Innovation Musings

I have always believed the old adage “Don’t be the sage on the stage, be the guide on the side”. I strive to have students engaged in their learning, creating their own meaning, and working on authentic projects within the curriculum.  So far this year my third graders have done a bridge building and design unit, a coding unit, designed their own video game and published their own graphic novel.  When I list out what they have done, and when I think of what I am still planning to accomplish it looks and feels like a lot.  However, I always think I could do more.

This is what I struggle with-how do I get every student engaged, excited and involved?  For as exciting as the projects are for most kids, some don’t really want to participate.  I still have to coax, cajole and convince some (3 or 4) to engage and finish their project. And it is usually the same kids.  Granted these are projects that I have designed to some extent-based on curriculum, but I give lots of freedom and leeway within the project.  They can work together or by themselves. They have time in class.  I support them.  Still…for some it’s a struggle to finish.  I realize that the creative process is very time consuming.  Sometimes I wonder if some of my third graders are not developmentally ready?

Finally, I love the graphic that John Spencer shared on his website.  I have been following John for awhile.  I think he is extremely insightful and was very happy to see that he was involved in the first IMMOOC Live episode.


2 thoughts on “Innovation Musings

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  1. Your classroom sounds lovely! I struggle with the same questions – how to inspire those same few students who seem to never be able to complete a project without a lot of direct support. I’ve had a student describe it as being frozen by the fear of failure – that it’s impossible to even start because he’s already convinced himself he can’t do it. Are these students possibly our most sensitive, and least resilient, souls? Maybe that’s where we need to begin with them, rather than with the checklists and outlines I usually provide first? Let me know if you find something that works, and I’ll do the same!


    1. Interesting. It’s great that your student was able to articulate what was holding him back. I wish we had more time to work individually with each student. I like your observation and it makes so much sense.


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