Saturday, October 24, 2015

Why are we doing this??

In the words of Michael Scott of Dunder Mifflin, "I had an epiphery."  For all those that aren't avid Office fans, I'll explain that I had a bit of an epiphany this past week.  I mean, I didn't see it until I really stepped back and thought about it, and I guess it wasn't so much of an eye opening experience for me as it was for my husband.  You see, I have this amazing husband who can fix anything, knows way too much about all topics found on the Discovery Channel, and who never sits.  While I love him more than life, he just doesn't get what I do, why I do it, or why I talk about it so much.  But we had a GREAT conversation the other night.  
I came home from school BUSTING with excitement over what I had just realized, so of course I had to share my thoughts with him!  It all started early this past week when a co-worker had this great idea to read the story "I Need My Monster" by Amanda Noll.  I was video-taped reading the story, being sure to not show the pictures from the book, and uploaded it to YouTube where we pushed out the link to our kiddos and had them listen to the story on their own.  At the end of the video, I gave one direction.  Only one.  It was to go draw a picture of what they thought Gabe, the monster in the story, looked like.  That was it.  Hannah and I both raved about how awesome we thought it was that all the kids were on task, they all enjoyed the story, and they all created these great pictures of what they thought the monster looked like based on the description from the book.  I know...right now you're thinking, "Great lesson, Carrie, but where is the cool part?"  
Well, I didn't realize it until 2 days later as I was driving in the car, reflecting on the week, and it dawned on me.  Something amazing happened during that activity!  The ONLY direction I gave was to draw a picture of Gabe.  We had kiddos drawing with paper and pencils, some chose crayons, some pulled up Doodle Buddy on their iPads and made Gabe there, some used Educreations, and some even used a dry erase board to create their image of Gabe!  WHAT?!  I never told them to use any of those things.  To me, that was a great moment.  Our students are thinking for themselves and using all the materials and devices at their disposal to accomplish their tasks!  So, going back to my conversation that night with my hubs...
I asked him how he would have drawn Gabe and he says, "With paper and colored pencils.  Why?"  I then tell him how excited I am that the kids all chose different things and he goes, "So?"  And I told him to fast-forward to 25 years from now and those same kiddos are working for someone who says, "We have a problem.  How are we going to solve it?"  And those adults (who were a part of this amazing thing called Personalized Learning) are going to think outside the box to solve the problem.  They aren't going to have to rely on one way to do things because it will be second nature to them to be critical thinkers and problem-solvers.  BAM!  And he looks at me, after all this time, and says, "OHHHH, that's why you're doing this!"  Yup.  That's why I'm doing this.  Finally, he gets it.  So, if someone is asking you why you're doing this, here ya go.  Use my example.  It may seem small, but make no mistake!  These kids are gonna change the world!