Planning for Success

The Fine Arts Festival this past week was a tremendous display of the awesomeness that we have here at AC.  Our students, teachers, and staff did an amazing job of sharing the learning that is happening in the arts each and every day.  From music to arts to drama, it was an amazing display of the wonderful work being done in the arts.

One of the highlights of the Fine Arts Festival (one of the many) was the drama performances happening each day.  At the end of day one I heard a lot of people talking about the amazing 9th and 10th grade drama performance, I knew I couldn’t miss it!  The reviews were spot on, the production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime was impressive beyond my expectations.  More importantly perhaps is that I learned something from this performance, or rather I made a big connection to something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently.

Christopher, the main character in this story has, as is stated by the book jacket, a “condition”.  Throughout the scenes in this performance Chris finds his own way from a small town outside of London into the big city using the train.  The “condition” Christopher learns to manage in his life is unnamed in this performance/book but it appears similar to Asperger Syndrome or a high-functioning version of Autism.  My learning doesn’t come from the details of Chris’ character but I beleive the background knowledge helps provide understanding for my connections.

See, Chris has a lot of trouble making his way in the world.  Certain tasks that could be simple for you or I might be extremely scary or difficult for someone like Chris.  However, he manages to accomplish his goals, but how?  Well, Chris has strategies, steps that he takes to meet his goals.  Sometimes his goals are as seemingly easy as crossing a busy courtyard to reach a ticket office or cash machine.  Chris considers the challenge, stops and assesses his plan/strategies, and moves successfully into action…left, right, left right.

All of us had the privilege of attending TTT on Friday and the takeaways were many.  We walked away with all sorts of new ideas, strategies, and tools.  Perhaps you gathered so many great ideas that thinking about implementing them when you get back to your classes seems overwhelming.  Perhaps it’s like Chris in the metro station; it’s loud, intimidating, and scary.  However, you CAN work those strategies into your practice…it requires the strategies (which you now have) and a plan to carefully and successfully infuse them into your work.

Whenever we have a big undertaking ahead of us, whether it’s Chris getting to London, rewriting a thematic unit to be more student centered, or leading a shift in school culture, it takes time and a carefully thought out plan to successfully achieve your goal.  Chris needed some special tools, things that he knew worked for him but may not have been helpful to the rest of us…what are your special tools for success?

Where do you want to go and where are you standing?

Now, how will you get there?