"I really like DI classes because it makes me feel like I can do it. It doesn’t make me feel smart or dumb, big or small—It makes me feel important."
I have been wanting to write about the WHY for a quite a while now and after thinking about it for a prolonged time I feel that I have come to some personal conclusions about the looming questions of WHY in education. I have often heard and had many conversations with a variety of teachers - veterans to newbies - about WHY differentiation/technology/project-based etc. matters. I recently was confronted by a close friend, who is an elementary teacher, on this topic. I was gushing about some awesome new technology and project-based ideas I had come up with and she simply responded with - WHY do they need it? At first I was very defensive. Educational Technology is one of the first loves of my career! How dare she say it wasn't important! I came from a strong background of teaching with technology and I was utilizing paperless 1:1 iPads in the first 5 months of teaching. It has become such a huge part of how I look at my teaching that I can't even imagine my classroom without the influence of the wider world at our fingertips. I ultimately came to the conclusion that IT MATTERS (it being whatever you are trying to or being asked to implement in your classroom) because it is what is best for students. IT MATTERS because it challenges them, engages them, and ultimately makes them feel they are important and cared about in my classroom. The big question of "WHY should I (insert new idea here) try this in my classroom?" is most easily answered by examining the question from the perspective of the students in your classroom. Most importantly: IT MATTERS because THEY MATTER.
After doing this lesson for the second time, I am 100% convinced that for social studies PBL to be authentic and meaningful for students and not just another 'project' I will need to work in world cafe sessions regularly. The passion, honesty and engagement was palatable in the classroom during this discussion today. I was so proud of my students for their efforts to listen to their peers, critically assess the information and provide educated opinions on controversial topics in our world today. Another great day in #webersoc. Check out my twitter @kate_weber7 for more tout videos and social studies related goodness!
Mrs. Katherine (Kate) Weber