Wednesday, July 9, 2014
All You Need is a Little Paint!
I love to paint. Not canvas - I am not an artist. I paint rooms. This is what I call "my summer therapy". During the month of July, I find projects throughout the house. Many times, those projects are centered around organization - organizing a closet, a bookcase, my kitchen cabinets, maybe rearranging furniture. But I always find a room to paint. This summer, I found six rooms to paint. Not many may find this exciting, but I do love to paint a room. Painting relaxes me, gives me time to think, or not think at all. It is a time that is my own to reflect. When I paint a room, I go "all-out" with bold colors and different colors in the same room.
With a can of paint, a paintbrush, and a little elbow grease, I watch a room transform before my eyes. It is the same room. Always the same furniture going back into it. Maybe a few new accessories and curtains, but it is the same room, just different. Bolder. A change of personality. A twist on the same room.
So, as I was prepping my next room to paint, these thoughts hit me. Painting a room and the educational landscape today are so much alike. We are working to "transform" education, one "room" at a time. We are creating learning opportunities for our kids to prepare them for a world in which we aren't sure what it will look like in 20 years. We are integrating skills that go well-beyond content regurgitation. We are integrating maker spaces so that our children can create. Our schools are changing.
Much of what I read in blog posts and in recent publications urges educators to take risks and make changes in their instruction to meet the new demands of standards and integration of technology and 21st century skills. To many educators, it can be quite overwhelming. So, let's transform our teaching "one room at a time".
This next school year, I challenge educators to take a look at what they are doing now, and add a little color. A new twist. A different way. Rearrange a bit. Transforming and changing doesn't mean doing everything differently. Start with one lesson, one unit. Take that lesson or unit, and integrate something new into it that will not only challenge our children to question and take risks, but will encourage creativity and collaboration. Start with "one room" and add a little "color". Maybe that "color" didn't quite fit. So, go to the paint store, and find a different shade. After one room is done, move on to the next. Challenge yourself to take on a different bold color, or maybe mix two colors in the same room. Then, take a step back and watch your classroom transform. Watch as the students are independent, thinkers, creators, collaborators, problem-solvers. Watch how that ONE color took the same lesson, but added a new dimension to the learning. Isn't it amazing how a little paint can transform a room!