Six years ago I began the second phase of my teaching career. I left the special education classroom to pursue a technology-integration position. I absolutely love technology and how it’s constantly changing, constantly challenging the way we think about teaching, and the power that it brings to students. When I started my new position we had a monthly PD session called Learning At Lunch. After my first successful year of leading many Learning At Lunch sessions, I realized things needed to change…
A New Idea:
A new idea began to develop. Instead of teachers taking their lunch breaks to learn new skills, a strictly technology-focused professional development idea took root. My principal suggested Computers and Coffee, where I would train teachers on technology use before school. I loved the idea. I hated coffee. Thus Computers and Cronuts was born. Yes, a cronut is a real thing (it’s a croissant/donut hybrid, and it’s AMAZING).
Computers and Cronuts went through its own evolution over the next 4 years (times, days, number of required meetings, types of activities, etc… were changed). The school and staff were evolving in their needs. After 4 years of change and opportunities to learn new technology something became quite clear. It was now time for Computers and Cronuts to die.
I had loved Computers and Cronuts, but knew it had run its course. After speaking about my desire to kill Computers and Cronuts with a colleague, I decided to not look at its death as something negative, but as a celebration. A few quick graphics later and Computers and Cronuts had a funeral (see image to the right). My staff probably thought I was completely crazy. Why was I having so much fun planning a funeral? Had I lost my mind? No! Well, maybe.
What’s Wrong With Jon?
At the risk of looking like someone in total depression I decided to take the idea of “death” and use it for our Monday night district Twitter chat, #ACSedChat. A Funeral For My Classroom was going to be the topic. It was one of my favorite chats because teachers were in deep discussions about lessons, plans, techniques and ideas that needed to change in their classrooms. It was a time of deep reflection. It was a time when teachers decided what parts of their classrooms needed to evolve, change, and ultimately grow. Below are the questions asked during the chat and some of the answers teachers gave.
Death In Your Classroom!
As I finish this post I want you to think about your own classroom. Reflect on the questions from the Twitter chat. What practices did you begin your career with that have died? What practices and ideas do you currently use that should die? What zombie ideas (ideas that should die but won’t) plague your classroom? What can you do to specifically kill some of those practices? Teachers have so much on their plates these days. It is important to make sure that we evaluate our procedures, practices, and technology use periodically. This ensures that each item we dedicate time to is accomplishing its goal, and worth the time we are spending on it.
Death is sad. Death is often a very scary process to go through. Death can also be a time for celebration.
About The Author:
Jon Smith is currently an Apple Distinguished Educator and Technology Integration Specialist for Alliance City Schools where his class eBook projects have attracted attention for their global reach and practical approaches to integrating transliteracy practices into the classroom. Jon was a special education teacher for 12 years before moving into technology integration. Jon recently organized seven global eBook projects in which classrooms from around the world wrote and published eBooks. He is married with three children. Jon is a scratch golfer and Apple enthusiast. In his spare time, he teaches a class on engaging technologies for The Communicate Institute. You can connect with Jon on Twitter @theipodteacher