Blogging

One of the  Agile Learning Center’s “Agile Roots” reads:

Accomplishment: The 21st century world demands the creation of visible, shareable value as evidence of learning.

Without tests or grades, it is the blog post that can best visualize learning. In ALC Everett we give students the responsibility to create this evidence of learning through reflective blog posts. Each student, parent, and facilitator has a blog through their AgileLearningCenters.org account. To add further accountability, we made weekly blogging an explicit requirement in the ALC Everett Student Agreement:

Sharing of your work and play through weekly creative and reflective blog posts.

Progression of Blogging

In the beginning, most student blog posts were short and lacking detail. As we got started we eased into blogging by setting specific goals for each post. Early in the year we had begun a role playing game, and I had all the students use the blog to describe their characters. Here is Jurr’s post about his river otter ninja. For another project we all volunteered to write blog posts about certain aspects of our web development project. Here is Ethan’s post about online code education resources and Tommie’s post about how businesses use social media.

As we got more comfortable we started writing more reflective posts about our days. These posts started out quite small–in many cases, only a few sentences. As we continued to improve in blogging, we implemented a daily blogging routine through our Change Up Meeting. When we moved to a daily blogging schedule, the number of posts increased but students were still struggling to write more than a few sentences. Here’s the full text of an October post from Jackie:

today jurr and i have completed almost all the design for our website and it feels great to finish it!!!

We collectively recognized our lackluster blog posts and came up with a way to improve our posts. We started by switching up our afternoon meeting to come before our end of day blogging so that we could talk about our reflections for that day and prime our minds for writing about it.

We added to this by ending our reflection sessions with a brain storm for a primer question to get us blogging. Before we started blogging we would answer a reflective question, such as:

  • What animal spirit most describes your day and why?
  • What offering do you wanna do the most?
  • What did you do today that didn’t use electricity?
  • What was your most excellent adventure today?

Soon after we started coming up with a blogging question we also added a list activity. So each post would, at least, answer a question and produce a list. Some list activity examples:

  • What are 5 thing you will most miss about Abe? (the day our guest facilitator left)
  • What are 5 things you are grateful for?
  • What are 5 emotions you felt most today?
  • What are your 5 favorite things you did this week?

The daily blogging practice along with the primer questions improved blogging across the board. You can see this improvement in Jackie’s January 21st entry.

Afternoon Meeting

This post is part of a series on Agile Learning Center tools and 2015 ALC Everett #debrief

Within our daily cycle the Afternoon Meeting closes the day. It is where we reflect on the intentions set in the morning meeting. The act of reflection is as important as setting intentions because it allows us to measure our success or failure to achieve what we set out to do so we can adjust our next cycle of intentions. The afternoon meeting, like it’s morning counterpart were the only required daily meetings in ALC Everett.

The ALC Everett afternoon has gone through a series of upgrades. In it’s early form we would meet at 5pm, our end of day, after cleaning up the space. With our kanbans out we would reflect on the intentions we completed and didn’t get done. We would move items from the Group Kanban to done or back into ready. After we reflected on our intentions we would move to a candle ceremony adapted from the NYC ALC.

Our afternoon reflection, check out my dad second to the left!
Our afternoon reflection candle ceremony

The candle ceremony or “Gratitudes Ceremony” was a ritual where we would light a candle and take turns reflecting on things we were grateful for that day.

On Fridays we would set aside time to blog about our week, as per the student agreement requirement:

> Sharing of your work and play through weekly creative and reflective blog posts

Upgrade to daily blogging

Through our Change Up Meeting we decided to implement a daily blogging routine. We would start blogging around 4pm then start clean up at 4:30 and move into end of day meeting at 5. After a few cycles of this we decided to change the whole process around. It made more sense to reflect first then write about those reflections in our blogs.

We upgraded the process to come together at 4pm for a reflective meeting where we would look over our kanbans, reflect as a group, then enter into focused blogging time.

After we finished blogging we would then clean and do the candle ceremony to end the day. Later, through another change up, we implemented a rule to stop blogging at 5pm.

Change Up Meeting

This post is part of a series on Agile Learning Center tools and 2015 ALC Everett #debrief

Culture creation is a central focus of Agile Learning Centers. We want to create and hold space that is safe for children to explore their passions. To create intentional culture we employ a weekly Change Up Meetings to build, update, and remix the culture inside the school. The central tool which makes this process explicit is the Community Mastery Board.

