First Pineapple Party!

We did it!  We had our first Pineapple PD experience today at OJCS.  We have the extraordinary opportunity to be working with Silvia Tolisano, author of A Guide to Documenting Learning, and so used this as a launch into Pineapple PD.  Mrs. Bennett bravely opened her classroom to a group of interested teachers who documented student learning during an inquiry lesson.  I documented their Pineapple PD experience.

Mrs. Bennett hosting her first Pineapple PD session.

Mrs. Bennett shared that at first she was apprehensive about having other educators come in and see her teaching.  She is of course far more comfortable with just her students.  Well, today she invited a small group of teachers to come in and we all learned so much from both her and her students.

Some of our DocuMENTORS cohort observing.

We all understand as educators how critical sharing ideas and working collaboratively is to our craft and our growth as professionals, and yet classroom visits haven’t been a platform for learning.  What is it about teaching in front of other adults that brings feelings of discomfort?  In an interview with Mrs. Bennett she shares the following:

It reminds me of a time when I was teaching a Grade 2 class dressed as a pirate (eye patch, parrot and all) and reading a story, when an educator from across the hall appeared in my doorway to take in the show.  My first initial response to her seeing me as ‘Captain Keren’ was reticence, with a little dash of worry about what she would think.   There is something very private about how silly, playful, animated and energized we get when we teach.   We take risks in the name of engaging our students in deep learning.  So, the question becomes, can we begin to take those same risks and show our passion for engaging students with others?  Can we tear down the walls and invite others in?  Of course we can, but we need to reframe what being observed means.  We also have to deeply value what it means to our teaching and learning, and the teaching and learning of others.  It makes us better at what we do!  Your successes and expertise shared outward grows others.  Being able to visit others and learn from them stretches us in new directions.

As we prepare to fully launch Pineapple PD at OJCS, I am thrilled that today’s experience was positive for all involved.  I will continue to document our journey as we continue to reach for our North Stars.

Documenting the Pineapple PD journey.


Welcoming Pineapple PD @ OJCS

We are gearing up to launch Pineapple PD here at OJCS in order to move closer to reaching our North Stars.  One of the clearest take-aways from our work last school year with No Tosh was that our faculty felt like they mostly worked in isolation from each other.  One of our guiding North Stars at OJCS is that we learn better together.  So with that in mind we have done much to begin to push through the silos and connect with one another – from EdCamps, to engaging PLNs through the Twitterverse, increasing team contact and even launching prototypes together in varying configurations.  Now we are ready for more collaborative magic through the implementation of Pineapple charts.  We have learned from Jennifer Gonzalez and Mark Barnes and their sharings in Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School.  Our teachers are primed to invite and be invited informally into each others classrooms.  We will begin to identify what parts of our own individualized practice we are trying to evolve and invite learning from one another.  We will also begin to understand what we can be sharing and growing in others.  The possibilities are endless and will make PD a point of engagement that can ebb and flow according to one’s needs and interests.  This lends itself beautifully to another of our carefully selected North Stars, we own our own learning.

Along with visiting author Silvia Tolisano of Langwitches, a cohort of interested OJCS teachers (#TheDocuMENTORS), have been invited to join our Grade 3 class tomorrow to continue to learn the ins and outs of documenting learning.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to set our Pineapple PD in motion and begin to shift the culture of our school.  We have so much to learn from one another and the pineapple chart will invite self-selected opportunities to informally sit in and learn.

We’ll be documenting our Pineapple journey and keep everyone in the loop.  In the meantime, we welcome feedback and comments from others who are a healthy distance down this road.  In terms of thinking about Pineapple charts, has anyone experimented with electronic Pineapple Charts versus a physical chart in a shared area?  Has anyone visited someone’s space virtually to bring Pineapple PD beyond the walls of your school?  Looking so forward to learning together.