Teaching Students Executive Functioning Skills with Mitch Weathers, Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

Teaching Students Executive Functioning Skills with Mitch Weathers, Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

Mitch Weathers Joins Joe & T.J. 

Mitch became a gifted teacher because he was a mediocre student. He rarely felt comfortable in the classroom. In fact, it took him 7 years for him to graduate from college.

Choosing to become a teacher, Mitch was fortunate enough to experience school as if it was happening all around him. He was unsure how to jump into his learning with confidence. There is a loneliness to experiencing your education as a passive object as opposed to an active subject. 

From the moment he entered the classroom, Mitch relied on his personal experiences as a learner. He recognized that what we teach, the content or curriculum is secondary. We must first lay the foundation for learning before we can get to teach. In fact, unless students develop a solid foundation for learning it does not matter how great your teachers deliver content, or how emergent the technology, or even how engaging a lesson might be. 

Mitch designed Organized Binder to empower teachers with a simple but research-backed strategy to teach students executive functioning skills while protecting the time needed for content instruction. The secret is found in establishing a predictable learning routine that serves to foster safer learning spaces. When students get practice with executive functions by virtue we set them up for success.

What You’ll Find in this Podcast Episode with Mitch Weathers

Mitch starts this episode with a clear definition of executive functioning, including debunking the myth that it’s only for special education students. 

He says that executive functioning skills is an umbrella term with a bunch of other skills working toward executive functioning.

Mitch is surprised that more people aren’t talking about executive functioning because it’s so foundational for how students learn. 

We can’t just focus on what students learn, we need to teach them how to learn. This results not just a bump in their grades but a big boost to their confidence. 

Joe asked a very poignant question: why don’t we teach executive functioning skills, making our life as teachers even harder than it needs to be? Here is what Mitch says about time and Zone of Genius.

How are executive functioning skills best learned?  Modeling and deliberate practice in a safe space. 

T.J. brings up the point that executive functioning skills have to be part of our equity work. If EF helps to level the playing field for all students, they need to be embedded in our equity plans. 

One key to helping students develop executive functioning skills is to have very predictable routines in the classroom. Mitch talked about the fact that consistency is a huge factor in students’ ability to learn. 

Joe asks Mitch to outline how he teaches teachers to help students with these skills. Mitch mentions that a school-wide approach is important. Listen to what he says about shared learning routines. 

Don’t miss Mitch’s five-part series on executive functioning skills, which is totally free.  

The tenets of executive functioning: clarity, routine, and modeling.

It was a lot of fun to hear Mitch talk about “working memory” and how teachers can learn to use students’ working memory through routines at the beginning and end of every classroom period. 

Don’t miss the discussion on what good instruction looks like!

  • Success criteria
  • Clear goals
  • Structured reflection

Mitch brings up Marzano and the importance of exposing students to concepts multiple times. 

The Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe & T.J. Show

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing on the site. You appreciate a like, comment, follow, or share. And, if you’re reading our books, please rate them on Amazon

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

Why Every School Leader Needs To Use A Beginner’s Mindset When Solving Perennial Problems – Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

Why Every School Leader Needs To Use A Beginner’s Mindset When Solving Perennial Problems – Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

In our most recent book, 7 Mindshifts for School Leaders: Finding New Ways to Think About Old Problems, we introduce 7 Mindshifts that principals and other school leaders can use to solve problems that are constantly plaguing our schools. It’s important that not every problem requires these shifts, but rather those that are important, persistent, and urgent. When a problem is IPU, we use our first mind shift, A Crisis Mindset. 

Take a moment and think of a problem that you are facing and compare it to the chart by answering the questions in the third column to see if it meets the IPU threshold. 

Important Fundamentally impacts teaching and learningHow does it impact teaching and learning?
Persistent Ongoing, complex, with long-term implicationsHow long has the issue been a problem? 
UrgentTime-sensitive, needs immediate attention and requires skillful resolveWhy does it require immediate attention?

