This is the latest in a series of blog posts by partnering teachers.
Fluency Colleagues Chat about Their Journey to Date By Missy Fritter and Heidi Hohman, Ohio County Public Schools
“Create for yourself, do it in celebration of your ability to do so, regardless of what anyone else thinks.”-Rachel Hollis from Girl, Wash Your Face
I feel this speaks well of the fluency process and what we are attempting with our students. Currently, in education, as well as life, lots of people like to give step by step instructions for everything that is to be done and many times a person can feel pigeonholed into a specific fixed mindset and never allow themselves to explore their own creativity and create their own experiences. As educators, we must allow students the opportunities to take chances and learn to fail as well as succeed in order to learn what works and what doesn’t. In the fluency process students learn the freedom to express themselves in their work without fear of doing something wrong or not being accepted. (Missy)
I agree with you, Missy. When we are given the freedom to explore and to create, amazing things can happen. This is true for students, but also for educators. Thinking back to the first few experiences the students and I had with our new chromebooks and comparing that to the way we approach things now, the difference is dramatic. We have developed stamina, perseverance and a sense of confidence that has grown exponentially. These traits are the foundation for richer, deeper work of the future. (Heidi)
“The easiest way to get old is to be technologically behind, A.J.”-Gabrielle Zevin, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
I think that I feared that if I was not proactive, I was going to be just like the character, A.J. Fikry--cranky and a bit outdated. I have never been anti-technology, but I was feeling overwhelmed to the point of frustration prior to joining the Fluency project. I felt like I had great ideas, but I did not know what was out there that would match my students’ needs or mine. Our innovation coaches, quality professional development, and the access to reliable devices have certainly made it much easier to begin to implement those ideas. Fluency has also opened my eyes to the beauty of technology as a tool to enhance student learning and to build relationships rather than an end in itself. This is a major shift in my thinking. I felt compelled to include technology as a way to meet certain standards to be sure my students were prepared, but I knew I was missing a vital part. (Heidi)
For me, this school year has seen a lot of change across the county as well as in my very own classroom. We were asked to become more innovative in our teaching so we would integrate technology into lessons that we are currently using with the students as well as create some new lessons that would assist students in using more technology within their assignments. (Missy)
I remember thinking that was doable, and I liked that at the Fluency summer workshop there had been such an emphasis on utilizing technology to increase our knowledge of students. Forging those meaningful relationships with my students is something I have been attempting to do for a very long time, so I began thinking about how I could make that my main focus for the year. (Heidi)
Personally, I have always loved using technology in my classroom (which has mostly been computers only), but am now trying to see other ways students could use additional programs and devices to learn. I think there are so many different technologies available nowadays and sometimes it is very overwhelming to wade through what is just entertaining vs. educational. I personally feel the more we expose students to technology for educational purposes, the more comfortable they will be with using it thoughtfully and in a meaningful manner. With all that being said, I do think the above mentioned quote is glaringly true as the students we are working with are more technologically advanced than their teachers. Therefore, if teachers do not stay abreast of the newest technology and find ways to enable their students to explore and learn using it, then we grow old as educators and our students fall behind. (Missy)
“When we play together, we are unbeatable.” -Mina Javaherbin, Goal
This quote sums up what I have really come to understand in my Fluency journey to date. By embracing the adventure, I think my students and I have discovered so much! We have learned about using technology to produce a finer product, but, more importantly, we have learned to rely on each other to discover how to use tools that are now at our fingertips. This growth has been a shared experience based on our willingness to try and experiment TOGETHER. With the support of our county, the Fluency family, and my students, I feel that my practice has been revitalized and rejuvenated. I am filled with gratitude and hope for what is next. (Heidi)
Heidi, I wholeheartedly agree! Even though I still have questions about Fluency, I have found that working with students to explore through “play” that we are able to enjoy our learning more and find new questions to ask and investigate at another time as well. Through further exploration of these questions, we are unbeatable in the respect that our curiosity is always sparking and knowledge is attained through collaboration. I, too, look forward to the future and all it holds for my students and myself as well. (Missy)
Leave a Reply.