Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Share a Cup of Success: A HyperDoc to Build an Inclusive Community

What would you do if you walked into a staff meeting and you were greeted with smiles, tables cloths, coffee, tea, and appreciations? Wouldn't it just energize you for the day or maybe even inspire you to try the same activity with your students or other colleagues? This is what my colleague, Julie Twisselman did for me during our last coach forum of the school year. She coordinated such a thoughtful meeting that allowed our team to reflect and set new goals for the next school year. This is what she did.

The purpose of the meeting was to review the results of an online survey of the teachers that we had worked with all year. Reviewing specific anonymous feedback can sometimes be difficult to do because people are truly honest about their feelings. However, being brave enough to ask and review results is also an important part of the learning process. As a mindful mentor, Julie planned a special event for us to reflect on the comments from the survey. Her lesson helped to build community and inclusion so that we were open to truly listening to the feedback and personally growing in our educational practice. We started the meeting by viewing the video "Share a Cup of Success."

After the video, she explained how she had sifted through the feedback from the end of the year surveys and printed off one positive comment about each individual coach. She read the first comment aloud. Once she was done, she invited that coach to come up to a table decorated with a tablecloth and an assortment of different colored coffee mugs. The coach was invited to choose a coffee mug and pull from a pile of comments to read aloud about another coach. We each took turns reading aloud the words about our colleagues and walking away with a coffee mug. The room glowed as each educator had a public moment of appreciation. 

After this activity, we partnered up with a colleague and we were invited to fill our mugs at the coffee and tea bar. Using a handout of questions from the video, each partnership took turns discussing successes from the school year and setting new goals. At the end of the meeting, we debriefed with whole group appreciations and celebrated each other's successes from the school year. 

Inspired by this experience, I created a HYPERDOC to package up all the goodness that was created during this meeting. I am giving this gift to any educator who is interested in sharing a cup of success with their colleagues. Packaging up an experience on HyperDoc archives the lesson for future use. Sharing the HyperDoc with the Teachers Give Teachers community at or @TsGiveTs might help another group of educators to make the same connections. HyperDocs are not gifts for graduations, birthdays, or Christmas. HyperDocs are the kind of gifts that you give when you are inspired to do so. If you are doing something awesome in your school, please share with the TGT community. When you share, you are helping a much larger audience of educators to do something really awesome too!  

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Year End Review

It's the end of the school year and everyone is so busy with moving on ceremonies, graduations, good-byes, thank you's, and celebrations. Even though it's such a busy time, don't forget to take some time to reflect on your own accomplishments. There are many benefits to reflecting on your teaching practice. Here is to name a few: 

  1. COLLECTING YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN A JAR OF AWESOME NURTURES A GROWTH MINDSET: No matter how long one teaches, there is always room to grow. Some say it is a journey in life. Collecting your accomplishments over the years is a little like scrap booking the family photos. It takes some time, but it's so worth it when you look back and remember the milestones that together create your own personal educational journey. Use this digital Jar of Awesome to collect all the awesome things that you accomplished this school year. (This idea was shared with me from another instructional coach, Joy Sherrat.) 
  2. SHARE YOUR REFLECTIONS WITH COLLEAGUES FOR ENCOURAGEMENT: Use this Year End Reflection HyperDoc to share the specifics of what you accomplished this year. Have you ever been at a gathering with a group of teachers on the last day of school? We love to chat about what worked and what we still want to try. Typically, these conversations spark ideas in other educators for various directions to go in their classroom. Take a few minutes to complete the questions on this document to keep for yourself or consider posting your reflections on Twitter @TsGiveTs using the hashtag #HyperDocs. If you share your document as "anyone with the link can comment," then your PLN (Professional Learning Network) will be able to comment and send you words of encouragement. Not on Twitter? No problem! Share the document with departments or grade level teams to connect with other educators.

Once the final school bell rings and it is time for summer, take a well deserved summer break! Say your good-byes, close up the classroom, shut down the laptops and enjoy your summer. The life of an educator requires a lot of energy and the school year/school day are packed with busy demands. It's time to feel proud of your work and rejuvenate. For the next school year will be beginning before you know it.