Today we had the privilege of learning with AJ Juliani. If you are not familiar with his work, check out his books and resources here. Today admin, coaches, and selected teachers K-12 met with AJ and began to take a hard look at how to better reach, teach, and challenge today’s learners.
We went through the design thinking process and came up with solutions to some of our building concerns and needs. There were some awesome solutions, or prototypes, dreamed up by building cohorts. We explored project based learning, were pressured to work on strict timelines, and create PSAs about topics we were passionate about. We were also challenged to come up with a list of characteristics for our students in this generation and then challenged to change our lenses and see the amazing things students in this generation are accomplishing via creativity and social media.
We discussed 20% time and allowing students to become the owners of their learning and explore topics of choice. Ultimately, I think we learned how easy it is to give students choice, relinquish the role of controller of the information and instead serve as the guide on the side helping to refocus, provide insights and resources, all while empowering our students to own their learning.
I love that this day of professional development started and ended with our why. Why did we become educators. Not a person in the room said they became an educator to grow student test proficiency, or two make worksheets and grade them. No. All of our answers, K-12, were related to empowering and helping students find success.
If tomorrow’s job market demands problem solvers, creative thinkers, collaborative workers, who think outside the box and are considered “Go-getters,” how can we as educators foster learning activities that cultivate these skills? I have yet to hear an employer say I want an employee that can color in the correct bubble or fill in a worksheet. So it is time to get creative and start turning over the lead to our learners.
Today’s workshop attendees were empowered to think outside of the box, exploring solutions for building needs. The things our colleagues shared were amazing, insightful, and inspiring. There’s so much to be said for sharing ideas from the bottom to the top. Empowered to dream, explore, and do our faculty came up with some amazing ideas. I can only imagine what our students would dream up if afforded the same opportunity to show what they know!