Three student voice ideas.

In the old days, I was a wrestling coach. My colleague and I would routinely attend coaching clinics. We considered it a successful clinic if we came away with one good, useable idea for our team.

The same theory applies to reading excellent books. The book I just finished is Street Data, by @ShaneSafir and @JamilaDugan.

It’s an eye-opener and I definitely recommend it. I haven’t tallied up the great ideas yet, but here are three for sure, all centered on authentic student voice:

First idea. “Equity Learning Walks and Instructional Rounds: Students as Colleagues. If we want to understand the student experience, we need student observers by our side. Invite students to articulate their lenses and questions by asking, ‘What should we be paying attention to when we walk into classrooms?’” Having students not only join educators on school walks, but asking the students to tell educators what to look for. Yowzers!

Second idea. Joint student-teacher professional learning. “One high school in Des Moines, Iowa, decided to try joint student-teacher professional learning. In their first attempt, administrators brought forty-five students into conversation with seventy-two teachers around how to make learning more culturally inclusive and engaging (Superville, 2019). The school’s equity coach worked with the students behind the scenes to prepare them for this opportunity, including dress rehearsals with feedback. The dry run was so successful that soon, nearly one hundred students attended a staff PD to help teachers sharpen their lesson plans and make instruction more relevant.” We have had kids join staff in various formats, but not, to my recollection, ‘official professional learning’. I LOVE this idea.

Third idea. Students of all ages are perfectly capable of designing and leading lessons. “Imagine inviting your second graders to pair up and rotate leading a community circle once a week. As an English teacher, I designed an instructional routine called Read and Lead to foster student agency and literacy. Students paired up to study a segment of the class text (we were reading Beloved and then Othello at the time) and design an interactive lesson for a small group of peers. Each pair had the opportunity to teach a lesson in which their peers would not only participate but would also provide feedback. It was so much fun, and I watched many a shy learner build moxie and confidence. The process also created a common language around teaching and learning in the classroom.” Again, I know I’ve seen this in pockets, but not as an ongoing concern. A fantastic idea.

So, Street Data, has impacted my thinking in a whole bunch of ways and left a legacy of ideas to implement!

Author: Jeff Nelson

Jeff Nelson Fife School District Assistant Superintendent:Teaching-Learning-Innovation 39 years as an educator. 16 years teacher 3 years assistant principal 12 years principal 8 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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