Whatever Works – Don’t Fight It!

A middle school teacher that I worked with last year said “whatever works, don’t fight it” when we would talk about all the different things we tried in our classes.   She was referring to how she was engaging her students. Willing to try just about anything, she maintained throughout the year that she was going to keep doing what was working for her.

Because what I was doing wasn’t working, I’ve revamped the plans for one district. The thing is, I wasn’t being effective. It wasn’t bringing on change or improvement. The teachers involved needed something different. It’s difficult to stop something that you were convinced is going to work and to go at it from another angle.

Whatever works, don’t fight it

So, where did this new plan come from? If you look back at my post after Educon, you’ll see that I am thinking that sharing stories is a fantastic way to bring improvement to our classrooms. In order to make this list, I listened to stories from and read and studied information from Kern Kelley, Helen Barrett, the collective wisdom of http://1to1schools.net/ and countless articles and pieces of research.

Here’s the new plan as it stands now (subject to change):

  1. It’s not a tech initiative, it’s a learning initiative
  2. Digital Portfolios (using Google Sites)
  3. Managing the 1:1 Classroom
  4. Starting a student leadership team in grades 5-8
  5. Sharing success stories with colleagues
  6. Parent/Community training and showcases

The thing is though, that this new set of objectives may still not bring on enough improvement and discussion to satisfy the participants. Part of me feels like there isn’t anything wrong with trying to help and ultimately not making a change,  and part of me feels extremely concerned. Each teacher and group of students is unique. How would you cope / deal / discuss / decide what your next step was?

1.       It’s not a tech initiative, it’s a learning initiative

2.       Digital Portfolios using Google Sites

3.       *Managing the 1:1 Classroom  –

4.       Starting a student leadership team in grades 5-8

5.     Sharing success stories with colleagues

6.     Parent/Community training and showcases

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4 thoughts on “Whatever Works – Don’t Fight It!

  1. Nell Broughton says:

    Mrs. Thumann,
    My name is Nell Broughton and I am a student at The University of South Alabama and a student of Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class! I loved this post and I have enjoyed reading your blog posts recently. I think that the six parts of your new plan seem like great ideas! I think yes we need to make a change in the classroom and I extremely agree with your first part of the new plan saying that it is not about tech initiative its about a learning initiative, although I do feel like technology is a huge part, but its all about LEARNING. We need to improve learning and teaching in the classrooms! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Hello Lisa,
    I think you are ahead of the game already. Your willingness to revise and modified your plan to address the needs of your participants is powerful. Many PD providers continue to do what is planned regardless of their audience. I think it is commendable of you to assess your effectiveness. I tell my teachers to try one new learning initiative per cycle and become comfortable with the learning tool or strategy before taking on a new one.
    Teachers must also model life long learning and technology allow them to so. Thank you for your insights.

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