• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Archives
    Archives Contains a list of blog posts that were created previously.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Reflections from a 4th Grade Shadowing Day

Posted by on in Education Leadership
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 2943

shareasimage 17

 “The secret of joy in work is contained in one word–excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”– Pearl S. Buck

Mrs. Johnson’s 4th grade classDeerfield Public Schools – District 109self-contained special education7th grade math

Today’s leadership focus was learning about our work and our leadership through the experience of the students we serve. I’m drafting this post during writing time; it’s the first time today I’m doing my own work; I was doing the actual 4th grade student coursework all day. I participated as a student in number corner, language arts whole group and small group, art,lunch/recess, match, science and around the world!

With the help and support of the awesome students I learned the routines, rules, procedures, expectations, essentially “how” to be b2ap3_thumbnail_4cs.jpga 4th grader at Walden School. The students were really busy all day and the day flew by. The students and I were busy pursuing authentic learning tasks. We analyzed complex text, we reviewed multiple sources of informational text. The conversations were high level, complex, meaningful and quite impressive. Mrs. Johnson runs an active classroom and she clearly puts in tons of time planning, preparing, reviewing, teaching, helping, listening – she is an excellent teacher! In math class we followed the Illinois New Learning Standards and we worked collaboratively and with multiple methods of discovery and presentation. Mrs. Johnson respects the individual needs and abilities and interests of her students.

Our teacher, Mrs. Johnson is amazing! She is kind, considerate, well planned, organized, authoritative, focused, diligent – truly excellent in every sense of the word and per all criteria I have studied, read, and implemented over the years about effective instruction. As a student I participated in guided learning, independent practice, individualized activities and personalized opportunities. I had clear expectations and clear outcomes to produce yet often I was able to select the way in which I could produce the learning.

CIRCLE TIMEThrough deliberate conversation and teaching I was reminded naturally of the Illinois New Learning Standards as a normal part of the vocabulary and discussion. It’s as natural for Mrs. Johnson’s students to speak the language of Standard NF.3d as it is for them to use the “real” vocabulary of mathematics. The students are learning to become fluent in math vocabulary, concepts, practice, and mastery of standards based learning. In art class I learned about Wassily Kandinsky, the color wheel, and how to make colors out of paint using the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. My one hour as a fourth grade art student was fun, engaging, informative, and active. I completed the primary and secondary color abstract painting with the help of my fellow students and wonderful teacher Ms. Summers.

Today, in “real life” I saw examples of learning on the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. The students routinely performed thinking tasks, considered the feelings of other and they were moving around all day long. This was a classroom preparing students for today and tomorrow! This was a modern, contemporary, relevant learning environment for some wonderful students.

I saw and I experienced the 4C’s: Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. The natural integration of multiple processes, routines, actions, and learning make me quite proud. Mrs. Johnson spoke in the language of high expectations and kindness and courtesy and focus. The students were normal, typical kids – a little rambunctious, funny, fun, interactive, and to a person – ENGAGED in the learning. Mrs. Johnson is teaching students and they are learning. They learn how to work with one another, they focus on social emotional learning (they use theBotvin Life Skills program as do all 4th and 5th grade students in the district). The students with whom I learned today truly were engaged in their tasks, learning, content, subject, one another, and school in general. They inspired me as their superintendent and their performance all day – bell to bell – truly was inspired. They were empowered to select from a variety of resources and tools both technological/digital and in print throughout the school day.

The students were learning and engaged in authentic learning tasks aligned with best practices from the minute they walked in to the minute the bell rang at 3:25pm. Mrs. Johnson is an outstanding representative of an outstanding faculty! What a great experience! I am fortunate to work, lead, and serve in the Deerfield Public Schools.



“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word–excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”
– Pearl S. Buck
Last modified on
Rate this blog entry:
Trackback URL for this blog entry.

Michael Lubelfeld, Ed.D. Mike currently serves as the superintendent of schools in the Deerfield, IL Public Schools (District 109).  Mike is married and is the father of two young children. He lives and works in suburban Chicago. Mike attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, with a minor in criminal justice. He holds a Master of Arts in teaching and Educational Specialist in administration and supervision from National-Louis University. Mike earned his Doctor of Education in curriculum and instruction from Loyola University of Chicago, where his published dissertation was on Effective Instruction in Middle School Social Studies. Mike has had a variety of experiences as an educational professional. He began his educational career as an elementary and middle school teacher, prior to assuming roles of associate principal and principal at the middle school level, and as an assistant superintendent for personnel services (PK-8). He is also on the adjunct faculty at National Louis University in the Department of Educational Leadership. He can be found on Twitter at @mikelubelfeld and he is the co-moderator of #suptchat - the superintendent educational chat on Twitter with Nick Polyak, and he and Polyak co-authored the book The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today (Rowman-Littlefield Publishers).


Presentations, Certifications

American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Superintendent Certification Program (2014-2016)

Illinois School of Advanced Leadership (ISAL) through the IASA and Cardinal Stritch University (Milwaukee, WI) Earned title of Fellow (2012-2014)

2017 - Keynote presenter & breakout presenter EdTechTeam Leadership Symposia (OH, CA)

2016 - Presenter at the IASA State Superintendent Conference - Social Media for Supts.

