“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn”
~ John Cotton Dana
Last week, the “great experiment” of educational collaboration between William Berry and me began. Being new to middle school, I have used this year to re-tool my instructional approaches and maximize all of the resources of our school division. When people around Moody ask me about my goals, I simply tell that that my only goal is to push my students to realize every ounce of their potential. In order to achieve this goal, the students should reflect on their learning and participate in activities that are meaningful to them.
One of the things William introduced me to was the Teacher Innovation Progression Chart (TIPC). This is one thing that I have struggled with over the last few weeks. As noted on the Henrico 21 website http://blogs.henrico.k12.va.us/21/tip-chart/
“the Teaching Innovation Progression Chart helps provide teachers with a structure for self-reflection and growth. It is designed to encourage conversation around 21st Century learning and assess progress to meet the goal of full integration of a 21st Century classroom.”
When looking at all the cognates of the TIPC and all that it encompasses, many teachers are blown away. In a conversation about the TIPC, one colleague in our building remarked to me, “I am not sure if I can do all of the things in that chart every day.” In participating in the Reflective Friends process and working with William, I have learned two things: (1) many teachers are already doing many of the things articulated on the TIPC, and (2) the TIPC is not something you have to tackle in one shot or in every lesson of every day.
My maternal grandfather would always tell us boys growing up a riddle that I am sure many of you have heard: How do you eat an elephant? Answer…one bite at a time. After going through my own process of understanding and applying the TIPC in my lesson and unit design, I have learned that every lesson does not have to be at the height of the chart. I would assert that doing so does not give the students the proper supports along the learning continuum. In order to be prepared for a performance-based task that brings out the best in students, each level of the TIPC should be treated as a stepping stone that teachers and students need to reach before moving onto the next task. As educators, particularly with the various populations that we serve, creating lessons that walk a class through the strands of proficiency on the TIPC gives ALL STUDENTS the opportunity to maximize student potential and learning. It is a document that you will hear me mention A LOT because I believe it will make your teaching and learning environment much more dynamic. Trust me on this!
In my next post, I will talk about the relationship of the new “3 R’s of education” and how the process that William and I are modeling supports these revised pillars of our craft. I will also provide some examples of how using the TIPC has made learning more dynamic and fun for everyone.
Okay…let’s get back to work!