Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Baby Steps and Giant Leaps

I had the privilege of spending the morning working with a group of dedicated HS teachers.

They were meeting to move their teaching practice from traditional classrooms to blended and personalized learning. This is the second year of the initiative and this group was working through the nitty gritty of resistant students and curriculum needs and personal hesitations.

My role is a supportive coach.  I have been digging into Blended and Personalized Learning - but I am not in a classroom. My job and experiences are from the outside looking in.  So, when I get to spend time with teachers it is a good day!! :)

And today was a very good day!!

The conversation began with logistics and some hiccups in the process.
And then the conversation moved to practice - to the actual classroom and what is happening inside the doors of these spaces.

And that was the best part!

I was able to spend time listening to their stories.
Listening to the way students were reacting to the changes, some welcoming it and some resisting. Listening to the change in classroom conversations when students were given more choice.

And then there was that story...that one that I grabbed on to and will hold tight for a long time.

A math teacher shared how she was using EdPuzzle to create short videos on her content to help students take notes and practice.

One day she noticed two students arguing and moved closer.
But these two were arguing...over a math problem.
Let me say that again - arguing over a math problem.
Arguing about how to complete a step in the problem.
That level of engagement is encouraging - but then it gets better - because they each pulled out their notes to prove their own process was correct!
They were using their notes to improve their practice!

That is learning!

The conversation between the teachers continued from practice to Web 2.0 tools to future planning.  But, I had lost the thread.
Because I was picturing this moment again and again.
Two alternative HS students actively discussing a math problem.

Yup!  That's Blended Learning!!

"Keep Doing"

Hmmm....  Maybe the new focus of my blog is responding to other blogs.  Because that is what this post is all about.

I just read an excellent short reminder from Pernille Ripp called "Keep Doing;"  Her reminder is exactly what teachers need as November moves in to December and the excitement of the new year changes into the everydayness of the rest of the year.

I am working with a school district who just rolled out Chromebooks for all the High School students.  We have focused so much on the tool and what the tool can do and how you will manage the tool and what you should and should not expect with the tool.

When I read this post - it made me pause and understand what I have not said enough!
Focus on the student.
Focus on the student.
More than the learning, more than the outcome, more than than technology, more than anything. Focus on the student