As we return to the classroom in January we’re refreshed, renewed, and rarin’ to go, right? If you’ve been putting off shifting your classroom due to time constraints, fear, or confusion about what “shifting” is, now is the time to take that first step forward. In the five full months that remain (in most of North America, at least), commit yourself to one of these steps each month and you’ll be on your way.

S – SHARE: Remember the days when your lessons were “yours” and kept safely under lock and key? Lose that mindset – now. Shifted teachers share. They create a personal learning network where they share lessons, ideas, projects, resources, rubrics… Read Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education by Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli to get started. Follow up with The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall to expand and sustain your connectedness.

H – HAND OVER THE REINS: It used to be that teachers were the sole source of information and learning in the classroom. No longer. The role of the teacher has changed. In today’s world, information is rapidly changing and limitless. Teachers don’t possess all the information, so we must teach students how to learn. Introduce them to the tools and resources, and teach them how to use them responsibly. We must show them how to network, learn from other students, and guide them to discover their interests and passions. You can read many stories of teachers doing this here at our Voices blog.

I – INTEGRATE TECHNOLOGY: You’ve heard it before, and you’ve stalled, hesitated, dragged your feet. Why? Are you afraid the students will know more than you do? It’s ok to learn with them. Students today must know how to safely represent themselves online, verify online sources, and use the digital tools necessary to collaborate and create. There’s lots of help online – here’s one real good place to start. Also, get on Twitter — find your people.

F – FLATTEN YOUR CLASSROOM: This phrase was born from the Flat Classroom Project, which works to connect classrooms across the globe. Thanks to Skype, blogs, and global projects like this, students can connect and learn from other students all over the world. The world is getting smaller and smaller, and our students need to know how to work and learn in a global community. Looking for an easy way to start? Try the Global Read Aloud project, or Mystery Skype!

T – TAKE A CLASS: Shifted teaching is all about cultivating life-long learners, and you must lead by example. Some great PD is out there, including Powerful Learning Practice which offers a full year PD program or fantastic online courses to help you get started. There are also webinars and virtual conferences offered year-round. No more excuses – an exciting future awaits you and your students!


Image: dream designs

See Patti Grayson’s own posts about shifting her teaching practice here on the Voices blog.

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Patti Grayson

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