Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Addition by Subtraction

Through the next few months we'll all be planning for next year's students.  Many of us already know new things we want to try next year.  Or maybe there was a lesson or unit that didn't go well and you want to change it.  Perhaps your standards have changed and you need to teach new material.  And you may already be thinking...how am I going to do it all?

Here's a nickle's worth of free advice...

Practice Addition by Subtraction

And now you're thinking: What. In. The. World? Hear me out...

Often in education and VERY often in edtech, we chase the shiny.  What's the newest gadget? What's the latest app? What's everybody buzzing about? And then we cram it into our curriculum.

Not only does this crowd your curriculum, it leaves you crazed and cranky.  It also diminishes the impact of the technology.  Students begin seeing the technology as an add on instead of one of many tools at their disposal.  So, before you add one more thing, identify what you can subtract.

When I work with teachers, I like to work to transform a lesson they already do into a technology infused lesson.  I don't want to shoe horn in another project. There's just not enough time for that.

You have to get the most bang for your buck! Bundle your standards to see what you can teach together.  Students can demonstrate mastery of several standards at once.

As you decide to add something to your lesson plans, also decide what you will subtract.  I'm not talking about subtracting standards.  You still have to teach all your standards.  I mean don't have students create a Tackk of Egyptian culture AND build a pyramids.  And moving pet projects to purely at home projects, doesn't count as subtracting them.  Then you're just assigning them to parents.

When planning units, remember to Hit the Target!

How will you practice addition by subtraction?

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