The Times They Are A Changin’

The Times They Are A Changin’

*This month, as we all need levity and we have had a good bit of extra time, we have included a scavenger hunt within our blog. Search out our 7 intentional references to song lyrics for a chance to win free books.  

We have had some crazy weather recently, and friends continue to text us unbelievable photos of rainbows spotted from their windows. It makes sense why there are so many songs about them. They arrive as an unexpected break from the storm and are in such contrast to the gray that came before. Even if they disappear with new clouds, we know they will return with the sun. 

Everyone has been weathering a storm. We are seeing blogs and reflections about grief stages (and we have lived them) and see a growing emergence of acceptance. But, we have been considering: 

How did we/they move through the stages toward acceptance? 

What does acceptance look and sound like?

What’s beyond acceptance? What’s next?

And a common theme arises. Just as you cannot actually get to the end of a rainbow, those moving forward recognize our learning and growing never ends. They also understand that they need to look into themselves and look to others to move forward. 

I’m Looking at the Man in the Mirror

This week in our Twitter searches, we found a teacher’s post that got our attention:

So much was packed into 30 words. Clearly, 2,000+ other people recognized this (and perhaps thousands more with retweets). Did you notice his…

  1. Growth mindset – seeking to improve even in these challenging times
  2. Trust in student voice – asking students to help him find falling apples
  3. Envisioning of what’s ahead – welcoming the “next normal” (a fav new phrase from a recent #satchat) 

But there are others like Mr. Hodge! In @CharityDodd’s recent chat #BLinAction, we found thoughtful responses to:

  • What changes in your teaching practice will you take back to your classroom?
  • What feedback have you gathered from students/families and how will that feedback create change in your classroom?
  • What experiences will help you if students are in your live classes only 2-3 days a week this fall?

So, how are we reflecting and using feedback to grow and learn? What self-talk are we using to boost our mindset? And how are we making our own growth and learning visible to others? 

So I Turned Myself to Face Me

Mr. Hodge makes his own reflection visible and linked to one of our favorite bloggers:

In the blog, a suggestion caught our attention: 

Stand in front of your team and complete one of these sentences:

  1. I used to think …. Now I’m learning…. (Avoid saying, “I’ve learned.” It’s too final.)
  2. I’m learning …. (If you aren’t learning you know you have a problem.)
  3. I was wrong….
  4. Mary taught me …. (Name someone on the team and explain something you’re learning from them.)

Never before has “it takes a village” been more important. Imagine a coach in Mr. Hodge’s school, his assistant principal, or a peer jumping into a few of his Zoom sessions or viewing students’ products created from a choice board. Suddenly, he has another set of eyes who can help him reflect on not just what seems fun or interactive, but what is having a significant impact on student engagement and learning. 

You’ll Never Know What You Can Do

To increase our capacity to self-reflect and refine our support of others, we all must understand two key principles.

1. How we experience change (because knowledge leads to empathy)

We must remember not only is everyone experiencing loss, but change–new teaching methods, new routines, family members all at home, new rules in our communities. The “Change Cycle” is a great resource to help us track our own and others’ transitions through stages of change in our lives (you will see parallels with the grief stages). But pay close attention to the Danger Zone. This is that moment the clouds are clearing and also the moment support from others, especially in the form of honest feedback for growth, can make all of the difference. (You’ll never say hello to you until you get it on the red line overload.)

2. The shift to online teaching and learning 

We also need to view the shift to new learning environments as a learning progression for teachers and students. We created 4 Stages based on teacher and student needs and behaviors and aligned resources to help you gather information to determine an entry point or possible stage for each teacher and to provide personalized feedback and support.

Don’t Be Discouraged, It’s Hard to Take Courage.

Thanks to @charitydodd, we were reminded of the brilliant words of one of Patrick’s favorite writers Margaret Wheatley:

It is very difficult to give up our certainties—our positions, our beliefs, our explanations. These help define us; they lie at the heart of our personal identity…we will succeed in changing this world only if we can think and work together in new ways. Change always starts with confusion; cherished interpretations must dissolve to make way for the new. 

We can reach, and go beyond acceptance. We can deepen our own self-reflection and strengthen our support for others when we have a clearer understanding of how we are all experiencing grief, loss, and change.  

So, how will you create with your teams the vision of what lies beyond acceptance? How will you use the valuable last weeks of school to make immediate improvements to teaching and learning, but to also plan for an uncertain future? 

See you when the clouds are far behind.

*Did you find our 7 intentional references to songs? Try not to Google them. Email us at with your guesses and 5 of you with correct responses will receive a free copy of our latest book!

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Twitter: Amy @ATep Patrick @ReVISION_Learng

Order our books Feedback to Feed Forward: 31 Strategies to Lead Learning and Learner-Focused Feedback: 19 Strategies to Observe for Impact today!

Many thanks to T. Campbell & K. Sadler for sharing your rainbow pics!

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