I am 12 or so weeks into having iPads in the classroom, and each week, new revelations occur. An area of focus this week has been answering this question: “What type of student will thrive in the 1:1 classroom and what type of student will struggle?” The obvious follow up to that question is then “What supports can I create for the students to help them adapt and thrive.”
Today in class I was doing an activity using Hindu god cards. (Find more about this specific activity here). The goal is to generate questions about the values that are represented and symbols that are present in the Hindu religion.
In the past I have provided some lecture instruction prior to the activity. This year I did not. I am less likely to do so in general because I am growing used to the students seeking the answers themselves. I can create a lesson that generates interesting, compelling and student generated questions.
As these types of lessons become more common I find that there is one category of student is likely to get frustrated, even agitated by them: The high achieving and intelligent student used to high instruction, heavy content classes. These are good, even great students who want to do well and are eager to be told how to do so. They are used getting the answers and learning them. They are highly intelligent. They excel on tests and projects and will be the one with many questions about “the right way” to do things. They are masters trained in the art of the teacher centered classroom.
And they are going to STRUGGLE when faced with the changes caused by open ended and interpretive lessons that are becoming a part of my 1:1 classroom. They wonder when I am going to lecture and start giving notes and they wonder why there aren’t more worksheets and packets for them to complete thoroughly. Very often, their parents are wondering that same thing.
I believe that very shortly they will adapt and learn how to be successful and grow more comfortable but in the interim I will need to develop a completely different set of supports to help them to adapt. I will need to have a dialogue from the beginning to explain how and why the model has shifted.
In the end it comes down to the “Why” behind your classroom. You need to know the “Why” behind your what you do and begin sharing it on day 1. Sharing these goals and helping to develop a set of class values is key. If students know why you do what you do, they can trust you, overcome their initial discomfort, and succeed.
These graphics are what I devised to share my vision with my students. They will be on the wall in my classroom.
The Old Model:
The New Model: