Standing in the middle of a room filled with furniture, no warm bodies (other than mine), enclosed by four white walls, I knew what had to be done. I had to teach. I had to inspire. I had to love.  I wasn't sure what it was going to be like, what it was going to take, or how I was going to navigate these young children to engulf themselves in engaging learning. 

Life gives choices. 

As adults, we are faced with choices: an average of 35,000 choices a day. We must think quick, we must act, and we must reflect. What about students? Students make 3,000 decisions a day.  This leaves me wondering why their is such large gap between the two.  Could it be because they do not get a chance to make decisions? Could it be due to the parents/teachers stepping up and making the decisions for them? Could it be that we do not have high expectations for our students in the area of decision making?

Life provides opportunities. 

As educators, we are provided opportunities. According to Carnegie Mellon University and Temple University researchers scoured the educational landscape and found that... more than 205 trillion instructional options are available. Does that make you tired just thinking about it?  I know I become overwhelmed. How am I supposed to navigate though every opportunity to provide what is best for my students? The fact is... I am not.  I am going to immerse myself within the world of educational implementation and choose what I feel best meets the needs of my kiddos. Students need to be exposed to various opportunities every day. This will allow them the time to navigate through the decision making process.

Have you ever played Dodgeball? Just imagine how many decisions have to be made when you are playing? Which direction should I go? Who should I hide behind? Should I jump? Should I duck? Should I try to catch the ball? What do I do if the ball hits me? What do I do if I get the ball? How quick does he/she throw? Which direction is the ball going? I think you get the idea... it is all about navigation.

What does navigation look like in our classrooms?

  • Trial and Error: Grasp a new concept and try it out, then reflect
  • Be Willing: Listening to constructive feedback. Do not give up.
  • Be Ready: Kinks in the chain. Kids smiling.
  • Stay Focused: Students Learning. Students Leading
  • Stay True: Be yourself. Show Effort.
  • Be a model: They [students] are watching.

How do I encourage choice making and navigation?

  • The more opportunities that you give your students throughout the year, they will learn more about who they are as a learner.
  • The more choices you give your students throughout the year, the better they will become at making decisions based on their own learning needs.
  • The more informed you are with your students lives, the more personalized their choices will be.
Snippets From My Class
  • Stations: The students have the opportunity to visit 5-10 stations each day in the area of math and reading.  
  • Gamifying: Students in my class earn legos based on how well assignments are completed.  Then, they build whatever they want too, with the legos they have earned.
  • Makerspace: With task cards and crafty materials, students are challenged to solve missions.
  • Morning Work Menu: The students can choose which activity they would like to complete in the morning.  
  • Behavior: ClassDojo... a constantly moving behavioral system.

Navigation is all about tools.  
What tools have you given your students the opportunity to explore?
We should encourage every student to navigate!
You can only dream what is going to happen, until you release them. 
Then, success becomes a FACT!


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