Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Most Important Take-Away

This simple tweet pretty much sums up the best take-away from the first day of flipcon13. In fact, it pretty much sums up teaching in general, don't you think? At least for me it does. I've never been able to  teach a kid anything if I didn't have a relationship with them in the first place. That's why I've always spent the first few days of a school year getting to know my kids. I use some silly activities (but not many, because as an adult, I hate touchy, feely get to know you activities), kids give little speeches to introduce themselves,

and we talk.

We talk a lot.

We talk about summer.

We talk about sports practices
play practices
swim practice

We talk about jobs
We talk about cars
We talk about friends

And snuck into all that talking...
We talk about books and writing and homework and school

And I learn a lot.

Now, don't get me wrong. I learned a lot in all my sessions. There was a great one just for English teachers and we just talked about how to go about this thing called flipped learning. At first it seems like it can't be done, that it's just for those science and math people. But then little ideas start creeping in--what if I have students get their background knowledge in some other way, in some other form, without me lecturing?

What if there's a way to teach/reteach grammar rules, writing rules, without drill and kill worksheets?

What if I can figure out more ways to give them choice? Do kids have to take a test to show what they have learned? What if they have a better way to share their learning?

Do they have to complete the activities I have come up with?
What if they have something else they want to try?

What if....
The possibilities are endless.

And there are two amazing English teachers who team teach their classes....
one in California...
one in North Carolina.

Cross country, team teaching. Revolutionary.

So even though I will flip entire classes instead of units next school year, I won't cheat myself and my students out of that community we build each year. In fact, that community, that family, will be more important than ever. We will have to learn from each other, depend on each other, share with each other.

And if that isn't 21st century learning, I don't know what is.


  1. Thank you for this post. I love the phrase "What if..." I started flipping at the end of the year 2 years ago so I new the students already. But, last year, I started at the beginning of the year. In retrospect, I rushed the beginning of the year getting to know you process. Too enthusiastic to "get started" I guess. But, on the other hand, flipping, once it's up and running, allows more time in class to interact with the students. I suppose it evened out in the end, but this next year, I'm going to slow the first few weeks down a little bit.

    1. This is exactly what I was thinking about. I'm so excited to really get started that I needed to remind myself to build community first. The thing I loved about flipcon was that relationships was talked about in every session I attended.

  2. Sounds like you are already gearing up for fall! Exciting stuff!

    1. I am, Donna. This conference was so amazing that it's hard not to be excited to get going!

  3. Missed you at All Write, but excited to hear about this, Deb. Your post today isn't new stuff, but everyone needs to hear it again and again. Relationships matter! Hope you tell about more!