How to promote experimentation during the COVID-19 shutdowns

There are many, many real challenges associated with these school closings.  I don’t take them lightly and I appreciate the leaders working to ensure equity, provide services and promote a caring culture from a distance.  To those of you doing that, I thank you.

In the midst of this, though, we can find opportunities. 

Now is a time to ask ourselves how we have been constrained by our school calendars and daily schedules.  Now is a time to encourage experimentation and growth so that we might return to school with fresh ideas.

Here are few possibilities…

What if…

  • Instead of teachers meeting with their classes or sections, they met according to interest/need groups?  In high school and middle school, teachers teach multiple sections of the same course.  Why not mix and match students for new groupings? Some might be based on need and teachers could use the time for focused tutorials.  Others might be based on interest and might be more student-led while the teacher observes or facilitates?
  • Teachers dropped in, or even guest-lectured, in one another’s classes?  A fourth grade teacher might drop into a third grade class to get a sense of where her future students stand.  A social studies/history teacher might drop into a math class to get a sense of how his students approach that subject?
  • Teachers paired up to create optional interdisciplinary interactive lectures via zoom? Math and science teachers might come together to show students how their subjects merge.  ELA and History teachers might do the same.

There are so many more.  We have allowed ourselves to be limited by any number of constraints—the length of day and of classes, the limited time for professional interaction, etc.  We have an opportunity right now to go beyond class time and physical walls.  Let’s see what we can do with it.

I would love to hear how others are experimenting…