“If we are going to help our students thrive, we have to move past “the way we have always done it,” and create better learning experiences for our students than we had ourselves. This does not mean replacing everything we do, but we must being willing to look with fresh eyes at what we do and ask, “Is there a better way?” We would expect the same mindset from our students, and, as educators, that question is the first step on the path to a better future for education.”
Isn't this the epitome of it all? Isn't THIS why we seek to innovate, to do better for our students? I had some amazing teachers growing up. In fact, my 2nd grade teacher, who has now retired after giving so much to the profession, is who inspired me to go into education. I wanted to make a difference in kids' lives just like she did in mine. Looking at the incredible veteran teachers in this profession, I'm in awe at how much so many have adapted throughout the years. I think there are practices that have been in education a long time and work well. I do not think technology is always the answer to improving something. Is it often the answer? Possibly. But does technology equal innovation? Not necessarily.
As I'm working through my design process, an unexpected turn took place. I thought I was going to go in the direction of math. I knew my students struggled with the concept of regrouping. This was a common theme I noticed year after year, so I thought as the "expert" of my classroom I would determine my lead for my redesign project. I decided to get some student feedback before diving into this one content area for my redesign, although I already had my mind set on what I would base it on. I chose to use Google Forms to collect feedback on what my students struggled with, what they loved about school, what areas they wanted more of, and how I could help them better.
My lead was off. Isn't this why student feedback is SO important? Here I thought regrouping would be my topic of interest, not realizing a bigger struggle was our current writing unit: Poetry. Oh, the irony in this one..
Growing up I loved to write. Really, I did. But. I hated poetry. Loathed it, actually. But I loved to write. I could empathize with my students on this one. The pressure to be creative + witty, the social vulnerability of sharing personal work. It's too much for some kids and it brings so many anxiety for some (myself included).
I decided to dive into this area. I organized my thoughts by putting them together in Google Slides. I looked into the actual challenges I'm addressing, existing approaches, and design principles. Take a peek! I'm excited to see where this (re)design takes my students + I.