If we are truly trying to transition learners to leaders, don’t we also need to transition from today’s buzz word engagement to the future of empowerment?
A powerful and impactful challenge flag was thrown last year by my new administration… 100% engagement for all students, all day… and yes, every day! That was a challenge that I couldn’t wait to get ahold of within my classroom. It was absolutely incredible to see my students embody my love for learning. Was this for the day? The week? The month? That is when it happened. The moment I realized that engaging my students was only going to be sustainable if I empowered them! WOW! That was a moment!
“A moment“… that was what I needed to give my students. I started with asking them to pitch me an idea in 5 minutes or less. I gave a little criteria, but I didn’t want to close their minds to revolve around my thinking, so a laundry list of stipulations went right out the window. I simplified and initially gave 5 minutes. FIVE MINUTES is a LONG TIME! Either they know what they want or they don’t. Period.
Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like A Pirate, says, “I’m more than willing to take advantage of and influence everything around me to increase my students’ chances of success.” Yes, that is my thought exactly! How can I teach like a pirate? Here it is- challenge the holder of the hook… They need to hook ME! My students need to be the ones creating the hooks too!
-authority or power given to someone to do something; the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights
This definition is embedded in my brain so I reread Innovator’s Mindset, again and again! I needed an example… something concrete. I absolutely love how George Couros shared his moment with engage vs empower.
“So instead of trying to create engaging content for my students, I decided to turn it over to them. Deep Learning occurred- they understood and remembered what they taught each other. I had given my students control over their learning, and the change in atmosphere was palpable.” –George Couros, Innovator’s Mindset
Then the moment came when a student came to me and asked for the use of Ozobots outside of tech stations. YES, I was that teacher… the one excited and willing to bring as much technology in as possible, (Thank you donorschoose.org and my supportive community) but ONLY used it in isolated learning moments… UGH! Weekly, even daily isolated moments, but I literally separated it from the content! What was I thinking?
So, on this particular day it just so happened that I barely had the 5 minutes to spare… no time to hear why or how they could possibly make this applicable to character, setting, and the plot of our story so I challenged them to tell me in 30 seconds or less.
Mrs. Nan, I can CREATE a setting based on the chapter we are in today. I can CONNECT it to technology by using Ozobots. I may need to go on to the computer to look at a coding idea that I have, but that isn’t a big deal because “Rachelle AKA RESOURCE” is an expert and can show me. Oh, and then I can turn the Ozobot into a character and have it navigate the setting. AND I would really like to blog (MOMENT) about it after! #micdrop
WOW… the excitement in my student literally infused the pitch into my mind in LESS THAN 20 SCEONDS! It reminded me of Jacie Maslyk asking me what my “1 minute elevator pitch” would be like. My response, “What is an elevator pitch?”
“It’s that 1 minute when (insert name of famous person) walks into the elevator with you and you have your chance to tell them your brilliant idea before the elevator doors open again. It’s your brief moment to grab their attention, pull them in, and convince them that yours is the next great idea.” –Jacie Maslyk, STEAMMakers
This was it… the moment the 30 Second Pitch came to life!
30 Second Pitch:
- Mindset: this is your creative moment… approach it with excitement and use your creative juices!
- Connect4: Explain how you can connect your idea to technology BEYOND our 4 walls of learning!
- Research: Call on your resources! Collaborate ~ Communicate ~ Dig into your idea! #WhoIsYourCrew
- Moment: This is YOUR TIME TO SHINE! How will you do it? #VoiceAndChoice
I have shared this with a few of my colleagues, as well as many parents, who have been curious as to how on earth I can justify the use of this technology (Hour of Code, Sphero, Ozobot, Osmo, Edmodo, Canva, Snap-Circuits, Bloxels, Makey Makey, EdPuzzle, Scratch, and more) in my room. How can I possibly teach the “curriculum/book” and also have time for this? Well, to be clear, I actually teach skills. The PA Common Core skills that are a foundation to the success of every child in 3rd grade. How I teach that skill is choice… and not just mine. When I really want to know how to make something happen (the thing that will light the world on fire) for my students, I simply ask! They always tell. #empowerment
Note: Thank you JESSE REESE for the incredible “piece of art” you created out of my very sloppy notes! YOU ROCK! #grateful