2016 - Co-facilitator IASA Aspiring Superintendent Academy

2016- Co-Director Legislation for the Lake County Superintendents

2015, 2016, 2017 – Presenter at the AASA National Council in Ed – Social Media for Supts.

2015 – Co-Presenter at Suburban Superintendent Roundtable for Northern Illinoishttp://t.co/x8Ls5Ddg00

2015 – Presenter at IASBO A New Design Frontier for Next Generation Learning

2015 – Panelist Leading for Transformative Change at Tech & Learning Live Chicago

2015 – Presenter at Illinois CTO Summit (Center for Digital Education and the Illinois Educational Technology Leaders (IETL)) Leadership and Vision

2015 – Presentation at Discovery Education Superintendent Digital Transition Symposium in Washington, D.C.Telling Our Story: Innovation in DPS109

2015 Presentations at Joint Annual Conference - Social Media for Superintendents and Effective Building Design

2015 Presenter at Illinois Association of School Administrators Annual Conference

2014-present Co-moderate national/international monthly Twitter chat #suptchat

2011 Illinois ASCD Leadership Institute Presenter – Using Danielson Frameworks



Bullis B., Filippi J., Lubelfeld M. (2016). I Hear What You’re Saying...And I Respect You. Journal of Scholarship and Practice, Summer 2016/Volume 13. No.2, 44-54.


In Publication: Bullis B., Filippi J., Lubelfeld M. (2017). Managing Up. Principal (NAESP)


Bullis B., Filippi J., Lubelfeld M. (2016). Reimagined NGSS learning spaces: Principals as holistic school improvement leaders. Principal Leadership, 52-54.


Himebaugh G., Lubelfeld M. (2016). Inspiring a Shared Vision. Update, Spring (Leadership Issue), 24-29.


Lubelfeld M. Rev. of Writing Pathways: Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions, by Lucy Calkins.ILASCD Summer Newsletter, Summer 2016, Volume 62, No. 2: 25-27.


Lubelfeld M., Polyak N. (2017). The Unlearning Leader: Leading for Tomorrow’s Schools Today. Lathan, MD: Rowman-Littlefield. -March 2017


Lubelfeld M., Polyak N., Seibert A. (2016). Leaders in Learning Through AASA’s Digital Consortium. School Administrator, February, 32-33.


Other (Memberships, other experiences)


Suburban Schools Superintendents (SSS)

Illinois & American Association of School Administrators (IASA/AASA,

National Association of School Superintendents (NASS)

Ed Leader 21 Member

Illinois & Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD/ILASCD),

Illinois & American Association of School Business Officials (IASBO),

The Horace Mann League of the USA,

Rotary Club of Deerfield, IL (Secretary 2014-16)

Advisory board member for the Digital Consortium (AASA)

2016 Superintendent Advisory Council - Center for Digital Education

Member Education Advisory Board - Hon. Bob Dold, U.S. Congressman 10th District

Member of Community Advisory Committee on Education – Rep. Scott Drury (IL-58th)

Twitter http://twitter.com/mikelubelfeld

Bilingual (English/Spanish)

Enrolled in intensive Spanish language and Mexican culture classes at the Cuauhnahuac Institute in Cuernavaca, Mexico; lived with Mexican family, 1992



INSPRA video website

NSPRA (National School Public Relations Association) Superintendents to Watch 2015-2016

2016 LifeTouch Memory Mission to the Dominican Republic represented the AASA

NASS (National Assn of School Superintendents) Superintendent of the Year 2015 Finalist

INSPRA (IL Chapter NSPRA) 2014 Distinguished Service Award of Excellence - Superintendent’s Task Force for Middle Level Education

The science labs won the Learning by Design Award for “Outstanding Project” in the Spring of 2016 as well as an Award of Merit in the Exhibition of Educational Environments Awards at the Joint Annual Conference of the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the Illinois Association of School Boards, and the Illinois Association of School Business Officials in 2015.  


DPS109 Science lab project was featured:

Johnsos, C., Monberg, G. (2015). Built on Value. Update, Fall (Facilties Isssue), 30-33.


Ullman, E. (2016). The Intelligent Use of Space. Tech & Learning Volume 36, Number 5, 34-38.


Received a 1997 Award of Excellence for Caring to Challenge, from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

Selected to represent Illinois on the Social Studies Teachers’ Study Seminar in Germany, sponsored by the ICSS and the Armonk Institute, 1995


Additional -podcasts and edu talk radio interviews

Quoted in:

Gravel. R.J. (2015). Discover, Acknowledge, Commit: Guidelines for Adopting Administrative Software. School Administrator, December, 44-45.

DPS109 Science lab project was featured:

Johnsos, C., Monberg, G. (2015). Built on Value. Update, Fall (Facilties Isssue), 30-33.


Ullman, E. (2016). The Intelligent Use of Space. Tech & Learning Volume 36, Number 5, 34-38.


Received a 1997 Award of Excellence for Caring to Challenge, from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

Selected to represent Illinois on the Social Studies Teachers’ Study Seminar in Germany, sponsored by the ICSS and the Armonk Institute, 1995

  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Thursday, 21 June 2018