I guess I am never satisfied. Whereas just two days ago I was happy with an unexpected day off for my birthday, today I am mad at Gov. Christie for declaring an emergency and forcing us to close. We have no choice, which shouldn’t surprise me as I have no choice in what I have to teach or where and when I get to teach it. Of course I have no say in making any decisions but if I did…
Instead of forced stifling classrooms I envision a huge open space divided into hexagonal pods. The building is open 24/7, staffed by three shifts of educators and there is a police station by the only non-emergency entrance. The entrance opens up into the cafeteria where they serve a choice of food for the children. The students then check in with a person, and on the computer.
On the computer they start with a game that reviews the skills they were supposed to learn last night on Khan Academy or sites like it. Those students with perfect scores in the game become student teachers. All content is learned online for homework and only remediated for those who do not get a high enough score in the game. Those students move to a group of five others in need of assistance and each group gets a student teacher to help them master the material. Adults advise and supervise.
The huge main room is divided into groups of six students. Each group is given several authentic open-ended tasks to work on that follow a curriculum heavy on problem solving and report presentation that they receive points for. Scores are kept using a fair and balanced visible system that is updated in real time on the computers. Special status is given to those groups that earn higher levels of points by constantly completing tasks well and demonstrating high level social skills. Instead of dreading Mondays, the students enjoy the learning so much that many come in on weekends.
Tiny claws interrupt my beautiful daydream as my ever-present lap cat stretches and forces me back to reality.