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What inspires (or forces) change?

June 17, 2010

I’ve been thinking about change quite a bit lately. Mostly in reference to my classroom. Every few years I get inspired to do something completely different. One year I was forced to teach music on a cart. Thankfully I had a student teacher at the time and had some help pushing materials around (Sorry Stephanie). While I was observing her I had a chance to really look around at other classrooms. I remember thinking how I too could do a word wall, how I liked having the students in groups with their desks and the ever popular job chart. The following year when I got my room back it was a different place then when I taught there before. My principal and vice principal loved it! They even had the superintendent stop in.  I was told that it looked more like a classroom, not just a music room.  Hmmm….I know that was supposed to be a compliment, but we’ll let it slide.  Would I have made these changes without being forced into a completely different work situation of a year? Most likely not. Got lemons. Made lemonade.

Now I feel ready for some changes again. I’ve been eyeballing my room and I think I will mix up the student grouping to different places around the room, use the carpet for a  “Morning Meeting” style class openers , have more centers and individual time on the computers with the music software. I’ve been really inspired this year through differentiated instruction (DI) workshops (especially when I spent the day with Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson), Understanding by Design and Twitter. One moment that I realized I had a change in mind-set was during a DI workshop I attended this year. Now, my district has been leading us in DI for a few years now, so this was not an introductory session for me. During one of the coffee breaks another teacher exclaimed “How are we supposed to do all this in 180 days?” My thought was “Then what the hell ARE you doing for 180 days?”

Oh boy.  That feels like a new room set-up.

Sometimes change comes from circumstance, sometimes we look for it, other times we trip over it.  Hopefully you and your students benefit from it.

  1. Welcome to blogging!! I look forward to reading your blog. Change often happens when nothing else can go wrong. 🙂 I love change and welcome it but it is often a very hard process. we are all creatures of habit and we like to cling to the familiar.

  2. A good first post and comments. I just started blogging myself and only received one response, so you are off to a much better start.

    You took your opportunity and became a very reflective teacher who actually did something about your circumstances. That is great! Too often teachers choose to just become sour from the lemons. My thought is that students are not static, education is not static, and teachers must continue to change to be most effective, even if it is just small changes.

  3. What a great post! Welcome to the blogosphere! My favorite quote is the last line “Sometimes change comes from circumstance, sometimes we look for it, other times we trip over it. Hopefully you and your students benefit from it.”

    I definitely prefer stations. I used a pullout carpet as our morning meetings. The children sat down and it was a great way to get them to calm down and pay attention for a few minutes before we began our day!

  4. Mike Mcilveen permalink

    Enjoyed the post!
    If I could have anything on the wall, I’d love to put touchscreens with vids and audio, to re-visit ideas or access new ideas, for students to access on demand. I’d call it a ‘video wall’. Can you get that? 😛
    Great to hear about your journey!

  5. Way to go. Your students are blessed to have you. Love your attitude and heart of service. Can you have folks come speak/sing/play with your class? As Tom Peters says; Ready, Fire, Aim. Look forward to sharing your successes. You are the best.

  6. @DoeMiSo – Good start! Keep writing and reflecting and you’ll be amazed with how much you learn from it. Kudos to you for exposing your students to technology in your music class and applying differientiation to your instruction!
    Keep exploring, learning, and writing. Nice job!


  7. Hi there,

    I’ve found you blog through your tweet! First of all, welcome to the blogosphere. It’s a wonderful place to share ideas and get to meet lots of people who will both share your views and also challenge your ideas.

    Congratulations on your first post. As a new blogger myself, I still remember how I felt before I published my first post.

    Change takes place in our lives whether we want it or not. It’s part and parcel of living, I guess. As educators, our struggle to get our learners to benefit the most from what we do in the classroom has got to be fought daily. If we keep on doing the same thing over and over again, chances are we do not acknowledge each group is unique, and as such they need to be treated differently – and this starts with the little things, such as changing seating arrangement, pictures on the walls, and many other little things. I hope you and your students will benefit from your changes!


  8. I think you are definitely in the right frame of mind. I don’t believe change should be forced, change should happen to meet the needs of our students. We often hear how different kids are “these days” so I respond, “then how have we changed?” I love the fact you are looking to change. Continue to take risks and learn from others! Great first blog!

  9. A very thought provoking title and narrative – great 1st post!

    Isn’t learning changing? I sometimes don’t understand why there is such resistance to change in the educational field.

    Change is an opportunity to learn.

    I guess it is in how one looks at it and if one’s personality is positive or negative. I am an glass 1/2 full kinda girl – so I relish change. It is all what you make of it!

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