identifies what he calls “10Xers” (pronounced “ten-EX-ers”) – a term for people who built 10X companies (enterprises that beat their industry averages by at least 10 times.) 10Xers share a set of behavioral traits that set them apart from other leaders. They are not necessarily ‘more creative, visionary, charismatic, ambitious, blessed by luck, or prone to making big, bold moves.’

10Xers embrace a paradox of control and non-control. On one hand, they face continuous uncertainty and cannot predict significant aspects of the world around them. On the other hand, they reject the idea that forces outside of their control will determine their results, accepting full responsibility for their own fate.’

Fanatic Discipline – They display extreme consistency in action – consistency with values, goals, performance standards, and methods. They are utterly relentless, monomaniacal, unbending in their focus on their quests. They have the inner will to do whatever it takes to create a great outcome, no matter how difficult.

Productive Paranoia – maintaining hyper-vigilance in good times as well as bad. Even in calm, clear, positive conditions, they constantly consider the possibility that events could turn against them at any moment, without warning. And they’d better be prepared. They are not distinguished by paranoia per se, but by how they take effective action as a result.

Empirical Creativity – At times of uncertainty, while most people look to other people for their primary cues about how to proceed, 10Xers look primarily to empirical evidence (meaning direct observation, conducting practical experiments, engaging directly with evidence rather than relying on opinion, whim, conventional wisdom, authority, or untested ideas.

Rank order the core behaviors from your strongest to weakest. What can you do to turn your weakest into your strongest?

Building Our Learning Measures


Building Our Learning Measures
This morning, our monthly vertical team meeting focused on building our capacity with two of our ‘expanded learning measures’ – formative assessment and e-portfolios. Here is the agenda with some data added…

Essential Questions
What are the limitations of numerical grades as a single measure of learning?
How will we develop our understanding of e-portfolios as an effective measure ‘for’ and ‘of’ learning?

Desired Outcomes
Vertical Teams collaborate to implement formative assessment and e-portfolios.

Learning Opportunities
In advance, read Edutopia article: 11 Essentials for Excellent Eportfolios

    • Entry Ticket: Upon arrival, write on 3 separate post-it notes…
      • 1 idea this article sparked
      • 1 question this article sparked
      • the # of e-portfolio demonstrations you have currently assigned to your class

  • Create an entry ticket with your vertical team, using your learning outcome process standards, that you all agree to use for formative assessment in the next few weeks, that students will upload to their e-portfolios.
  • Share out your ticket with the whole team. Receive feedback. Iterate to improve.

Vertical Team Guiding Questions

How can you formatively assess one of these process standards as a vertical team?

How can students demonstrate their learning of one of these process standards? And make their thinking visible via e-portfolio?

How can we help students build the muscles of reflecting on their learning?

PL Team=============

Teacher Reflection on Understanding and Implementation of student e-portfolios

What problems have you encountered while implementing e-portfolios with students? How did you solve them?

Does student’s work tell a story?

What do the demonstrations of learning that students post in their e-portfolios reveal about what they are learning in your class?

If someone else were looking at the demonstrations that students post in their e-portfolios, what might they learn about the design of your class?

What things you might want more help with?

What’s the one thing that you have seen in your colleague’s work or process that you would like to try related to e-portfolios?

Post-it Note Results…

HMW entice students to see e-portfolios as ‘theirs’ rather than something the Ts want them to do?
What’s a simple and effective way for me to promote and support e-portfolios with student buy-in?
How do we continue to empower students to want to curate their e-portfolios?
Why/how do we spark interest?
How to get students/teachers to care about e-portfolios?
How effective are e-portfolios in increasing learning? (I loved this question so much I wrote a response!)
What is our e-portfolio purpose?
What is our purpose?

How do we help students preserve portfolios for future endeavors?
Will e-portfolios be out-of-date tomorrow? (technology changes so rapidly)
If they lose their ’email’ account at the end of high school, does it have longevity?
Do students know how this will be used?
How might I use two different approaches to e-portfolios over the next 9 weeks?
QR Code – love it! Wonder how to use?
Clarify positivist/constructivist approach?
Need to focus e-portfolios to ensure demonstration of learning (learning outcomes)
How do we get videos in to make it easy?
Have we learned to add video? Who will help us?
Are we using the positivist or constructivist approach?

e-portfolios can be used for a short-term learning project
projects on e-portfolios
I would love to make my 2nd semester project tie directly to e-portfolio
design students demos to really showcase a learning progression throughout the year
HMW ensure that e-portfolio updates are relevant to demonstration of learning (learning outcomes)?
the portfolio for learning, as learning
Enhance student meta-cognition, reflection, ownership
I would like to ‘practice’ demos in advisory
I can meet with 1 kid per day in advisory on e-portfolios, match with goals (for SLC)
Student Blog: maybe have students start a blog instead of their journal I have them do? They could keep a blog and blog every week about topics of interest.
Check out One Note and other resources
Instead of weekly journaling, students can add to One Note or Evernote – culmination activity is uploading unit post-its up with a reflection
Students can keep a hard copy of all work done in a 9 week period. At the end of the period, upload 2 pieces of work that were significant. This gives students more time to reflect and choose two of their best pieces.
Students write class blog and link e-portfolios there? Allow a specific timeline to post.
Still love video aspect, but it’s too hard to upload
Our NPS is good with timeline (?)
Use as a student website/blog
We should publish to parents.
Digital Media = blog? Do we want to use e-portfolios like this?

