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Revealing the Secrets of Our Faculty Meeting Makeover
This fall, I had the opportunity to take part in the Executive Leadership Coaching experience. This experience provided the guidance to transform our faculty meetings from being informational to a time of collegial learning focusing on growth and development.
Last year was my first year as the principal of a K-2 building. We are a one-to-one school district where each student and staff member has an iPad. Throughout my first year, faculty meetings were structured in a way that I would stand in front of my staff and provide them with information. In my 22 years in education, that was always how faculty meetings were conducted. It wasn’t until my training with Christine, that I began to think about faculty meetings differently. Throughout our discussions, Christine asked me what I want to see when I go into classrooms. She guided me into creating a list of classroom learning “look-fors.” The list below is what I came up with.
After creating the list, we starting talking about how I can help support my teachers and provide them with the tools and resources to help make their classrooms engaging, collaborative, focused, student-centered and a place that promotes creation and questioning/discussion. This is what led to making a shift in our faculty meetings.
Instead of me standing in front of the staff delivering information that can be shared in an email or newsletter, each meeting now starts with a FAB15. The first 15 minutes of each meeting is spent with the group collaboratively working on a tool/resource that our students have access to on their iPads and can be used to promote the desired outcomes for learning. FAB stands for Feature, Attributes, and Benefits. Feature is what tool/resource is going to be introduced that meeting. Collaboratively, they will discover the attributes of the feature through exploration and inquiry. At the end of the 15 minutes, we come back together to discuss the benefits of the feature and how it can be used in the classroom.
In order to make this shift, I needed to assemble an Innovation Team. The purpose of this team is to meet the week prior to each faculty meeting to determine what feature we will be presenting and develop an activity to have the staff work through using the feature. My team consists of one teacher from each grade level and a technology coach. I was elated to find that each person I reached out to about being a member of the team was very willing to participate and was excited about the direction we were going to be taking our faculty meetings. When we meet, it is only for fifteen minutes (I set a timer) and we are very focused on our goal of providing our staff with more tools and resources to enhance the learning experiences in their classrooms.
Our first feature that we focused on was Clips on the iPad. I was nervous because I am not an expert with this tool. During my Apple Training, Christine assured me that I didn’t need to be an expert, that it is ok to be vulnerable, and to share my vulnerability with my staff. My biggest apprehension was that I was going to share this tool and everyone was already familiar with it and would view this idea as a waste of time. To my surprise, when I asked the question, how many of you are familiar with Clips, not a single hand went up. We learned about this tool together and this was the starting point for our first FAB15.
The staff was introduced to Clips, a few directions on how to use the tool were given, and then they were instructed to create a Clips video with a partner on the day and the life of a student in their classroom. They were not shown all the things that Clips is capable of doing, but they started discovering the attributes of the program through exploration. As I was observing them working, I noticed all of my “look-fors.” The activity was learner-centered and collaborative, and the participants were focused on engaging learning that allowed them to create and have discussion.
After about 5-7 minutes of them working through Clips, we came back together and shared the benefits of using Clips with students. They shared ideas like using Clips videos to upload in learning journals, having students create getting to know you videos at the beginning of the year, tickets out the door, and so many more ideas. I was thrilled with the responses and they were excited about the program and how easy it is to use.
Throughout this first FAB15, I took pictures of them working and then used those pictures in a Clips video that I shared with them in our weekly Smore update. I believe that it is important to model use of the new tool presented and show them that I am willing to venture outside my comfort zone and try new things.
Moving forward, we have created an outline for our FAB15 time in our monthly faculty meetings. It is only filled in for the next few months, and as a team, we will work through a plan for the rest of the school year.It is exciting to think about all the resources our staff will have to enhance instruction and learning by the time this year comes to an end. I am very appreciative of the process that the Apple Executive Coaching took me through to identify how I could make that shift from being focused on delivering information to my staff, to focusing more on growth and development. Christine helped me realize that I can be vulnerable and share that with my staff. We are working on creating a culture where we trust and learn together. Exciting things are happening at Fort Zeller Elementary!
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