Risk.

Reading David Geurin’s great book, Future Driven.  Got me thinking about risk.  I was recently in the classroom of a 29 year veteran math teacher.  It was the first day of all of our 8th and 9th graders coming to class with brand new Chromebooks.  I saw this quote about risk in action from this teacher.

“Students will take exactly the same amount of learning risks they see their teachers take.”

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This great teacher was introducing the kids to Jo Boaler.  He had a great video cued up and was using EdPuzzle to ask questions of the kids as they watched.  Jo Boaler talks about the fact that nothing happens in the brain when kids get the right answers. Mistakes, however, make the brain grow.  Well this teacher demonstrated all of this on DAY ONE with new Chromebooks.  Nothing worked like it was supposed to.  And this great teacher turned that struggle into learning.  Modeled.  Persevered.  The kids all chimed in on how to solve the problem.  Collaboration.  Creativity.  Critical thinking. Communication. Mistakes. Brain growth.

All the result of risk.  Sure.  He could have just had kids take notes on their new device. Nope.  Not nearly risky enough.  Kids need to see educators in action.  Struggling.  Trying new things.  Learning.  Failing.  Making glorious huge mistakes.

Because our students will take exactly the same amount of learning risks they see their teachers take.

Thank you Mr. Kirk Dodge for being such a spectacular, risk taking, educational leader.

Author: Jeff Nelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 36 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 5 years Assistant Superintendent BA, Washington State University MAEd, Washington State University Previous member of AWSP Legislative Committee Previous member of UW Tacoma PEAB, Administrative Certification Established and maintained Fife’s first website for 7 years Present work includes establishing the first Teaching/Learning/Innovation department in the Fife School District. Examples of responsibilities include: teacher/administrator professional development, assessment, TPEP, curriculum/materials review, 24 credit requirement, technology levy leadership, teacher/administrator bargaining. Initiatives underway in Fife, as a result of new TLI Department: AVID, OER, Curriculum and Materials reviews, Student Perception Pilot with CSTP, Google Expedition Cofounder of Educational Internet Communications, LLC. Marketed and sold one of the first online grade checking programs in the US. Consulted with Seattle Educational Internet Company for 2 years. jnelson@fifeschools.com twitter.com/jeffnelsonTLI

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