Welcome to #RockNTheBoat! This blog is not about boating, though I’m not against boating. Boating is fun. It’s not about rockin’ either, though I am partial to the rock music genre, Christian and secular. No, this blog is about changing the status quo in our classrooms and engaging and empowering students through the use of creativity and technology. Unleash your own creativity, passion for your subject, and your love of learning to inspire your students to do the same. It’s not as scary as it sounds, and don’t worry, I’m right here to guide you and hold your hand, figuratively speaking, of course. I’m not likely to actually hold your hand, since I don’t really know you. I will, however, encourage you to hang on to your hat and maybe grab a life jacket until you are ready to rock your very own boat.
I am a big proponent of turning over areas of lesson designing to students. While I head into class with a clear outline of what I want students to accomplish, I am more than willing to give them the opportunity to refine the details of my plan’s execution. When it comes to building game elements into a lesson, my students are the pros at making it more fun for them while at the same time, retaining or enhancing the impact on their learning. So take the following learning activity, try it in your classroom, then encourage your students to find ways to improve it.
Whether or not you consider yourself an organized teacher or person, in the era of pandemic teaching, I’ve learned that it is crucial to organize courses within my learning management system (LMS) in a way that helps students who are not in class for whatever the reason. It took a pandemic to make me reconsider how I structure my activities and assignments within the LMS so that all students are clear on what we are doing, when we are doing it, and how we are doing it. I should have thought of this a long time ago, but the pandemic really brought this need to the forefront. Now that I know better, I do better.
As you know, I love to teach students several tools and then let them choose the one they prefer for different activities we do in class. It can be challenging to find the time for students to learn those new tools in this fast paced data driven world we’ve created. When you are in a smaller district and are the only one who teaches those subjects or classes, then finding time isn’t so hard. However, for those in larger districts who have to keep pace with all the other teachers of that class or subject, that’s when we have to think “inside the box,” as George Couros would say. How can we we still allow for student choice and creativity when time constraints mean it is hard to teach a variety of tools quickly?
We’ve all had to deal with others who call us names, and those who make assumptions and judgements about us. How we handle those and the resulting after waves of self-doubt can determine current and future successes, well-being, and resiliency. I’ve frequently looked back on that old saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me,” with amazement. Words certainly can hurt us.