So, here it is. My first post at Teched Up Teacher.
This coming school year will be the first year I go all-in on what I think a twenty-first century classroom should look like. I’ve toyed with many of these ideas before this year, but this is the first year I have overhauled my entire class and put all the pieces together for a full year. The overhaul includes compliance with common core, heavy emphasis on technology, project/problem based learning, using Google apps for school, blending my classroom with Schoology
, student self-pacing, a full Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, a flipped classroom, and gamifying my classroom with achievements (badges), leader boards, item shop, and what I believe to be the world’s first ever attempt to turn my students’ work into an Alternate Reality Game
Seems like a lot, and in someways it is, but here is why it’s doable: I made it my own.
What I write about here isn’t the right way, it isn’t the wrong way, it is my way. This is important to understand. I use to get frustrated with trying to do something in my classroom the way others teachers did it until I realized I’m not them and my kids aren’t theirs. I have to adapt it. I have to make it work. I have to make it mine.
I look at all the cool stuff people are doing and I often say this won’t work for me, or this won’t work for my kids, but if I take this part and use it with that part, or change this or combine it with that… it just might work in my classroom. It’s called synthesis, when you take a bunch of ideas, mash ’em all up, and come out with something new. It is what someone is talking about when they say they stand on the shoulders of giants. They’ve built on what others have done before them. Everything I’ve talked about doing in my classroom this year has been done before, but it hasn’t been done like I am doing it.
That being said, what else can you expect from me besides ideas and advanced technology for the twenty-first century classroom?
Practice as well a theory.
It drives me nuts when a politician says they’re going to lower my taxes, but doesn’t say how. It drove me nuts when I realized how all that college theory meant nothing when I was left alone in my classroom for the first time. I’ll tell you what I do, why I do it, but most importantly how to use it. What I do might not work for you or your students for a hundred different reasons, but like I said, you need to take it and make it your own because I think we can all agree school is well behind the times.
Finally, a list of goals I’ve set for myself this year, so you can get an idea of where I am going:
1. A textbook free classroom
2. A paperless classroom
3. Lecture for no more that twenty minutes
4. Group/self-pacing units
5. Increase competition between students
6. Increase student engagement
7. Give a TED
talk at the end of the year