Make School Different 

So I’ve been tagged by a member of my PLN, the awesome Sharon Moskovitz @s_m077 for my Top 5 things for #MakeSchoolDifferent. This is a bit of a challenging topic for me because I have so many ideas, so it took me awhile to sit down and actually figure out what I wanted to say, but here goes…

1.  Let’s stop pretending tech is the answer to all our problems – don’t get me wrong, I love how tech gives me multiple opportunities to help my students share their learning, but tech for the sake of tech is not the answer. Before we look at using these tools, we need to look at why we are using them, what’s the point, the purpose? Are we using it for the right reasons, to actually help our students share and showcase their learning or is it just to say “look at how 21st century we are using this new technology?”  There is a time for tech, just like there is a time for pencil, paper – it depends on what we are trying to teach our students, what way do we want them to truly share their learning.

2. Let’s stop pretending reading levels are an effective way to help teaching reading – while it may be worthwhile in the younger grades as our students start their reading journey, once we get to the grade 3 and up, limiting students by saying “sorry you are an “L” level reader, that’s the bin you must choose from” is not helping our kids. If we want our students to develop a love of reading we must give them choices – give them opportunities to work on their reading. Give them books on CD or iPads to listen to, work with them to find books that speak to them, do class readalouds, give them varieties of genres to choose from. It’s important they realize that everyone is on a different part of their reading journey – while some may be further along than others, that’s okay.

3. Let’s stop pretending our learning needs to be limited to the 4 walls of our classroom – with the advances being made we have so many opportunities to make learning real to our students. What we once learned from a textbook can now be learned in so many other ways.  When my students ask the question “what do need to learn this for?” I want to be able to show them where their learning fits in the world.

4. And while we’re at it, let’s stop pretending our own professional learning needs to be limited – with Twitter, edcamps, Ignite sessions and so much more, there are endless opportunities to pick PD that speaks to us. I can’t count how much PD I’ve done at home in my pj’s, how much I’ve learned from my PLN and Twitter.  I have the choice to take an active role in my professional development and so do all of us, why aren’t we doing this more?

5. Let’s stop pretending kids need to sit quietly in their desks in rows – kids  these days are wired differently. Heck most of us can’t sit in one place for too long, so why are we expecting this of our kids. My students have learned the difference between “work talk” and “talk talk” and most days it’s a steady hum of noise and music which works for us all.  There are long tables, low tables, pillows, comfy chairs, standing desks – all different options that my students know they can choose on a given moment if that’s what will help them.

So now I tag the following in my PLN to share their thoughts on this challenging question

@Glynn_ed        Dena Glynn

@rondorland     Ron Dorland

@DanaAriss        Dana Ariss

@KelliHolden       Kelli Holden

@_Teach2Learn  Sarah Platero

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