With new Digital Learning Integration Standards of Learning in Virginia (DLISoLs), instructional technology coaches needed a way to share these with teachers yet embed them seamlessly into their curriculum. Many changes have happened over the last three years, as we all know, but how could it be done? The focus of my department has been the 4 Shift Protocol by Scott McLeod For the last 9 months we have been focused on the combining the 4 shifts + DLISoLs + current teaching practices = interdisciplinary projects reaching all types of learners.
It’s quite simple when you focus on the high flyer teachers. You know the ones you have conversation that starts with “After our conversation about your upcoming content, I have an idea we can discuss.” Their response is “Awesome! I’m in! What are we doing?” You collaboratively
plan it. The kids run with it and the final product blows you away. The results lead to sharing of the project through your school videos, social media outlets and conferences. After all, it was that amazing EVERYONE needs to know about it. As long as only the high flyers are listening, this is all wonderful. On the sidelines are the teachers that want to dive into projects that are this engaging but not as large or in depth as what they are hearing about.
How do you take the same passion and excitement of the big project and high flyers and share it with those who want the same excitement yet might feel apprehensive and unsure of where to begin?
Begin with reminding them they are the expert in the content. A few questions will guide the conversation and create a plan for success:
- What will success look like?
- What activities have your students enjoyed?
- small group/individual work
- craft building or robotics
- How much time do you want to devote to the project?
- What is your end date?
- What support would you like from me, the instructional technology coach, throughout this process?
- co-teach the whole project
- split groups of kids in classroom and another space
- coach joins teacher in the class and acts as an assistant
Once you have your answers, create a map that makes sense to you and the classroom teacher. Options might be a live Google Doc where you both add information, a timeline of ideas on Google Slides that map out it out so that the students will have a framework of the task.
However you choose to work with the teacher, reiterate that you two are a team working towards the same goal. Pose questions and ideas and listen to the answers. Listen with an open mind so that the teacher understands their value. Finally, the most important part to remember is that just like an educator-student must be created to build trust so must the educator-coach relationship. Ask the hard questions. Ponder the ideas. Document the process. Celebrate the success.