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Conversations #93 - Feb. 20, 2011

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Lisa was off on vacation this week while Maria and Sheila discussed working with Colleagues.  What can we expect? How can we value differences and create unity? Maria shared a tool called True Colors. Many participants took the test to find out their personality "color." Scott Shelhart (orange) joined the orange and green personalities for a short bit. Although finding out about yourself is interesting, the important part is learning how others perceive you, how you can work with others knowing this information and not prejudging.

Take the test at http://www.truecolorstest.com/index.htm

We will return in 2 weeks on March 13, 2011.

11:28:39 Sheila: Hi Scott!

11:29:00 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Hi Sheila

11:29:48 connect2jamie: good morning all! :)

11:31:53 Maureen@bcdtech: Good morning everyone

11:32:08 Sheila: broadcast is up

11:32:27 PeggyG: audio is great!

11:32:39 PeggyG: click on play on ustream :-)

11:33:17 connect2jamie: ustream sounds great.

11:33:27 PeggyG: :-)

11:33:58 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Ustream good here

11:35:05 Cathy E: Ya'll are doing great.  It is not an easy job to broadcast.

11:36:14 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): AMEN!

11:36:19 MariaK: @Peggy - yes - I had forgotten to do the edtechtalk in the tweet

11:36:47 PeggyG: I like it when people speak up in meetings rather than just saying what they think in the hallways and parking lot after the meeting

11:37:15 Maureen@bcdtech: I don't think people don't feel safe to talk in meetings

11:37:35 PeggyG: that's always a problem--you get the "evil eye" from people who just want to get the meeting over

11:37:59 Maureen@bcdtech: @peggy I get that- so I stopped talking

11:38:19 PeggyG: establishing meeting norms can go a long way to making it safe for people to speak up and share honestly

11:38:20 connect2jamie: no time at our mtgs either, even tho the admin tries to be very open. Culture among tchrs is not to say anything/ask questions and the mtg will be over sooner. Not a very useful way of working together.

11:38:45 PeggyG: I agree connect2jamie!

11:38:55 Maureen@bcdtech: I write blog posts for faculty, but was told the other day that "you don't expect me to read all that stupid stuff, do you?"  .

11:39:21 PeggyG: oh no Maureen!! that's really sad!

11:39:35 MariaK: We'd love to have another voice in the skype call.

11:39:46 connect2jamie: It's especially the case among our librarians in the district--mainly a legacy from the previous library director, who....ahem....was not a positive leader.

11:39:46 Maureen@bcdtech: How do you make meetings useful- not just gripe sessions or stuff that could be done via memos

11:39:55 PeggyG: really good point Sheila! if someone tells you it's important to them you should honor that

11:40:31 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): It is easy to understand why many close their doors and cover the windows

11:40:38 Maureen@bcdtech: I had my "annual review" the other day- asked admin to step up- be more transparent- blog- have conversations.

11:40:58 PeggyG: @Maureen-that is always a challenge because everyone has their own idea about what a "useful" meeting is. Many teachers resent all meetings.

11:41:03 connect2jamie: @Maureen Wow! How was that received?

11:41:25 PeggyG: good for you Maureen! excellent, tactful advice

11:41:43 connect2jamie: @peggy you are exactly right. Some just want any mtg to be over.

11:41:44 Maureen@bcdtech: He said he doesn't have time- sent me an email with his minute by minute schedule for a day in the life.  So, he doesn't have time- faculty don't have time. We obviously do not value this type of communication

11:42:00 PeggyG: so true Maria! look at all of the people who pore out their deep secrets to bartenders :-)

11:42:28 PeggyG: yes how we spend our time clearly indicates our priorities-not what we "say"

11:42:29 Maureen@bcdtech: @peggy- tactful is not usually a word associated with me  :-)

11:42:38 PeggyG: I think it is Maureen

11:43:35 Maureen@bcdtech: I spend more time talking with people online, helping and being helped by them, than I do with the cast majority of people at school

11:44:06 Maureen@bcdtech: To be honest, I don't trust some of my colleagues and I don't respect some of what they do... I'm not a nice person

11:44:13 connect2jamie: @maureen My District admin has spent the last 5 yrs telling us we have to get rid of the old and embrace the new, in terms of curriculum--or there would not be enough time for it all. I don't see admin doing that so much. A minute by minute indicates a refusal to change.

