Tag Archives: Flourish

Telling Our Story – #LearnAndShare

In the Information Age, we strive to serve a broader purpose, to learn and share, to give back to our community.  How might we give and take, consume and produce?  As learners, we seek to find and offer our voice, to reflect, and to embrace learning out loud.

What if our goals include sharing our in process thinking and learning? How might we level up in writing, reflection, and public presence?

  • Kathy Bruyn: Student Portfolios: It’s all worth it!
    If you’re wondering if it’s worth the time and energy you put into helping students create online portfolios of their work each year, I have your answer.
  • Chari Nickerson: #TBT.Pickle.Trees
     I’m so proud to have been there to hear and learn alongside my students.
  • Marsha Harris: Coding for Communication Collaboration Critical Thinking and Creativity
    When students learn to code, they learn to think analytically, problem solve, and practice public speaking skills.  They begin to think like inventors, entrepreneurs, and creators. 
  • Jill Gough:  Engaging Every Learner #AskDontTell
    What if we offered the opportunity for every child to show what they know instead of having them raise their hands and wait for the chance to respond? Here’s what that looks like in practice.
  • Mary Jacob Harris: Taking Risks to Flourish
    While Michelle and I constantly remind students they need to take risks to grow and that making mistakes is okay, I thought it was time to model risk taking. 
  • Justin Cahill: The Art of Losing
    Let’s model gracious behavior both in victory and defeat.  Following a tough loss, the last thing our guys want to do is dwell on it.  Losing is not the end of the world.  A positive character is what will make our budding sons into great men.  That is priceless.
  • Samantha Steinberg: When Do You Abandon A Book?
    Although a week ago I was ready to set this book aside for another time, I’m actually glad I stuck with it for just a little longer. Halfway through the book, it got very exciting, and I’m now fully engrossed.

Derek Sivers says it well:

Tell your story. Tell our story.

Learn… and share.

Our choices: Summer Reading 2013 – The Art of Questioning

My previous post, Summer Reading 2013 – Flyer and Choices, describes our summer reading plan and choices.  We offer choice of book and choice of platform, when available.  Here’s what and how we selected to read:

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My favorite new communication about faculty learning and our reading comes from Rhonda Mitchell (@rgmteach), an avid reader.

“Just so you know, I am putting my name on the list for Make Just One Change because I don’t have that book.  I’d like to participate in the Embedded formative assessment discussion.”


We have invited faculty to blog their notes and ideas on Flourish, our community blog.  The 4 As protocol will serve as our framework for note taking and discussion of the books when we return in the fall.  I think (and hope) that by sharing what we read on Flourish through the summer will encourage reading and will help with the fall discussions.

As far as instructional design goes, I’m now wondering if our teams for the book discussions should group readers of the same book or different books? Are we going to discuss the book or the art of questioning – or both?

Summer Reading 2013 – Flyer and Choices

How do we model learner choice? We know student-learners need and deserve differentiated learning opportunities.  Don’t all learners?

Last year, the teaching faculty read Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn, and the administrative faculty and staff read Seth Godin’s Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?. I read both.  Well…I listened to both as I ran using audiobooks and my phone.  After each run, I would annotate my notes into a physical book or my Kindle. To be clear, I read them by listening to the author read while I ran.

In 2013, we believe in learner choice, differentiation, leveraging technology, and so much more to help every learner grow. In a learning community, do we all need to read (or do) the same thing to learn?

From: Jill Gough
Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 4:21 AM
To: All Trinity
Cc: Leadership Team
Subject: Summer Reading 2013 – Flyer and Choices


Please see the attached flyer about our summer reading choices.  The theme for this summer’s reading is the art of questioning.  Please select one of the books shown on the flyer for your summer reading and let us know your choice on or before May 10 by entering your selection on the Summer Reading Choice Google Formhttp://bit.ly/SummerRead2013. (This is a copy of the form; feel free to play with it.)

