Doodles

Not sure if drawing makes me better at listening, but here are some doodles I did (probably during some meetings)

 

Robot Chicken in Poncho Terrorizes City
Robot Chicken in Poncho Terrorizes City

One Mean Fish
One Mean Fish
Am I a Robot
Am I a Robot

Last Week

Last week was the first week of Agile Learning Facilitation training. I've found myself in Charlotte, NC with a group of folks from here, NYC, and afar. Some have come from the former Manhattan Free School, now the NYC Agile Learning Center. They are sharing with the group what has been working in NYC. Others live here and have been running the Mosaic school which has recently moved to practice Agile Learning.

I wrote up a few blog reflective posts about my time in the facilitation training.

My achetype board

We did lots of different exercises together, this was the outcome of one about archetypes. Each circle represents how strongly I feel for each wedge.

Most of my time here has been spent either in the ALF (Agile Learning Facilitator) training, or socializing with other ALFers. Part of my role here is to learn, but the other part is to build the agilelearningcenters.org website.

I've got most of the site online and ready to go, we will be doing some design work on it in the coming days. I'm using a cool plugin called "Commons in a Box" which was developed for the CUNY network. It's been mostly painless to set up this social network for the schools, but there is lots more work to do.

I was able to catch up a bit with friends and family this week as well. Which I tend to enjoy when it happens but never want to make the call.

In the ultimate act of serendipity the director of The Farm's School contacted me out-of-the-blue asking for help with their wiki (they are using a service called Wagn, which I've been a little bit involved with). As it turns out one of the ALFers is on the board of Wagn! I've coordinated to meet the director next month when I start driving west.

I finally cleared up most of the e-mail backlog that had collected over the past month while I was at Acorn.

The KNOMEN.com site has launched and I've settled up with them.

I've implemented a Kanban board within my wiki (my wagn wiki!) and have set the intention to write these kind of follow up posts each week.

I want to clear out some of the 60+ tasks currently in my system this week, I've been putting up some of the low hanging fruit into my to-dos.

I'm looking forward to a trip to Myrtle beach this weekend. We'll see if it's still as off putting as it was last time I went there.

Drew’s ALF Summer Day 3 Reflections

ALF Summer Day 3

We got into talking about the GAME SHIFTING BOARD today.

GAME SHIFTING BOARD

Make implicit rules explicit

The Game Shifting Board outlines the current meeting format.

  • Mode
  • Interaction
  • Body Arrangement
  • Body Energy
  • Roles
  • Start/End

Each of the above points has multiple options which the group decides on. For instance the Mode could be Body Arrangement could be a circle or a standing decision cluster (where people stand on a side of the room to physically show where they stand on an issue)

This seems like a very interesting tool. I wish we had something like this in some Occupy meeting that were very implicit only to those in the know.

Drew’s ALF Summer Day 2 Reflections

ALF Summer Day 2

Started exploring some of the tools and methods the NYC and Charlotte schools use.

INTENTION -> CREATION -> REFLECTION (Cycle)

No boundaries is false.

In Occupy we said there were no leaders, and thus no boundaries, this was not true.

Players will search for those boundaries and push until they reach them.

The trick is to set loose enough boundaries that don’t get in the way of creativity and problem solving. Then be transparent about where and how these boundaries are defined.

In #ALC there is daily and weekly structure that build the player’s portfolio. A daily process is the Intention, Creation and Reflection Cycle.

Intention

Each day players are asked to set intentions while preparing their #KANBAN.

The KANBAN

is a tool for keeping track of projects and ideas as they are broken into tasks. Players move atomic tasks through labeled columns that generally break down into:
  1. Thinking about
  2. To-do
  3. Doing
  4. Done

Intention setting is shared in a standing meeting at the beginning of each day.

This focuses activity and provides space to collaborate.

Sharing intentions provides an accountability mechanism.

Creation

Play is an act of creation. As are other things. This is a space where players fulfill their intentions.

Reflection

At the end of each day players reflect on what they did, how/if their intentions were met.

Reflection is part of all processes, the ultimate goal is having documentation that can be reflected upon to (the portfolio)

This cycle can be used weekly or monthly to set longer term objectives.

Change Up

The player space lacks all but the most basic formal rules. Plays, not facilitators, are tasked with building community norms and rules.

One method for this is the Change Up.

AWARENESS -> IMPLEMENTATION -> PRACTICING -> COMMUNITY MASTERY

At the end of each week players and facilitators meet to bring opportunities or issues to the group.

Awareness Examples:

Opportunity

Someone is willing to gives lessons every Thursday. The group may be interested in organizing making space for these lessons.

Issues

Ants are showing up in the common room. Someone might suggest that the group only eat in the kitchen so not to attract ants. Anyone can propose a solution and move to

Implementation

If there is general agreement among the group then proposals will be tried out for a week.

If it’s not working STOP

It’s better to experiment and risk failing than to draw out process.

Implementations are reflected upon. If it doesn’t work the opportunity/issues are moved back to the awareness phase. Otherwise the activity becomes:

Practicing

A practice is a method that is used by players and reflected upon. Players uphold practices that are working and might abandon those that don’t.

After a proper amount of implementation and reflection practices added to a list of “mastered” practices.

Community Mastery

The body of practices that are second nature to the group or have becomes community norms. Through this process norms are created and documented. A new player is able to read the list of mastered community practices and gain a better understanding of how best to play.

Conclusion

With limited structure it is important to hold what is structured in high esteem. Daily meetings, intention setting, and reflections should be well attended and start on time.

Cycles of intention setting and reflections on execution build structure within which creativity can thrive.

I am excited to learn more about these tools and see them in action.

Drew’s ALF Summer Day 1 Reflections

I biked to the school with one of the other participants.

We sat in circles and performed the dreaded ice breakers today.

Activities of note:

  • If you really knew me.
    People laid bare emotions, were vulnerable in front of strangers. We voluntarily started statements with “if you really knew me…” and followed it with ideas, feels, and stories that only someone who really knew the speaker could/would know.
  • me!
    We walked around the room aimlessly. Someone would raise their hand and shout “me!”, then begin to tip over. It would be up to the others in the room to catch them before they fell. I was caught a time or two in the bystander effect where I didn’t react because I felt others would. No one was left to fall.
  • Intentions and fitting into the future.
    We discussed what we wanted to get out of the program and how it would impact our imagined future. This followed a number of minutes going over the Agile Learning “roots” and discussing some of the tools they use.

Over all I feel really good about the group of people, diverse in their experiences, and the methodology and tools in play.

We had just a bit of time to discuss projects. Web work will commence tomorrow, I’ve got access to a server and will be installing wordpress soon. Today I met with the people interested in making physical improvements. Painting was on the agenda so after discussing what we wanted to do I called paint stores and asked if they had miss tints, or as one person described it over the phone to me, a “goof”.

We drove to the local Black Hawk Hardware Store and picked up a number of “goofs” – maybe 6 big cans and 8 small ones – for about $30 (with 10% off).

A few of us purchased food then relaxed in the cool night.