1) OBSERVE – “What pleasant surprises did I discover this week?”
My youngest daughter has been sick all week with a high fever and hacking cough. She looked terrible with her pale complexion and dark circles under her eyes. She was hurting to say the least. Two high-lights came out of this otherwise low-light, however.
One was how much the entire family helped look after Siena while she was sick – reading books, playing cards with her, or just keeping her company while she coughed. Even the dog got in on it!
The second was right from Siena herself. When we’d give her some Motrin, about an hour or two later her fever would drop down to more normal temperatures. She’d read her numbers off the thermometer, realize her fever was gone, and say, “Dad! I’m not sick anymore! I can go back to school!” I regrettably had to break the news that it was just the medicine working its magic, and that she would have to stay and rest longer. Still, it was very satisfying to know how much she wanted to return to school.
As I write this, another takeaway occurs to me… a reminder to always count your blessings.
2) REFLECT – “What lessons did my work teach me that I could build upon next week?”
I stayed at home two days this week to take care of Siena. This break in routine completely upset the apple cart in terms of production in Studio(i). When so much of the work that you do for students requires access to tools that are physically at school, being away from them during the day means you have to find a way to get to them at night. Lots of boards for bird feeders, and laser cut badges for game boards were cut in late PM and early AM.
As of right now, we have no real redundancy in the Studio for this kind of work. (And this kind of work can’t always be done while the students are there, mostly because of the conflicts between production volume, time with students, and the “downtime” while a student waits for theirs to be done while their peer’s is completed – though this last point can certainly be addressed with a few adjustments to the learning experience.) Some folks at school can do this sort of production work, but the solution isn’t to necessarily add more adults to the production chain. What is really needed are more students to take on these roles. My friend and colleague TJ Edwards and I have talked about progressions for students to grow from newbies to masters. Doing this kind of work would certainly fall right into some of the steps of that progression.
I need to test next week what this might look like on a small level to inform schedule designing over the summer. I’ve gotta hurry too because I’m running out of time with my guinea pigs for the 2-15-2016 school year. :-)
3) FOCUS – “Are my short-term efforts and my long-term goals still aligned?”
I believe so. Being out has certainly helped make sure that Juliette gets more laps in the Studio. :-/
4) BE PRODUCTIVE – “What could I have spent more or less time doing?”
A hard one to answer during an unusually week… or it that exactly when I should be asking this question?
Perhaps more time could have been spent when I was home getting digital work done, but that didn’t feel right with a sick kid. I’m pleased that when I was home, I was really home taking care of my little girl and doing work around the house to lighten the load on the rest of the family – they are preparing for finals and dealing with an uptick in tutoring requests. I like to think that it was the extra stuff that got done that allowed the family to spend more time with their little sister. And for that reason alone, this is definitely a “spend more time doing” kinda thing.
5) HAVE COURAGE – “How did fear and uncertainty affect what I did and didn’t do?”
After three weeks, this still remains a difficult question to answer. I don’t know if it is because it requires me to admit vulnerability – something a former college soccer goalie would never do – or if it is because I don’t recognize it when I feel it.
Or maybe I suppress it.
Or maybe it isn’t there this week.
Whatever it is, this question is one I struggle with offering a response to.
6) CLEANSE – “What mental clutter can I clear?”
It wasn’t a solid week.
- I was out for 40% of my week.
- I missed time with my students.
- I missed time with my teams.
- I missed set up schedules and appointments.
- I missed material prepping.
- I missed story capturing.
- My end-of-year review was tainted by build up of frustration related to all of these.
It wasn’t a solid week to say the least.
But you know what? The sun came up the next day.
- I took care of my daughter.
- I took care of items on the homefront.
- I got to kick off projects with students.
- I got to see the culmination of their work, and their personal growth, at the end.
- I got a check-in in the middle of the week.
- Juliette got more laps.
- I helped MVIFI move further along with fuse16 and got the Traverse prep moved.
- The laser cut work and the lumber for the feeders is finished.
That’s not so shabby.
I basically need to remember what I told myself over a year ago…
Never hurts to remind yourself once in a while… pic.twitter.com/hRsU8UASQf
— James Tiffin Jr. (@JimTiffinJr) February 3, 2015
7) BEGIN ANEW – “What is the first logical step for next week?”
Two big steps:
- Set up a test for student-led production runs.
- Prep for all the admin meetings that I will have this week to make sure I am fully able to contribute, and able to help with EOY work needed for the LS. This upcoming week is a little lighter on my pulls in various directions. Plus, the learning experience I have in mind requires very little pre-, mid-, or even post- prep by me. I have to be ready to take advantage of these opportunities.
The genesis of this reflective post comes from an experiment that Bo Adams invited a group of MVPS leaders to be a part of. His hypothesis in the experiment revolves around the idea that the process of regular reflection by learners, student or faculty, can produce remarkable positive learning results. That, in and of itself, is not a new belief.
— James Tiffin Jr. (@JimTiffinJr) August 4, 2015
Where the twist comes in is making it a regular occurrence, as opposed to just after a major event – or in a student’s case, when a project, test or unit of study is completed.
Essentially, what if regular reflection was an “assignment”, or some other form of home learning? How might this practice of reflection become habitual and motivated by intrinsic value? By doing this as lead learners, what empathetic insights might we gain to better enable us ask others to take on this practice? Or might we discover that we shouldn’t ask them?
To guide our reflections, Bo shared with us these seven questions shown to the right.
They are based on a post written by Mark Chernoff on their site Hack Life. I highly recommend reading the post to help unpack the thoughts and motivations behind these seven questions.
Well, consider this post my way of getting my homework done so I can participate in the class discussions to follow. :-)
Images in this post, but not shown in the Image Credits section, are my own.