August 18, 2020
It’s been five months since the first 360 degree pivot. The moment we went from hand-on-the-back, let-me-loan-you-this-book, I’ll-teach-that-lesson to learning how to ‘flip’. I’ve added a lot of new words to my vocabulary: asynchronous, synchronous, remote, the list goes on and on. I’ve started to notice this word a lot: PIVOT.
To pivot is to shift to a new strategy. I went to several professional development meetings last week where the word pivot figured prominently. I decided to consider what it means to pivot. In pivoting, part of the mechanism stays stationary and the rest moves. Think of an oscillating sprinkler, the central part stays in place and the ancillary pieces move to direct the water where it is needed. In our planning, we need to find our core, our center mechanism and keep it steady as we move other pieces to accommodate in-person, remote, large-group, small-group, and conferring.
I’ve been considering how much can we keep the same. How many parts of what we are, and what we do can remain the same? What has to change? In one of the professional development meetings I went to, the instructor wisely said we should keep the two parts in a hybrid as alike as possible.
This is really two ideas. Keeping the core of what we know to teach, to expose, to nurture intact and also to make the work seems similar in whatever setting the students are in. Oh, just that??? Piece of cake! Let’s construct this in the same way we would with the students, one step at a time.
I was considering assessment this morning, how to simplify it, what is essential, what do we really want to know. This idea applies to the core subjects, to our work, to the students’ work.
I saw many teachers in the spring remote trying many, many mediums and tools, resources and strategies. The teachers were exhausted and the students were confused. What do we know about the workshop? Especially in the beginning, it’s about routines and structure, predicability to allow for the new thinking. I’m not sure in your situation what will make the routines predictable, what will make the structure simpler, but I do suggest it is the goal.
Let’s not think beyond the first six weeks to borrow from Responsive Classroom. Let’s carefully consider what to hold onto and what to let go of? What is essential? What will we need to know about our students and what will they need to trust about us?
I wrote this down in the spring to remind myself. Perhaps not to overpromise, but mostly to stick to my core. What do I want to make happen? Really. Down deep. Then think about what I can control and what I can do. Saying no might be important right now.
So here’s to a plan that can pivot.