Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm Possible - Critical Transformations

I am heading to ASCD's Annual Conference in less than a week. The theme for this year's conference is "Critical Transformations". We can all look back at our life and identify the critical transformations that brought us to the point we are at today. This is especially true for me since I owe everything I have to an educator who believed in me when no one else did.

Critical transformations for me have always been about overcoming adversity and doing things that others say is impossible. This has certainly carried over into my daily journey in education.  There are people that doubt the students I serve on a daily basis. Many overcome amazing obstacles and do remarkable things. That is why our theme this year is a play on words.

We took the word "Impossible" added an apostrophe and a space to make "I'm Possible". It is the first thing my students see when they enter the building each morning.

You can also view our opening video with the theme and one of my amazing students here.

My students need to know that everything that they want to do in this world is possible. It is up to us to establish an environment where critical transformations can occur by igniting their passion and offering opportunities for all kids.

There are several keys to igniting a student's passion and watching their critical transformation unfold. Here are three that we put into our daily practice and have made a world of difference.

1. Develop a culture of risk taking and forward failure by students and staff members

2. Create opportunities for students to be involved in leadership activities and groups based on interest. Interest ignites passion and increases engagement. Our students are involved in a wide array of activities including chess, recycling, drama, mentoring, and video production

3.Develop a whole child approach to support the development of children who are healthy, safe, engaged, and challenged

This approach has not only allowed us to exceed academic benchmarks but more importantly facilitate critical transformations in our kids.

Passion is the key to transformation.  What kinds of things are you doing to ignite passion and encourage critical transformations where you are?

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