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Innovator’s Mindset Blog Hop!

Posted in Creativity, and Innovation

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Welcome to the second Blog Hop hosted by our Innovator’s Mindset Book Club! What is a blog hop? A blog hop is a way to discover and follow blogs, as well as promote your own! For our purposes we are discussing George Couros’s book, Innovator’s Mindset. Every other week we pose a topic or question, and other bloggers (like you!) discuss it/ write about it, and then we link our posts together. Posts written about Innovator’s Mindset are linked on the OSSEMOOC site (Ontario School and System Leaders MOOC). By linking your post to others’ posts on the same topic, you have a quick and efficient way to further your learning on a specific topic, as well as connect and network with others who have similar interests and learning needs.

So our question this week is, If you were to start a school from scratch, what would it look like? Even if you haven’t read George’s book, I believe we all have ideas about what school could, or should be . . .

If I were designing a school from scratch, I would begin by asking kids what they envision. So I did . . .

Here is what learners in grades 7-8 had to say . . .

  • teachers would spend more time listening to student needs
  • teachers would spend more time building relationships with students
  • more time for students to talk – time to share thinking, feelings, experiences, social needs
  • better learning environment – big classrooms, lots of space to move around, time to talk, peaceful, calming
  • more breaks throughout the day as I need them – not when the bell rings
  • more music and art classes – more time for personal expression
  • we want class pets – animals are important to teach skills like responsibility, respect, empathy, and to spark curiousity about caring for living things
  • more projects that spark curiosity and creativity
  • we don’t want to write essays – we want to create things
  • there is too much information we have to write down – if we could create projects we would learn so much more
  • when we work on projects we learn how to collaborate, connect with other people, how to research
  • we want experiences that are more current – we don’t want to write essays!
  • iPads instead of textbooks
  • more opportunities for learning with technology
  • we still like reading books in print as opposed to reading on the iPad
  • equity – fair is not the same
  • share our work with a real audience
  • bully-free environment

Here is what learners in grades 4-6 had to say . . .

  • tables instead of desks, more space to store things that aren’t in our desks
  • big classroom with more space to move around, huge windows, big comfy chairs to sit in
  • classroom would be bright and cheerful with technology built into the room – computer screens on tables and walls
  • more time spent learning outside
  • more breaks throughout the day if I need them
  • technology for everyone – some people have trouble with writing, if they had iPads they could share their learning by making videos, or telling stories instead
  • we don’t really print anymore – when we fill out forms they are online
  • make learning more fun
  • share our learning with other people
  • learn about other people in different places and maybe meet them
  • more time learning outside
  • activities that involve physical activity throughout the day, learning through play
  • more teamwork – more time to teach each other
  • Why do teachers only do the teaching?
  • every class would be people who wanted to learn the same things instead of having grades – so if I want to learn how to build something, I would be in school with other people who wanted to learn how to build; it wouldn’t matter what grade we were in
  • lots of visual learning, art, music, dance
  • teachers wouldn’t give out worksheets
  • no tests – instead we get to make things
  • we should design apps to use for our learning
  • playing games to learn – design a game to show you learned
  • sharing work digitally – less paper
  • teachers would be happy and cheerful, energetic, kind, fun, happy, and would want to get to know me
  • mystery days – kids and teachers do something really different
  • try new things everyday – instead of doing the same things everyday
  • more time to create things
  • different classes – choose the classes you want
  • choose to learn French or Spanish or a different language at any grade
  • frozen yogurt Fridays
  • more time for playing
  • longer periods – there are too many bells
  • time throughout the whole school for us to work with each other
  • if you do well you get special privileges – choosing what you want to learn, or an extra topping on your frozen yogurt!

Here is what learners in K-3 had to say . . .

  • shiny checkered floors and ceilings
  • fun space – slide, game boards around the room, comfy chairs, wiggly stools, rocking chairs, tables/ desks, big sun windows so you can see the trees, near water, balcony, dance floor
  • every classroom would have a gym, computers and iPads, art station, place to make food, station to make music, science centre to learn about robots
  • play room with tunnels and secret passages
  • pinatas in every classroom and candy walls
  • different lights – not so bright
  • pictures of the kids (us) all over the classroom walls
  • special places around the classroom with cool things (rocks, crystals, nature, lego, blocks, animals bones)
  • go on more trips to see more cool places
  • lots of learning outside
  • more time doing art and creating things
  • I want learn more about what I want to learn
  • create 3D projects
  • lots of iPads for learning – we would have our own big iPads, iPods, phones
  • I would be the teacher
  • If I couldn’t be the teacher I want the nicest teachers in the whole world, not strict (fewer rules and less saying you aren’t doing this right); I want teachers who are fun
  • a teacher’s job is to teach us how to learn because now we can find everything on Google

There are so many BIG ideas here that resonate with me . . .

  • learning should be fun
  • the physical classroom should be an environment that is bright, spacious, and comfortable – with a view of course . . . maker spaces throughout and more time spent learning outdoors
  • a student-centred learning experience driven by student voice – “I would be the teacher”
  • a focus on building meaningful relationships and creating a “flexible” community of learners based on mutual respect and learning needs
  • an environment that supports, nurtures, and inspires curiousity and creativity
  • challenge-based learning supported and amplified by technology
  • larger blocks of learning time as opposed to periods and bells throughout the day
  • learners collaborating to play games and design new products as assessment for, of and as learning
  • an open culture of sharing
  • establishing globally connected learning partnerships to learn with the world (not just about the world)
  • and of course . . . frozen yogurt Fridays! (remember, you can earn extra toppings for your creativity!)

If you were to start a school from scratch, what would it look like? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below, or write your own blog post and connect your ideas with others!

Paul McGuire
Amit Mehrotra
Donna Miller Fry
Stacey Wallin
Tina Zita
Jennifer Casa-Todd
Mark Carbone
Lisa Noble
George Couros

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3 Comments

  1. Amit Mehrotra

    Great ideas here, and really smart to ask the kids. I especially like the request for “shiny checkered floors and ceilings”. Thanks for sharing.

    2/16/2016
    |Reply
  2. Jennifer Hewitt

    Looking at my room right now. A good reminder of being aware of what we value vis. What they value. Which is more important? It is their learning space.

    2/18/2016
    |Reply
    • Thank you for sharing your insight. The classroom space does belong to the learners, but so often we display what we think they need or what we feel is important. Finding a balance is an excellent starting point. I believe we need to continue working towards a shift in focus that empowers our learners so they are the ones determining what they need and how we can support those needs. We need to make time for, and honour student voice.

      2/18/2016
      |Reply

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