“Mrs. Kane, I’m bored!
There is nothing to do out here,” said a sweaty little sweetie at recess.
I looked in disbelief at the multilevel brightly colored playground equipment. How could she be bored? Yet, I heard this complaint at every recess.
It wasn’t always this way.
A decade earlier, our school did not have a playground. The kids played in a big grassy empty lot at the back of our property (don’t judge). They had a whole “tent town” thing going on. They used sticks, rocks, and abandoned lumber, along with other flotsam and jetsam they found in the grass to build the forts. The only problem we had were occasional turf wars. They were busy and not bored.
They were innovative.
Innovation:a new method, idea, or product, to make a beneficial change, to introduce something as if new, teaching/allowing/enabling students to take a new idea, an old idea, someone’s idea and make it better.
I’d like to add my own definition: Innovation is not an isolated project or activity; it is a philosophy or “teaching worldview.” It’s allowing children to use 19th century skills (creating, carving, inventing, crafting, composing, designing) in 21st century classrooms.
Innovation is what we do when we have a bad snow storm and lose power-we become innovators instead of consumers. (Admit it. Your kids invent all kinds of games to play when the power goes out).
How innovative are you?
Innovative Teacher Test:
- I try new things in my classroom. I am brave.
- I make mistakes and my kids know it.
- I am transparent. I ask for help when I need it and admit my mistakes (See number 2)
- I use technology as a tool.
- My classroom is connected.
- I am a lifelong learner. Each day I learn something new about education.
- My students have voice and choice.
- I am very likely to learn it on Sunday and try it on Monday!
- My lesson plans are a living breathing document.
- I always have a project going.
- My kids talk as much or more than I do.
- I am one of several teachers in my classroom.
- Failure is ok in my class.
- I praise process instead of product.
- I share ideas with others.
If you answered yes to ten or more items, you are on your way to becoming an innovative teacher! If you answered yes to less than ten questions, don’t get discouraged. Get your growth mindset on, pick an item from the list above and start researching!
Check out my Resource Page for innovation resources!
Do you have another item that should be added to the Innovative Teacher Test? Please leave me a comment below. I’d love to chat with you!
By Mary Kay Kane
all rights reserved. copyright 2017