Community Mastery Board

The CMB is a Kanban style board that normally has four columns:

change-up-cmb-columns

  1. Awareness
  2. Implement
  3. Practice
  4. Mastery

Topics enter into the process as an awareness. Community members share something they are aware of. This could be a problem or an opportunity available to the community. At any time anyone can leave a sticky note on the awareness column of the CMB.

awareness
An early version of the CMB with a single awareness column attached to our Group Kanban

 

Each week in the Change Up Meeting items from the CMB are discussed as a group. As we reflect on each item in the awareness column the group attempts (if needed) to imagine a way to deal with the item and select one to try and move the note to implement. If we don’t have any ideas then the item stays in awareness.

Once a solution is implemented we try it out for the week or two. The items in the implement column are limited in number because we don’t want to be introducing too many new rules or procedures at once. Each week we reflect on how well each particular solution is working. Are people abiding by the new procedure? Is the community happy with it?

Rather than have a long processes driven meetings about the implemented solution where we voice concerns and attempt to codify a community agreement in one sitting we do rapid testing of our agreements. Over the course of the week new agreements are tested and community members can “vote with their feet” where if they like a particular agreement they can promote it during the implementation week, remind people that we are trying it out, and build support for it.

Once an agreement has been implemented we revisit it at each Change Up Meeting where we either:

  • Demote it back to awareness if the implemented solution didn’t work
  • Keep it implemented for another week to continue testing
  • Change the implementation and try it again
  • Promote it to practicing

Agreements in the practicing column are both in practice and being practiced. Each week we quickly review all items in this column to determine if they need to be demoted because they aren’t working or if we have mastered them.

If an agreement has reached a point where it has passed a certain threshold defined by the community it can then be elevated to the mastery column.

We ran our meetings by reviewing items in practicing first then implementation and finally awareness.

The following diagram illustrates how an item might move through this process:

change-up-cmb-process

The items in the mastery column can then be presented to new people entering the space so they can understand the community agreements. This makes integrating new people into the community much easier because they don’t have to learn what our implicit rules are because we have made them explicit.

This process also helps keep our Student Agreement’s rule section short. There are only a few “base” rules which each student agrees to including this one:

Respecting community agreements we implement and practice from “Change-up”

Which allows us to collaboratively update agreements as needed without having to amend the Student Agreement.

The right side of the group Kanban served as our Community Mastery Board
The right side of the group Kanban served as our Community Mastery Board
The Community Mastery Board used by the ALC Network on trello.com
The Community Mastery Board used by the ALC Network on trello.com

Group Kanban

This post is part of a series on Agile Learning Center tools and 2015 ALC Everett #debrief

The group kanban is heavily used by ALC Everett. It’s structure is similar to the personal Kanban but it’s focus is on group projects and tasks. It is functionally a lot like the offerings board in Agile NYC. It takes a central place in the school space and is where we hold our intention setting meetings.

Week one version of the group Kanban. Without a singular focus the Kanban become too scattered to maintain long term projects.
Week one version 0.1 of the group Kanban. Without a singular focus the Kanban become too scattered to maintain long term projects.

The first version of the group kanban was drawn onto a white board. It had the typical columns:

  • Possible – a catch all for any task, activity, or project we could think of
  • Ready – a place for anything that we were prepared to do
  • Doing – what we planned to do that day
  • Done – a column broken into day sections where to kept notes that would get cleared at the end of the week

On the far left was a column called “tracks” which contained three project area “swim lanes”:

  1. General stuff
  2. Maker space – any items that related to a maker space
  3. Deep future – a catch-all for big ideas or distant activities

The swim lanes formed rows across the board to give us some distinction between topic areas.

There was also a column called “awareness” which is part of the Community Mastery Board process, which I will ignore throughout this post.

This board was enough to jump start our process and was quickly iterated over in the coming weeks to create the version 0.2 Group Kanban.

IMG_20140920_200445
Version 0.2 of the group kanban on the whiteboard

The main alteration to this version was adding hour rows to the done column. This way we could indicate when during the day we planned to do certain activities. This evolution came directly from using the first board. We would organize our doing “list” chronologically so when I redesigned the board I “paved the cow path” by incorporating what we already did into the new system design.

After a few weeks of testing out the board we were ready to make our version 1.0

group_kanban_full
Version 1.0 of the Group Kanban

Read more about the Group Kanban v1.0.

This new version of the Group Kanban added the offerings column where anyone could add offerings. These would then move into the flow of the kanban as we acted on them.

