Thursday, June 27, 2019

PLC Summit Reflection

Forgive me for my crazy absence here on the blog!  It has been almost 3 months since I last wrote....

Today as I sit here to write I am so excited to share and process all that I heard and learned over the 3 day PLC Summit in Minneapolis, MN.  The conference began bright and early Monday morning so two suburbans filled with Lancaster Community Schools Employees left Lancaster at 3:00 on Sunday.  The drive to Minneapolis was filled with moments of fun conversation as well as quiet reading time.   Once we checked into the hotel, we headed out by foot to a restaurant that had been recommended to us because of the rooftop seating.  It was pretty late (about 8) when we arrived and the weather seemed a little unsettled.  After a long drive and it being so late, I was hoping that the burger I ordered would be amazing.....   After a pretty long wait and getting rained on, the dinner was okay but not great.  We arrived back at the hotel after 10.  My roommate, Missy, and I decided we would wait to exercise until after the sessions on Monday since it was already so late.  Missy had scoped out a crossfit place that had a class the next day at 4:30 and so we were going to run there and workout and then run back to the hotel.  It sounded perfect and it should have meant a good night's sleep.....except that we stayed up way too late watching Friends and talking. 

Monday's alarm got the day started and it was a wonderful beginning!

All 12 of us met in the lobby and headed over to the convention center to pick up our packet and enjoy breakfast. 

Session 1
Tim Brown was the morning keynote speaker.  His session was titled "Setting the Stage: Understanding the Big Ideas and Foundational Blocks of the PLC at Work Process." It was a perfect way to set the stage for two and a half days of building the base for the great work we have ahead.  His energy and expertise was a perfect way to connect things I thought about PLCs and a way to make them much better and more effective.  The world we live in is changing (he gave some fun examples from the past including a mimeograph machine and floppy disks) and education is no exception BUT the one thing that doesn't change is how important the teacher is in the educational process.  What can make that teacher even more powerful is when teachers encourage students and build the students' belief in themselves.  Want to make the education even more powerful?  Create TEAMS of teachers.  Encourage collaboration about the learning that is happening.

Then Tim Brown introduced the questions that PLCs must answer:
-Are the students learning?
-How do we know?
- What will we do if they aren't?
- What will we do if they already know it?

Here's where the transformational and powerful things can happen!  A learning community is created and it's so much more than just a team.  This learning community is focused on the students!  Each person will serve a specific role on that team.  I would say that I fit as a 3-romantic or 4-observer.

This work as a PLC is worth it because students will graduate with MASTERY of essential skills and knowledge.  Tim Brown shared the data to support but for me it really boiled down to being hungry for results.  If there are changes that need to be made to improve our professional practices, then we want to make those changes.

Tim Brown's next focus was on the assessment.  FORMATIVE Assessment!!!  Don't wait until the end of something to realize that students need something different so that they learn.  When looking at Summative assessment do we have a plan once we know how students have done?

The final piece of what Tim Brown shared was about how important it is that leadership is dispersed.  Teams are working together and take collective responsibility for what is happening.  And then he ended with a call to action: 

Session 2
The second session that I chose to go to was Data Notebooks.   It was so great.   I'd love to tell you more about it but I will share the details in another post.....  

Come back soon to find out what I loved about session 2.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

A Quarter of 2019

It is a perfect coincidence that it's the end of the 3rd quarter of the school year and the end of the 1st quarter of 2019!   Time to reflect and refocus on goals!

What's been happening since January 1?  If you know me a bit then you know that I have 2 pieces to my running goal.
    1- to run a half marathon PR this year (which means 1:51 or faster....the PR is pretty old but I know I have it in me.
    2- run the year (2019 miles).

I've done some great things to work towards these goals so let's talk about the good things that are moving me forward first.    I've been working with Coach Heidi from Ironworx Multisport.  She is creating a challenging plan for me to complete each week.  Nutrition coaching was also something I won from Suppz Gym so each week I am focusing on protein, water, and calorie intake.  I took Mel Charbonneau's Breakthrough and Begin class and that helped with my mindset.

