The Importance of Modeling Student-Centered Professional Learning by @DrewetteCard @AOS94ME


Data & Formative Learning

How do we know that our students are “getting it?”  Too often we hear (or say), “I know they’ve learned it… I taught it!”  If you have students who are reticent to join discussions, or be called on in class, or participate actively… are they learning what they need to learn?  How do you know?

Tonight’s #EdChatME tackled this very issue of monitoring all students in real-time to affect instruction.  Read the Storify archive here:

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Defining Proficiency

Last night (February 27, 2017), #EdChatME had an open and collaborative problem-solving discussion about how we might “define proficiency.”  Many schools are in the throes of designing and implementing a proficiency-based learning system, yet the concept of a common understanding about the word “proficient” is still lacking throughout our state.

Here’s the archive of last night’s chat on “Defining Proficiency”:


Student-Centered & Personalized Learning

Starting February 27, 2017, #EdChatME begins a 7-week exploration on the theme of “Student-Centered and Personalized Learning.”  Maine is a national leader in systems development and innovation in student-centered and personalized learning, yet we are still iterating, developing, designing, problem-solving, and experimenting with the “how’s” and “what’s” of it all.  Join us as we tackle important issues like:

  • Defining the word “proficient” so we can ALL have a common understanding.
  • What are the similarities, differences, and issues between feedback and grades?
  • How are our professional learning systems supporting deep integration of STEM ideas and practices?
  • How might we use real-time data to improve instruction, curriculum, and learning?
  • How might we integrate our content areas and break down the content-based silos?
  • Technology Integration and the SAMR model
  • … and more!


#EdChatME happens Monday nights at 8:30pm EST.  Hope to “see” you there!


Resistance To Change


This week’s #EdChatME (Oct 3, 2016) tackled an issue that every educator (either teacher or administrator) has faced many times, and will face again: Resistance to Change.

Change is hard.  We know this.  But change is also a constant in life.  And this constant can either be fought against, or accepted.

Right?  Or is that too simplistic of an ideology?

This week’s chat was based on the model of Resistance to Change developed by Rick Maurer.  Rick is a consultant who has worked with organizations “including Lockheed Martin, Sandia Labs, Deloitte & Touche, National GeoSpatial Intelligence Agency, Rohm & Haas (Dow Chemical), Verizon, Syngenta, Charles Schwab, National Education Association, The Washington Post,. NASA, Urban Libraries Council, Tulane University Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, and many government agencies.” (  He also is a former educator (yay!).  Rick helps these organizations solve problems, tackle difficult situations, and get deep with why people resist change.  He has authored Beyond the Wall of Resistance and Why Don’t You Want What I Want?, all about resistance to change.

Rick’s model is simple in its design; yet that should not be interpreted that the work of change and resistance to it is easy… far from it.  Resisitance to Change is highly complex, individualized, personal, and emotional.  So with that, I give you a very very very loose interpretation of Rick’s model for Resistance to Change:

  1. I Don’t Get It
    1. Information-based.
    2. “You’re talking, but I’m not understanding what you’re saying.”
    3. Doesn’t mean action happens once they “get it”
  2. I Don’t Like It
    1. Emotional reaction to change
    2. Can often be based on fear
      1. “Survival mode” kicks in
    3. The users “get it,” but their not “buying it”
    4. To what extent are the users interested & willing in learning more, or are they  indifferent & grumbling about it?
  3. I Don’t Like You
    1. “I get it; I buy it; I’m in… but only if you’re not in too.”
    2. History, memory, and perspective can be a major factor here
    3. Don’t assume it’s personal; it might be what you represent
    4. Show me and engage me; don’t just tell me.
    5. Trust is a major factor at this level, and can either work for or against you.

I sincerely hope Rick forgives my loose interpretation and potential butchering of his amazing model…

So, keeping in mind our #NEXTSTEPS work in bringing the chat to life and beyond 140 characters, what can we do about this?  How might we identify when we are dealing with resistance, and appropriately/effectively design opportunities and environments to improve that resistance?

Step One: Watch the opening video on The Energy Bar


Step Two: Think about the environment you are meeting resistance to change in, and complete the survey immediately following the video in Step One.

Step Three: Check out the awesome resources and tools that are available.

I also had the extreme pleasure of spending about 45 minutes talking with Rick about his model, his ideas, and diving deeper into Resistance to Change.  See the conversation here: screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-10-26-10-am



Empathy-Fueled Professional Learning Environments: Intentional and Purposeful

During this week’s #EdChatME discussion on “Building A Culture of Empathy,” I mentioned that I am currently working on designing a day of professional development happening Friday, October 7.


So here’s what we’ve done:

First of all, going back to last June, me and a group of nine other AOS #94 teachers and administrators attended the Learning Sciences International conference on Building Expertise in Orlando, Florida.  It sparked several conversations and “A-Ha’s” related to student achievement, student-centered learning, and rigorous instruction.  This led to a collaborative design of some learning targets for our professional learning environments this year, which are defined as:

  • Continuously Improve and Positively Affect Student Achievement and Learning
  • Develop a Personalized and Student-Centered Learning Culture
  • Develop, Implement, Integrate, and Evaluate a Rigorous Vision for Classroom Instruction

As a result of this discussion with teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators, we threw together a list of potential topics that are directly related to these goals.  This list was sent out to all staff to rank the topics in order of “Highly Interested,” “Moderately Interested,” “Low Interest,” and “No Interest.”  Here were the results of the “Highly Interested” & “Moderately Interested”:


Looking at these topics creatively and strategically, we were able create eight session topics:

Each session will have designated facilitators to help guide the work being done.  That’s an important distinction about this day: facilitators.  We will be using a coaching model, not a lecture model, for this professional learning day.  Each session will be ninety minutes long, and there will be three of each session over the course of the day (see full schedule here).  There is no mandated trajectory or path teachers must take.  There are options on all of the major initiatives and goals for the district.  To help teachers determine their paths, here are the Norms and Expectations for the day:

The Norms are very much based on the EdCamp-style of norms.  If a teacher is in a session for forty-five minutes and is satisfied with her work, she can get up and move to another session.  This time for learning belongs to the teachers, and this time is precious.  Teachers should not feel “locked in” to a session at any point.  If it’s not working: go somewhere else.  Learn and work with intention and purpose is a major theme of the day.

Another major part of this day is ensuring that there is limited “Workshop Learning Loss.”  We’ve all experienced this, and because this learning time is so precious and valuable, teachers should be thinking about which sessions they will attend that will intentionally and purposefully support their work, their needs, and provide them with the clarifications they need in supporting the goals of the district.  Teachers will be required to submit an “Implementation Plan” after each session to explain how they will use what they have learned purposefully and intentionally, and this information will be added into their professional growth and effectiveness plans (aka teacher evaluations).  They will be an important factor in aligning to our “Overall Professional Practice” standard that is a combination of all four domains in the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Framework.

The core users for our professional learning environment are our teachers.  By using an empathy-fueled model of designing the learning environments, we can make our environments more personalized, more relevant, more purposeful and more intentional.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your feedback and/or ideas.