Sunday, October 23, 2016

Innovator's Mindset - Part 2: Laying the Groundwork

I am in a book study about the book The Innovator's Mindset. Our second assignment was to choose something from the second part of the book and write about it, get involved with it, react to it, etc. No less than 10 times in this section did I think to myself "There is the quote I am going to write my blog about." But then I read on and had the same reaction 2 pages later. The ideas brought forth in this section are not only thought provoking, but also action provoking. After letting the ideas meld in my mind for a day or two, I have decided upon which portion to focus.

Pages 82-84 talk about Disrupting Your Routine. It includes a blog post in which an educator discusses being a student in the school for two days. The author did everything the students did, took the notes, listened to the lessons, did the school work. The author had the following three take aways...

  1. Students sit all day, and sitting is exhausting. 
  2. High School students are sitting passively and listening during approximately ninety percent of their classes. 
  3. You feel a little bit like a nuisance all day long. 
I found myself reflecting on what our students do all day. I am in the classroom teaching my own students far less now then I have been in previous years, but that means I spend much more time walking around the hallways traveling between places. I think Merton has phenomenal teachers, but I do find that I see a lot of students sitting in their desks. I found myself wondering how our students are actually spending their time. I think it is difficult for teachers to always put together the bigger picture of their students' days when their main focus is on the curricular goals they have for their content area. I found myself wondering what the results of my day(s) as a student would be. 

So I have decided to take action. Instead of wondering what a day in the life of a Merton student would be like, I am going to live a day, or two, in the shoes of our middle schoolers. I am not going in to evaluate the teachers, but instead to be able to come back with an overall look at what a day in our student's shoes would be like. I want to be able to come back with technology integration ideas, engagement ideas, and feedback that will help start conversations.

The book poses the question "Would you want to be a student in your classroom?" I want to experience life as a student in each of our classrooms, so that I can go back and help create environments that will make me want to live as a student in our classrooms each and every day. 


  1. Mary,
    I think it's difficult to know how our students feel until we become one. I did that for a short time last year and it was eye opening. I saw all that a teacher needs to do each and every day and I did all of the things our students did, except for the time I spent with lunch supervision.
    I'd be interested to hear your ideas for getting students moving, taking control of their learning, and integrating technology. I am more than happy to support you in taking the next steps after your day(s) as a student.
    This is a great application of part 2 of Innovator's Mindset.

  2. I can't wait to find out what you learned! I know how tiring it can be when I attend an all day conference learning and sitting, sitting and learning. Great conferences are inspiring and awesome, but I do feel really tired after a full day of sessions. When I read this section I thought oh jeez that's what my last hour science kids feel like when they walk in the door! So we have started doing short dance parties and I've assigned one student per week to be the DJ. I hope it helps. I also believe having comfy chairs and couches for silent reading helps the students not feel so confined while reading. Let me know what you learn after you live life as a Merton student. I could use your help pointing out other places where I could incorporate more movement. You have such great ideas!