Things that have challenged me have included the weather.  Winter is not letting go.  The weather especially impacted the half I was supposed to run yesterday (Carmel, IN).   Due to the crazy torrential downpour I dropped to the 5k.  It was a wimp move but in the end I think it will be okay.  The drop in distance allowed me to enjoy more time with my cousin Kathy and fellow flower friend Amber. Busy schedules have caused some challenges, too.  With Kate and Will relying on me as their taxi, I have had to plan around their activities for my workouts.  For the most part this hasn't been too bad.  I have worked in the 5 am runs when necessary. 

So where do I stand:
     1 half is done so far this year (Washington, DC - 2:04:24)  9 left for the year.
       March mileage was the highest of the year with 190.  If I can keep up this pace, I can hit the goal of 2019.

Great things are happening.  W

Monday, March 11, 2019

Spring Break Reflections

Spring Break 2019 was spent in our nation's capitol.  It was a wonderful and full 9 days!  

It wrapped up with a 13.1 run through Washington, DC!

If you asked Kate what her favorite thing was it wouldn't surprise me if she said it was the Starbuck's on every corner.  Many mornings started with a carmel frappacino. 

We loved our Moonlight and Memorials Tour but wish it had been a little warmer.  My feel were so cold that I din't know if they would every warm up!  It felt like I was walking on ice blocks.

Wednesday we did Ford's Theater and the Holocaust Museum.  I had been looking forward to the Holocaust Museum and it did not disappoint.  While it is a somber topic, I cannot imagine it having been done any better.

Here's a recap of what we saw while we were there:
National Cathedral
National Geographic Museum (Egypt)
Black Finn

National Archives
National Mall/ Smithsonians (air and space, natural history)
Ted's Bulletin

Arlington National Cemetery
The Pentagon
911 Memorial

Ford's Theater
Holocaust Museum
Moonlight and Memorials Tour
Georgia Brown's

Race Expo
Black Finn with the Davies Family

American History and African American Museums
Bozzelli's Deli


I hope to add some more trip reflection and thoughts to this post but wanted to get a few things out there before I forget!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Newsletter Post

This week was still a bit off with the snow day right in the middle....We are getting a little closer to normal and hoping for a full 5 day week next week. 

Check out our newsletter for the week by clicking HERE!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Are you Looking for Something More?

This year (and maybe even some of 2018) I have been trying to do all things with my mantra, "Head up, heart out."  As I try to own my story and really dig into it, I want to share with you a program that I am embarking on soon.  I share it with you with the hopes that you may decide that you'd like to be a part of it!

When Will won his Super Bowl Surprise, it was because of a short essay he wrote about my dad.  Once upon a time I was writing regularly.  Since switching to teach in Wisconsin, I find myself hiding my story and not writing it out.  I don't need others to read my story but I know that there is value in just owning my story.  The program I am beginning with Mel Charbonneau is sure to help me find my voice again. 

Want to know more?
Click HERE!

If you do decide to join in, please let Mel know that I (Margaret Bussan) sent you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Book Review: Mystery of the Golden Temple

I remember reading The Babysitter's Club books and Swiss Valley Twins books when I was in 3rd and 4th grade.  What I loved about those books were two things that I loved about this book:  they were part of a series so I could read more and the friendships that the characters had were what I thought was typical.

In this wonderful chapter book Jess and her family travel to Thailand.  The problems begin as soon as the family lands and tries to get a taxi ride to their home away from home in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  The things that Jess notices about Thailand are wonderful details that any reader will enjoy.  It creates a high interest story that is filled with facts for those that have a thirst for knowledge about the world.  Facts about Thailand are throughout the book along with a few details about Jess' hometown of Boston, MA. 

Written in short chapters with a plot centered around the mystery of the bad luck and missing amulet, this is a fantastic book for 2nd through 5th grade readers.

This was a sweet and bright book that includes a mysterious plot and a tale of friendship that should be shared with all young readers.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

I had been locked out somehow...

Sorry for not posting for awhile.  Somehow my blog thought there were more than one administrators and so I did not have access to the page...   I think I have things fixed so stay tuned for more regular updates again.  I will try and update the newslsetters, too.

We loved having Ms. Grenoble with us for the past 2 weeks.  It was hard to say goodbye on Friday but she is going to do great things!

The funniest connections were found, too.