Issues with the Group Kanban

The Group Kanban wasn’t without issue. The main problem was that the board had a mix of tasks, projects, and activities all of varied scope. We ended up with sticky notes such as:

  • “Trip to Six Flags”
  • “Go to the park”
  • “Design Everett website”

Each of these sticky notes required a vastly different amount of planning and subsequent tasks. What ended up happening is that only the easy one off tasks would move across the board to the doing column while the larger scope projects would just sit in the possible column as something we wanted to do, never to move on…

Moving to a Goal Oriented System

To solve the Group Kanban issue I developed system that incorporated goal setting into the Kanban. What follows is an untested concept for the Group Goals Kanban.

wpid-wp-1423349457310

 

As you can see, from Today column to the right is much the same as v1. The new areas are labeled with letters.

  • Idea area
  • Ideas under exploration
  • Ready ideas
  • Active ideas (doing)
  • Tasks goals for current month
  • Task goals for current day
  • Tasks completed this week

I’ll go through the rough workflow for the rest of the board, you can follow along with the numbered “notes” on the above illustration:

  1. Add an idea – A project, activity, or goal idea is added to the board in the idea (A) column. The “Term Goal Area” rows are optional subject areas that the community outlines before hand. For instance they might be general subject areas like science, math, and art. Ideas are then asked to fit into one of these goal areas.
  2. Promote idea to explore – Through a weekly or monthly meeting new ideas are discussed and a manageable number are promoted to the exploration (B) phase. These ideas are then put through a goal setting process. The goal setting process aims to determine if the idea is do-able and what things need to be done to achieve the goal. Ideas are either demoted back to the idea pool, removed, or pushed forward to…
  3. Ready idea – After an idea has been explored it is added to the ready column. Other “sub” tasks or milestones are added to a stack of stickies with the idea on top. This stack of stickies represents a well formed idea that is ready to begin working on.
  4. Start work – Once the group is ready to start working on the goal it is moved to the doing (D) column. The same principle of limiting the works in progress applies to this column, the group can only have so many active goals. This is one reason for the ready (C) column.
  5. “Task out” the goal – Every month (or cycle) milestones are selected from the goal (if there are any) and the tasks needed to accomplish them are laid out in the month (E) column. This provides a visual representation of what we want to do for the month (or cycle).
  6. Add tasks to the daily column – Each day tasks can be pulled from the month (E) column into the today (F) column. Alternatively if any individual wants to take a task from the board and add it to their personal kanban they most certainly can.
  7. Complete the task – Once a task is completed it is then added into the done (G) column and saved their for the reflection process

Note: this process was never fully implemented and is thus untested.

Project and meeting Kanban

There are other variations of group kanban boards. At ALC Everett we used kanbans for project and meeting management.

Below is the Web Dev Kanban that we used to create the Glacier Park Website and IXA.net. An extra column was added for Quality Assurance (QA) because we needed to test some tasks before committing them to done.

The web dev Kanban
The web dev Kanban

Next we have a picture of an impromptu kanban used for the first parent meeting. Topics for discussion were added to the left and moved right as we starting doing them. Topics that needed follow up or had tasks to do were assigned  to people in the tasks column. Using the kanban with a meeting made it very easy to visualize what we wanted to get done and recap what we had done and needed to do after the meeting finished.

We used the Kanban to run the first parent meeting.
We used the Kanban to run the first parent meeting.

Another impromptu kanban was used to sell a lamp. We quickly brain stormed what tasks needed to be done, each people took a task, added it to the doing column then set up to do it.

This made it very easy for other people to jump in and see what was going on and how far along we were to finishing the job.

An impromptu kanban used for visualizing the steps in selling a lamp on craigslist.
An impromptu kanban used for visualizing the steps in selling a lamp on craigslist.

Finally one of my favorite uses of the kanban was for our room by room clean up kanbans. Each room in the school (house) was assigned a kanban made from a folder. We spent some time going over the daily and weekly needs of each room and adding them to the kanban.

When someone set off to clean a room they knew exactly what they needed to do. As they completed each task they moved it to the done column. Once ever task for that room was finished they reset all the stickies and put it away for the next person.

