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Saying Yes to Leadership Circle

Our April circle meeting was a small but mighty gathering at Pilgrim School. Thank you to Julia for hosting and providing yummy snacks. After introductions we discussed what we might want to “say yes to” more often, inspired by Shonda Rhimes’ Ted talk (and book). Shonda decided to say yes to things that scared her (slowing down to play, public speaking). She embraced these risks because her work stopped making her feel the hum or creative flow it previously had. Perhaps it was how tired we all seemed to be, just two days back in the swing of things post spring break, but we instead landed on longing to say no to more things. With the elusive work/life balance occupying a permanent place on my own goal list, I too had a hard time agreeing with Shonda’s thesis. However, in the course of our conversation, we reframed the idea of saying no to some things as saying yes to self-care or breathing space. A strategic “no thank you” may give way to time to think, exercise or read for pleasure.
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How to start a leadership circle?

I wrote this for the CATDC blog last week.

It includes a bit from my previous summary of Women in Leadership Circle plus a section on what I have learned along the way that might be helpful for others looking to start  a group. On my to do list is to plan a meeting for March...

My Bujo February to do list:
Get the baby to take a bottle
Prepare to teach my class at UCLA
Pull together my thoughts to finally write a definitive educational philosophy blog post
Organize 2016 photos
Get kids cleats for soccer
Print all my retweeted articles to PDFs and organize them in my google drive
Plan next WiL Circle Meeting
Make a Facebook group for WiL
Plan a trip to Disneyland
Find Daycare for Luke
Decide if I am going to my master's graduation
Make playlists on Spotify (obvi not crucial)
Declutter the house
Exercise/lose baby weight
Start doing thinking about what I need to do to be ready to go back to work on March 27
Update the baby book and journal the magic that is motherhood

... But since a…
I look forward to going to the CATDC Women in Leadership workshop every year as I find it inspiring and reinvigorating to hear the stories of women who have sought out leadership opportunities. Their stories are powerful because they don’t hold back. They share, earnestly, stories of frustration, failures, risk taking and heartbreak, along side examples of opportunity, success and exacting positive change.
This year we gathered at The Skirball Cultural Center and heard from several leaders in independent schools whose stories centered around the theme of Yes...and, culminating in an improv activity to encourage better collaboration and communication skills. We also heard from Dr. Tina Bryson who shared her research on the brain and how it relates to discipline and engaging cooperation. Her talk helped me to see the science behind attachment based teaching and parenting. Say your student (or coworker or child or spouse) is upset and behaving badly. Rather than pointing out that his or he…

Women in Leadership Circle - Vulnerability & Leadership

Women in Leadership Circle met again on Monday evening at Campbell Hall School. A big thank you to Marina Kheel, for hosting and providing a lovely spread of snacks.

We began our conversation by with Speed Stories; 2 minute introductions in which each person shares their their journey to education and leadership. I think it is important to know your story and the ability to tell it succinctly, allows you to know what parts are truly important. Brevity also allows you to tell people who are before their attention span dwindles. It was fascinating to learn a bit about everyone’s path. I learned that I need to polish my speed story both for content and time. Everytime I share my story, it gives me a chance to reflect both on which experiences have influenced my practice and helps me to recommit myself to my profession.

As we were sharing, I noticed that the stories were resonating because the person sharing was doing so from a place of vulnerability and authenticity. Sharing stories and e…

Women's Leadership Circle

Long time no blog... I thought I would have SO much time on maternity leave. Ha! It turns out that newborns need constant holding, swaying, feeding, bouncing, changing and shushing, leaving nary a free moment to reflect on teaching, learning and leadership. Given that this is my 3rd maternity leave, it is a bit silly of me not to remember that... alas, Luke fell asleep and let me put him down and I have time to talk about something I have been up to since last spring: coordinating a (somewhat) monthly meeting for women independent schools interested in leadership and personal growth. Here is how this came to be...

One of my favorite workshops that I faithfully attend every year is CATDC’s Women in Leadership. It is invigorating to spend the day in a room filled with educators, passionate about leading schools.
It is a day away from our normal routines, to spend time listening to stories of reinvention, connecting with like minded educators and reflecting on personal growth. At the end o…

Revamping Student Blogging in Math

My algebra and geometry students have been creating digital portfolios (using blogger) for the last 4 school years. Summer 2013, spurred on by my school's upcoming 1:1 laptop program, I attended CUE Rockstar conference. While there, I had time to think about how I might have my students use their laptops in class. I wanted them to be able to look at virtual manipulatives, graph things quickly and interactively using desmos, create constructions using geogebra, use online formative assessment tools like socrative and generally be able to use the internet as a tool to enrich their learning.

All of these enhance learning, but I was also looking for a way to build in reflection and creativity into class also. After all, as Dewey said “we do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.”

My theory was that blogger would be the house for my students' reflections. 

Via the blog they have...

... Reflected on in class problem based learning tasks
... Embedded videos t…