The infamous, “I can” statement. So little, so powerful and so much fun. Throughout my teaching career I often thought of things I could do but talked myself out of it making excuses and eventually saying, “I can’t.” But over the last few months, the tides are changing and so are my discoveries. I have given my class to the kids. It is theirs and all theirs. I refuse to tell myself that I can’t do something because everything my students have achieved has come from an idea that I knew I could try out in the classroom.
Currently in my flipped classroom at the beginning of class, I call a student up to the board and with no direction I let them begin. I watch in silence as they take that pen and take what they learned from the previous night’s video and explain it. I watch as they call on each other. I watch as they fix their mistakes. I watch as they give guidance to their classmates. I watch as they teach and to emphasize the point, I watch as I say nothing. That’s right. I don’t get in the way.
I watch as they take the concepts farther than I ever would have imagined if I was at the board reviewing concepts with them. To say that I am immensely proud of them is an understatement. So you think I would be content. But you thought wrong.
Just this week I had planned on giving a quiz over systems to my Algebra class. A quiz that would have been a good quiz. A few questions that applied to real-world examples in which I would ask them to solve systems but then I got another one of my ideas. It would have been a good assessment and it would have been challenging, however, rather than giving them problems I simply sent them a Google Doc that had the 8th and 9th grade Algebra standards and then I wrote this under the standards,
“Prove to me you have successfully mastered the standards of systems.”
That was all I said. One sentence. I had planned for one day for students to do this but ended up taking two. What once would have caused me to have a mild stroke by “wasting” a day and getting me off my pacing guide now didn’t bother me. On Wednesday when they came in, this is what they turned in in response to what I sent them.
The quality of work was amazing and far better than if I gave them a quiz. They went above and beyond. EVERY. SINGLE. KID. They created their own problems. They solved their own problems. They explained and critiqued their own work. Oh and there is this one too…
An entire PREZI over systems. WHAT?! Excuse me as I pick my mouth up off the floor from shock and excitement. How dare I think about giving a quiz when THIS is what they turn in instead. I now realized that the biggest road block between a student and greatness in education can be the teacher but when you let students have freedom and you let them discover then the biggest encourager and instigator in a child’s education can be the teacher.
So now I am trying new things. I want my classroom to be amazing and that is why I continue to evolve. I continue change. I continue to learn. I continue to grow. So what’s next? I’m not sure but please join me on my journey because the only words in my vocabulary are now, “I CAN.”