1 Demo – 6
2 Demos – 9
3 Demos – 2
5 Demos – 1

What are your questions about e-portfolios and formative assessment? What are your ideas? Please share with us!

Thanks for the Feedback

Thanks for the Feedback

Thanks for the Feedback

Our team has recently discovered this fabulous book, recommended by Meredith Monk from Folio Collaborative. The authors outline the 3 types of feedback we all need and receive as human beings: appreciation, coaching, and evaluation.

None of these concepts are new, but the clarification of each one, as well as the interconnectedness of them are providing important insights for us. Just the summary from Chapter 1 alone has given us great fodder for discussion and reflection.

“Feedback” is really three different things, with different purposes:

Appreciation – motivates and encourages.
Coaching – helps increase knowledge, skill, ability, capability, growth, or raises feelings in the relationship.
Evaluation – tells you where you stand, aligns expectations, and informs decision making.

We need all three, but often talk at cross-purposes.

Evaluation is the loudest and can drown out the other two. (And all coaching includes a bit of evaluation.)

Be thoughtful about what you need and what you’re being offered, and get aligned.

To the Prankster…

To the beloved colleague and prankster who pulled every other book out on my office shelf, I only have this to say…

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom I can tell you I don’t have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you put my books back in order now that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you, but if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you and I will ‘Hasselhoff’ you.”


4 Levels of Delegation

4 Levels of Delegation
by Andy Stanley with Gavin Adams

Notes from the Podcast

“I just want you to go find out some things. Research. Gather info. Bring it back to me or our team. Don’t do anything about it yet.

Informed Progress
I have a project/task for you. I want to give you something to own, but we’re going to have regular conversations about it, so that I can stay updated and be available to help you through the process. Not to micro-manage, but understand your needs and how to help.

Informed Results
Fantastic opportunity to own, do it the way they feel and tell me when it’s over. I just want to know when it’s accomplished. I may ask how you did it later. Was it successful? What did we learn? This is not going to make or break our organization, but because of the scheduling, we’re going to do it this way. It depends on the nature of the project, whether/how you ‘hand it off.’ Scheduling and Scope – is this something I can hand off. This isn’t going to sink the ship. Super important to make those distinctions as the leader. Ditch 1 – abdicate all or Ditch 2 – driving folks crazy with micro-managing.

“The art of delegating well is leadership development.” – Andy

My favorite level. I want you to own everything about the project/task. We’re not going to schedule times. I don’t need to know how you did it or when it’s done. I just want it done. Ex: safety/security in childcare.

Leadership dilemma: It is so out of sight/out of mind. But if something goes wrong, everybody knows. It is extremely important. More than getting a building built, etc. How do you circle back around to make sure your leaders know you’re grateful? How do you keep them motivated and appreciated?

Requires me to be more intentional about paying attention to what’s happening. I can encourage them as much as possible. I don’t even know everything you’re doing to make this place fantastic, but thank you for doing it. Make a list of 5-6 things I take for granted. Those are the things you need to notice and write a thank you note about. The intentionality of gratitude is more important than ever.

Common Language
Involve them early. Gotta have clarity. Different projects require different kinds of follow up.

What has been the biggest win for you in using this system?

It has created clarity on both sides of the delegation. Allows me to focus on where I add the most value. Creates a lens to see what I should and should not be doing and delegating those things appropriately.

What do you do when you delegate something and you realize it’s not working? What do you do? Take responsibility back? Take somebody off the task?

The problem is usually not the person, but that I gave it too early or I didn’t prepare enough, delegate to the right person.

I never want people to feel they’re only as successful as their last project. If we fail at something, it doesn’t mean we’ve failed at our job.

Other Resources

4 Levels of Delegationdelegate2 4 Levels of Delegation 4 Levels of Delegation 4 Levels of Delegation 4 Levels of Delegation

The Art of Manliness

Art of Manliness

What is Honor? 

For a while now, moms have been asking us if there could be some type of boy version of the popular ‘Girl Talk’ club or some sort of bible study for boys. We mentioned the idea of starting a club like this to the boys and they seemed interested. The start of the year has been quite full of activities. We noticed yesterday October 2 was a date with no football game – seemed like an opportunity.

The ‘Art of Manliness’ met Friday, October 2 from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. in the MSAB. 8th Grade boys only. We had fellowship for the first few minutes while we enjoy manly snacks like Dr. Pepper and bacon (sounds like an odd combination, but we’re going with it).

Art of Manliness AOM1 For the agenda, Mr. McCloud shared a brief message about Honor. What does honor mean? How and when is honor given (horizontally and vertically)? What does the bible say about honor? After the message, the ‘men’ engaged in whole group and paired discussion questions. We want the boys to understand the concept, then brainstorm applications of honor in their daily lives.

We watched a brief video by Craig Groeschel about Honor.


We ended the meeting with a pick up game of ultimate frisbee in the Friday afternoon drizzle.AOM4

The club is called the Art of Manliness because a) we wanted an exciting name (nothing boring like ‘Boy Talk’ or ‘Bible Study’) and b) part of the purpose of the club is to help the 8th grade boys grow up into Godly men. We are celebrating all things manly – within the context of how the bible views manliness rather than how the ‘world’ views manliness.AOM3

We are approaching this very organically. We do not have any future dates set at this time. We’re offering it up and seeing if the boys are interested. Thank you to the enthusiastic support of our devoted moms providing the drinks and bacon. We welcome any support!AOM2

“‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 5:16


Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance…Colossians 3:23-24

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4 

Art of Manliness