being a teacher, being me, Lesson Planning, Student-centered, teaching

Simplify

As I prep for the upcoming week of lessons, I find myself cutting ideas out and slimming things down.  I am simplifying my lessons.  And not because I am “dumbing” them down, not at all, instead I am offering my students the luxury of only having to focus on key concepts rather than overwhelming them with all the bells and whistles.

In order for my students to take ownership of the learning they have to understand what they are owning.  They have to be able to take an idea, make it their own and then push it through.  if I add too many components to something, they will end up confused, bogged down, or just plain bored.

In college I was taught to make it exciting, to add visuals, support, brainstorming sheets and even hand signals.  I now rebel against that notion of having to add more every time. Perhaps that is why I am no longer a supporter of IWB’s in every classroom.  I don’t need to be more interactive, my students do.

So this week, I am cutting back all the extras.  I am focusing on what the goal is and letting students add their distinctive spins on it.  I will have supports ready if needed but I will not assume they need them.  I will speak less and engage more.  Simplify my teaching = expand their learning.  I am excited.

This post was partially inspired by this excellent post written Josh Stumpenhorst @stumpteacher.

4 thoughts on “Simplify”

  1. A favorite mentor of mine used to write this on the board under daily schedule " math, science, communication and whatever else we get to today" … I agree 100% with your idea about simplification!! Write on!

  2. I agree with what you said and I am happy that my post could offer you some level of inspiration. One comment about the IWbs…don't toss them out with teh bathwater. Tools are never the problem, but rather how they are being used with students. Too many teachers think that somehow student learning is better because they have an IWB in their room which is not true. It is how you use that tool and how you enable your students to use it. As with most things in life, simple is better…cheers!

  3. I often see a common thread in your posts. It seems that new teachers have to unlearn teaching strategies that they've been taught in college. Why is there such a disconnect between what is being taught there and the ideas that you've been discovering? Should it have to take a few years of teaching to figure things out? And how many teachers just keep teaching the way they've been taught in college without questioning it?

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