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imagineering our future

October 27, 2012

I’ve been planning our Gifted & Talented students’ Imagineering Think Tank scheduled for next Thursday morning as part of my Action Research process, and blogged about the rationale, but this week’s best-laid-plans seemed beset by gremlins:

  • Server maintenance meant our IT technician had to cancel the planned visitation to two other metro schools for our investigation of their means of overcoming tech pitfalls (ironic)
  • year 12 leavers’ excitement and the 2 hour graduation assembly generated a ripple effect which unraveled people’s schedules
  • Robogals returned for another robotics session with gals in years 8-10, but traffic yet again proved their undoing, and I became captive in a classroom when I was supposed to be meeting with conspirators collaborators

Crop dusting circle motifs and saw-blade effects generated by the gal-programmed robots were very cool, though!

So that left our Wallwisher suggestions, final collation of Survey Monkey findings, serendipitous finds via Twitter, and notes from interviews to collate into a PMI framework.

Here is a selection of Gifted & Talented program positives identified by staff and administrators during interviews:

Collaborative group – staff PLC & students
Structured curriculum at an appropriate level to needs

Outcomes achieved
Success outside of school
Kids value being in special program
Durable considering the shift & environment
Support from school admin
Relationship with feeder primaries
Profile & approachable
Relationships with outside agencies
Extension & excursions

Program delivery for 8-10
They are on task, working well
They love seeing results (box & whiskers)
2 classes strongly performing; too early to tell with year 8s
Interested & engaged & doing well
Last year’s results shown to be affected by social dynamic – however, all entered Australian Maths competition

Willingness to extend and enrichment opportunities
No problem with the program and the way it runs
Kids say they love Science – innovative & passionate
Sharing with others rejuvenated teacher practice
Exposure to extension and enrichment
Top up students included & integrated
Modifying curriculum/ responsive
Inspires creative, innovative, challenging teaching with open -ended tasks
Encourages openness in approach with 11 variations in the same theme
Amazing test results
Safety & willingness to have a go

This was an uplift of shared attributes, especially after the seam of black hat thinking mined during meetings and emailed parent feedback. Counterbalances, weights and measures felt like this:

CC image credit:

So to Wallwisher where Chris, our building manager, posted this suggestion:

What a fantastic, visually inspired articulation of hope in adversity; not so sure about the Bucket Wish approach in a school context, but a semantic tweak towards Imagineering our Future seems do-able, especially as the packing cartons are laid out and skips get trucked in for the Big Move back into our re-built school.

Next, a Twitter stream find:

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”; title=”ISTE Leadership Forum Keynote” target=”_blank”>ISTE Leadership Forum Keynote</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”; target=”_blank”>Chris Lehmann</a></strong> </div>

Thank you to Chris Lehmann, along with #istelf12  for the practical suggestions to embed innovation! We will be applying the posters and provocative questions in our G&T student leaders’ workshop where the implicit goal is to

redefine resistance as a potential positive force (Fullan, 2001, p.5).

Similar inspiration was afforded by my school-locked and technologically-challenged parachute into George Couros’s #Leadership20 MOOC Wednesday morning where Jonathan E. Martin expounded on Leading a Learning Community in Session 4, Storified here; I loved his promotion of re-framing dialogues with parents, and a timely reminder about the resonance of Carol Dweck’s Mindset – essential reading for educators.

CC image source:

So the week’s-end outcomes:

  • 4166 words of my Action Research report drafted, and a pressing need to eliminate excess verbiage
  • Jenny extended our deadline to November 20, which meant the pressure was somewhat relieved
  • I am looking forward to Thursday’s Think Tank session with our students, as well as the follow up with staff to implement the change we want to see
  • Growing sense of excitement about possibilities ahead

… And a reflective postscript about leading system change from Donella Meadows:

You’ll be thinking not in terms of a static world, but a dynamic one. You’ll stop looking for who’s to blame; instead you’ll start asking, “What’s the system?” The concept of feedback opens up the idea that a system can cause its own behavior (Meadows, 2008. p. 34).

Selected references

Berrick, S. & Macliver, J. (2011). Snapshots of change. Retrieved October 27, 2012 from website:

Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine Books.

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Meadows, D. (2008). Thinking in systems a primer. White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing.

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