“It is significant to realize that the most creative environments in our society are not the ever changing ones. The artist’s studio, the researcher’s laboratory, the scholar’s library are each deliberately kept simple so as to support the complexities of the work-in-progress. They are deliberately kept predictable so the unpredictable can happen” — Lucy Calkins, Lessons From A Child
Some days, it doesn’t even matter if I am present. My students can work and learn without me being in the room. A class that has management implemented correctly, with or without iPads, houses students that are striving to become self-sufficient and do not need a baby sitter over their shoulder all of the time.
With the integration of iPads and the release of control flowing from me to my students, I have seen a significant shift in my students’ work and accountability for their actions. My students have had to learn a lot of hard life lessons as this year has progressed. If they didn’t keep their vocabulary ebook up to date, they did not receive 100%. Unfocused or playing at a station when you should have been working on your plot project? No, I am sorry you don’t get an extra ten minutes when the project is due.
Giving students responsibility for their own learning empowers them and allows them to not only meet, but exceed our expectations. Sometimes students even surprise themselves. Today, when I assigned an iPad project I gave specific expectations of what the presentation should show me that the students know. However, I did not state what app they had to use or how to complete the project.
The requirement was to show two strategies on how to solve one multiplication problem. Within fifteen minutes after students began working, I had multiple students approach me and ask if they could not only show the strategy on the iPads, but also upload the two approaches in Explain Everything and explain how and why they did the problems.
Kids are creative. Kids are full of potential. They need guidance from teachers, but more importantly they need our trust and an opportunity to show us what they can do when they are given freedom to create and think for themselves.
When an environment is safe and predictable and when students understand it is ok not only to succeed, but also fail, a place where taking a leap of faith is welcomed as long as the student is on task, this is a place where the unpredictable can happen.
What unpredictable things are happening in your classroom?
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