|Alternate information forms have value|
in many situations.
Do Not... assign seating or expect all students to sit on the same type of chair, or in the same way, or even to sit at all. I might have nothing good to say about former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, but somehow he rose to some fairly high positions without ever accepting a standard desk or an office chair. We really never were in a "one size fits all" time period, though we pretended to be. But now the time for pretending is over. Let your students sit in chairs, on balls, on the floor, on the windowsills, or stand and lean. Why would you possibly care?
Do... offer a wide range of places and ways for students to be comfortable. All kids become behaviour problems when they feel trapped and uncomfortable. If they need to control their auditory environment, pop those earbuds in. If they need to leave for a few minutes, what are you accomplishing by keeping them in? If they need to eat or drink, they are hungry or thirsty, and if your classroom can't be cleaned, that's the problem.
Do Not... ban mobile phones. You're not winning this battle anyway. Instead use these in class, for research, for communication. Have the students keep them on their desktops, find information for the class, photograph experiments, UStream projects home to parents.
Do... offer a Tool Crib for your students. Rather than have the same device for everyone, switch it up. Handhelds, Tablets, TabletPCs, Macs - desktops and laptops. And offer software choices as well, Microsoft Office, Open Office, Google Docs - Balabolka, FoxVox, NaturalReader, WordTalk - Safari, Chrome, Firefox - anywhere you can offer choices, offer choices. This is how kids will build their toolbelts.
|Windows speech recognition...|
it really works, and its free
Do... have a classroom Twitter account, a classroom Skype account, a classroom UStream account, a classroom Google account. You want to link your learning community broadly to the world. Using these social media tools classes have roamed Scottish castles from Virginia, met astronauts from Edinburgh, linked to Australian kids from Michigan. They have shared knowledge with scientists and poets. The future of your students will be global, get them started now.
|"T minus 3 hours and holding," deadlines |
slide, they just do.
Do... let kids declare "time outs." Use a "do not disturb" sign, or some method of allowing a student to "back away" from the room for a time - even if they don't physically leave. We all need this. We close our office doors. We go hide for lunch. We sit in our car with the music blasting. Why would we imagine that kids don't? That they can go all day in the unbelievably "social" environment of school without the need to hide for a bit?
Do Not... give kids a "second shift" of work when they leave school. They are in there all day, that should be the bulk of their work time. They all have other - honestly better - things to do out of school. It is their life learning out of school which should be given context and clarity through your classroom work. Extending their world, rather than extending yours. Besides, we know that homework primarily measure parental socio-economics, and never more so than with the "flipped" classroom of Salman Khan which puts the essential learning into a completely variable context. Thinking homework? Think again.
South Park kids know the score on homework...
- Ira Socol