Design vs. Planning

IMG_2512Our LME Design Team has definitely spent “quality WOW time” together this week in two creative settings.  First of all, these leaders of learners volunteer (really!) to take on the regular challenge and ultimate role of leading transformation on our growing campus…not an easy or even fun task for sure and for certain!  🙂  They lead our teams as trailblazers to WOW (Work on the Work) while they facilitate, support, and help staff members to think about lesson design and work that usually causes more questions than answers.  🙂  They are the leaders of learners charged with the task of telling our Miller story.  Bottom line, they ask the tough questions:  How do we make learning limitless for all involved in the process?

I shared before in previous blogs about our lesson design qualities (DQs):  content and substance, product focus, organization of knowledge, clear and compelling product standards, protection from adverse consequences, affiliation, affirmation, choice, novelty and variety, and authenticity.  Each of these DQs help teachers to focus on the WHO (our students) and on the actual design of the work.   So what is the difference between designing and planning?  In his book, Engaging Students:  The Next Level of Working on the Work (2011), Dr. Phillip Schlechty sums it up best:

  1. Design begins with customers and the needs of customers.  Planning begins with goals, objectives, programs of action, and activities.
  2. Design assumes divergence, disruption, and chaos.  Planning assume convergence and order.
  3. Design is expressive.  Planning is logical and rational analysis.
  4. Designers synthesize and unify.  Planners analyze and segment.
  5. Transformation requires design.  Reform requires planning.

He goes on to comment simply, “Learning organizations depend on the capacity to design while bureaucracies depend on the capacity to plan.”  Deep thoughts, huh?!  🙂

Here’s what we do know:  We are a committed learning organization who believes in designing first and planning second.  While we have to follow the bureaucracy of being a state institution with mandated assessment and required curriculum to cover, we have the freedom in Midlothian ISD to create and design engaging,IMG_2518 meaningful work.  I’m so proud to work in a district who believes in the philosophy and framework of WOW.  Equally, I’m proud of our Miller Design Team who lead the charge of transformation.  Most importantly, I’m proud of our learners who teach us well along this journey how to be the best designers of their work.

Note:  Special thanks to our LME Design Team:  Sherrie Gunter, Lauren Bergvall, Shannon Williams, Jennifer Blair, Traci Samek, Bethany Griffin-Loftis, Krista Bruton, and Scott Fiorenza (not pictured). 

Shelter in place…we got this!

As I remind our learners, “plan your work; work your plan; autograph your work with personal excellence.”  Everyone did outstanding work today as we implemented Shelter-in-Place more than once.  For example, fifth grade learners were in the middle of lunch; they quietly moved from their tables to the stage area away from the glass wall (and this included parents too).  We cleared the back car line and parents with little ones joined us in the building without question.  Those coming in the front office stayed with us until clearance was given.  Learners and classroom leaders remained calm, collected, and even managed to get some engaging work completed at times.  Thanks to all for the planning, practice, and then real implementation…as one learner commented to me later, “We got this, Mrs. Van!”  🙂