Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Innovation The Missing Link in Education

What has changed in the realm of education in the past 100 years? Unfortunately, many of us can only come up with a short list of things that have changed in education. Why is it that the world is rapidly changing and moving forward but education is not? Well, we have found the missing link . . . innovation!

There are many reasons as to why innovation has been missing in education however, I feel that these are the top 3 reasons why.

1. Resistance to Change
To have innovation in education there must be change. No one likes change but it seems that in the realm of education we really dig our heels and resist change. It is easy and comfortable to teach the same way we were taught. Trying new things is scary in this high-stakes testing phase that education is in. Parents also resist change too. Many times parents state, "Why can't they teach it the way they did when I was in school?" It is easy to resist change when even your student's parents do not like the change.

2. Compliance
Education is a high-stakes testing phase that affects schools at every level, even down to teacher evaluations. The many rules, laws and number based evaluations have led to a state of compliance instead of a state of innovation. We cram everything in and do what has to be done in order for students to perform well on a test, therefore taking out any room for innovation and creativity.

3. Lack of Vision
Many times lesson planning becomes about making sure all standards are covered. While this is important and should be done, many times it leaves us short-sighted. When our focus is solely on covering every standard we are not looking at depth of knowledge being developed or how these skills prepare students for their future.

Educators teach and develop the leaders of tomorrow, therefore, innovation should be at the forefront. A fortune 500 company cannot remain at the top without being innovative and forward thinking. How can we develop innovative leaders for tomorrow if we are not willing to be innovative ourselves? Innovation is the missing link in education today. If innovation were at the forefront of all educational institutions there would be no limit to what our students and future leaders could accomplish.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

5 Reasons to Have Play in the Classroom

When a child is asked, “What is your favorite part of school?”, what is the most common answer? Recess!! Why do you think recess is the answer to this question? Think about what happens at recess. First of all, it is a time of freedom. During recess students are not told what to do, rather they are allowed to make their own choices. Secondly, recess is nothing but play. Check out my 5 reasons why educators should harness the power of play in their classrooms.

1. Play is natural for kids. Kids have spent their entire life playing. In fact, until they start school, kids are experiencing the majority of their world through play. So, think about how you can use something that is natural for kids, to enhance their learning experiences at school?

2. Play provides a risk-free environment. Since kids have been playing their whole life, they feel safe during play. Play allows kids a chance to take risks in environments that are safe for them.

3. Play develops social skills. Kids are able to develop their social skills while playing. Play provides an environment where kids learn to pick up on social and emotional clues/cues. The social skill development that begins in play can then be further developed in the classroom. These skills can then be used to help students expand and deepen their reading and writing skills.

4. Play develops problem solvers. Problems arise throughout play time. Kids are then provided with the opportunity to solve the problem on their own. Play provides a safe environment for kids to develop their problem-solving skills.

5. Play offers student choice and ownership. Play is a way to empower kids through choice and ownership. Teachers may provide play stations that are tailored to classroom content, but students choose the play station that they want.

I have seen morning work replaced with play stations and it has had a positive impact on students. Play provides a positive start to their day and gives them choice and ownership from the start of the day. Students have learned to self-regulate throughout the play time. They have even become problem finders and problem solvers. How can you harness the power of play in your classroom?

Monday, March 13, 2017

We Are All Learners

"What if schools operated as if we should all be "learners," as opposed to students being the only learners? (George Couros, Innovator's Mindset)
What if failure was viewed as an opportunity to learn, make changes and try again?

(IMOOC Session 2 Short Blog 3)

The Power of Play

The Power of Play

The idea of deep exploration stands out to me on the learning side of George Couros’s comparison of learning vs. school. Never underestimate the power of play and the deeper levels of understanding that it opens up for children.

(IMMOOC Session 2 Short Blog 2)

The Power of Relationships

(This is a short blog for IMMOOC session 2.)

The early morning conversations, break room talks or after school hallway huddles are all opportunities to build relationships and trust with colleagues that will overflow into the classroom.