Tools & Practices

This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  NancyT 4 years, 9 months ago.

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    Please use this thread to discuss specific tools and practices and how they are being adapted, evolved, and iterated in various ALCs.

    Feel free to periodically update our Tools & Practices Wiki here.

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by  Tomis.


    FROM @nancy :


    I’m currently visiting the ALC NYC right now and feeling pretty jazzed about some simple things I think I could change up in my small group based off of what I see @ryanshollenberger @abbyo doing with their “spawn points!”

    I attend Abby’s spawn point this morning and saw this sign on the doorway: 

    Yeah, I really want to copy this! In addition, I noticed that both her and Ryan’s kids had their kanban boards set up in the spawn point rooms. I like how they have these set up:

    Abby’s Spawn Point Kanban Set up

    Ryan’s Spawn Point Kanban Set up

    In addition, they tried out this week doing Scrum before their morning group time so kids and ALFs have a reminder of what was set at Set the Week meeting before going into their rooms for intention setting. I asked Ryan how that worked out and he said he really liked it. At the change up meeting today, the kids and ALFs decided to move that from “practicing to implementation.” I’d like to ask our group if we would like to try this out too – as I see how it could be beneficial to see a schedule before setting intentions on our Kanbans.

    I also noticed white boards in each of their rooms with school wide announcements:

    As well as reminders for their ALF weekly routines schedule and community agreements:


    It looks like each “spawn point” has nested into their rooms and I really enjoyed being able to take part and share what they’re up to!

    I’ll share some pics from Mosaic next week as well 🙂

    On a personal note, I love seeing pictures of how spaces are organized for kids. If you have any to share from your ALC, please share.



    Pictures from ALC Mosaic!

    In one of our breakout sessions over ALF weekend, @charlotte shared about her “Seeds to Bloom” board. Check it out here:


    So often we hear the kids say, “I want to…” “Let’s go on a trip to…” So Charlotte made this board using a gardening analogy to capture the ideas of the kids. This helps them visualize the ideas they have – and then we go over these ideas at our set the week meeting. Ideas that lose steam get dropped off, and then ideas that have a lot of interest we ask who wants to “plant” the seed. Here’s how it works:

    • Seed: A kid has an idea. We tell them to add it as a seed.
    • Planted: A seed gets planted when an organizer steps up to schedule a meeting with others to create a plan.
    • Growing: The idea is growing after steps have been formed and are in process after the planting meeting.
    • In Bloom: The day the idea is finally in fruition – it’s in bloom!

    @charlotte also very colorfully decorated our Set the Week and Schedule board – they are super fun and kid-inviting! Enjoy!


    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by  NancyT.



    This could work as a different pattern to get the kids to create new tools and patterns for us to use in the school, it feels like a way to invite more participation from those who have a hard time with the meeting format!




    I wrote a blog post to day called “The Opportunity of Conflict” and in the beginning of it I share two specific ways our CMB has been used to develop practices as a community to support each other. Here is that excerpt: 

    When I taught conflict resolution to kids in the past, I always started with the question, “What is Conflict?” to create a dynamic list of all the ways conflict shows up in our lives.

    Conflict happens. The point that I always stress to students is that how we respond to conflict is always our choice. We can take every conflict and turn it into an opportunity for growth or view it as a disaster.

    One practice we have at school that I see becoming more and more powerfully used to turn every conflict into an opportunity is our Community Mastery Board (CMB). The CMB allows us to make explicit community agreements and norms we want to have in our school. We notice that we want something to change, we bring it to the awareness of the community, and then check in weekly to see how we are doing on that agreement.

    Here are a couple short examples of our use of the CMB at Mosaic:

    • At the beginning of the year, slamming doors was a big problem. Our doors are big and heavy and the hinges slam them shut. Without intending to, it is really easy to create a very loud slam with very little force. This is not pleasant to hear all day! We added this to our awareness column “Slamming Doors.” Then each week, we check in, “Have you guys been hearing the doors slam a lot or is this getting better?” The act of just asking and then celebrating with the students each week on this has made this occurrence happen less and less. What I am celebrating currently is that every time the door does get accidentally slammed now, the person who did it almost ALWAYS pops their head back in the room with a meek, “I’m sorry.” That means a lot as a community – we will all slip-up, but acknowledging that our intent was not to disrupt others and apologizing goes a long way.
    • We also have made explicit the practice of “Ask before taking something that is not yours.” It’s important to not assume that everyone would automatically do this. If we work off that assumption, we open the door to a lot of negative feelings towards others – “What is wrong with them? How can they not know this?”Thoughts like this do not help to add to a culture of compassion and care. We make this explicit and then when it happens, we remind each other (which is also a sticky we have!) that this is something we are working on as a community – rather than telling the other person that they are a bad person for doing something we assume they know not to do. This is how I feel a community like ours can support kids with all types of needs and social differences – we never assume what another knows, we just actively looks for ways to support and create cultural practices we want to see happen.

    You can read the rest of the post here.

    I’d love to read about how tools, like the CMB, are working at your ALC! Please share 🙂

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 9 months ago by  NancyT.
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