Innovation in My Classroom: Always a Work in Progress

--Originally published at Mrs. Gibbs Flips Algebra 1

Andrew (@thomasson_engl) will fuss at me for saying this, but I'm not very creative. I can follow someone else's lead with the occasional A-Ha of my own, but I have very few ideas original to me.

I've said it before, but I stand on the shoulders of giants. And I am oh-so-thankful for those giants.

So...how does innovation show up in the classroom of this not-so-creative teacher?



A few years ago I began Interactive Notebooks with my Pre-Algebra kids. That was decently innovative (although not original).

Two years ago I flipped my Algebra 1 classes. That was hugely innovative (still not original).

Last year I played around with an in-class flip for my Pre-Algebra students.

The structure of my classes continues to change. More student choice. More student-centered. Moving towards more open-ended, collaborative lessons that give students context.

All of this is innovative for ME. Way outside my comfort zone and definitely outside my box. It's pretty innovative for my students, too. And their parents.

Math class has been conducted largely the same way for a looooooong time. Current changes in the MO are new for everyone.

And I am, by no means, the only teacher trying these things. I learn from others, decide to take risks in my own classroom, and tailor the "innovations" to my personal style.

Innovation by my students?

Unfortunately, I am not as far along with allowing them to be innovative.

I have made huge strides in allowing them to approach and solve problems in ways that make sense to them (believe me, that's a HUGE shift).

I assigned a project to my Algebra 1 students last year that allowed them to make some choices and be creative. They did an awesome job, and I need to do that more often.

It's not that I don't want my students to be innovative. I just don't know all the how-to's...yet. I continue to work on it.

My classroom and I are ALWAYS a work in progress.

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