Thursday, March 3, 2016

Meeting, the Titanic - 3.3 #sol16 Story Challenge

You know that moment when you're sitting in a meeting at school with a student, both parents, plus two interventionists, and the whole thing feels like the slow demise of the Titanic? Everybody's leaking desperation, except perhaps the student who's mostly just drowning miserably.

Well, I noticed (evidence for my hypothesis that blogging daily for #sol16 is honing my noticing) two moves that incrementally changed a meeting's tide yesterday. Move #1: With as little judgment as possible, I started describing the student's habits I had observed and asked her about the accompanying feedback loops of cues and rewards that she felt. (I learned about that recently from journalist Charles Duhigg and have lately been applying some of his ideas to eyeballing with eighth graders our reading habits or lack thereof.) Then, together with the student and the other adults in the room, we began to consider what new, more productive habits might yield similar or even more desirable rewards, both intrinsic and extrinsic. Soon, we had more dialogue than desperation.

Move #2: After the student shared that drawing was a strength and interest, I shared a little about SketchNotes, along with an example I had made during the meeting. The student's smile inflated like an emergency life raft. "Yeah, I could try that," she said.

The fate of the ship remains in question, of course, but we have new buckets and purpose.


  1. I appreciate your ideas that writing daily means that you notice more. New buckets and purpose indeed!

  2. Brian, I love this! I love how you offered concrete things to try and it's because you yourself are such a learner that you are able to offer these strategies! This was great to read.

  3. I certainly understand that titanic feeling. As a matter of fact, I just talked with my principal about it a few days ago. I like how you tried to turn it around with your two moves.