What are we doing?
What are we doing today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year? These questions haunt us as teachers because in responsive classes… they shift. They shift because of school events, they shift because of our students, they shift because of societal events. What do you do with this:
when you find out on Friday March 13th that you aren’t coming back to class next week because you are going on a COVID-19 quarantine? What do you do when your students’ textbook is stuck in their PE locker, how do you structure your learning?
Me, I gave up textbooks long ago. Why? Well…
- English textbooks are heavy and huge, they barely fit in our lockers- they crush 9th graders under the weight of their backpacks, and our students have the smallest lockers in the district so…
- Students would often forget to bring them to class and two students sharing a book rarely works that well.
- I don’t do study guides or answer the questions as the end of the reading teaching. I’ve never needed a “teachers’ edition” of a textbook.
- The textbooks weren’t current- they weren’t responsive to our “now.”
- The Internet: I can grab poems, text, podcasts, videos… why limit myself to a text book?
But I gotta be honest, I still needed something to lean against, a structure- so I usually taught with novels and non-fiction books. I love novels. Even if all I’m doing is having us read, and talk, and write about how the book intertwines with our lives.
But my students only took home one book and March became April became May and I needed something else to lean on. I needed a path to get us through this uncharted territory. So I leaned on my thematic modules, my pedagogy paths, except they started looking different, how different? Let me show you.
Pedagogy Pathway #1: Built on my high school’s B4L Student Learning Outcome Model
If you don’t know how to crop images into shapes, check out this quick tutorial from Coffee Nancy. I just used Google Slides to create this. Don’t forget that double-clicking any shape lets you turn it into a text box, like those four circles above.
Pedagogy Pathway #2: Picture Pathway: themes built around around a single image from my life to make sure my personal presence was seen in our online learning space. The more students know about you the more they feel connected to the class and the content. Creating a pedagogy pathway around a single metaphor or image is a fun way to let them know about you. Additionally, it shows students that our name, face, story, has a place in what we are about to learn. A picture pathway has some other benefits as well.
Why else is it important to create these visual metaphors? Well, first of all it helps me conceptualize what we are doing for the week and how it all flows together. It’s one of the tricks I use for writing. Gather and organize the visuals and the text will flow and find structure. But there are other ways metaphor assists learning:
- Metaphors can function heuristically as a tool for discovery (spiral staircase or ladder).
- Metaphors can some times qualify the teaching actions of the teacher (pottery, gardening, artistry, policeman, entertainer, sermonizer, scholar, a guide, a coach, a researcher, a sculptor, conductor, gardener, mid-wife, etc.).
- Metaphors can determine the way the learner or learning process is seen (sponge, filter, funnel, and strainer).
- Metaphors can function as tools for communication.
- Metaphors mediate the understanding of the nature of the school as educational institution (family, factory, etc.).
Everything in these slides were clickable and clicking on them took you to a particular part of the learning module in our Canvas LMS class. Here’s what the module looked like without the image.
Pedagogy Pathway #3: Game-board Pedagogy Pathway created by Amanda Sandoval. All you need is a Google Slide, insert a table over a background image, and some pro design skills, and BOOM- your learning is going quantum. I love learning from Amanda.
Pedagogy Pathway #4: How about a more simple Teaching Trinity: Learn, Practice, Assess. An effective structure for the week, that won’t take a ton of time to create. Created by the smart and thoughtful Mrs. Byars at Eleanor Roosevelt High School.
Pedagogy Pathway #5: The Basic Burger: This is my teaching version of an In-N-Out Double Double. Some tasty learning sandwiched between an inviting intro and an educationally sound student reflection.
But then I started riffing on this idea. What if I took some other structures and created a week-long Pedagogy Pathway out of them? So I came up with the following, they aren’t perfected yet but I’m excited about trying these out next year.
Pedagogy Pathway #6: 5e Model- magnify your learning by using this NGSS Science inspired pedagogy pathway based on the 5e Model created by BSCS and Rodger Bybee
Pedagogy Pathway #7: RRRRRamp up that learning with the 5r model used by Sean Ziebarth my teaching partner and pedagogy peer-tutor, I learn so much from Sean.
Pedagogy Pathway #8: Design Thinking- What if we created a pedagogy pathway using the design thinking steps? Hmm maybe we should test this out and then reflect, and revise.
Pedagogy Pathway #9: Well, well, well, if it isn’t the 4Cs model broken down into 5 days. That’s some 21st century learning right there.
Do I have more models and ideas? Of course. We could create a pedagogy pathway using the Habits of Mind or there’s a special pedagogy pathway that I can’t wait to dive into, but that will have to wait for another week or two.
I know that this topic isn’t new for some of you, but when I shared it with some teachers from other districts it seemed new to them, so I decided to create this post. If you know of a website, or blog post, or another resource that covers this topic in greater detail, or gives other types of pedagogy pathways please leave a comment and link below.
Please feel free to use anything above in PD for your school, or district, or in a presentation, or blog post, but please don’t claim this for your own and sell it on Teachers Pay Teachers because everything in this blog post was created by David Theriault for educational use and is under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 6/23/20 unless I noted another creator’s name next to their creation in which case they hold the rights to their creation.