This made a system that was easy to bring new people into. It kept single people from becoming the only ones who knew what had to be done in a particular room. Another example of making the implicit explicit.

kanban-clean-kitchen

 

Personal Kanban

This post is part of a series on Agile Learning Center tools and 2015 ALC Everett #debrief

The kanban is one of the most iconic tools in the Agile Learning kit. It is both simple and capable of great complexity. Kanban is a Japanese (看板) word that translates to signboard. At its core it is a to-do list that limits its user’s work in progress (WIP).

group_kanbaning

Each student used a personal kanban to track their tasks. Their kanban typically had four columns:

  1. “On your mark” or “possible” or “backlog”
  2. “Get set” or “ready”
  3. “GO!” or “doing”
  4. “Finish” or “done”

student-kanban-smallTasks are written on sticky notes and enter on the left and move right across the board. These tasks are possible things that need to get done at some point. Every day we choose some tasks from the pool of possible tasks and place them into the ready column. These are the tasks that we are prepared to do today. Any time you are working on something it is placed in the GO/doing column. By limiting the number of things in the ready and doing columns we keep our work-in-progress at a manageable level.

By splitting out projects into bit sized tasks and tackling them only a few at a time big projects seem more manageable.

Once a task is completed it is moved to the done column. Keeping finished tasks on our board allows us to reflect on what we’ve done.

This tool forms the visual underpinning of our cycle of intention, play (doing), and reflection.

The student kanban is a tool which helps keep track of work in progress
The student kanban is a tool which helps keep track of work in progress, this one has too many tasks in GO! They aren’t limiting their WIP

The personal Kanban is used as part of the morning meeting’s intention setting phase and the afternoon meeting’s reflection.

Modifications

By adding extra columns and rows a kanban can be personalized and modified to go with many different workflows.

One common column addition is the “penned” or “blocked” column where tasks that can’t be moved forward are placed. As an example consider my task “print document” is blocked because my printer is out of ink, so I can’t move that task forward until I complete the “refill ink” task.

Adding rows can help focus tasks that are part of similar topics. For instance my personal has a row for self care. These are sometimes called “swim lanes” because tasks will “swim” down them to the “done” column.

The kanban can be modified into really wild configurations to complement unique workflows. For instance let’s say your trying to go camping. You might make kanban with the following columns:

  • I have – list of items that are currently owned
  • I need – list of items that are needed
  • optional – list of optional things that can be packed if there is room
  • Packed – list of things that have been packed

Here’s my highly modified personal kanban for some inspiration:

Game Shifting Board

This post is part of a series on Agile Learning Center tools and 2015 ALC Everett #debrief

Agile Learning philosophy aims to put people over process. Our systems, which are always being worked on by the community that uses them, are meant to be light, flexible, and non-intrusive. The place where process most often over takes the needs of people is in meetings.

If you’ve ever been in a meeting, especially consensus meetings, you’ll know how frustrating they can be. At ALCE we required students to attend two meetings per day as well as a Set the Week and Change Up meeting at either end of the week. On top of that the students were expected to take the lead on these meetings by facilitating them.

So to limit the process overhead and help make the implicit process of the meeting explicit we employed a tool called the Game Shifting Board (GSB).

Early versions of the Game Shifting board from ALC Summer
Early versions of the Game Shifting board from ALF Summer

The GSB gives a visual representation of the current phase of the meeting and other attributes of the meeting. Note the purple dots next on the picture above, they indicate the current settings  of the meeting. Anyone is free to request a change to the meeting’s settings at any point during a meeting. This gives everyone the power to observe the current meeting and adjust it to make it most effective.

game_shift_board
@abe’s reimagining of the Game Shift board for ALC Everett

I will detail the GSB we used in Everett (pictured above):

  • Start conditions – when or how the meeting will start
    • On time – meeting starts on a scheduled time
    • Attendance – once everyone is in attendance
    • Threshold – once enough people are in attendance
    • Penalties – late comers are penalized, example: if you are late you can’t talk.
  • End conditions
    • On time
    • When done
    • Interrupted – if there is an event that will interrupt the meeting simply meet until that time
    • Fragmentation – end once people naturally fragment
    • Pause – indicate that a meeting is currently paused
  • Intentions – what the intentions of the meeting are
  • Content – where the content of the meeting is derived from
  • Memories – where we draw any supporting “memories” for the meeting
  • Bodies – how the group’s bodies should be arranged
    • Relaxed
    • Focused
    • Raucous
  • Talking – how talking should happen in the meeting
    • Babble – side conversations welcome, free for all
    • Popcorn – people yell out what they want to say
    • Jump in – people jump in when they have something to say
    • Turns – we take turns speaking
    • Listen to Greeny – Greeny was the name of our talking stick, so to talk you had to be holding Greeny
    • Breath first – like jump in but you were required to take a deep breath before speaking
  • Facilitation – how we would facilitate the talking
    • Hand raising
    • Stack – each person who wants to speak is put on a list and goes in order
  • Break out – leaving the large group and moving into small groups
    • Pairs
    • Small Groups
  • Transition Games – these were little games we could play to change the energy levels of the meeting

Some GSB have the play, pause, stop type controls seen on the ALF summer image. This is the Meeting Mode. It indicates what phase the meeting is currently in. Each phase having different expectations.

