Most students just want to be told what to do, as it is a shorter path to the answer; but in the end developing their curiosity and desire to explore yields so much more than just the answers themselves.
More often than not, students figure out the expectations of a classroom. They know when they need to pay attention, what work needs the most focus, and exactly what they need to study to score well. For better or for worse they figure out the routine. While in many circumstances routine eases the anxiety often associated with school, it also leads to predictability and a lack of excitement in the classroom. Part of why we love movies, especially scary ones, is because we really don’t know what is next and the surprises are exhilarating! In addition, there has been a resurgence in open world gaming. This is where the player has complete autonomy on where to go and what to explore. While this carte blanche approach may not be the exact structure for a classroom, but the nature of the experience provides a ton of value. Encouraging students to be explorers in the classroom, gives them the skills to be explorers outside the classroom. Keep reading to see how I add opportunitities for exploration to my class!
Alone, I win. Together, we succeed.
The concept of competition does not seem like it would be a likely system that would foster collaboration. Under normal circumstances I would agree! However, the mechanics of my gamified classroom have allowed groups of students to rally together to not only find success as a group, but also individually. It is through the group dynamic created in the game that encourages students to think about more than themselves. So what does this look like and how can you add it to your classroom? Keep reading to find out!
Collaboration, critial thinking, persistence, self-reliance.... These buzzwords and many more are constantly being tossed around classrooms. With more and more emphasis on less rote classrooms, are we supporting students in developing the skills we so dearly desire that they possess? I was as guilty as any educator to the effect that what I thought I was doing worked when it came to developing these very complex skills. When I realized that my actions and the culture I created were not doing what I thought, I knew that I had to take a different approach. So what did I do? I challenged students to leave a legacy, to become L.E.G.E.N.D.S.
As we always tell our students, reflecting on what you have done is just as important as doing what you did. The ability to decompress and evaluate the actions of the past allow us to see our faults and celebrate our successes. This short post is just a little insight into my 2017. While it is possible to detail in obtuse specificity the peaks and valleys, my goal will be to isolate one of each, a great achievement and an opportunity for improvement...