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20150628_210104

Okay, so I finally made it to Georgia!  What a beautiful city!  It was worth the hassle this morning.  So, the limit to a carry on is 3 ounces and not 4 of shower gels, shampoos, hair products, sunscreen, etc.  Oops! But that was not the worst of it. Well, the fact that I have no sunscreen and my scalp and myself got sunburned today – yikes. Will get some sunscreen tomorrow.  I forgot but did go to CVS tonight and restocked on hair products.  My plan was to use the hotels shampoo and conditioner, but I was nervous maybe they would not have enough.The bottles are teeny tiny here so I was glad, only the airlines took them!   Thank you CVS. But this was the worst thing that happened.  So I was packing last minute and threw stuff into another bag that I have and use when traveling and running around.  Think missions and building a treehouse at church for upcoming VBS theme.  Think – CHECK ALL BAGS BEFORE PACKING! They will confiscate the scissors and utility knife (which I was using when creating a backdrop for our upcoming VBS a few days ago and threw in this great carry all bag that I used when working at the church). Again, think and clean out bags before throwing in things last minute.  Anyway, then the airline will get scared and give you the pat down and treat you like a terrorist.  It was embarrassing, yet a bit overwhelming.  I think it would have been better if I just never tried to explain myself!  But after that it was fine. They offered to send the items home COD, but it is easier to just buy new scissors and utility knife at home (and LEAVE home!) I arrived along with the 5.000 other people here for this conference.  We had most of the day until tonight’s keynote to just wander and fall in love with this place.  What was great, was quickly finding the people who you networked with earlier at a State Ed conference back home.  It has been great! Unfortunately they had some hotel issues so missed the keynote.  But I went and got to network with some really nice people.  The lady next to me – we had a great conversation.  That is what I like about this – you just travel and network and learn so much! By the way, Atlanta is great! I have walked around this city and fallen in love with it!  I love how you can just walk, walk, walk, walk and see so much!  We definitely got our exercise today! We hit the 10,000 + step mark!

So, the keynote tonight was Bill Daggett.  Google him.  He is the CEO and founder of this conference ICSL. His focus was the Rigor/Relevance Framework.  I really liked his message tonight.  I will try to sum it up.  Right now though, I am on fire!  I really think that I will buy his book while I am here.  He is offering other sessions as well and  seems very personable so may chat with him if given the opportunity.

Bill talked about the two approaches to school improvement.  First, you have the fixed-mindset.  This is where we are constantly changing and improving, yet we never seem to change.  Really, this is what we are doing now.  Think about all of the “phases” we have gone through – Hooked on Phonics, Whole Language, etc.  Everything changes yet we are still not really changing.  Our wheels are just spinning.   Second, we have the growth mindset.  This is where we try to focus on what students need to know and we project 3 – 5 years from now.  Then we work backwards.   This is what we should be doing.  The children are the future.  The future depends on their success.  That is pretty powerful when you think about it! He talks about how we have every initiative but we never have changed.  If we want to change, we need to think of public education as going through a lifestyle change. WOW! This made me think of the Daniel  Plan – which is a lifestyle plan. Well, guess what? Bill talked about how diets don’t work.  We will lose the weight, but then most likely put it back on unless we make a lifestyle change.  To make a change in public education, we need to make a lifestyle change.  What a great concept!

He also talks about this Rigor Relevance Framework

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If you can’t see that well, I suggest you google it.  Basically we want children to be in quadrant D.  Quadrant A is more application, quadrant C is College Prep (what high schools seem to be doing now).  The important thing to look at is across the bottom the Application Model.  What we want is children to be able to do numbers 4 and 5.  In other words Application to real-world predictable situations and application to real-world unpredictable situations.  What he said was this “To be successful is NOT what you know, but what you can DO with it.” WOW! That is a great concept.  We seem to be focuses on college.  The role of the elementary has always been to prepare them for the next level, or the middle school.  Then the role of the middle school has been to prepare them for the next grade or high school.  The role of the high school has been to prepare them for college (think Quadrant B).  But really, the standards say college AND career ready.  What we need to do is prepare people to work and be independent.  What you major in matters a lot.  And we need to tell kids this!

Bill also talks about how culture trumps strategies.  So, we need to change our culture.  Unfortunately, right now for most the culture of school is… school.  What it should be is how to use what we learn to apply it to real world situations.  WE need to create a culture of putting career prep as the focus. We need rigor, data analysis, and personal skills.  He brought up this quote by John Dewey, which I liked:

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So, needless to say we need to work smarter NOT harder! We need to move from teaching to learning.  We need to embrace technology because face it…. technology has a lot to do with our workforce.  Technology is replacing some jobs.  However, with technology – we have resources to work with.  We need to embrace it!

WOW! Now do you see whey I am on fire?  I am also getting exhausted as I am curled up in this hotel room.  My roomie got stranded at an airport due to weather.  She had to fly down later due to her work schedule at BOCES.  So, she arrives tomorrow.  Luckily the airline is putting her up in a hotel tonight in yet another state. She is not that happy about it, but she is dealing with it!  I am okay with having the room to myself.  I have managed to unpack the clothes I crammed into my carry on that they went through extensively.  They are hanging and not wrinkled – I still do not have to iron YAHOO! I have managed to have fun and explore this city with people I have not seen in a long time.  We got caught up on life.  I have managed to meet new people.  I have managed to people watch in a city, which I love to do!

On that note, I need to get to bed! The plan is to get up and tank up on the eggs they have at the free breakfast here.  Then we will grab fruit and stuff for lunch from the breakfast.  At CVS we did buy Cheerios, almond milk, and almonds, along with tuna packs.  Food is pricey here and school is not paying for that.  We did treat ourselves to lunch today, but we were starving after way too long in airports and in the air on the planes.  It was just nice to have lunch with people you only see so many times. Sometimes in life you have to splurge.  We also plan to visit some landmarks and sites while here at night.  I am so looking forward to it.  A great conference to learn many new ideas and to just relax and take it all in.

So, I am going to head to bed and think about the great workshops I will be attending tomorrow.  I hope I chose some great ones!  The cool thing is, if you don’t like that one, you just get up and go to another one.  With 5.000 people who is going to know? However, this conference is definitely motivating me! That is what I needed! Well, that and some sunscreen 🙂

Have a great one!

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