I recently read Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School by Mark Barnes and Jennifer Gonzalez. It was a good read with some quick and effective strategies that could be easily implemented.
The book revealed 10 strategies to improve school function and efficiency:
1. Facilitate meetings “in the cloud”
2. Develop a Pineapple Chart (I’ll provide more about this in a minute)
3. Develop Teacher Quiet Zones
4. Track Records (data binders)
5. Empower Student Tech Gurus
6. Engage new teachers with Marigold Committees
7. Do the “In Class” Flip
8. Develop Book Nooks (free books for students)
9. Establish Glass Classrooms with social media (twitter, blogs, edmodo)
10. Monitor student data with a 360 Spreadsheet to get a sense of all facets of a child both academically and emotionally.
Of these “hacks” the Pineapple Chart stuck with me as a strategy to embed professional learning into our days without making “professional development” an event or another meeting. This concept is something I continue to develop through weekly Twitter reflections for my staff at #royalreflection, weekly memos that include “Blogs, Tweets, and Pins, Oh MY!” for staff to review, and monthly book reviews of professional readings. Most recently, I offered my staff coverage of their classroom if they had the desire to observe in a colleague’s classroom. Research supports teacher peer observations as an effective form of improving instructional practices. For this professional learning to be effective, if needs to be an embedded part of the school culture and ongoing.
This is where the Pineapple Chart comes into play. In its most simple form, the pineapple chart functions under the symbolism of the pineapple.The pineapple is a symbol of welcome. When it’s displayed on welcome mats and door hangings, the intended message is “Come in! All are welcome here!”
Pineapple Professional Learning Opportunities are a way of putting a welcome mat out for a classroom and letting others know that you’re doing something worth doing today, and if they’d like to come by to watch, your door is open!
As a result of reading this book, I created a Pineapple Chart for DGS. The pictures below show this board in our teacher work room.