How do you define innovation? What does it look like in your class? These are questions I have been pondering this week.
Innovation in my practice is the constant process of exploring, discovering and creating new and better ways to teach, learn and create to make life better for ourselves and others.
What does it look like?
Reading: Students use choice in reading ebooks (EPIC!, Raz-Plus and Story Online) and or reading paper texts. Innovation occurs when they read using RazPlus and get immediate support and when they answer comprehension questions that provide instant information to me as teacher on their comprehenshion strengths and areas of need. RazPlus allows students and parents to read the same texts from home. Parents can also access reports to keep informed on their child’s progress and I send reports to both children and parents using Seesaw Journals. This makes the teaching process more informed and empowes both students and parents with choice in their learning.
Writing: Using workshop models students now choose the topic of their writing and whether they want to write using paper and pencil or digital or both. Students bring writing to life through the use of apps like Book Creator, Shadow Puppet, PicCollage, ChatterPick or Classkick.com where photos, videos and audio bring added dimension and a “polished” look that students (even Kindegartners) find motivating and inspiring.
Math: Innovative math practices means that instruction is done in small groups rather than whole group. Students rotate between math games where students work with partners or small groups, math technology where they work with HappyNumbers.com at their own level and pace, math writing showing evidence of their learning or practice fluency and mastery and meeting with teacher in small group work that is designed to maximize learning at their own unique learning continuum.
Communication and Workflow: With the use of Seesaw digital portfolios students are learning authentic audience for their work (writing, reading, math, creations) as they choose “quality” and “wow” work to share with parents. Students record video, photos, notes and audio annotation showing evidence of their learning and sharing their successes. This creates a strong student-home-school community and partnership.
Genius Time: Each day students are given 45 minutes to apply their imagination and creative thoughts to their own interests and projects. Students are active and naturally work collaboratively with joy in the freedom to make their own choices. In the process they learn the value of applying their knowledge of reading, writing and math.
- Choose a project or learning goal (with a product at the end of plan where they teach others — poster, essay, digital book, video, YouTube, etc.)
- Create a plan to (includes research ideas, timeline and steps needed to complete project or learning goal
- Students act on their plan with weekly check-ins to update and revise progress
- Students create their end product and share it with peers for ways to improve
- Student improve and then present or publish their finished product