Summer of Learning (2018) becomes Day 0 (of 187)
Dear Learning Community (the way-to-long version – I will be sharing this larger piece through the next few months of newsletters….with some editing along the way!)
Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Ian Landy and I have been an educator for over twenty years and I am excited to join SD47 and the Edgehill Learning Community. Myself, my wife and our children have been loving our first month in Powell River and we look forward to many more years being part of the community. Our oldest daughter is off to University and our other two children will be attending Brooks Secondary.
This is year six of my “blogging each day of learning”. What started as a neat idea by George Couros (@gcouros on twitter) has become a daily reflection journal where I can share my thinkings and doings each day that “learning is in session”.
It is always exciting to start a new school year but I confess that I am almost always thinking of education. So, while for many September 4 is the “start” of the school year, for me it’s the day that we get to get started with the most important part of our learning community: the students. I know that many of us are excited, but there are also many who are anxious – a new principal, a new secretary, new classes – change can be hard, but it can also bring new and exciting opportunities. As always, there will be a period of adjustment, so feel free to stop by to ask a question or just chat about education in 2018/19!
As for the principals office:
I believe in open communication – with students, staff, parents and members of the learning community (our school is not a building with portables and a fancy new playground – it is the people that make our school what it is!). Please feel free to say Hi (and likely remind me of your name and whom you are a parent/guardian of). When I think about communication I especially like how eportfolios help “communicate student learning” on an ongoing basis – an important component as portfolios show more about the learner than just how they achieved on a set of assessments.
Recognition is evolving – away from a more “structured approach” as outlined by prior PBS (Positive Behaviour Supports) strategies, there needs to be a time to shift to more intrinsic ways to feel good about what we do – we will be offering out “eagle feathers of encouragement” to indicate when we have students being great members of our learning community (through their academics, athletics, citizenship or making improvements on their learning journeys) – some feathers will be acknowledged during assemblies, some may be offered during class time.
I will be encouraging people to take risks and try new things. Making mistakes and “fails” are all part of the learning journey – they are temporary and help us make more-informed decisions as we move forward. I will make mistakes this year (especially with names). We will always be mindful in our decisions, but when trying new things…we have to model risk taking for learners to also feel comfortable in taking chances..!
I have seen technology as one of the greatest tools for differentiation in education. This means that learners can have a more personalized learning experience and work with their strengths more easily than in any other time in education history. From voice to text (and vice versa) to creating presentations with just visuals to researching “as needed”, mobile technology is a powerful tool – and Mr Landys tech-use rule is: Tool or Toy? (Tools enhance learning while Toys distract…..and I’ve also learned that sometimes a distraction can be useful for self regulation….so sometimes a toy can be a tool…!)
I advocate for mental wellness – including talking about topics such as anxiety and depression, and providing self-regulation tools to my learning community such as mindful breathing, and proactive programs such as Friends For Life (grade 4/5). I strive for students to build a tool box of “regulation tools” and expose them to strategies that may be “best fits” (there is no “one” perfect tool) which may include sensory (velcro) movement (standing desk) choice (walking) and allowing the students to advocate for what works for them (ie typing vs writing). If you have questions, please stop by and ask – even if you just want to chat without a question – talking is always healthy!
At the end of the day, I promise that what we do has “what’s best for kids” as the foundation for what we do and say. And while I promise to be “fair” – that does not mean everyone will be treated “the same”.
I am looking forward to a wonder year with the entire Edgehill Learning Community!