We would set the initial configurations before a meeting. Then during the meeting, if needed, anyone could request that a setting be changed.

So Tommie might notice that everyone is talking out of turn and being loud. He might request that we change our Bodies to focused and the talking to raise hands to try and bring more order and focus to the meeting.

Alternatively he might see this as a sign that the meeting needs to allow for more energy and change the settings to raucous bodies and babble talking.

As the settings change anyone can enter the meeting and get a sense of how they are expected to act and contribute.

This tool, like all ALC tools, should be remixed and remade to suit the needs of the community.

Morning Meeting

This post is part of a series on Agile Learning Center tools and 2015 ALC Everett #debrief

morning-meeting-with-abe

 

The daily cycle of intention setting starts with the morning meeting. This meeting is one of the few required activities each student agreed to in the ALCE Student Agreement. Because of it’s required status the meeting was held with a high level of reverence by starting on time and pushing for full attendance.

Our basic structure is as follows:

  • Check-ins
  • Intention setting
  • Scrum
  • Set the day
  • Share intentions

Check-ins

Once the meeting was started we could jump into short check-ins. This process is to give people space to let others know how they are feeling. Making our current emotional state explicit helps the general group dynamic. If I’m feeling stressed out its best to let others know so they can take that information into mind when interacting with me.

In practice the students typically would talk more about their mornings or dreams they had that night.

Intention Setting

The process of setting the day starts with time spent thinking about what each individual wants or needs to get done. We would sit together and manipulate our personal kanban boards.

 

studetn-kanban
Student Kanban

Further into year we tried different configurations of this activity. Noticing that some students needed help figuring out what they wanted/needed to do we turned this activity into a small group exercise, illustrated below:

new_intention_setting

 

We started by pairing off, each pair would brain storm what activities they both individually wanted to do. After a few minutes of this we would join pairs together into small groups and repeat the process. Sometimes we would change up the process and require that each person presented for the other. So if Nick and Jurr were in a pair, when they joined a group Jurr would talk about what Nick wanted to get done and Nick would review Jurr’s intentions with the group.

From there we would join into a full group with our intentions much more though out.

This was very effective because it gave each student the individual attention that I, as sole facilitator, couldn’t give them. In addition trusting students to step into the role of facilitator with their peers is empowering.

Scrum

Once our personal intentions were set we would move into the Scrum phase. This is a term that comes from Agile Project Management and refers, possibly, to the Rugby activity of the Scrum, where players work together to move the ball towards the goal.

Our goal, to extend the metaphor, is to accomplish our intentions. Many intentions require coordination with other people. So Scrum time is where we negotiate with each other about when to do things.

For instance, three of us might have books we want to read. We might use the Scrum to coordinate with each other and other peers to create a quite place for a few hours.

Alternatively I might need help from a student doing a personal project and I’ll negotiate a time to get that thing done with them.

Typically Scrum (and the following set-the-day and intention sharing) is done standing to keep energy up and meeting time brief.

Set the Day

Once we have set our personal intentions and figured out when we can do the things we  turn our attention to the Group Kanban’s doing column where we find each hour of the school day laid out. We add group activities to the board and (as a rule introduced later) we add individual activities as well.

Adding to the Kanban
Adding to the Kanban in the early days

Setting the day is important because it makes our plans explicit. If someone were to walk into the school they would be able to see the outcome of our morning meeting on the Group Kanban board and have a general idea of where we were and what we were doing.

In a “low structure” environment, this orientation tool can be very helpful.

Share Personal Intentions

The final step in our morning meeting process is to state our intentions to the group. We stand in a circle and simply say what we plan to do. This small act has a big impact. By telling our peers what we intend to do we are making ourselves accountable to them. If we stray off task our peers can help us get back on task.

Once our intentions are shared we then adjourn the meeting and set off to seize the day.

