The “Four Things” Teacher

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The “Four Things” Teacher

The great thing about traveling across time zones is that you lie awake at night and think about stuff.

imgresLast week Melinda Kolk of Tech4Learning interviewed me for an article she is going to write about my new book, #EdJourney.  She told me about a teacher in a school she works with; I think it is an elementary school teacher (Melinda, please Tweet out that detail).  Each week the teacher writes just four things on the white board; those are the four learning outcomes for the week.  Then he turns it over to the students to start to figure out how to get there.  Of course he is there to advise, guide, facilitate, coach, remind, prod…and I am sure do some “teaching”.  But that is the extent of his course outline as far as the students are concerned…those four things.  The rest is flexible.

Your students have to know that you, teacher, trust the absolute heck out of them for this to work. And, as my friend John Hunter, inventor of the World Peace Game, told me, once they know you trust them that much, learning will explode.

What if you reduced the foundational expectations of your week to just four things?


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By | 2014-05-04T18:04:12+00:00 May 4th, 2014|Innovation in Education, Uncategorized|2 Comments

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  1. awkytle May 5, 2014 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    I am intrigued by these four things, Grant! I wonder if all four things are academic. I wonder if any focus on problem finding. I wonder how “high level” they are. Not that you know the details of them all, I know, but it does have me thinking what my four would be if I challenged myself to do this. Imagine if administrators also did this with teachers over the course of a year…

    • glichtman May 6, 2014 at 12:57 am - Reply

      I think they are just four learning goals for the week; what the teacher wants the students to do, complete, learn, or achieve. Just the opposite end of the spectrum from a teacher who parses the week into days, the day into hours, and hours into minutes.

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