11:44:21 Cathy E: Those other teachers could be here with us.  This is a public place.

11:45:09 connect2jamie: @maureen I feel exactly the same way. Odd that I trust you in many ways more than I do some of the ppl I work with daily.

11:45:28 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): It is "safer" to collaborate online.  Much easier when you don't have to look them in the eye.  there is no "unfollow" button in face-to-face

11:45:37 PeggyG: that happens a lot Maria--people tell you something knowing you'll bring it up so they don't have to :-)

11:46:31 connect2jamie: Many times, I work a lot more closely with ppl in my virtual PLN than in my bldg, sad to say. Being a librarian, my goals are not always shared w/ classroom tchrs.

11:46:39 connect2jamie: @Scott exactly right.

11:46:42 PeggyG: maybe @Scott--if you're not thoughtful and use twitter/blog posts to vent without choosing your words carefully you can really inflame and hurt people

11:47:10 connect2jamie: Online, we are all here b/c we have a common passion already. The ppl we work with might or might not see things the way we do.

11:47:27 PeggyG: listening is very important! really listening to what they are saying and not just the words they are using

11:47:27 Maureen@bcdtech: When I had my meeting this past week, the head told me that without exception everyone he had met with- doing these annual reviews- told him that I had helped them learn more about tech, tech integration this past year. But... altho that makes me feel a bit better- I still see no change in day to day teaching/learning

11:47:56 PeggyG: that's an incredible compliment Maureen!!

11:47:59 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): @Peggy - very true.  That is why using your real name and being transparent online is so important.  It keeps your mental "filter" on all of the time.

11:48:18 PeggyG: I definitely agree about using your real name online!

11:48:38 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): I am building my resume every time I log on. 

11:48:39 Maureen@bcdtech: @scott- I don't have a public blog- other than my class blogs- since my filter is broken and I would get fired if I said what I think

11:48:55 PeggyG: leadership impacts others even if it takes awhile to see behavior changes. They are listening!

11:49:04 connect2jamie: @maureen that is quite a compliment. You sometimes have to take the compliments where you get them and know that you are making a difference.

11:49:43 connect2jamie: @maureen you made me LOL!

11:49:55 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Take a commercial break so you can read the chat

11:49:58 PeggyG: you're doing a great job of inspiring our conversation Maria and Sheila!!

11:50:28 PeggyG: do  any of you develop meeting norms collaborative with your faculty?

11:50:30 Maureen@bcdtech: student on the phone...

11:50:33 MariaK: http://www.truecolorstest.com/

11:51:01 Cathy E: @Peggy Yes, we have team norms

11:51:08 Maureen@bcdtech: What did I miss when I had to mute... guess now I have to listen to the podcast :-)

11:51:18 Sheila: Yes Peggy we have done that. Not sure all agreed wholeheartedly

11:51:34 connect2jamie: We have PLC norms, but never developed norms for fully facutly mtgs.

11:52:04 PeggyG: if they are developed collaboratively anyone in the group can remind others of a norm that may not be being followed-shared responsibility for making meetings effective

11:52:53 Maureen@bcdtech: I would like to use google moderator at school to have people vote on and discuss what we will do at faculty meetings- so far- not embraced by admin. Our meetings are such a waste of time

11:53:19 PeggyG: this is a nice example of faculty meeting norms (very similar to the ones we developed at my school) https://sites.google.com/site/trumanbackstage/faculty-meeting-agenda

11:53:54 PeggyG: I remember using the True Colors years ago! Need to revisit it.

11:54:24 PeggyG: I wonder if our colors change over time?

11:54:43 Maureen@bcdtech: @peggy- I like that phrase- "shared responsibility for making meetings effective" I sometimes abdicate my responsibility- just get frustrated.

11:55:36 PeggyG: how long does it take to take the quiz?

11:55:58 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): If a person was inclined to join the Skype call, should he call Sheila or Maria?

