Yesterday’s Twitter #satchatwc (which got moved to #satchat due to spamming) was full of innovative ways to amplify the unique time we may each year for Back to School Night. Rather than seven minute silos for each teacher to hand out the syllabus and review expectations, or “get to know you” (which is absurd with 15-40 parents in seven minutes!), here were a few ideas…
- Involve students!
- Provoke parent input about their hopes, dreams, and expectations.
- Mini design-thinking exercises; post up parent ideas for all to see.
- Spill over into the hallways.
- Build your school’s brand; teachers are our most critical ambassador of mission and vision.
…and so many more.
On the Twitter feed this morning, I read and passed along several items about STEM, robotics, and programming. Why, in 2013, is programming not a course of integrated study K-12? Pre-schoolers are learning to program with a board game. More importantly, in my view, is the need to export/transport/amplify/leverage the kind of thinking and learning that goes into STEM, robotics, and programming to our humanities classes. Kids are excited when they get to design, build, test, work with their classmates, try stuff, tear it apart, build it again, show it off, earn points. How much of this takes place in social studies, English, and foreign language classes? Kids will be excited if we use that same quiver of arrows to write, read, investigate, research, analyze, and synthesize in our humanities classes. Yes, we need more kids to go into STEM in order to remain competitive in science and engineering, but we ALSO REALLY need more kids to go into whatever they are passionate about in order to remain competitive in creational thinking, empathy, justice, and the understanding of the human condition.
What do these have in common? Changing our approach to what we want to learn. Back to School Night is a learning opportunity for parents, students, teachers…the school community. The same type of thinking and learning that helps kids enjoy building robots belongs in the English class, Back to School Night…wherever we want learning to occur!