Redefining and repurposing small ideas – A case for big ideas

View from a hike in Alta, Utah after an ISM workshop in Salt Lake City. Seeing the big picture.

After just returning home from a six day workshop, ‘Leading the 21st Century Middle School’ I am going to take a while to process all the ideas, many new and many other redefined ones floating around my head. Thank you very much to Kathy Christoph and Matthew Stuart of Independent School Management (ISM) for delivering such a thoughtful and purposeful workshop.

In the break between academic years, we all turn our minds toward action for the next year. I had been preparing an action plan to keep me busy for another academic session, and I don’t think that there is an item on it that will be untouched by my experience at this workshop. New items have appeared on the plan based on my learning, yet most of the impact of the workshop experience relates to the redefinition of my existing ones, building on them, seeing the bigger picture with greater clarity, allowing you to more creatively fit together the smaller pieces – repurposing them. For example, the constant focus on Mission driven action affected the meaning I constructed, building on existing thoughts. I recall all of the different ideas presented over those six days in relation to Mission, in the same way that we hope the use of big ideas in units of inquiry allow students to organize their learning in a conceptually based curriculum. It was a good reminder for me of the power of a conceptually driven curriculum model for authentic learning. Making sure we always build on the details in relation to the big ideas.

 

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