In education, I am always looking neat and interesting lessons to bring to my students. Different approached to long used themes might help a different group of students. As I sit and think about new ideas and cruise my Google Reader to see what amazing things other teachers are doing, I find myself thinking of more reasons why something will not work or be allowed than reasons why this new idea will work. Why is that?
I wonder if that is a result of my district, state or something all together different. My district has switched to common assessments for all mid term and final exams. I'm not a fan of this because it doesn't allow me to differentiate for my individual classes come assessment time. Also, getting two departments at two very different high schools to agree on one test has been slow and painful. Multiple tests have been created and nothing seems to stick for more than a year in the past 5. Have I been beaten down by this concept of being like everyone else? Am I starting to worry about being different?
In my first year of teaching, I did something totally different for final exam time for my American Literature classes. I created an Olympic style set of events and broke up each of the three classes into 3 colors. Each class competed in events on the football field that mixed questions and physicals challenges. There was a water balloon toss that forced students to take steps back if they answered questions incorrectly. There was a relay race where students had to construct responses to essay questions to advance in the relay. The assessment lasted 90 minutes and it was a blast. The students I still run into remember that event fondly. Layoffs, subject changes and the new common assessment prevent me from even considering do that again. I should say, it did.
I've decided to stop looking at all of the reasons not to do something and focus on the positives. Now, I'm not going to knowingly do something that will break school policy, but I think that more good can be done if I start to focus on the yes instead of the no.
Your #MissionMonday, if you choose to accept it, is to focus on the yes. Stop looking at the reasons why something will not work and focus on the reasons it will work. Do something new and see if it works. If it doesn't, so what. See if the lesson can be fixed and try it again. If it can't be fixed, try a new idea. I'm going to focus on the yes and see where that takes me. You should try it too.