Every school year most administrations come up with a theme for the year. This year our theme is “Under Construction”.
When I saw the construction motif, I thought about all the construction that has taken place over the summer. A new Chiller room and AC unit, new carpet in some of the wings, new paint in one building, security cameras and the installation of 32 more ActivBoards. These things were needed as the school was built in 1958 and hasn’t had a remodel in many years. But what does this construction have to do with teaching? Well, we have to continually add to, remodel, fine tune our students as they grow. We also have to do the same with the curriculum and the tools we use to teach with.
What also stood out as the Principal talked about our students being under construction was that each grade level is a foundation for the next. When a student moves from grade to the next they are not a finished product, instead they have been molded, remodeled and fine tuned for that grade level. They have been molded to be ready for the next grade to add more to the foundation.
The same has to be done to the technology. ActivBoards have been added, teachers have been trained to use them. We need to start using the tools that the children are using at home, the iPod, blogs, wiki’s and other interactive tools. How many students do you have that have a MySpace account, or use Facebook, or have an iPod? How many have a Wii or a playstation or even an xbox? Did you know that you can use the ActivBoard as an interactive tool that the students already understand and are interested in because it lets them join in, touch and make their own choices just like that Wii, playstation or xbox.
Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Use what they use in their everyday life and they will surprise you. Use the tools that lets them learn what we need them to learn. Maybe that’s the way we need to look at the construction. Build on what’s there, add that coat of paint with something they can connect to.
“Under Construction”, that’s what we all are.