Okay slowly but surely I know my presence is being felt at my school. Can’t take credit all by myself though, except that I have PURPOSEFULLY involved myself with three teachers at my school who seem to “get it.”
“Get it?” you might ask. Yes, they get it. My school for reasons that are beyond my control or understanding runs a block A-B schedule for exploratory classes, and then extended time academic area classes-some as long as 70 minutes. This post is not to debate the pros and cons of such a schedule, but rather to tell about three teachers at my school who understand how to work in such a schedule.
You see they plan accordingly, and make sure their students have engaging work for the duration of their classes. Two of these three teachers (Mr. Granito and Ms D. Williams) both teach social studies. In casual observations and lengthy conversations, I know kids like to be in these classes. These two teachers seek ways to mix up their plans, have high interest interactive components to their lessons, and keep the excitement going for their content area. I won’t take a lot of credit, but I will acknowledge that the two of them do bounce ideas off me, and that key piece of collaboration gives me the right to say yes–I am impacting their classes too. But of course I want to give them the credit!
The other teacher (Mrs. A. Porter) has her classes for 90 minutes (one being 95!) Wow how does one manage a 90 minute class with middle schoolers? It’s an insane amount of time! At least in my opinion it is. But this teacher tackles it with gusto, and not only has engaging lessons each day, but being a rookie-first year teacher–is a model for other teachers struggling to properly use their time. (I blogged about her once before here.)
What is it they do? The have engaging lessons with exciting activities. They do not lecture for a full period, but instead have student practice, complete readings, as well as work a fair share of worksheets, but in the mix you will find high interest projects, authentic discussion about content where students are encouraged to express their opinions–and feel they are a valued contributer in class, and students who surprising want to be and LIKE being there.
This is what Educon 2.0 was all about. The learners and learning. I commented on another blog tonight (Liz Davis) about how the 21st century has totally blurred the defintion of student and teacher, and it could well be said those titles no longer exist, but instead have become sysnonymous with the term “learner.” And “learner” applies to adult and child alike in the 21st century. Look back at the picture selected to enhance this post. Is that the teacher or student? Neither, I say. It is the “learner.”
This is a great staff I’m working with, and I am excited to know for sure that three of them “get it.” They understand the concept of learners in the 21st century. It is not about the tools, but rather the learning. Now off to cultivate more meaningful relationships with our students, faculty and staff that from this day forward will be called “learners.”
Image: ‘EZBERİTİME EVET DEMEYELİM‘