Friday, April 4, 2014

Times are Everchanging

Aah... What comfort and joy we all felt to see our dear friend Gertrude the Duck make her yearly return to the Dryden courtyard! This time, she brought Mr. Gertrude with her. Although the temperatures do not yet reflect it, spring is here! We look forward to observing the laying and hatching of Gertrude's eggs, and all the adorable ducklings that will soon be waddling and quacking around the courtyard. 

The comfort in witnessing Gertrude's return this spring has me reflecting on my own sense of comfort, risk and danger when it comes to change. During my 23 years in education as a classroom teacher and school principal, I have experienced many changes in my career. Some of these changes were imposed and some were choices I made. Some had a positive impact, some had a negative impact. All have been valuable learning experiences and help me to remain focused on continuous improvement. 

Change causes us to step out of our comfort zone. Stepping out of our comfort zone can sometimes feel risky in a positive and healthy way--it's very exciting! This kind of change leads to continuous growth and improvement. Other times, change can make us feel defensive, cloud our judgement and make us want to retreat--the danger zone. Each individual feels different levels of comfort, risk and danger. What may feel like risk to one person may feel like danger to another. However, if we spend too much time in our comfort zone, it can become the danger zone when change is needed. 

On Wednesday, I attended training with some Dryden teachers on the Problem Solving Innovation (PSI) time that is being piloted. Our consultant, Sarah Wilke, shared the following graphic organizer as we look at the role we play as educators in taking responsible risks and encouraging children to do the same in their learning journey:
Truly, stepping out of our comfort zone leads us to new heights in our learning and to the innovation, creativity and problem-solving that is so much needed not only for our personal success but also for making our world a better place. 

During our training, teachers shared their responses about the changes they are observing in their students and themselves while students are engaging in the PSI experience. Here is a summary that they created: 
This is fantastic evidence of "the magic that happens" when we step out of our comfort zones!

As we implement the PSI experience at Dryden, we are also changing the way we use technology. We realize the value of using technology to enrich our  learning for all the "right" reasons, as you can see by this visual created by Bill Ferriter: 


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