11:56:30 PeggyG: @Maureen that is one of the hardest things in a meeting-getting everyone to accept responsibility and not just expecting the principal or person leading the meeting to call the norms

11:56:58 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): not sure I can add anything.... but can help fill the gaps I guess

11:57:42 PeggyG: drag him in from your list

11:58:35 Maureen@bcdtech: Ok- I'm gold...

11:58:52 connect2jamie: I'm so gold it's pathetic.

11:58:54 Sheila: I'm green

11:58:58 PeggyG: I'm still taking the test

11:59:48 connect2jamie: Married to a VERY orange man though!

12:00:08 connect2jamie: Makes things interesting!

12:01:09 PeggyG: well well--I'm blue :-)

12:01:14 Maureen@bcdtech: That's funny- I don't follow rules, but I like order... 18 gold, 14 green, 13 orange- 5 blue

12:02:04 Maureen@bcdtech: @peggy the blue for you does not surprise me- you have wonderful people skills!

12:02:20 PeggyG: I'm 18 blue, 14 gold, 13 green, 5 orange 

12:02:31 connect2jamie: @maria is there a link to the pg that talks about how others perceive each color?

12:02:45 PeggyG: I'm not a big risk taker though I'm very open to different ideas

12:02:50 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): 16 orange, 14 gold, 7 blue, 13 green.

12:03:04 PeggyG: that fascinating Scott!

12:03:06 Sheila: I think she has the book

12:03:58 Maureen@bcdtech: Only 98%- Sheila is always right!

12:04:07 Sheila: lol

12:04:14 PeggyG: too funny!

12:04:34 Maureen@bcdtech: Maria- where are you getting the way others see you?

12:04:46 PeggyG: might change even depending on your attitude or mood or energy level

12:05:12 Cathy E: My bar graph is just about even

12:05:19 Maureen@bcdtech: Have you had Kathy or Amanda take this test? you should have a good mix of colors in your working group

12:05:53 Scott Shelhart (@kd9sr): Sorry ladies.... have  a visitor.  Should go visit with Mom

12:06:07 Sheila: THanks Scott!

12:06:12 Cathy E: so how did you do it with your staff?

12:06:22 Cathy E: Did you have them take it online

12:06:31 PeggyG: do you think groups are more effective if they have people with mixed colors or if they share the same color as #1?

12:06:50 Maureen@bcdtech: Good question Peggy

12:07:25 PeggyG: I'm thinking they need to be mixed :-) can you imagine a room full of risktakers and status quo challengers?

12:07:46 Maureen@bcdtech: @peggy- kind of like my pln on twitter

12:07:54 PeggyG: the very structure of schools supports gold!

12:08:16 PeggyG: teachers have always been good "rule followers"

12:08:30 Maureen@bcdtech: Can you marry this color stuff to Gardners 5 minds?

12:08:30 MariaK: @peggy - some teachers....

12:08:35 Cathy E: Yes, Peggy

12:09:15 PeggyG: it definitely makes for a great conversation and helps people to get to know each other better

12:09:58 PeggyG: I remember playing something called the "Change Game" with our faculty and that was really interesting!

12:10:09 Maureen@bcdtech: Altho I think it is fun... might be too touchy feely for my faculty- how do you get past that?

12:10:30 PeggyG: they have to trust each other to be willing to share their results

12:10:45 PeggyG: very interesting Maria!

12:11:42 Sheila: Our principal made us attend the workshop. She took all the stabs in the back to start.

12:12:15 Maureen@bcdtech: I think I would like committee chairs to be gold... I want the chaos from you orange folk to be organized

12:12:37 PeggyG: :-)

12:12:54 connect2jamie: My very ORANGE husband is ready to go run errands, so I'm going to go now! I'll catch the rest in the podcast. Have a great week everyone!

12:13:06 Maureen@bcdtech: you bet

12:13:58 PeggyG: bye connect2jamie! have fun running errands

12:14:34 PeggyG: is anyone really "true blue"? Their other colors will kick in

12:15:03 Maureen@bcdtech: So, do meetings, committees, etc- have to have differentiated ways of working- meetings, online, written work, etc.. in order to accomodate everyone's best ways of working?

12:15:19 Cathy E: OK I really want to do this with my staff- @Maria, you have to send me the info  cevanoff@gmail.com

12:16:42 Maureen@bcdtech: Do you find that these exercises build respect for one another in your community?