Set the Week

This post is part of a series on Agile Learning Center tools and 2015 ALC Everett #debrief

The Agile Learning environment is based around cycles of setting intentions, play, and reflections. Each school term, month, week, and day can be a cycle. At ALC Everett our largest cycle was the week. Every Tuesday morning (our first day of the week) we held a Set the Week Meeting where we set intentions for the week and added scheduled offerings.

The tool set includes:

  • White board with columns for each day of the week
  • Monthly wall calendar
  • Meeting on the first day of the week

The physical week long calendar had a column for each day of week and rows for each hours of the school day. Extra space was left for notes (but mainly silly pictures).

The weekly calendar. Diagonal hash marks indicate reoccurring events while straight lines indicate one time happenings.
The weekly calendar. Diagonal hash marks indicate reoccurring events while straight lines indicate one time happenings.

The weekly calendar had two kinds of entries, reoccurring and one-offs (indicated on our board as diagonal hash marks and horizontal hashes respectively). For instance blogging was everyday at 4pm and Permaculture with Tim was the 1st wednesday and 3rd Thursday of the month. While our field trip to Whidbey Island was a single event happening that week.

Beside our weekly calendar was a normal monthly calendar for recording opportunities or events in the distant future, such as visitors or school breaks.

The Set the Week Meeting focused on:

  • Activities that we wished to complete during the week
  • Reminders of reoccurring events or offerings
  • Scheduling of group projects or trips

Offerings

This post is part of a series on Agile Learning Center tools and 2015 ALC Everett #debrief

The key to having a robust learning environment is supporting the offering from anyone in the community to share their knowledge and skills. In our student agreement one of the privileges is:

Ability to offer classes/courses/opportunities at ALC Everett

We expect value to be created not only by parents, community members, and facilitators but also by the students. Soliciting and bringing attention to offerings is a primary role of the Facilitator.

At first the offerings process was very informal. Parents, students, or members of the community would directly make an offering, typically to me (the facilitator), or would simply mention it off hand and I would make a note and place it in the “offerings” column on our group kanban. From there I would periodically share it with the students

As the year went on it became clear that this offering process wasn’t working as well as it could. Long term and offerings of a larger scope had a hard time getting picked up.

The offerings that worked had either:

  • A short time frame and little setup. When I offered to teach the game Two Boots it was while we were at the park already with disc in hand.
  • Had a vision holder. The long term offerings that worked had someone who held “coherence” for that project. They would coordinate with the offerer (if it wasn’t their offering), collect supplies, and build enthusiasm for the project with their peers.

At the center of both of these paths is earnest enthusiasm. If someone is excited to do something it can, and will, excite the people around them. I’m not capable of making a good offering for Calculus because it doesn’t excite me. As such if we want to teach something we have to find someone excited to teach that something. This is a key role for the facilitator, to match enthusiastic teachers with students. I want to be explicit that the teacher title does not necessarily mean adult just as the student isn’t always a young person’s title.

The best example of a successful offering was cedar weaving with Sweetwater. The key areas of success:

  • We had two facilitators at the time
  • After the offering was made we followed up and invited Sweetwater into our space
  • A sign up form was used to “lock in” student support
  • One of the facilitators, Abe, acted as the vision holder and held coherence for the offering
  • Abe was genuinely excited to learn from Sweetwater

After reviewing this offering I began to re-imagine the offering process with the help of parental input and visiting ALF (Agile Learning Facilitator) Abe’s feedback.

Read Abe’s blog post On Offerings.

Upgrading Offerings

I wrote a blog post called Making Offerings Work where I introduced an upgrade to the offering process.

My focus was to create an offering system that made the offering explicit and encouraged students to make a commitment to meet the expectations of offerings that they were drawn to.

The simple addition to the process was a Offering Sheet (PDF). It has the following items:

  • Offerer’s name
  • Description of the offering
  • Dates when the offer is available
  • Requirements of participants
  • Sign up

Check out these examples:

offering_chineseoffering_improveoffering_permaculture

Lilly offered Chinese language classes any 2 times per week in the morning. She required that participants commit to attend every class. The students that signed up were essentially entering into a contract with the offerer. This contract makes the agreement between the offerer and participants explicit.

The offering process was introduced over winter break. Parents and community members were given a few weeks to craft their offerings then they were invited to present their offerings to the students on the first day of school. Students were given some time to consider the offerings and I asked the first person to sign up to be the vision holder for the offering.

A vision holder is responsible for following up with the offerer and making sure students who sign up are held to account.

The initial tests of this method were very promising, however it wasn’t throughly tested in Everett and probably could be upgraded even further.