Monday, March 07, 2016

Innovation in Schools

What does innovation in schools mean? I believe innovation in schools highlights those practices we implement that have never been implemented in the past or those practices that are in place that we have found ways to improve.  Working with business and industry, whether it is sending students out into the workplace or bringing experts in to mentor our students on specific projects, is one example of an innovative practice. Changing up your classroom to provide flexible work spaces is another example of an innovative practice and is easy to try with low risk.  So what have you tried lately to take a risk and improve your classroom or instructional practices?

In February, a team of 7 of educators participated in the Innovation Summit at the Douglas County School District in Colorado. I was lucky enough to be included in this amazing professional learning opportunity!  We began the week with school visits to both high schools and middle schools. We noticed that students were focused on authentic projects that they designed and many were working toward the goal of publication. After seeing instructional innovation in the classroom, we were able to "go behind the scenes" and discover how the teachers accomplished these authentic learning experiences. We began by discussing the difference between what a student needed from education 100 years ago as opposed to what our students need today to be successful in our economy. The graphic below depicts the changes in just 5 years. Wow, what a difference!

Changing Skill Set

After philosophical reflection, we focused on 21st Century instructional practices. When writing standards, teachers only use the verbs in the top 2 levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. Examples of these verbs include: evaluate, justify, or predict. Now, you might be asking yourself, "What about the knowing and understanding?"  The teachers use knowing and understanding as scaffolds to ultimately reach the level of  incorporating 21st Century Skills and the 4Cs (we call these the BPS Success Skills) into the standards. The students then use rubrics to choose their own projects to show mastery of the standard(s). Think about what that means in terms of increasing rigor and empowering students to take responsibility for their own learning!

So... I will leave you with a final reflection question:  What is one innovative idea you will try this month.  Happy risk-taking!!

To continue this conversation join us for our Tuesday Twitter Chat at 8:30 #learnbps!


1 comment:

  1. The LEGO carts have been very popular - hooray! So, I am creating a LEGO folder with lesson plans (Ms. Edinger is using the LEGOs this week for learning about volume), rubrics of the 4Cs (LEGOs are a natural for these), etc. As I observe students engaged in LEGO activities, I am amazed with their ability to work collaboratively, think critically, problem-solve, be creative and innovative, and most importantly - have fun!