Letting Students Make Their Own Classroom

Elementary ClassroomLast Tuesday, during another amazing Lumen8 Session, we discussed letting students walking into an empty classroom and spending the first week of school designing their own space based on their own needs. We were thrilled to hear that two teachers in the Kansas City, Kansas School District were piloting just that idea.

There are many benefits to this. First, the students feel a sense of ownership over their own learning. All teachers understand that controlling the classroom space has a strong effect on students’ learning. Having students take ownership over that process will have an even greater affect.

Second, it will let students have a deeper understanding of how they should and want to act in a classroom. This way, the learning deviates from a “teacher gives and student takes” model to a more “teachers and students are partners in learning” model.

A great blog post on Edutopia outlines this even further, and gives some good research validation.

As the school year gears up, happy classroom set up!

Keeping Administrators In Touch With the Classroom

Recently, math teacher and instructional coach, Jennie Magiera of Chicago Public Schools, was promoted to Chief Technology Officer of the district. In a Q&A for EdSurge.com, Jennie shares her insights on how school administrators can maintain their much-needed educator’s perspective on what’s best for the students even as they serve a larger role beyond the classroom.

Spoiler: Jennie plans to keep in touch by staying in the classroom. Get the full scoop here.


Some Guidelines for Recruiting a Diverse Faculty


Having a diverse faculty is really important, especially in today’s more diverse and global world. But oftentimes it is difficult to recruit diverse faculty because there need to be shifts in the systems of hiring.

Over at the National Association for Independent Schools, they have a great set of guidelines to use, but most notably they talk about trying to understand that diversity recruitment is a different animal. It is a form of recruitment that deals with image, history, implicit bias, and many other things.

Read on!

Student Centered Learning

Our intrepid Lumen8ers, discussing 21st Century Learning!
Our intrepid Lumen8ers, discussing 21st Century Learning!

We talk a lot about student centered learning. Not just the education community at large, we specifically mean at the Lumen Touch office. This summer, we have a cohort of some amazing Lumen8 Educators spending the summer with us to bridge the gap between the community and the classroom!

We spoke a lot about letting students own the classroom, counting on them to present to the outside community, and have other be the final arbiters of grades.

Read on for more techniques, on the classroom, building, and district level!

Understanding the Local: Summer Reading

Make sure you visit the local library this summer!
Make sure you visit the local library this summer!

There are many people who follow national politics vigorously but ignore the local. They understand American history, but not their local history. They vote in national elections but not in their municipal ones.

This is wrong. Teaching has taught me that the bread and butter of American democracy exists on the local level. Local politicians make many decisions that affect our daily lives directly.

To that end, I have been trying to understand Kansas City history much more critically. Thankfully, KCUR has compiled the perfect summer reading list for local understanding! This list encompasses race, Native American history, cultural and political history, and even some locally set fiction.

Read on for some happy rainy day couch reading!

Learning by Design

This particular voice of the ShiftED team loves to incorporate wordplay into posts whenever possible. Today is no exception.

We can talk until we’re blue in the face about instructional design and the changes we think need to occur to successfully instigate the yet-elusive shift in educational practices. But what about the design of the spaces in which these educational practices take place? In a world where blended learning is changing the landscape of student-teacher interaction, the landscape of the the instructional space is just as important as the practices themselves. Check out both parts of EdSurge’s two-part series on history and future of school designed as told in an interview with architect Larry Kearns.

Has your school tackled this piece of the ed puzzle yet? Share your stories in the comments below and include pictures!


Not So Special Ed?

We at ShiftED frequently highlight concerns regarding the achievement gap and socioeconomic discrepancies in the US education system. What the casual edu-observer may be surprised to discover is that the system’s well-intended special education structure can be a primary perpetrator in this inequity.

https://edlaw80205.wordpress.com/short-guide-to-special-education-in-ontario-schools/This week on the EdWeek blog, educator and administrator, Dr. Doug Green, takes a deep dive into the United States’ special education system structure. In this in-depth reflection, Dr. Green shares his own experiences as principal, comparisons between American and Finnish approaches to special education, and his suggestions on ways the system can be improved to be more effective for students, teachers and schools’ budgets.

Agree? Disagree? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughtful comments below.