I Can't Change Everything,
But I've Got A Good Arm And I Can Throw A Stone To Cause Ripples
A great childhood memory that I have is learning how to skip rocks across the surface of a pond, lake, or reservoir. My two brothers and I spent hours along the shores of Tibble Fork in the American Fork Canyon. There was no shortage of stones to toss in the water. I was always amazed, in particular, at my mom's skill at being able to skip a rock multiple times across the surface- sometimes over five skips. I don't remember ever making a rock skip more than once or twice, but I still had a lot of fun and delighted in the ripples that it'd make across the surface.
Learning to skip rocks is a lot like building school culture. There's some skill/leadership necessary. The choice of rock, grip, angle of the throw, body position, the flick of the wrist, and the amount of practice all come into play in the success of the rock being able to skip. Vision, mission, investment of stakeholders, diversity, communication, relationships, and timing of any change are all integral parts of school culture.
Here's my action plan:
- I will be positive in my thinking and my actions.
- My classroom is where I have the most influence. I will make sure that I develop and nurture a classroom culture where it's student-centered, and kids can learn. (This is another post for another day.)
- I consider all of the 5th graders my students. I am making a huge effort to learn all of their names as quickly as I can. But, I've been inspired to go beyond 5th-grade students. I've made a commitment to learning the names of as many kids in the school that I can. Last week, I had bus duty and gave high-fives to kids as they came to school and left to go home. Yes, I got some strange looks, but it felt amazing. Kids smiled, said hi to me when they saw me around the school, and even came up to me to tell me their stories. It was a blast interacting more with kids of all ages! They ALL are my kids.
- Staff recognition is really important to me. I've thought about how I can do this without stepping on toes. I knew the answer after about 30 seconds of thinking. My kiddos can do it! Of course, I need to ask them their opinions, but I think that they will love highlighting the great work of teachers and staff members in the school. How will they do it? I don't know! I'll let the kids decide! Maybe they'll start a podcast, make videos, Tweet it out, or use a web tool. That will be fun to watch!
- Positive calls home are also important to me. I will continue this practice.
- Starting tomorrow, Aug. 9, 2015, I secretly want to start doing nice things for people in my school. Being anonymous is so much more fun! I've delighted in making some plans. I can't afford big prizes and treats, but I don't think it's about that. Little things like writing a positive message on the whiteboard or leaving a sticky note on someone's desk can mean a lot.
- Share. I will continue to share ideas, resources, and the happenings inside my classroom. I also want to involve my kids in finding positive happenings around the school and sharing it out to the world.