12:16:45 PeggyG: @Maureen-that would be like a teacher trying to address all of the different learning styles in one classroom--not easy to do but important to be aware of

12:18:46 Maureen@bcdtech: So do you try to get people to change or embrace the other colors? Are you a more balanced teacher if you are more of a mix? Or does it make you more passionate if you have a real "strength" in one area?

12:19:17 PeggyG: http://www.focusgames.com/Articles.asp?ID=148 This is the change game we used once before a full day of PD. It really got the teachers engaged and thinking about being productive for the rest of the day. :-)

12:20:12 PeggyG: I suspect the value is in thinking about what you value and given the opportunity to explain each of your colors might even change them :-)

12:21:27 PeggyG: yes--helps you to appreciate where they are coming from--understanding them better and not judging them so quickly

12:21:38 Maureen@bcdtech: Do you find this sort of thing more effective in a mixed group- full faculty- or smaller groups- we have preK-9, which often makes meetings unbearable for some. The topics discussed have nothing to do with some groups.

12:22:36 PeggyG: that is a very tough range of faculty Maureen. That's why announcements and specific info that only applies to a small group are not a good use of meeting time

12:23:29 Maureen@bcdtech: @peggyg- I think our meetings are a waste of time because of how the time is used. I have told the admin this... but ...

12:24:27 Maureen@bcdtech: kayaking??

12:24:55 PeggyG: probably because it takes so much time to hold separate meetings and create written notices, etc. Individualization/personalization is always more time consuming whether with a faculty or a classroom.

12:25:25 PeggyG: one point of view but generates important conversation

12:26:37 PeggyG: I still think the key (regardless of colors) is withholding judgement and always remembering what it's like to "walk a mile in their shoes"--have to know them better to understand them so suspend judgement...

12:27:20 PeggyG: :-)

12:27:39 PeggyG: yes it is!! my  blue coming through

12:28:24 Maureen@bcdtech: Gives me a lot to think about. I often say I went to the G(former teacher fired for insubordination) school of charm... People rarely ask me to say what I really mean :-) Thanks!

12:28:25 Sheila: http://www.truecolorstest.com/Shopping/TrueColors-E-Report.htm

12:28:49 PeggyG: important to have some mixed faculty meetings because we all share a commong goal/mission. I don't want teachers to think that only math teachers teach math or only reading teachers teach reading. Art, music, PE all contribute to academic success

12:29:42 PeggyG: well that really got the conversation flowing!! thanks!! great food for thought!

12:29:46 Sheila: http://www.positivelymary.com/ColorLingo.html

12:30:45 PeggyG: an extension to this conversation could relate to dealing with/communicating with challenging, difficult parents :-)

12:30:48 Maureen@bcdtech: Are you going to post this on the blog Maria?

12:31:29 PeggyG: I have a great book by Elaine McEwan called "How to deal with Parents who are angry, troubled, afraid, or just plain crazy" :-)

12:31:47 Maureen@bcdtech: I'll DM or email you later

12:32:11 PeggyG: thanks everyone!! got my day off to a great start!

12:32:12 Maureen@bcdtech: @peggy is the answer duck and cover?

12:32:17 Sheila: http://ettconversations.blogspot.com/

12:32:35 PeggyG: no they give some really great advice! :-)

12:32:43 Maureen@bcdtech: I've got to go to school and print stuff- thought I could go in tomorrow- but snow is coming... again

12:33:03 PeggyG: proactive approach and how to promote a healthy school environment

12:33:25 Maureen@bcdtech: @peggy- can you come out of retirement and work at my school?

12:33:38 Maureen@bcdtech: Good luck Sheila!!

12:33:48 PeggyG: off for 2 weeks? coming back on Mar. 13?

12:34:01 PeggyG: no Maureen! I love retirement!!

12:34:04 MariaK: yes

12:34:23 PeggyG: 5 events that led you into education

12:34:30 PeggyG: homework for the next session

12:34:31 Maureen@bcdtech: @maria- any chance you are going to Burlington next week for ntcamp?

12:34:58 Maureen@bcdtech: Bye!

12:34:58 PeggyG: bye everyone