This week's topic is brought to you by the Letter Q and the Number 7 for those who still get to catch the occasional Sesame Street. The topic is all about making connections beyond your own classroom. We all have dreams and aspirations to make the world a better place, to create an engaging classroom with meaningful activities. We are also faced with the demands of Common Core, Standardized Testing, Educator Effectiveness or Evaluation system that can make education seem more rigid. We have pressure to show growth in our students, make them masters of our content and so many other expectations. These are all part of the reality of the life of an educator. We can allow them to bog us down, to keep us in a state of stagnation or we can lift ourselves out of the quagmire of mediocrity.
With the challenges we face to raise the bar in education, tonight we are talking about how we can break free from the status quo. One of the biggest challenges we face is student buy in. When students don't see the value in what we ask them to do, they don't fully engage in the learning activity. This could be they refuse to do the assignment, participate in the activity, or give minimal effort. Yes many students will do anything we ask them to, but if they don't value it, they don't really care about the results. Even some of our best students ask "Will this be on the test?" Why do we need to know this?" We need to provide meaningful answers to the last question. Students deserve to know why they are expected to learn the material. What will your answer be? Why are you expecting students to do and learn what you require?
Our conversation this week will be about developing opportunities to make meaningful connections between content and the world beyond our classroom. Our first step is creating tasks that go beyond the purpose of grades. Learning tasks should be for a higher purpose than grades. They should be for an audience greater than the teacher. I have found that when you introduce a larger audience and a greater purpose to a task students elevate their efforts and the final product exceeds expectations.
Questions for our chat 8 CST Thursday are below
Q1 Collaboration - In what ways have you/can you connect your Ss to another classroom? #sstlap
Q2 Bring in the subject experts- What activities or how can you connect to community members or experts to create relevant, engaging activities #sstlap
Q3 Let's create multi-content lessons- In what ways can you connect to other subject areas to create cross curricular activities? #sstlap
Q4 Public Relations can change our world! What do you do to inform parents community and world about what happens in your classroom?
Q5 Creating authentic audiences - How can you create experiences for Ss to create for audiences beyond T and purposes beyond grade? #sstlap
Q6 Celebrate! How do you showcase Ss work for the world to see? #sstlap
Q7 Create a Movement: How can you create opportunities with the colleagues in your school to showcase Ss work? #sstlap
Challenge create opportunities in your school to showcase Ss work from all subject areas! #sstlap
Next Week- Sharapalooza! Bring best examples from first semester or 2014 to the party! Let's connects and inspire!