Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The eye opening realization that really happened!

Kids nowadays.  I listen to adults often talk about how kids don't know how to play, kids don't know what hard work truly is, kids don't understand the importance of a handshake and some even say they are worried about the future because our kids lack social skills.  Some adults believe kids are too plugged in.  Really? 

I won't give up on our kids, I won't believe they will be inept.  This is what I believe, times change.  I hear references to the Good Ol' Days. Really?  Were they really that good?  Is today really that bad?

Check out these pictures.  Look at the engagement, the creativity and the joy in the faces.  

Is one of these right and the other wrong?  I say no.  They're different.  That is what we all must understand and accept.  Times have changed.  
Not convinced...

This is what some think of when they talk about "plugged in".  Today's society always seems to have a device in hand.  People don't interact like they used to.  Really? 

So this was the Good Ol' Days?

My point is this, times change.  I don't believe one is right and one is wrong.  I believe they are different and because they are different we need to adjust and change.

Last weekend I attended the Boyne City UnConference.  I had an eye opening conversation with Steve Kelly - @bigkxcountry
Steve spoke with a 20 year veteran teacher, who has been successful throughout his career.  He attended the conference and said, "Things have changed, kids have changed, I need to reinvent learning in my classroom.  I need to reinvent myself as an educator."

Wow.  What a profound statement.  Someone that has been successful has come to the realization that staying the same or doing things the way they've always been done will not cut it in today's classroom.

We've all heard the saying, "Time heals all wounds", I believe time does more than that.  The longer time passes the more we give it a mystique.  We forget some struggles and heartaches and remember what we choose to.

The way we've always done things may have worked in the past.  I urge you to be honest with yourself.  Three essentials stand out to me:

1) Differentiation
2) Listening
3) Humor

Check out this tweet from David Tebo - 

If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn. Are you learner centered? ALL kids means ALL kids!

Differentiation: This is a must...but what does it really look like? 
1- Communicate with parents that your classroom is not a one-size fits all.  Be positive and own it!
2- Start small, give students choice when it comes to reading & writing.
3- Learn the ins & outs of your students.  What makes them tick...
4- Figure out how each student learns best, are they visual, hands-on, auditory...
5- Formative assess often!
6- Provide lots of opportunities for students to show what they learned.
7- Actively pursue feedback from parents, students and colleagues.  Reflect and grow from feedback.

Listening:  This is also essential in all classrooms.  Put yourself in your students shoes, is the environment safe?  Can I take a risk without being ridiculed?  Do I have a voice in the classroom?  As a teacher I felt awful when I didn't talk with each of my students on a daily basis...don't let this happen in your classroom.

Humor:  I know what your thinking, humor?  We model for our students every day.  We model by our words, what we wear, and how we react.  Most educators want students to be willing to try new things and persevere, yet not all teachers openly try new things.  How many educators laugh at themselves when they make mistakes?  I dare say...not enough.  Educators need to install more humor, try new things, be willing to fall on your face.  Sometimes we take ourselves way too serious.  I believe we need to be willing to laugh at ourselves. 

I'm proud of the gentleman that is taking steps to reinvent himself.  It's a difficult thing to do.  Many people would simply say, "What I've always done has worked, I don't need to change."  Not this educator...he is going to venture down the bumpy road of change!

This Week's Big Question:  If you were talking to this 20 year veteran what would you have said to him?

Articles Worth Reading:
8 Lessons Learned on Differentiated Instruction  @scholasticteach
The Diverse Learner in an Elementary School +Jenny Nauman @PrincipalNauman
What Really Needs To Be Reformed? +Peter DeWitt @PeterMDeWitt
7 Tips for Parents of Struggling Readers +Terry Heick @TeachThought
30 Indoor Recess Ideas +Charity Preston @theOCBlog
Removing Rules from Playgrounds... shared by +Breanna Davey @studiobree
What students say when they think we're not listening check out #26 & #29 by @dianemain
Early Call for Snowday leads to Twitter Stardom shared by @joelgagne
Slice of Life: Living "Ishfully" Ever After by @ClareandTammy shared by @litlearningzone
Change Your Perspective +Colin Wikan @ColinWikan

Videos Worth Watching:
@TheEllenShow shares some hilarious auto-corrects that happened to people! (3 min)

13 Story Tree House...looks like a great read. shared by @colbysharp  (1 min)

Great story about a families journey & perseverance. (12 min)

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Ben. Your links are super fun, too! I love Ellen's auto-incorrect segments! They crack me up every time! :)