It’s Time to Redefine "Student Work"

Update for Feb 17-20


I recently had the opportunity to listen to a group of students answer questions about what they thought about Student Work, which is a component of our school district’s Blended Learning Framework.



The students’ answers were revealing to me and the other administrators who were in the room.  The students, who ranged from 1st grade to 12th grade, had similar answers when asked to talk about doing work that was relevant, meaningful and authentic.  

Students used words like freedom, collaboration, interests, choice, and passion when describing the kind of work that is meaningful and relevant to them.


One of the high school students elaborated on what it is like to work with a teacher who was knowledgeable in the kind of work the student was focusing on as a learner.  The student described how his art teacher was more of a collaborator who threaded her experience into what he was learning.  


Then the student made a comment that affirmed something that has been in my heart and on my mind as I continue to think about the ways in which we educators need to continue to learn and grow.  He said, “I believe teachers need to continue to learn in the same ways they expect us to learn.”


Unpacking that statement has enormous implications for any teacher.  Let’s think about this: Learning the same way we expect our kids to learn.  

We say that we want students to be creative, critical thinkers who collaborate and can communicate with others. But are we really living that sort of life as a learner? 

Does the way we adults learn look different in ways that match the world we live in? You may be saying yes, but are you really collaborating differently? Are you really communicating differently? Creativity and critical thinking?


Finally, the student’s commentary on learning and “Student Work” makes me think of the question George Couros once asked” Would you want to be a learner in your own classroom?.  


This has been a great reflective question for me as a teacher.  And as a principal, I ask a similar question: “Would I want to be a student at this school?”. As a teacher, I would say to myself, “Is this how I learn? Is this what I would want to do in order to learn?”. This usually helped me create more authentic experiences for students.  

Were they the best lessons ever?  

Nope. 

But they were way better than they were before I started putting myself in my students’ shoes.  

Reflecting on these kinds of questions will help us reflect on our practice and redefine what we believe student work should look like.

Articles Worth Reading

** THIS ONE IS A MUST READ!!! ** “Redefining Teachers with a 21st Century Education ‘Story’” | MindShift http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/02/redefining-teachers-with-a-21st-century-education-story/ via @MindShiftKQED

“Digital badges: The new standard for skills verification” http://smartblogs.com/education/2015/02/10/digital-badges-the-new-standard-for-skills-verification/ via @SBEducation

“Maybe we don’t understand what readers really do – and why it matters” http://wp.me/pRqx7-F6 via @grantwiggins

Free Technology for Teachers: “Save Kahoot Quiz Results In Your Google Drive Account” http://www.freetech4teachers.com/2015/02/save-kahoot-quiz-results-in-your-google.html?spref=tw

“Stanford researcher says math facts without context are actually harmful to conceptual math” ow.ly/IY4o0

Video Worth Watching

How passionate are you?

Upcoming Dates

Feb 17
Waiver Day — Hilliard U
Parent Committee Meeting, 7pm at Bradley HS Aux Commons

Feb 19
Admin Meeting (Herb), 8am

Feb 20
Preschool Firefighter program in Cafe, 9:30am
Testing Protocol Meeting — 3rd, 4th, 5th Grade planning times

Feb 24
Wellness Committee Meeting, 7pm

Mar 3
BIT meeting, 8am

Mar 4
Flower Sale Kick-off
Special Education Team meeting, 12:30

Mar 5
Admin Meeting (Herb), 8am

Mar 6
Newsletter Home
BAC meeting, 8am

Mar 9
PTO Meeting, 7pm

Mar 12
Spring Concert, 6:30pm

Mar 14
EdCamp Columbus, Clark Hall – Gahanna-Lincoln High School

Mar 16
Flower Sale Last Day

Upcoming Assessments:

Tuesday Feb. 24th
PARCC – English Language Arts  PBA Unit 1
4th and 5th grade students
Wed. Feb. 25th
PARCC – English Language Arts  PBA Unit 2
4th and 5th grade students
Thursday Feb. 26th
PARCC – English Language Arts  PBA Unit 3
4th and 5th grade students
Tuesday March 3rd
PARCC – Math  PBA Unit 1
3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students
Wed. March 4th
PARCC – Math  PBA Unit 2
3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students


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