Game Plan SY 2016-2017

I used to write a lot about what I did in my classroom.  Now, at the beginning of another school year, I would like to establish a game plan to maximize my efficiency in this new role.  Yes, I have been here since November, but this is the first time the training wheels come off and I have a cluster of my very own.  I am determined to do my part in carrying out the vision of my phenomenal team.  My hope is to be able to help people in my district, as much as people in my team helped me when I was in the classroom.

Note: I rarely promote my blog posts, but please excuse me if I do promote the hell out of this one.  The goal is not to get clicks, but I would like help in refining these ideas to make them as airtight as possible before implementation.


I was speaking with a couple of coworkers a few days ago, with the conversation centering around workshops we plan to offer throughout the year.  They shared some great information with me, regarding topics that tend to work best at given times during the year.  Later that day, I met with a principal, who had an idea of some topics such as technology integration, parent communication, and others.  She suggested that I chat with the school’s Technology Liaison to create a plan of action, after surveying the staff.

Over the past months, I had filled in for coworkers on leave, after coming into the position mid-year.  My teammates have been so welcoming and so supportive, that now I am armed with an arsenal of tools to help meet the needs of schools/teachers/students in our district.

I also posed the question on how to best approach the school year to my PLN in a couple of Voxer groups this morning.  By the time I was done speaking with coworkers and virtual friends, I had a few takeaways.  I cannot take credit for these ideas…they have all been begged, borrowed, and/or stolen…but these are the best of the best:

  1. Create office hours one day a week, using Google Calendar appointment slots.  Anyone from the district can sign up for tech help with anything.  Appointments can be online or offline.
  2. Beta test (one school each) a few things that I’m curious about, such as:
    1. Classcraft for gamified professional learning (been gamifying for a while, but never tried that platform).
    2. Teacher Individual Exploration Plans (IEPs) a la Jennie Magiera.
  3. Increase teacher-leadership capacity by partnering with TLs and letting them take lead on workshops at their school level, encouraging them to connect within and outside of the district, as well as present at local/national/international conferences (if interested).
  4. Block off Fridays for Sarah 20% time/Moonshot Day (whenever possible).
  5. Use the power of extensions such as Training for Google Apps to maximize time and productivity.
  6. Continue pushing out content and opportunities via social media to interested parties in my district.
  7. Utilize Articulate (NOT FREE FYI) to create workshop materials which can be accessed asynchronously.

I am still working out the details, but these are some initial ideas.  I have my first appointment for office hours on August 29, and am enjoying planning the year and helping schools get set up.

I’m hitting publish now, even though this draft is extremely rough.  To any new readers, I try to polish my work before putting it out there to the world, but time is of the essence.  Please keep in mind, I will probably revise this multiple times before it is in its final form.  The purpose is to keep these ideas fresh in my mind, while simultaneously getting as much perspective as I possibly can before taking action.  Please leave a comment, Vox me, or Tweet me (@sarahdateechur).  Thank you for reading!

The Power is Yours!

417592894_1280x720

One of my favorite shows to watch as a kid was Captain Planet.  If you’ve never seen it, let me break it down.  There were five kids from different continents who each found a ring with a power over an environmental(ish) factor.

When the kids met up, they found that they could randomly point their rings somewhere and yell out a random word.  Sing the song with me now.  “Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Heart!” Magically, this random blue guy with green hair would pop up and save the world against some random polluting bad guy.  (Side note: there is a hilarious, although NSFW, parody on Funny or Die featuring Don Cheadle.)  When he was done, he would randomly disappear back into the rings, while saying, “the power is yours!”

The power is yours.  Indeed.

I’m a huge conspiracy theorist, especially when it comes to cartoons.  For example, I’m fully convinced that Pinky was the genius, and The Brain was insane, and that is a conversation that I’m prepared to have if we ever meet face-to-face.  I digress.

Anyway, I think that what Captain Planet was trying to say to the kids, once you read between the lines, is that they didn’t really need him at all.  They had the power to save the world, as do all of us, the kids watching at home.  The kids who have now grown up.  (Psssst…you and me.)

We are educators.  We not only have the power to change the world, we ARE changing the world, whether we realize it or not.  That being said, we tend to have a lot more power than we even realize.  It took me a while to grasp this, but in the age of social media, we can move mountains.

I don’t know how many educators are on Twitter.  I’ve heard two million, six million, eight million, a few hundred thousand…it depends on who you ask.  For the sake of argument, let’s lowball it and say half a million (totally inventing that number…I’m sure it’s way more than that).

Generally I don’t care about numbers of followers, because it’s honestly stupid. #sorrynotsorry.  Twitter shouldn’t be a popularity contest; it should be about creating meaningful connections so that we get better as educators.  However, today I will entertain the discussion, again, for the sake of argument.  After all, if we are trying to move educational mountains, we cannot do it by ourselves…so the ideal would be to have a high number of high-quality connections (i.e. collaborators).

Let’s say you get 1% of all educators on Twitter on board with your idea.  Even with my fictional lowballed numbers, that is still 5,000 educators.  Get 1/10 of that, and that is 500 people in your corner, helping you to move this mountain.  Get it?

The power is yours.

Moment of honesty: I facepalm every time someone on Twitter asks me to start something brand new on their behalf.  No.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it when people ask me to be involved in what they’re doing, ask me to amplify (as long as they are not spamming me), or even give feedback/suggest improvements to something that I’m doing.  It frustrates me to no end though, whenever someone has a great idea and tries to hand it over to me because they think I have some kind of power that they don’t.  That’s ridiculous.

THE POWER IS YOURS DAGNABBIT!!!!  So stop it!

What is the difference between a teacher and a teacher leader?  It’s not a title.  Not some secret ceremony with your admin involving a sword and holy water.  A teacher leader does.  That’s all.  Be like Nike and just do it!  If you see a need, and are smart enough to find the solution, just do it.  Don’t ask me (or anyone else for that matter), because all I will say is, “do it yourself…let me know if I can help.”  Just save yourself the lecture 🙂

Featured image source: http://i.vimeocdn.com/video/417592894_1280x720.jpg