When was the last time students came running into the classroom like Bilbo Baggins getting ready for an adventure?? When was the last time YOU came to work like that?
Then there is this passage from the best novel ever....
Gandalf: I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone.
Bilbo Baggins: I should think so - in these parts! We are plain quiet folks and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!
Thanks to Jennie Mageria for reminding me of that passage as she opened her keynote speech at #NCTIES17
I thought about this and reviewed my notes from the conference as I helped plan the June Twitter chat on Design Thinking. A big part of the Design Thinking mindset focuses on learning from failure. In her opening keynote, Jennie Mageria reminded us to turn your FAIL (First Attempt In Learning) into SAIL (Subsequent Attempts In Learning.) ,,but first you have to find your team of adventurers AND a way in.
In The Hobbit, notably a powerful example of a piece of literature that can teach about the power of having a growth mindset, Bilbo and the dwarves always manage to find a way in. A hidden door, a crack...whatever. As educators, we understand the importance of finding that way in. A way in is a place to get your foot in the door: take it where you find it. Build those relationships with the students you teach. Find out what makes them tick.
To get students to learn, you have to get students.
Also as I was looking for Design Thinking resources to share with teachers in my district, I came across this video. I knew I had to share it here so I could dig a little deeper into its power. Take a few minutes and watch it.
In Five Rules of Design Thinking to Reach All Students, Michael Roush makes a compelling argument that resonates with so many educators always looking for that way in!
1 Teach like you are Banksy (read the rule book - then rip it up)
Rules are guidelines (in most cases) and need to be adjusted for certain situations. Every learner is unique. What works for one or two definitely won't work for all. Bend the rules, don't break the students.
2 Teach like you are Leonardo DaVinci (be curious about everything - never stop trying to make things better)
For me, the point about not making students pick art or academics hit close to home. I watched my children have to do this and was powerless to fix it. This needs to stop. Leonardo DaVinci is a GREAT example to support this small change in practice.
3 Teach like you are Chanel (strive for beauty and elegance, but understand that those things will be different for everyone)
We all bring our own background music to learning. We need to remember this and create spaces where our students can share their background music comfortably and appreciate each others'. Strive to find some morsel of beauty in everything.
4 Teach like you are Brunel (planning is important, but imagination is what makes the extraordinary possible)
You can't do what you've always done! If you go by yesterday's rules and guidelines, then there is no room for growth. Learn from mistakes and failures and modify the rules as the situations change.
5 - Don't blame the lettuce. If the lettuce doesn't grow well, you don't blame the lettuce.
This is my favorite! How often have we heard folks "blame the lettuce"? Be optimistic about EVERY student! Help students find their strengths and bring out the strengths in others. Through their eyes, try to see your own strengths AND weaknesses.
What steps will you take to find a way in as you plan for the new school year?