Monday, December 19, 2011

Dear Blog, Have You Missed Me?

I love Top Chef. While I realize the producers amp up the drama to increase viewership, I still admire the ability of the chefs to take all their hard won knowledge (whether garnered through professional school or on-the-job training) and apply it to new situations.  Cooking is a wonderful blend of art, intuition, and science [just like teaching]. It's the ability to use heightened senses and a knowledgeable palate to create a dish worth drooling over. I deeply admire the chef who can maintain dishes cooking on four different burners, continue prepping food, and toss off bon mots to his or her competitors. You know when Padma, the host of the show, comes in that some new challenge awaits the chefs. "Hello, chefs." She will slyly smile and then tell them they have to cook with one hand, or blindfolded, or swap dishes mid-cooking with another chef. I see this happen often to teachers and administrators. "Oh, by the way, we've just redistricted and added 200 students to your school and cut your budget by 18%, but you can still meet your educational growth target, right?" I am fortunate to be in a situation where we have been able to pilot an iPad program for our youngest learners, a teacher iPad pilot with Apple TV wireless connection, and SMART Boards for many of our middle and high school STEM teachers. Teachers are absorbing tech pd faster than I anticipated and are incorporating Twitter and blogging into the curriculum. All my problems are actually blessings but it feels a bit like Padma just came in and gave us our challenge.

When the head chef, Tom Colicchio, comes in to to check on the chefs, at least one chef invariably says, "I'm in the weeds." Tom will ask some questions, the chefs will sweat some more, maybe doubt their work. Yet, [most of the time] the chef pulls through with a magnificent dish. Who needs Tom Colicchio?  However irksome the chefs may find Tom, I think his questions inspire them to reach even higher. I sympathize as I feel like I've been in the weeds. I see daylight, sort of.  I have been prepping the framework for the creation of a new Technology Curriculum, pre-K through grade 12 [hence my absence from my blog]. My hope is that this plan will underscore our educational philosophy, reflect our understanding of digital learners, embody all the hard work we have invested in Visible Thinking, Curriculum Mapping and Differentiation, use of Social Media, and correctly anticipate where technology may lead us [Ouija board anyone?]. And oh yes, let's not create a plan that will be outdated 6 months after creation. A tall order surely but I have a hardy crew of volunteer teachers from all disciplines, and armed with the great research provided by my PLN, and our curriculum maps, I am confident that we will navigate these sometimes murky waters safely. Our school is yar, our sailors skilled, and we've packed plenty of provisions. Wait, has anyone seen the brownies? Hmmm, maybe I need Tom Colicchio after all. 

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