What I need to relearn

I’m reading The Connected Educator by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall and one of the cool elements is the challenge to connect at the end of each chapter.  Chapter 3 was about what we need to learn, unlearn or relearn as a connected educator and the tool this chapter was Wallwisher.  If you’ve used wallwisher you already know that it’s a short and sweet kind of posting on a notice board, and if you know me you know that sometimes I’m just not that great at ‘short and sweet’ responses…especially when something is muddling around in my head.

Therefore, I’ve had to expand a bit here and I hope you’ll provide some push back or ideas for me.  In terms of being a connected educator, I think that conceptually and practically I’m good at allowing students to take charge and to support them in directing their own learning.  My experience is that this usually takes us to a place that exceeds formal curriculum expectations so I’m happy, parents are happy, and students are happy!  That’s great!

What I need to relearn, is how to effectively document and plan for this….or get over the fact that you really can’t!   I like to deviate from plans (always do!) but I also like having a plan and I’m going to confess that this is where I feel weakest in my classroom practice.   Part of this comes from not using pre-fab lesson plans (I just can’t teach the same thing over and over) not gravitating toward the stand and deliver style (PBL is my preference) and every year and every group of students means different ways to inquire about topics – it changes all the time.

I need to ask for some examples from my network to help in this area.  I should connect with people like Shelley Wright for some concrete examples of how she is making shifted control work in practice.  I loved her ideas about have students select 3/4 of their assignment for her to assess in order to encourage risk-taking and playing around with learning (page 53).   This reminded me of working with student portfolios in the past and it’s really doable.   I need to search out some other examples and put them into practice for my AQ course so that I can model these new approaches for planning and assessment.

What do you do?  How are you shifting and what are the practical implications for planning and assessment?


  1. Brenda – I recently finished the book as well, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Learning, unlearning, and relearning used to scare me, but now it seems a way of life!

    I have also found that although I like to HAVE a plan, the odds that I’ll change it mid-stream are significant! As far as planning goes, the last time I put together a PBL unit, I used a wiki, and was pretty happy with that as a way of organizing the unit: http://pblgrayson.pbworks.com/w/page/45895732/1%20-%20Project%20Framework

    For assessment, I use a combination of rubrics, teamwork surveys, a reflective essay, and even a conference with the student about what they learned, and what grade they feel they earned. My 4th graders are pretty honest about themselves!

    I also loved Shelley’s idea about letting students choose 3/4 of their work to be assessed! It gives students the freedom to try (and fail) without penalty, which is invaluable.

    Glad to have found a fellow PLPeep and a great addition to my PLN through Sheryl and Lani’s book! Adding this to my RSS, and finding you on Twitter as soon as I post! 🙂


    • Hi Patti,
      Great to meet you here! I have been following you on twitter for a while because I saw you in the PLP Network, so I’m thrilled that we’re now connected through Sheryl and Lani’s book. Thanks so much for sharing your PBL project. I think checking out more and more of what teachers are doing with new technologies will help me document things in a way that honours the plan but also the flexibility. I agree that wikis are awesome for this!



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