For the last 20 years or so, we’ve acknowledged that too many students get left behind. But instead of going off script, we just keep doubling down on the same fundamental approach. Sure, folks at the top expect certain results and make it hard to break out of the assembly line model, but change starts in our own backyards—our classrooms.
This week’s story of off script learning is about the power of letting go and embracing possibility.
By Stephanie Pederson
Sometimes you do not have the right answer, let alone any answer… and that is ok? Yes.
Students in my 4th grade classroom at Borton are developing a student-run business with seed funding from Real World Scholars. We are creating a card game inspired by Pokémon, but the content of our game is mythology.
I have never created a game (beyond making up rules on the playground) let alone a game to publish, market, and sell online. I am not an entrepreneur. I am a teacher. So this, this is one time that the students and I are definitely in the same boat. This is new for all of us.
Lately, growth mindset is all the rage in education, for good reason. At my school we talk about it all the time, and now I am charged with matching my walk and my talk. I do not have all the answers—I have to learn about this with the students. I have to step out of my comfort zone and be okay with the fact that I do not have all the answers or maybe
any of the answers.
What I do know, is that I can work with the students to find the answers. Or maybe the students have the answers and will be teaching me how to design the card, play the game, and write the rules. I can research and find information that can provide a structure, and I must to help ensure that time is managed and tasks are completed, but my sense of control – or my sense of wanting perfection – has no place here in this process or this project.
I must trust in my students and in myself that we can figure this out together. It is a vulnerable place to be, but the learning and growth that is emerging for all of us is Raw and Real.
Stephanie Pederson teaches 4th grade at Borton Elementary in Tucson, Arizona. She is the Founder of Time4Games an EdCorps run by her 4th grade students.