Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Live Blogging at Equity Professional Learning

What are the possibilities for blogs and live blogging in schools? 


One of the ways we can discover these possibilities is by practicing with blogging in different settings and for different purposes. Blogging is not just for putting newspapers out of business, after all.

Dr Yemi Stembridge (Yemi) opened by sharing a personal story explaining that he ran into Ed Pinkney, a famous basketball player who hails from the Bronx, at Starbucks this morning. In short, Yemi was pumped to meet Pinkney and converse with him.

Yemi moved from Ed Pinkney, basketball star, to Margaret Beal Spencer, pedagogy star, and directed our attention to this article (screenshot below). This reference gave us a little optional homework and research frame for our shared work over the next 3 hours.



1:45 PM

We lined up from one end of the room to the other, rating ourselves on how well we liked school and when we felt successful. We discussed our risk factors and protective factors. I heard from an ECE coach who saw school as an escape from a troubled homelife. My friend Jacki shared how she used to wonder how socially acceptable her academic inclinations were even as she won Business Student of the Year as a junior. In her small town, athletes were prized, business students of the year wondered about their social capital.

After those conversations, we shared out the stories that emerged in our line. The first to share was A---, a colleague who taught down the hall from me in my first year teaching. A--- explained that graduating from college was a successful moment in her educational past but she had a risk factor to overcome. Her family members hadn't supporter her. In fact, they doubted that she was even attending class during the years she toiled to pay for school, play sports and study into the evening. A---'s story reminds me that when learners come from families that don't have successful experiences in school, or perhaps didn't attend or finish college, they go into schools without a significant advantage that many of us take for granted.


1:46 PM

Engineer successful experiences


A strategy- Engineer successful experiences for struggling students and narrate those back to the kiddos. Take a picture when an often-off-task student engages, then show it to them. Later you can bring that shared memory back up when that student struggles to engage, saying,  "I need my engaged _______ (student name) back."

1:49 PM

"Can we name a student's assets? When I work with a teacher who cannot name a student's assets, I know where the problem starts." - Yemi

1:53 PM 



"Where I come from, I was suspicious of someone who offered me trust too soon." - Yemi

1:56 PM


I want to understand "Differential Vulnerability" in order to get better at my work but I also want to learn about it in order to say it comfortably in conversation to educator audiences. "It calls to mind Differential vulnerability..." I'll say. Those are the two reasons I'll read this.

2:02 PM


In his new book, Dr Pedro Noguera writes about how, for boys of color, their relationship with their math teacher is predictive of success in math. (See how the reading list gets longer... I appreciate the connection to resources and learning opportunities.)


2:04 PM


Equity Professional learning: A new hope


How might identifying the risk factors and protective factors (see powerful matrix below) for students who struggle move us beyond surface conversations about bothersome student behaviors that those students often exhibit as a cry for help or show of disengagement?


2:10 PM

The mother who comes into school cussing everybody out is a stakeholder we can understand on the diagram above. She is a high protective factor for a child whose family has likely had negative experiences with school. She might also help us understand what the risk factor level is if we can connect with her and get past unproductive swearing. I'm all for productive swearing.

2:18 PM

A student other teachers might see as a "non-writer," Yemi sees as a "great visualizer." 


Yemi tells the story of J---, a boy whose behavior used to disrupt class and shares how J--- is making progress because he increasingly sees himself as a writer. Also, Yemi has learned that J--- is great at visualizing. Yemi aims to connect J----'s strengths with writing to help build J----'s self concept as a writer. 

It strikes me that the most important think about Yemi in this scenario is that Yemi sees J----- as a writer even when the boy won't put pen to paper in the classroom. Also, he starts his work knowing that if he gets to know J---- better, he'll uncover the assets that get J----- on a productive path in class and school. How do we build the capacity in all our teachers to see their students this way and trust their abilities to uncover the assets that will be levers to success in the classroom?

2:26 PM


Also, #blacklivesmatter in our work especially when we struggle to get our students out of a path to dropping out and all that comes with that. 

Yemi was reminded of Tamir Rice when he saw one student doing another student's homework in the hall. The connection: Instead of pulling out his referral pad and writing up a student for "cheating" based on a bunch of assumptions, Yemi de-escalated a problematic situation in the school context by investigating, talking to the would-be offender. Where others would punish, Yemi found a teachable moment. 

Note to self: When you live blog you are sure to jack up verb tenses, and transitions, and everything. Keep calm and blog on. 

2:38 

A "Birds of a Feather" conversation


We broke into groups based on the 6 strategies below. 

My group talked a great deal about the importance of building relationships with students as a key component of developing academic, emotional, and social skills. 

4:15

Yemi promises to capture our action plans via photo and post them to a Google folder. For my part, I appreciated Yemi's push for us to move to interest-based groups and work in a production-centered way. Also, I recognized the the rough action plans we created against the clock were prototypes of sorts, that we can refine based on stakeholder feedback even as we move to enact them. 

Looking at the time gap between my live posts, I make a final 

Note to self: Production-centered professional learning can stifle the flow of the live blogger but it also gets action plans written. 


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