Losing sight of the shore a.k.a. challenged and delighted by opportunities to struggle, grow, and act

“An organization should make continual shifts and improvements to stay healthy.” (Duarte, 6 pag.)

I asked if we are the authors of the history of our age, are we writing the story that we want told?  Shelley’s post, The (One Sentence) Story We Want To Tell, connects my question to her questions.

What if the sentence of “school” was something like: It was a vibrant community of learners, challenged and delighted by authentic, purposeful opportunities to struggle, grow, and act on the world together.

And what if, every day, everyone asked, “Were we better today than yesterday?” And could reflect and respond, with evidence, because we had created meaningful feedback loops — the minute-by-minute kind of assessment for learning that Dylan Wiliam espouses — for all of us, teachers and learners (whichever we happened to be minute-by-minute)?

In rereading Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte, I’m reminded of our 5th grade learners studying the rise and fall of empires. We must act to embrace healthy change.

“Organizations go through a life-cycle of starting up, growing, maturing, and eventually declining – that is, unless they reinvent themselves.” (Duarte, 6 pag.)

In a recent conversation with Joe Marshall, we discussed Tony Wagner’s Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World and the actions it takes to develop and support innovators.  We discussed the need for pedagogical master planning.

“It takes gutsy intuitive skills to move toward an unknown future that involves unfamiliar risks and rewards, yet [schools] must make these moves to survive.” (Duarte, 6 pag.)

What if school leaders practiced the change they preach?¹ If change is hard, what do we do about it? Who does something about it? What are the anchors, silos, and dams holding us back?²

This is a photo of a message greeting our 2nd graders as they arrive to their base classroom.

What gives us courage to accept the challenge to lose sight of the shore to act as explorers, inventors, and innovators?


¹(See Bo’s CHANGEd: What if school leaders practiced the change they preach…and developed a people strategy? 60-60-60 #57 and Megan’s CHANGEd: Big Shifts for Administrators.)

²(See Grant’s TED talk, What 60 Schools Can Tell Us About Teaching 21st Century Skills: Grant Lichtman at TEDxDenverTeachers.)


Duarte, Nancy. “Change Is Healthy.” Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010. N. pag. Print.

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