In order to celebrate Digital Learning Day last month, I racked my brain to come up with something that would be both manageable and meaningful for me and my colleagues. The staff where I teach and provide technology coaching spans the spectrum when it comes to technology integration in the classroom.
There are roughly 70 teachers at my site and due to the nature of our campus, student population, master schedule and limited prep time, it is virtually impossible to arrange time for meaningful, authentic collaboration, outside of various mandated monthly meetings. Additionally, our monthly staff meetings are at the end of a long workday and generally filled with administrative news and general housekeeping items, which does not typically promote a captive audience, willing or able to engage in what I think is an amazing classroom tool.
With these challenges in mind, I arranged for three activities that were teacher centered, encourage collaboration, foster a sense of community, are simple enough to be used by technology novices, and highlight technology applications that can be easily used with students in the classroom. (read more…)
Every student has a talent that we can uncover if we keep our eyes and mind open. If we teachers were able to harness a fraction of the talents our students possess, we’d find enough creative energy to power our classroom for the entire school year. I learned this the hard way. I spent my first 10 years thinking that my job was to fill my students with information, and I measured kids’ talents by how well they were able to sit quietly, follow instructions, and regurgitate the information back to me in a manner and time of my choosing.
My students aced the tests and everything went smoothly, but inside, the repetition was stifling me. Things changed when a new principal arrived. She observed my class and challenged me to change my teaching style. She brought up some mumbo-jumbo about multiple teaching modalities, student engagement, collaborative learning centers and catering my instruction to the interests and needs of my students. (read more…)