In this episode, Joe and T.J. explore what it really means to use a Beginner’s Mindset when solving a problem. It’s hard to accept, but our experience can prevent us from seeing solutions. Joe and T.J. were first introduced to this concept when they interviewed the late Richard Elmore on what it means to be a learning leader

Key Points from Joe & T.J. About Using a Beginner’s Mind

  • The Beginner’s Mindset sheds preconceived ideas and thoughts on what should be done. 
  • Our own expertise can get in the way of seeing ideas and opportunities.
  • Look to great business examples like Sarah Blakely of Spanx who sought to solve a problem she was facing as a real estate agent. Who would have thought she would have revolutionized shapewear? 
  • The Spaghetti Tower activity says it all.

Each mind shift in the book is equipped with a model to help school leaders navigate the process of analyzing a problem and finding new solutions. The Beginner’s Mindset Model is designed to ignite the childlike mind needed to see new possibilities and dream new realities. 

As we wrap up, take a moment and think back to the problem that you identified using IPU filter:

  • Based on the problem you identified, is the team’s expertise working for or against them? 
  • How could you incorporate more diverse perspectives when discovering information about the problem? 
  • Who do you know who knows nothing about the problem who you could consult for different thinking? 

We hope you enjoy this book to lead better and grow faster as school leaders. We always appreciate a like, a follow, a comment, or a share. And, if you’re on Amazon, please rate it.

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing to the site. 

 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

 

Joe & T.J.

Why Every School Leader Needs To Use A Beginner’s Mindset When Solving Perennial Problems – Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

The One Book that School Leaders Should Read to Attack Persistent Problems in Education – Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

Joe and T.J. Recommend that School Leaders Read 7 Mindshifts for School Leaders: Finding New Ways to Think About Old Problems

We want to share some of our favorite aspects of our newest book, 7 Mindshifts for School Leaders: Finding New Ways to Think About Old Problems. Written with our co-author, Connie Hamilton, this book calls into question some of the problems with our Educational Industrial Complex, problems that have persisted for too long, and the mind shifts that it will take to truly challenge the status quo. It’s for any school leader who wants better outcomes for all students. If you’re fine with the way things are, it’s not for you. 

Consider a problem, which is frankly too common: poor attendance. Lots of students miss days here and there rather than stringing them together with an obvious and long absence. The problem is that a student who misses a couple of days in September is likely to miss a whole month of school by the end of the year. Think of the type of impact that this kind of poor attendance has on student performance, socialization, reading proficiency, and a host of other things. We might otherwise not even catch the problem, and when we do, we often don’t have models for examining and fixing the problem. 

A nuance here is that attendance is not always on the radar screen. Picture a school that is uber-focused on elevating reading proficiency. This could be a costly mistake, spending money and time on reading resources when the problem isn’t the reading program but rather student attendance rates. Maybe if students were in school for a great percentage of the days that school is in session they would have better reading proficiency scores. That’s why this book is so powerful. We introduce 7 models that can be used with your teams to help examine problems in a new light.  

In this episode of Leading Better & Growing Faster with Joe and T.J., we feature two of our favorite models from the book. Joe describes the Octopus Approach and how it can be used to help make sure that the many variables associated with an issue are brought to the table before a decision is made. This model is designed for implementing systems thinking in your school.   

T.J. covers a second model called, Disciplined Tunnel Vision. Having tunnel vision can be seen as a negative response, but there is a need at times for an all-out, complete-and-utter, focus on an issue for it to be solved. T.J. discusses our six-part practical change model that schools can use from developing a vision for a change all the way to the creation of a specific model for what that change looks like in practice. The first three steps are common, but that’s only 50% of what will get you to the implementation of something new in your school.  

Enjoy this book to lead better and grow faster as school leaders. We always appreciate a like, a follow, a comment, or a share. And, if you like this new book, please rate it on Amazon. It helps. 

Let us know what you’re reading by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership newsletter every week by subscribing to the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

Amplifying Student Voice with Paul Bloomberg – Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

Amplifying Student Voice with Paul Bloomberg – Leading Better and Growing Faster with Joe and T.J.

