Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Goal #1 - Be A Beam

Be A Beam

Being a beam can mean you are part of a support system.

“You cannot force commitment, what you can do…You nudge a little here, inspire a little there, and provide a role model. Your primary influence is the environment you create.”

by Peter Senge, suggested by John Evans (@joevans)


Short-term- Offer a student or other educator you see struggling support. It could be a colleague who is stressed or a student struggling with another subject. Who in your life needs your support?

Long-term- In what ways can we help students learn to support each other throughout the learning process? How can we build a supportive community with the colleagues in our school? How do we get away from the “us” versus “them” mentality?


I interpret being a "beam" in two different ways. One way is presented in the 30 Goals Challenge where we are tasked to be part of the great support system every human needs.

Today I did this in a small, but hopefully significant, way.  I spend a lot of time on the internet and have a knack for finding interesting and quirky sites, resources, and ideas.  Inevitably, many of these links go out to the staff at my school, my PLN, and anyone else within reach.  I think that it is important to listen to those around me and know what they are interested in so that I can target my offerings to them specifically.  After all, who wants a batch of links thrown at them that are not meaningful?

This time, the social studies teacher got the link to Voki for Education and some ideas on how we could use this in her class.  She currently is using ZooBurst with grade 8 as they work with grade 3 on a collaborative project (a teacher very receptive to new ideas on how students can express themselves and their ideas creatively). 

The "support beam" part of this comes with my personal commentary on the links and the open offer to help my colleagues implement, learn, and explore anything I throw their way.  The follow-up is important.  Time gets away from us, we can be self-conscious, etc.  Having a positive interaction with a supportive person that is helpful and willing to jump in with you can get the ball rolling!  I am willing to stumble and fail right alongside my colleagues while we learn how to get the best out of something.

Being a beam can also mean you bring inspiration and light.
The second interpretation of "beam" for me is a beam of light.  To be inspiration. I am passionate about letting students express themselves creatively and taking control of their learning.  Any resources or tools that I can find to help with this process, I bring to the staff.

Beyond that, I use these ideas in my own classroom, model them, and bring the results (good and not so good) back to my colleagues.  But I am upbeat and positive and ready to explore.  This brings a beam of curiousity into the mix and gets us thinking in new and innovative ways!

Both beams are strong.  The support beam bears weight and helps carry the load whereas the beam of light is a bringer of inspiration and wonder.  I hope to have components of each in myself!

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