Hand It Over to the Students

Jessica Craig is a third grade teacher at Roxborough Intermediate in Littleton, Co., who writes about incorporating personalized learning into her classroom. Educator and consultant Allison Zmuda paid her a visit earlier this year.

By: Jessica Craig

Personalized math goals
Jessica Craig’s students came up with personalized goals to reinvent their math block.

When I’m beginning to feel overwhelmed and I see my weekend and weeknights slipping away, I always ask myself, what am I holding onto that I can, or need, to give over to my students?

I have let my students solve many of my toughest questions and challenges this year, and I have not regretted it once! Each time I am further amazed at their level of engagement, persistence with challenge, and creative thinking!

Math block not working? Let the kids redesign it. Needing storage and power solutions for the new Chromebooks? My kids knocked that one out of the park, AND redesigned my entire classroom to give it a fresh new look! Need to finish planning and finding resources for that upcoming unit? Let the kids take some time in class to research and gather resources in the school library, build a menu of possible activities and formative assessments, deconstruct the outcome, and prepare the inquiry wall!

Classroom management needing a revamp? Ask the kids what would motivate them and let them develop and test out a new system! Have a grant you’ve been wanting to write? Let your kids create a video grant, instead!

Not only will you save yourself an immense amount of time and sanity, but your students will be given an authentic learning opportunity which benefits someone and something they truly care about!

So, do you really need to stay late or go to the school this weekend just to solve “problem” that’s been on your mind, or could your kids help you figure it out? Chances are they’ll do a better job than you ever could have all on your own!

Our kids are capable of so much more than we could ever imagine, but we’ll never know unless we learn to hand it over!

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