I have time to write a blog post tonight. Want to know why? Our administration team is taking to heart the idea of innovation and “Flipping our Staff Meetings”. Year after year, don’t you sit in staff meetings thinking and wishing that there was a better way?
As a staff, we have been using this definition to guide our school year goals and the decisions we make:
Innovation is a way of thinking that creates something new and better.
It can come from ‘invention’ (something totally new) or ‘iteration’ (a change of something that already exists).
Technology can be crucial in the development of innovation, but innovation is less about tools and more about how we use those tools…
–George Couros, The Innovator’s Mindset
It’s really very simple
Prior to the meeting, information items were distributed to staff prior to the meeting via email with the request to have a look and bring any questions to the meeting.
In addition, I had created a video tutorial for staff to show them how to go about proctoring our Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test happening on Thursday. This is BIG and could have taken at least 1/2 hour to explain thoroughly. But the video provided explicit instructions and support for the teachers who need it.
The Meeting Agenda
Whereas most time at a staff meeting is usually spent going through many administrative items, people have already received via email, this meeting was SHORT. Once we answered a few questions people had about what was shared via email, we had TIME for a teacher to share an awesome lesson happening in the school.
Ricky Machala, a Religion teacher shared a collaborative project on “Culture” between her grade 10 class and Fabiana Cassella‘s class from Buenos Aires. She admitted that she wasn’t really convinced that connecting her students to others would have such an impact on them because she figured that students are so connected already. What she learned however, is that students are connected to their own friends and communities, but know very little about the world around them. She admitted that students learned more about Culture by talking to kids and asking questions of their “Argentinian” friends, than they would have otherwise and they were eager to continue to connect personally. She shared the tools we used to connect with the teacher: Voxer and Padlet (the best choices considering the classes could not meet synchronously) but the experience and reflection was the focal point of the presentation.
Best of all, after the sharing session, it was still at least 45 minutes earlier than when most staff meetings end and so when we invited anyone who wanted to learn more about the Culture project or the tools we used to connect the classes to stay, so many of them DID! Others stayed to chat or connect with other teachers, or have a snack (food is essential).
I applaud my principal, Richard Maurice and our VP Luisa Rocca for changing “what we have always done” in favour of trying something NEW & BETTER! Flipping a Staff Meeting is literally something you can do tomorrow to change the culture in your school and to help foster a community of sharing and learning.
Why not try it at your school??