So after six years as an instructional coach, I’ve jumped back into the classroom full time. I’m not going to mince words. It kicked my butt. After six years of sitting side-by-side with teachers and coaching them, I just realized that the verb in that was “sitting.” Wow, how I had forgotten my style of teaching had me on my feet non-stop all day and stooping, kneeling, walking around, and so forth. It was worth it though. I had forgotten what it was like to connect with students and see the joy in their eyes when you reach their true selves during that relationship building that happens in the beginning of the year.
Here’s the trick though, I don’t think I can teach like I used anymore. I introduced my high school students to a new way of thinking. out of a normal 48 minute class, they will break it down as such:
- First 5 minutes on creating questions using the Question Focus Technique described in Make Just One Change by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana.
- The last 5-10 minutes will be spent blogging about their struggles in their learning. The point being to describe their journey through the learning of the different clusters of information they are working on.
- The middle 30 or so minutes will be focused on their content clusters.
Each team of students will explore one of the clusters of information that they have available to them. I should note that I am teaching Principles of IT, Principles of AV, and Computer Programming. This exploration will be each team getting a set of standards that have to be covered for mastery. From there, they will analyze and question what they need to know and what the best way to learn it will be. I will then sit down with each team and trouble shoot their strategic plan of action. Once approved, they will execute that plan. After they have learned what they need to know, they will submit a proposal of what mastery of that content should look like from them. It might be a presentation, a demonstration, a portfolio review, or a project of some sort. That proposal will also include a rubric or description of how their mastery should be measured.
So, in short, the students choose what they are going to learn, decide how they are going to learn it, and then choose how they want to be graded on the content mastery. I’m basing this mainly on what I read in Launch by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani.
I know this is ambitious, but I’m relying on the level of mutual respect based on professionalism that I’m modeling for them. I promised my students that I would blog, just like I expect them to. If you’re interest, just keep posted as I post my successes and challenges every day.