I am a reader. I know a lot about reading and in turn a good bit about stories. So how did I miss the six word story, Baby Shoes?

“For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”

All I can say is… Wow. The author of this story took six words and absolutely blew me away. In only one reading of that story I sat silent in thought. That’s the power of words. Words written clearly, powerfully, and carefully crafted for impact.

This is how the Teach To Lead Summit began. We began with the Six Word Story, and let me say that was very fitting because this Summit had a powerful impact on me as well.

One thing we did early on was an activity to get to know who was in the room. A presenter called out jobs, beliefs, duties, etc. and we would echo, “Me too!” if we fit that description. There were so many things that everyone in the room had in common. It was great as a team to be surrounded with educators from all across the nation that were working tirelessly to help their students succeed. I found myself saying “Me too!” all weekend.

Celeste Rodriguez (@AzulZR) and Amanda Barney (@amandafbarney) are passionate about next steps and putting ideas into action, “Me too!”

Denise Snowden (@DeniseSnowden) understands that a teacher’s leadership project is dependent on effective peer collaboration. “Me too!”

Emily Davis (@emilydavis4edu) and Kate Hufnagel (@thehufnagel) believe in a whole child approach. “Me too!”

Catherine Jacques (@cjacquestalk) knows that outcomes planning can address complex problems that we are faced with in education. “Me too!”

Dr. Brenda Custodio (@bcustodi) believes in providing school-wide support for students who are new arrivals and have had an interrupted education. “Me too!”

Dr. Neil Gupta (@drneilgupta) believes in innovation, teachers building CFAs, and that innovation is at times messy. “Me too!”

Jim Bruner at the Past Foundation (@pastfoundation) believes in taking theory- to planning- to practice- to take knowledge- to understanding. “Me too!”

The Teach To Lead Summit was a gathering of teacher leaders from across the nation who have many things in common. Of these many things, the one thing that everone brought with them was an idea. An idea that they believe will impact education in a great way.

So what do you do with an idea?

 

Our team arrived in Columbus with an idea. What would we do with our idea?

At the Teach To Lead Summit, our team worked with the help of a critical friend to create a logic model for our plan. We articulated our problem, goal, activities, outputs, outcomes, a rationale, and student impact. We attended skills sessions where we were able to dive deeper into topics such as taking next steps, peer collaboration, whole child approach, measures of success, and supports for students. We divided these topics among our five team members and after the sessions we had a team debrief. We also agreed to collaboratively write a blog post summarizing each skills session. That blog post is coming soon. We then revisited our logic model and worked on completing each section of the digital version. That wrapped up an extremely productive day.

Check out our team in the photo below.

Holley Harmon (@holley0104), Theresa Shadrix (@TheresaShadrix), Charesha Barrett (@Charesha),

Khristie Goodwin (@KhristieG), Cade Somers (@cadesomers), and me.

Sunday began with a presentation on Innovation by Dr. Neil Gupta; by the way, we were able to meet Dr. Gupta and visit with him during the Summit.

We were given some PD on developing a rationale by Katherine Bassett. She explained the importance of messaging your change. She explained that this work will lead to your “10 minute” meeting at which point you will use your 7 second pitch. We practiced this by finding a partner and explaining our project in 30 seconds. We then switched partners and explained our project in 15 seconds. We then found a third partner and explained our project in 7 seconds. We took our 7 second explanation back to our team, debriefed, and created our rationale. This rationale was put into our logic model. We then took all of the information from our digital logic model and wrote it on our poster and placed it on a wall. We also placed a sheet of paper below our logic model with questions we wanted others to answer about our project as well as a place for others to ask us any questions that they might have.

 

It was now time for feedback. The logic models were grouped with five other similar models, and we were given the opportunity to study each of those and place written feedback on post it notes and place them on the logic models. This was great. We got to study five other logic models and return to ours to see valuable feedback that was left by others. We then took our logic model back to our table and discussed the feedback and typed them in as comments on our digital version.

 

The logic model held so many words. Words written clearly, powerfully, and carefully crafted for impact. Our words describing our project as well as the words of feedback from other educators; but it is much more than words. It was an idea taking life. Gaining energy, garnering belief, becoming a living document. We could see the work. And believe me, it was work, hard work. But work that was worth every minute. This logic model held an idea; an idea that had been worked on with great intensity for a day and a half. The next thing we had to figure out was how to get the logic model into our luggage and on our flight home. There is more than a little symbolism there. Our next mission is to “fit” our model into the overall mission and vision of our school as well as making sure our project takes flight.

 

Committed teacher leaders left the Teach To Lead Summit with ideas that will turn into actions. These actions will change the lives of students, schools, and communities. These teacher leaders are excited about the great things that the future holds.

Me too!