Tag Archives: Mary Cantwell

#GISAConference 2016: notes and quick reflection

2016 GISA Annual Conference
Monday, November 7, 2016

Wendy Mogel (@DrWendyMogel) encourages us to raise wildflowers instead of bonsai trees.  She challenges our community to help our children through the journey to independence instead of hoping to skip over the struggles that come with the journey.


Justin Cahill (@justybubPE), Brian Balocki (@BrianBalocki), and John Turner were serious about Keeping Kids in Motion. While originally scheduled into a traditional classroom, they encouraged everyone to check in and join them outside of experiential lessons to implement in PE and in base classrooms.  They taught the why, the how, and the what of keeping kids (of any age) in motion. Best GISA session EVER!


Mary Cantwell (@scitechyEDU) facilitated a conversation around design, STEM, STEAM, and Design Thinking.  My big, lingering take-aways are the following questions.

How might we impact our learners and their approach to solving problems every day?


If the users of our assessments are our learners, how might we design with them in mind and design using an empathetic lens?


Rich Wormeli (@RickWormeli2) sent the message that students will only be creative, courageous, and persistent if they have teachers willing to be creative, courageous, and persistent. Sense-making is a worthy goal, but don’t stop there; strive for meaning-making. Relationships first.  Use assessment to reveal the story of learning.gisa2016-wormeli

Practice vs. Class – skill building, scrimmage, get in the game

Over coffee last week, Mary Cantwell and I connected coaching and practice to teaching and learning. Mary’s engagement with our discussion continues as seen in her post, An Ah-Ha Moment: Practice vs. Class.

Our conversation, for me, connects to PLCs and Dr. Bob Eaker‘s writing.  While at our previous school, Bo and I challenged our teaching teams to consider this connection that we learned as we studied, learned, planned, and implemented our PLCs.

How often do our learners scrimmage and get in the game: apply, synthesize, innovate, create with, use what they are learning?

As we plan, are we intentional to craft learning experiences so that learners grapple with content, process, and skill? Do we plan and collaborate so that learners scrimmage before game time? Do our learners experience needsapplications, and connections for what we are learning?  In our team (coaches) meetings, do we discuss and plan meaningful scrimmages?

A lack of meaning in our reality robs us not only of that joy but also of our ability to use our multiple intelligences to increase our success. (Achor, 65 pag.)

Achor, Shawn (2013-09-10). Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change. Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.