Our job is to make the learner’s thinking visible. ~ Paul Bloomberg 

About Paul Bloomberg

Dr. Paul Bloomberg is the Founder and CEO of The Core Collaborative Learning Network based in San Diego, CA, and New York City. The mission of the Core Collaborative Learning Network is to expand learner ownership and agency by building a culture of belonging and efficacy through collaborative inquiry. The Core Collaborative defines “learner” as ALL the people in a system who partner with students. The Core Collaborative strives to cultivate learners who embody empathy, open-mindedness, patience, and perseverance and who use their energy and expertise to make a positive impact in the world we share with others.

Dr. Bloomberg is the co-author of the best-selling book, Leading Impact Teams: Building a Culture of Efficacy, and a lead author of Peer Power! Unite, Learn and Prosper: Activate an Assessment Revolution through Mimi and Todd Press and a lead author on The EmpowerED Learner eToolkit. Paul has led multiple, successful school turn-around efforts and believes that public education must play a major role in deconstructing systems of oppression.

His new book, which we talk about in this episode, is called Amplify Learner Voice through Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Assessment

Paul served on the National Parents Union Board of Directors. The National Parents Union is a network of highly effective parent organizations and grassroots activists across the country that is united behind a set of common goals and principles to channel the power of parents.

Paul lives with his husband, Tony, in California. Alex and Taylor, Tony and Paul’s sons, are the inspiration for launching the Core Collaborative in 2014.

Paul starts with the concept of systems. He talks about how some schools are thriving more than others and what we need to do to re-think formative assessment through a cultural lens. 

What You’ll Find in this Podcast Episode with Paul Bloomberg 

Paul starts with a vital aspect of how all educators can effectively engage students, Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education (CRSE). This is about changing what we do to meet students’ needs through culturally responsive formative assessments. 

We dive into the conversation about assessments and the cross-section between traditional grading and equity. None of us can answer the question about why more schools aren’t moving to more culturally responsive grading? 

There is power in interviewing students. Listen to what can shock teachers into creating a different type of learner-focused environment. 

Don’t miss what Paul says about the textbook industry: “I can’t do it anymore” applied to cover all the concepts that we’re giving in our content areas. 

Paul mentions Dr. Allen Daly as his mentor. The social justice focus of his doctoral program left a mark that he uses in all of his work today. 

Paul talks about “active listening” and reflecting back on what people are saying and feeling as a super-tool for leadership, teaching, and for learning. 

Paul talked about wanting to learn how to be a restorative practitioner. His answer is heartfelt

  1. Reframe negative thinking 
  2. Wake up and be optimistic 
  3. Treat people with dignity

T.J. mentions the wisdom from Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg that links to #1 above. 

He talks about The Science of Happiness Podcast as a learning and growth strategy for himself. 

Paul answered the last question with something he learned from Omar Mercado: a trigger is your own responsibility, not that of others, even the people who trigger you. 

Let us know if there’s a guest who you want us to have on the show by leaving a comment below or by contacting us at contact@theschoolhouse302.com. And don’t miss our leadership content updates every week by subscribing to the site. 

We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Joe & T.J.

Thanks for listening to FocusED, an educational leadership podcast brought to you by TheSchoolHouse302 @ theschoolhouse302.com where we publish free leadership content. Go to the site, subscribe, and you’ll get all of our content sent directly to your email. 

 

FocusED is your educational leadership podcast where our mission is to dissect a particular focus for teachers and school leaders so that you can learn to lead better and grow faster in your school or district with more knowledge, better understanding, and clear direction on what to do next.

Claim Your FREE Copy to Our Praise Practice- Practical Praise Giving Tips for Principals

Claim Your FREE Copy to Our Praise Practice- Practical Praise Giving Tips for Principals

Learn how you can give practical praise each day as you lead your school to develop a better and more positive culture through this complimentary eBook we use in our workshops to help principals all over the nation and subscribe for more resources like this one delivered to your inbox. 

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