As school quietly approaches, teachers everywhere are thinking of ways to do everything from inspiring creativity in their classrooms to integrating more technology. As a technology integration specialist, I’m thinking beyond tools to share and sessions to teach. I’ve been brainstorming ways to inspire a climate of sharing amongst schools. The best thing that we can do for teachers is to give them a platform in which to share with each other. The expertise should not just lie with campus specialist, but with us all. The following are a few ideas.
1. Poster paper is still in. Put up a Share Wall!
A physical non-digital sharing space captures the “tech lovers” and the “tech reluctant” teachers. In weekly meetings or on the campus newsletter, take those teacher shares and spread the love. In a meeting, have teachers get up and share what their idea is about. Yes, you may get the same people all the time but if you can capture other moments as you venture into classrooms, make a big deal about those wonderful lesson moments that you see! Invite those teachers to speak. Many teachers are doing wonderful things but feel that their work isn’t worthy of sharing. Show them that it is!
2. Start a 184-day Blog
I love the idea of having a community driven blog that can be written by any member. Doing a collaborative blog such as this enables more diverse voices to be heard from the school. The best ones that I have seen are written by admins, teachers, students, parents and even support staff. This is an excellent way to make reflection a campus-driven process, meaning that the idea of blogging becomes more of a norm and less of a “thing”. Please check out the Parkland School Division 184-days of learning.
3. Get Kids on Board with Blogging
Who says sharing has to be limited to teachers? In a climate where standards call for more communication and description in lieu of just answers, blogging provides students a platform to express themselves. My favorites have been the ones where kids are sharing what teachers are doing in their classrooms. I love those because where teachers may be hesitant to step out, students are doing it for them. By highlighting those moments, you are also giving that teacher a voice as well. See amazing student examples of blogging by searching twitter #comments4kids.
4. Teacher Run PD – Unconference Style
What better way to encourage sharing than to provide an environment fully dependent on the idea. As the admin or tech specialist, this does not mean that you have to facilitate. Let your teachers do it. Letting go and letting teachers run the show will definitely let them see that they are valued and that what they are doing in their classrooms is amazing. In addition, they get to learn and share what matters to them, without someone else dictating it for them. There is nothing more powerful than that.
5. Tweet Out What’s Happening
Twitter is, by far, the quickest and simplest way to encourage sharing. With a school hashtag and classroom accounts, the community can share learning as it occurs. Schools are sharing event scores, competition results and even meeting notes. Sharing the awesomeness that is happening in classrooms is not only a fabulous way to encourage sharing but an amazing way to connect with parents.
As school leaders, you have the opportunity to set the stage for what your campus will be. If you want teachers to feel confident to share, you must show confidence in what they do. The more we share, the better products that we create. This is a true statement for every vessel in our buildings.