Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Taking AIM in Our Classrooms



By Dean Graziano 
 
I didn't have a deliberate thought process on building a cohesive classroom, for either students or educators. Like most, I assumed it was happening without my conscious planning. 
 
Then I finally spent some time thinking about it. 
 
Now, I've come up with the acronym A.I.M.=Take AIM!  
  • A- Allow time for students to think. Since questioning is at the heart of critical thinking, you want to create an environment where intellectual curiosity is fostered, and questions are encouraged. This includes building in/making time for learners (whether student or educators) to actually think. Don't rush into the next question, or rush to prompt an answer – embrace the silence after asking a question. Work on fostering an environment (face-to-face or online) where students feel safe to share and be creative. 
  • I - Investigate & invest in best instructional practices. There are a myriad of articles and professional development (see izzit.org) to increase your knowledge. This is time well spent, and I'm sure it will make a positive impact on your students' learning. 
  • M - More time for group work/presentations and opportunity for deeper dives - breadth of knowledge versus depth of coverage. When doing this, I can see if students are making connections to curriculum and have time to focus on those that do not. At izzit.org, our educational videos provide a wonderful coverage of a topic, while our Teachable Moments allow some deeper dives into the specifics of that topic. Again, the key is allowing time for students to think!
I still believe our greatest challenge is the “lag” students are experiencing by not being in an in-person classroom. I am optimistic that taking A.I.M. will help close the gap as well as building a stronger cohesive classroom wherever that may be taking place.