The personal learning network for educators
Throughout my career I have been privy to a number of conversations, debates, and discussions amongst educators on various educational initiatives and approaches. During these discussions I have heard people refer to "The System" or "The District" in ways such as, "The System needs to change" or "The District ought to do something about that!" It's as though "The…Continue
Added by Tom Schimmer on September 29, 2011 at 7:14pm — No Comments
This is Anna. My family and I met Anna during our 10 day trip to Vietnam this past August. We were in Vietnam as part of a working vacation. I had conducted a 2-day workshop for the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) and also worked specifically with the Saigon South International School. After four days in Ho Chi Minh City we flew up to the resort town of Hoi…Continue
Added by Tom Schimmer on September 16, 2011 at 1:43pm — No Comments
Although many schools/districts have had students in session for a while now, this week, for many, marks the second week of school. As such, it is likely that many of you are preparing your students for their first summative assessment/moment in your class (maybe it's already happened). Back in January - in my first blog post no less - I wrote that "It's all about Confidence." While a new school year can provide…Continue
Added by Tom Schimmer on September 12, 2011 at 1:46pm — No Comments
In all of the discussion and debate regarding summative and formative assessments, there is one misunderstanding that seems to be revealing itself more and more.
Too often, the discussion regarding summative v. formative assessment seems to navigate toward a critique of certain assessment formats and their place in either the summative or formative camp. For me, this is an irrelevant discussion and can distract us from developing balanced assessment systems that seek to match…Continue
Added by Tom Schimmer on September 5, 2011 at 12:09pm — No Comments
Somewhere along the way the word discipline has, for some, become a four-letter word. Isn't discipline a good thing? Don't I need discipline to sustain a habit, change my lifestyle, or excel at anything I do. Isn't it important that I learn self-discipline so I can monitor my own progress toward any goal. If I don't have it or know what it looks like, isn't it important that I have someone to help guide me there? Now, I know that's probably not what is often meant when people…Continue
Over the better part of the last decade I have had the good fortune of presenting in schools & school districts, and at a variety of workshops & conferences across North America. The topics have varied, but the message has always been similar: Some things in our system need to change or improve and here are some ways in which I think we can accomplish that goal.
Anyone who knows me knows that my presentation style is fairly…Continue
Added by Tom Schimmer on June 2, 2011 at 12:33pm — No Comments
Somewhere along the way we created an educational mindset around practice and homework that determined that if we don’t count it, the students won’t do it. This idea that everything counts is wrought with misrules and situation that make accurate grades a near impossibility. In so many other aspects of life – fine arts, athletics - we value the impact and importance of practice. It seems odd that in…Continue
Added by Tom Schimmer on May 24, 2011 at 4:30pm — No Comments
Here is my issue with Late Penalties being applied to student work. If we are going to reduce an entire course worth of work down to one symbol for the purpose of reporting, should we not at the very least ensure that the grade is accurate? Late Penalties lead to inaccuracy, which leads to deflated grades, which distorts the students’ achievement; their true ability to meet the intended learning outcomes. In most…Continue
…that you wouldn’t hear in any other profession!
Every profession has a way of doing business that makes the profession unique; education is no different. That said, every profession can also become insulated, then isolated and then develop habitual ways of thinking that don’t make sense in other walks of life.
Over the years I’ve thought about a few of things we say as educators (not all of us, of course) that don’t really make sense in other professions. These examples are…Continue
Added by Tom Schimmer on May 20, 2011 at 4:39pm — No Comments
Added by Tom Schimmer on May 12, 2011 at 12:21pm — No Comments
Now, while I don't pretend to be an expert on all of humanity, I do believe that it is primarily a way to prevent ourselves from looking foolish. There are few things in life more aversive than the idea that you didn't think it through or were, in some way, naive about…Continue
Added by Tom Schimmer on April 28, 2011 at 5:24pm — No Comments
This is something I’ve wondered about for a long time. Why is it that when students are unable to meet academic expectations we typically consider it an issue of what the student can’t do, but when a student is unable to meet behavioral expectations we typically consider it an issue of what the student won’t do?
Now, I know that is an overgeneralization, but I do think our collective outlook toward behavioral challenges is very different from academic challenges;…Continue
Added by Tom Schimmer on April 20, 2011 at 5:03pm — No Comments
It seems as though you either get math or you don’t. It also seems to be the only subject where it’s permitted for adults to admit they’re not very good at it either. As Kyle asked/commented on my blog about confidence…Continue
Now before I explain...a little disclaimer. This is not about "control" - it's about creating "conditions." The word management seems to have fallen so far out of favor that it feels necessary to use "air quotes" each time we…Continue
Over the last few years I have spent a fair amount of time reading the Tao Te Ching, a collection of verses authored by the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu. Now I have been aware of this book for a long time, however, it's only in the last few years that I've really come to know it, study it, and reflect on the profound messages within it. It is a very short book - it can be read in one sitting - but the messages last forever. This is a book written 2500 years ago that is still relevant…Continue
My previous post (Leadership FOR Confidence) emphasized that leaders need to balance the hard and the soft – the structure and the soul – of leadership. Too much hard and we end up pushing at all costs; too much soft and we feel great about going nowhere. This is especially true when we consider implementing a new practice, policy, or routine.
Whenever something new is being implemented, it is important to make sure that the…
Added by Tom Schimmer on April 4, 2011 at 9:13am — No Comments
If it’s all about confidence then what role do leaders play in creating the foundation for confidence? In Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End, Rosabeth Moss Kanter suggests that as leaders, we are responsible for both the hard and the soft of leadership – the structure and the soul as she puts it. As school or district leaders, this is how we create the foundation of confidence for our teachers. Kanter…Continue
It’s all about confidence…everything else is just details. The book Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End by Rosabeth Moss Kanter is, without question, one of the most influential books on my career as an educator. Kanter is not an education writer per se – she is a professor at the Harvard Business School – however, her work helped me realize that confidence is the key that unlocks the door to maximizing student…Continue
Added by Tom Schimmer on March 30, 2011 at 9:30am — No Comments
Another one of my favorite books over the last few years is Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. For those who haven't read it, Gladwell tells the untold stories of success. Rather than telling the typical story of intelligence and/or ambition, Gladwell argues that the true story of success can found by spending more time looking around those who have succeeded - their family, where they were born, even their birth date. He argues that the story of success…Continue
Added by Tom Schimmer on March 29, 2011 at 11:15am — No Comments