Friday, December 30, 2011

Orbits of Ability

As I wrap up 2011 and look to 2012, I want to share with you a recurring theme that comes up in my work with teachers.  I call it Orbits of Ability.

Everyone is good at something. Everyone has their niche. AND, everyone has things that they may not be stellar at but still have some skill with.  When we work with others, and let those skills overlap, we increase our skill sets, increase our toolboxes, and increase our impact. We inspire growth and transformation as our orbits overlap.

When a couple of folks get together and share their toolboxes; there is much growth in that overlap zone. But when multiple people get together, transformations happen. That transformation zone is the gold zone. Those places where multiple orbits overlap is the “best for kids” zone.

I wish more folks understood that.  My resolution for 2012 is to proclaim that message. Live it. Be it. I know that those things I’ve done collaboratively this year have yielded greater results than those things I’ve done alone. I think of my friend and colleague Steven Weber, who collaborated with me on this blog post. I think of my work with Andrea Hernandez who participated in PD in PJ’s with me and Silvia Tolisano and the webinars we’ve recently done for Curriculum 21. I also think of my good friend and colleague Janet Hale, with whom I’m co-authoring a book for ASCD on this very topic.

Last year, while making the movie “Super 8,” J.J. Abrams, the director, was quoted as saying that his collaboration with Steven Spielberg, “gave him a better version of what he intended” than what he could have done alone.

I feel like that when I collaborate with others. I feel like that when my orbit of abilities overlaps with others’ orbits. When multiple people are involved, my work is transformational. It is beyond what I intended. It is more of what I wanted.

So, as 2011 transitions into 2012, that is my wish for you. I hope you come to know your own “Orbit of Ability” and hope you welcome the intersection of your orbit with others.  Good things come to those who collaborate.  And good things come to kids when the ones teaching them collaborate and intersect.

I wish you the most wonderful and collaborative 2012.  We have a lot of influence as individuals, but together we have a major force, a power, a wisdom. Together, we make the biggest difference for kids.

I look forward to a 2012 filled with magic, and learning, and the final edit of my book! ;-)  Happy New Year to you all!

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