Getting Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Allison Zmuda

Allison Zmuda

Packing my bags to head to my first international conference since COVID and feeling like it is the first day of school all over again. Part nerves, part butterflies … fully human. Whenever I go to any educator event or workshop, I am drawn into the creative exchange of ideas and how that generates fresh thinking, interesting projects, and new connections.

I’m excited to present a pre-conference session with a dear colleague Diane Ullman on developing and leading shared understanding of high quality learning. We have been collaborating together for over 20 years and I’m excited to be reunited as we flex between the balcony view (our aspirations) and the dance floor (day-to-day practice) to engage our participants and empower action. 

So grateful to have videos from Lincoln in Argentina, Inventure Academy in India, American School of the Hague in the Netherlands, and Avenues Sao Paolo, Brazil to illustrate what this looks like in practice.

My prime time talk is a sneak peek at what I have been working on with Heidi Hayes Jacobs over the past two years — unshackling ourselves from jam-packed pacing guides to streamline curriculum. Making learning joyful and rigorous; authentic and foundational; student-generated and teacher led.

Most importantly, I am looking forward to becoming immersed in how others’ are creating, imagining, and innovating with their students after two years of being away from what was “normal” for decades.

Some things that took place over the last two years:

  • The push to remote learning in March of 2020 was incredibly difficult on educators. And there still really hasn’t been a reprieve to rest, reflect, and reset.
  • I have been creatively consumed with writing a new book and developing asynchronous learning experiences.
  • I broke my ankle.
  • I have been collaborating with Bena Kallick and Art Costa.
  • I was and am exhausted.

Moving forward innately causes us to reflect and look back, so I was thumbing through morning pages I wrote pre-COVID and came across early morning scribbles that spoke to WHY I find such joy in curating and documenting the work of others through my website, Learning Personalized, and through writing newsletters:

I am so moved when people share their powerful practices, ideas, and challenges with me. I want to shine a spotlight to inspire and clarify what personalized learning looks like,feels like and sounds like. But not just in my voice. It gives me such joy to feature their work, their writing, their recalibrations along the way.

I also picked up daily meditation during COVID. One of my favorite teachers, Joseph Goldstein, has a constant refrain when you get lost in thought — Begin Again. My commitment at this conference will be to begin again. Taking inspiration from my work, communications with me, and the magic/messiness of the world around us.

I welcome the comments sharing what is on your mind — reflections, aspirations, and actions over the past two years — as we begin again wiser and more appreciative of the practice.

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Work with Allison

Just as Allison advocates for personalized learning to be used by her clients, she practices it when engaging with her clients. It is important to Allison that she develop a relationship with those she pours into, preferring long standing relationships over quick, one-off sessions.

Toolkits by Allison Zmuda & Bena Kallick