Thursday, April 16, 2015

From "I don't know" to...

The after school routine in the Sanfelippo house was relatively similar on a daily basis.  My mom would ask me… “What did you do in school today?” My answer was always the same… “I don’t know.” This conversation happens in many homes around the world. Clearly something happened during the school day when I was a kid…but the story of my classroom was dependent on a kid who really didn’t want to talk about school. The result of that conversation is clear…people wondering what is going on in those walls. The power of stories has an incredible impact on our lives. As kids we want to have stories read to us. As adults we gather to hear stories of the past.  They evoke an emotion that can only come when we tug at the recollection of the moment. The stories told often narrow in perspective as time goes on. Our view becomes focused on our feelings at the time and that becomes the story. I don’t remember all the events leading up to my son being born (7 weeks early) almost 14 years ago.
I do remember how scared I was and the first time I was able to hold him. That is the story I continue to tell because the focus has narrowed to those two pieces. The stories of schools are no different. The narratives of schools are being told by people who attended years ago. Whatever their experience was at the time is the one that they are telling right now. The issue is this…schools are not the same as they were when I went 20 years ago. Kids in our space are doing amazing things.
They are creating, innovating, constructing, deconstructing, and problem solving like never before. They are bringing content to the world instead of regurgitating content back to their teachers. They are connecting with authors and other classrooms across the globe on a regular basis. They are tweeting, posting, and blogging…all with the understanding that all education does not need to take place within our walls. The only way we can change the narrative of schools is to bring our story to the world. We are in a service organization. Bringing what we do to the world on a regular basis has not been part of our organizational DNA.
Simply put…that needs to change. My 8 year old, my 11 year old, and the 14 year old are doing amazing things in their classrooms, with the leadership of INCREDIBLE teachers. It is not fair to them, or anyone in our space, to have their story told by people who have no connection to what happens here. I've attached a few pictures of things going on in our building over the last 2 days.  I didn't have to look to hard to find them...our #gocrickets thread is available to anyone on our website and gives us a chance to share our learning with anyone who wants to jump in.  The opportunity to tell our story is one we really need to gravitate to with the current landscape of public education.  
We can't hope that the stories are told...we have to help others tell them
. We can change the narrative by connecting with parents and community members through many channels. We can help parents have conversations that move from “What did you do at school today?” to “Hey, I saw on Twitter that you were launching rockets today…tell me more about that”. Most importantly, we can help students own the process and love learning so if they are asked what they did in school today they can move from…“I don’t know” to “I don’t know where to start.” Go Crickets. 

Telling Our Story at the Bammys

In a colossal lapse of judgment, the BAM Radio Network has asked the incomparable Tony Sinanis to host the 2015 Bammy Awards…and apparently I get to be his sidekick!!  I have secured a utility belt to hold all of the hair gel he requires, made requests to have only blue M&Ms at the site, talked to the staff to ensure that the dressing room is at a perfect 73.6 degrees and have upgraded my phone so I can hold all of the pictures he will make me take of him during the evening. Ha!  We are very excited to help bring the stories of great students, teachers, administrators, and innovators to the world through this event.  Our passion is clearly in the area of Telling Our School Story.  The book we wrote and the radio show we host are predicated on getting the amazing work our kids do into the worlds of those who have a different view of public education.  The theme of the Bammy Awards is Breaking the Code of Silence.  Check out the video as it presents a quick overview of what we can do as educators to tell the story of our schools.

So…we hope you will join us, physically and or virtually on Saturday, September 26th as we hope to help tell the great stories of our schools.  It may get a little crazy…I have purchased an Ab Roller and plan on using it 4-6 times to ensure that I am physically fit enough for the event…or at least it will strengthen my core and help if I am laughing too much!! One thing is true…the theme of Breaking the Code of Silence requires loud voices…and BAM could not have picked 2 louder.  Let’s do this!