A lot has happened this year. As the year closes it’s challenging to sum up the events that have happened. New baby (Emerson), work site (HHS), job (Tech TOSA), and tons more.
One thing that has stood out to me came from an audiobook I listened to on my morning commute not too long ago, Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull. For those of you that haven’t heard of the book, it’s a history of the development of Pixar as told by its current President, Edwin Catmull.
There’s a metaphor in the book that keeps coming back to me. It had to do with a handle and a suitcase. Take a minute and do your own quick read on the excerpt. To add some context Catmull is talking about his struggle with catch-phrases, and sentence fragment philosophies that lose meaning when the story behind them isn’t present. He and other leaders in his company push some great core values, but noticed that the actual value in these was getting lost because people were only latching onto the punchline handle and not appreciating the story suitcase that gave it so much value.
The world of education is ever changing, and educators are kings and queens of acronyms, and catchy, quick-fix like methods and programs. If I’ve learned nothing else as an educator it’s that the programs that stick, the change that takes hold, has a lot more to do with the suitcase and the stories behind the punchline. The staff and students that I’ve witnessed true growth in didn’t happen because of a magical pill overnight. It happens when the narrative builds over time, and then is summarized into a package you can carry.
Look back at the last 10 months. Share some wisdom that stands out to you with the #IEedchat family (tweets/blog posts welcome).
— Inland Empire EdChat (@ieedchat) May 30, 2016
So my nugget for the #IEedchat #Slowchat prompt this week is this:
TOSAs working with staff, teachers working with students, parents working with kids: change takes time, build the narrative, then look for a handle to grab onto and carry the change with you.
I’ve been off. For a long time. But I’m coming back with lots to tell. Firstly let’s do a then & now to summarize a fews items.
I wanted to get back to working with people, in classrooms, so I applied for and was chosen to work at Heritage High School as an instructional technology teacher. It feels good to be a regular on a campus. I get to hear, “hi Mr. Butler” again. I missed that. I’m working in depth with a handful of teachers, running some side projects with digital citizenship and social media, and showing teachers ninja moves with ed tech. A couple of those teachers I work closely with have been starting to use Desmos, particularly the activity builder content.
My wife and I are expecting a child on valentine’s day. We don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, and honestly I’m not sure if I’m biased one way or the other. People keep asking us if we’ve at least got a name. Some have encouraged to follow the J-trend from our families. My name is Jed, and I have an older sister (Julia) and a younger brother (Jake). Both of my brothers-in-law are J’s (Justin and James), and my nephews are Jace and Jayden. I think we’ve about exhausted it, so we’re aiming for something from the other 25 letters from the english alphabet.
For those that don’t recognize it, the image is from Son of Flubber, the follow-up of Disney’s Absent Minded Professor. Friends and family sometimes listen to what I say and they imagine this guy in the picture, conjuring up crazy experiments for the classroom. In my position as a coach, I’ve lost the opportunity to use my own classroom as a lab, but the alternative is actually turning out to be awesome. After some convincing, the teachers that I work with volunteer to host my experiments. I’ve been able to see students use Google drawings and slideshows to improve vocabulary in a Spanish classroom by personalizing the content, 3 ELA teachers are piloting a new internal blogging system that utilizes the open platform from wordpress.org, help support the video production course in establishing a daily news show, desmos activities in math classrooms, and building a digital citizenship program for the freshmen foundations courses. The assistant director in my district now shares a workflow spreadsheet with me entitled “Jed’s Hair-Brained Schemes”.
With all this excitement, I still want to do some old favorites – so I have plans for two big math + tech series, both housed over at transformulas.org.
- I love transformations, and I see how it builds a backbone for secondary math in today’s classroom. I need to share this conversation with others. So I’m writing about it over the next while (let “while” be somewhere between 6 months and a year; I really have no idea of the time line)
- Desmos Activity builder is awesome. I need to push myself to use it more. (Others should too). I want to dive into lesson (re)design playing in the desmos platform. No set goal here, but more a desire to build.