If I Built A School
Mrs. Krissy Venosdale is an inspiring educator and an innovation “activist”. She loves bringing out creativity and innovation in her students. Her, “If I Built A School Post”, she describes her dream school as having a “HUGE sign on the door that said “Welcome: Now Entering an Innovation Zone.” and “It would be neon, because innovation should be noticed.” She proceeded to describe it as a comfy, colorful, full of creativity, and the library would have a huge fake tree with a treehouse in it. The cafeteria would be like a colorful, comfy coffee house and the art room would be “like a studio”. There would be no grade levels. Children would advance to different rooms not based on age but based on “readiness and ability”. Professionals would talk to the kids about their careers over lunch instead of in speeches. She would have a colorful school bus available for field trips to science labs, universities, community projects, career exploration etc. Children would be taught to learn what they were passionate about and could sign up to host a session about their passion. State test would be cancelled. “We’d learn to read for the joy of reading, do math because problem solving is important, and learn because we love it.” Mrs. Venosdale has a wonderful dream. I really hope some of it will come true.
If I had the chance to build my own school, I would go all out. My school would look like a normal brick school; however, it would be covered in murals. To the right of the school, there is a large pond surrounded by gazebos that are large enough to hold a classroom of students each. To the left of the school, there is a huge colorful playground with plenty of swings and picnic tables. It has hallways of color and murals done by the students. The doors are decorated differently each week by the students. Each room is not a classroom of all subjects, but only one subject.
Each classroom has art supplies in it, SMARTboards, and a class blog. Every student is assigned a personal computer, an iPad, and a beanbag. Students can show their mastery of each subject through any medium possible. They can make a drawing, a podcast, a blog post, and more. It is up to the student on how they wish to learn and show mastery. There is a teacher for every 6 students in the school. The rules of the school is based on the honor-system and respect for yourself and others.
The curriculum will not be based on what is “required” to be “learned”. Students will advance based on mastery of a subject. If a student masters a section of a particular subject, they will advance to the next section and so on. This is individual of each subject. If they do not master a particular section of a subject, they will not advance in that subject but can still advance in others. Graduating is based on mastery of all subjects.
The cafeteria is carpeted with green AstroTurf. It is filled with potted trees and plants, fake bugs and animals, and a “sunny day in the meadow” panorama on the walls. Tranquil nature sounds will play and picnic blankets will be provided in a ratio of 4 people per blanket. The students can choose to eat in the cafeteria or outside at the picnic tables. Lunch and recess is an hour long each and everyone goes at once, not based on “grade” or age.
During lunch or recess, a child can choose to go to “career lab”. Career lab is a room that focuses on a different career every week. In the lab, a child can talk to a professional and can do some of the things they would do if they were a scientist, astronomer, musician, artist, teacher, etc. A child can also go to a music or art room and participate in a “workshop” based on the lesson of the week, such as guitar, drawing animals, piano, singing and more.
The library has books of all genres, including audio books. It has three sofas, 20 beanbags, very fluffy carpet, and a pretend castle. Parents can come in during lunch, recess, or after school and can read books with their child. The auditorium holds plays created by the drama classes every two weeks. The entire community is invited to watch the plays. It is also the resource room for parents who want to learn new technology like iPads and computer software.
My school allows flexibility, freedom, and creativity for the students.
Eric Whitacre Virtual Choir and NPR Interview
Eric Whitacre is a dedicated, creative man. He saw an opportunity and created a masterpiece! This virtual choir was astounding! I cannot believe he was able to combine so many different videos in such harmony. He expressed his mastery in the vocals for choir. He brought people from around the world together as one. The Virtual Choir is truly magnificent!
Teaching in the 21st Century
Kevin Roberts believes teaching in the 21st century means teaching students how to use the resources they have to be engaged in learning. No one is teaching students how to use the web, know what is creditable or not, know what is considered plagiarism, and more. No one is teaching students how to use the technology they use more often than pen, pencil, paper, or books, in a professional manner. Our future as an educator will be focused on technology. We can prepare our students for their careers and life better by teaching them to use technology than by teaching them strictly by a book and pencil. I believe he makes a great point when he focuses on how students aren't truly being taught what they need in today’s society. It was almost shocking and a cold slap of reality.
Flipping the Classroom
After watching videos on Flipping the Classroom by Katie Gimbar, Dr. Lodge, and Ms. Munafo, I cannot fathom why this is not more common today than it is. It is a terrific approach to teaching. Flipping the classroom is the solution for the lack of time available to give our students the help or challenge they need to succeed. Katie Gimbar is also a math teacher, which is what my plan is to be. I feel that if she found it to be effective than I can also apply it to my future classroom. I plan on trying this the first year I begin teaching. It will allow me to be able to reach all students- bored or confused or in the middle. Math is a difficult subject for many students and this will help me give the students a chance to learn and hopefully enjoy the applications of math. I hope “Flipping the Classroom” will become more common in the upcoming years.