Learning with Saint Louis and Brenda Augusta

Some of My Learning from Working with Saint Louis and the Continuum
I was able to work with a group of educators from Saint Louis today who were delving into the use of their writing continuum.  Brenda Augusta (from Connect2Learning – the same company as Sandra Herbst – who visited us in June) was able to work with the staff and students to model the use of the continuum.
Here are some of my learnings:
1.       The message is more important than all other parts of the writing.  We need to value the message and allow the other (also important but not FIRST) elements to come later.  This means that spelling, punctuation, other conventions and even genre takes a second place to the importance of a clear message that conveys the meaning intended by the author.
2.       The continuum (no matter how good it is) has to be able to shift as the learning shifts.
3.       Sometimes there is nothing better than explicit instruction.  And finding the balance between explicit teaching and inquiry learning is tricky.
4.       If we want rigor (and we do) we have to show students examples of quality so that they can create it too.
5.      The continuum is a powerful tool for writing but also for descriptive feedback, giving us wording for next steps and transferring power to students so that they can control their improvements.
I would like to thank Brenda Augusta for a full day of thought provoking work.  I’d also like to thank Trudy for welcoming me in to the learning and the entire staff of Saint Louis for taking the risk to continue.  Special thanks to Mariette who ran herd on this, to Marnie who made lunch, to Karen who made gluten free delights, and to Lael who helped set up, clean up and keep everyone on track.
So, I learned these five things (and others) – what would you like to learn from the work of this group?  Or, if you were there today, what would you like to share about your learning?

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More About the PQP1

Here is what I learned this weekend
I was invited to be a guest at the PQP1 course this weekend (see previous post). As I was reflecting on the event, I was thinking about what the group taught me. So, here are some things I learned:
1. The group there this weekend is interested in differentiated instruction, world religion, integration, inclusion, and critical thinking.
2. These future leaders are all good listeners and reflective thinkers.
3. They agreed with me about the need to know and tell your own story, the importance of cultural awareness and the need to accept diversity.
If I came to a session with you as a participant, what would I learn from you? What do you think it is important for leaders to know?

Back to the Future?

Back to the Future?

Well, maybe it was not the same as travelling in a DeLorean to see what is happening in the future like Marty McFly and Doc Brown (this week was “The Future” as depicted in the movie, in case you hadn’t heard), but it was a glimpse of the future for me anyway.

I was honoured to be asked to be a guest at the PQP 1 course this weekend.  I went in to this class of aspiring leaders and was very happy to see what the future has in store for us.  This group was bright-eyed even at 8:00 on Saturday morning.  They were building community by breaking bread together and sharing their knowledge and resources.  They were friendly, inquisitive and curious, respectful and brimming over with relationship building capacity.  I felt welcomed, included and honoured – as though I mattered to them.

I want to thank the group for letting me see their eyes light up with excitement.  I want to wish them well and I want everyone to know that these leaders in our system are working hard and building a place where we can all make a difference.  The future is in good hands – and even better the present is too.  These leaders are working to make a difference now.

Thank you!