Last fall, faculty members suggested that it would be beneficial to have the 4 As protocol available while reading to take notes. I’ve attached a copy of this protocol if you would like to use it as an organizer for your notes. I plan to blog my notes as I read using the 4 As protocol as prompts to share with others.  You are invited and encouraged to blog on Flourish about your reading too.  And, if you microblog your comments and notes using Twitter to share what you are learning, would you please include the #TrinityLearns hash tag to help crowd source our notes?

Let me know if you have questions.

Thank you,


Here’s the attached flyer:

And, our version of the 4 As protocol worksheet:

Our community commits to reading in the summer.  Readers may choose from five books about the art of questioning.  Readers may also choose to have their book delivered on paper, via Kindle, or iTunes audio.

While I’ve had several comments, I have two in writing that I want to share:

“I love the fact that we get to choose not only the book, but the way in which we choose to read it! Thank you!”

Awesome! And…

Thanks, Jill! I am really going out on a limb this summer and will do the reading on my iPad.

How important is it in our community or any community to have choice in learning? How do we support risk-taking in a supportive environment?

Learn and Share: leveraging social media for crowd sourcing learning

What if you find no purpose for  using social media?

On April 6, 2013, Grant Lichtman posted Twitter: I Know…But Just Do It. On April 11, 2013, I posted PBL PD: Integrating Formative Assessment, Twitter, & Brain-based Research #ettipad #ettlearns – reflection. On April 19, 2013, Jenn Scheffer posted Ten Minutes on Twitter.

While there is much to learn and share, how will we know if it is making an impact on my learning and the learning of others?  I am learning that you have to engage – use social media for two-way communication – in order to understand, observe, and experience impact.  Here are some examples of what I’ve been prompted to learn and think about from a quick read of my Twitter stream this afternoon.

Just a few notes from some of the people I follow on Twitter prompted me to look at ideas for using Twitter in the classroom, investigate the iPad apps Storybird and TypeDrawing.  I’ve also noticed Twitter being used for communication to foster collaboration among colleagues.

Two of my favorite uses of Twitter are to share information and to highlight bright spot work of others.

While Twitter can seem frustrating and confusing at first, it can be an interesting tool for professional learning.  If it’s about learning, what questions should we be asking? What actions do we now take to learn and grow? For what purpose could you use social media?


[Cross posted on Flourish.]

Waypoints of the path of wisdom

Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom.  Each question leads to one or more new questions or answers.  Sometimes answers are dead ends; they don’t lead anywhere.  Questions are never dead ends.  Every question has the inherent potential to lead to a new level of discovery, understanding, or creation, levels that can range from the trivial to the sublime. (Lichtman, 35 pag.)

Are we willing to risk trying new things – letting go of some of our traditional methods – to model new learning? What if we offer our learners more opportunities to chart their own path from where they are to the target? Is the path they take as important as the learning they acquire?  How can we create investigations that prompt students to make observations and ask their own questions?

  • Do you ever worry about student-directed learning? Does it mean that the teacher is not engaged?  How are we supposed to teach if we don’t tell them stuff?  What if we asked our learners to show what they know before we teach and reteach? Are we assuming that they know nothing because they are, well, young?
  • It is possible to lead learners to an understanding of commas by asking them questions? Could we offer young learners the opportunity to develop an understanding of the rules for themselves through the use of examples and visual metaphors? Could learners decode how to correctly place commas to separate the elements in a series and in compound sentences without being told the rule first?
  • How often do we underestimate young learners?  What if we engage as learning partners with our young learners? What if we ask questions that have many answers? What if we ask questions without knowing the answers?
  • How often do we risk trying something new and out of our planned comfort? How often do we risk collaborating with others to observe and learn from each other? Is it so easy to do what I’m good at that I am unwilling to risk?

Why would learners take risks if I won’t?

Learner, Thinker, Writer: Jill Gough serves as Director of Teaching and Learning at Trinity School.  She risks, questions and seeks feedback to improve. You can follow her on Twitter at @jgough.

[Cross posted on Flourish.]


Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.