In January 2021 I was plugging along. My students were using EduScrum quite seamlessly. Our Constitution unit had just launched and I was staring straight toward the bright light at the end of the year.
Everything was flowing. I had reduced friction in my teaching. All of my students were interactive and collaborative. Everything was good.
This is the exact moment you know you need a moment of growth. Why reduce friction and free up spare time if only to waste it?
The universe understands this about me and threw me onto a learning path I’m only just now beginning to fully conceptualize.
I began using Agile in the classroom, after literally tripping upon the methodology this summer. I read books, took basic courses on LinkedIn, read the principles, SCRUM guide, and every other article I could find. In no way did I con myself into believing that I actually knew Agile or Scrum, but I knew enough to make it function in my classroom.
Through experimentation, learning, and patience the system evolved in the 4 walls of my room. Students were hesitant at first but learned how to become their own project managers. They took charge of their time and their education and relished the confidence it brought them.
With all this new free time, I decided I really wanted to learn SCRUM and Agile. I began to study for the Professional Scrum Master Test and picked up more Agile resources. This is where lightning struck my life.
Through Linkedin, where I try to stay active, Jeff Burstein reached out to me. He has a new company called L-EAF.org and asked would I be interested in experiencing LearningFLOW, and Agile through Kanban in the classroom.
What? Learning? For Fun?
Hell yes. Let the Journey Begin!
Instead of happily floating into 4th quarter drama free and on easy street, the world threw me and my students for a loop. When I agreed to join Jeff and his team on this journey I knew needed to learn Agile, this time for real. That learning was also paired with Kanban. We were now transitioning into the pull system of a Kanban board through Kanbanzone.com
Jeff has been coaching my good friend and incredible science teacher Roslynn and I on how to use the Kanban board through developing a inquiry based learning unit for our students. Roslynn is using her board to guide her students through the discovery of rocks and minerals. My students are working in self-selected teams to create an American History Museum. The board is helping them organize as they research, brainstorm, prototype a design, receive feedback and finally have the final celebration with the opening of our museum.
My journey with L-EAF.org is just starting, but all-consuming, in the best way. I am a veteran teacher. I know how to lesson plan and create meaningful PBLs. I scaffold deep application of skills throughout my content and create year-long learning experiences. However, planning the 4th quarter with Jeff and L-EAF has changed my thought process. My students are now Agile teams and are learning how to navigate Kanban on their own. Through self-discovery and a little bit of guidance, my 8th graders are exploring their cards, creating tasks, linking their cards, pulling them through the project process, and getting their work done in a surprising amount of time. They are not following the rituals in SCRUM, but their communication has improved with the use of the Kanban board. For the first time ever I have let students self-select their groups across all of my class periods and they are all in charge of creating their own rubrics.
In a way, this process has enabled my students to hit our end-of-year goal. They have complete control of their learning, their process, and their application. I still have checkpoints where I ensure that they are moving forward. We now schedule meetings where I meet with small groups alone to discuss their content and brainstorming process. I am actively moving through my classroom teaching in a much more hands-on method than if I was doing whole-class instruction.
As I move through the learning process of LearningFLOW I am getting better and improving as a person and a teacher. I can already see the difference in my students as well. The learning process is far from over. I am excited to see what this learning journey brings for all of us. I am confident that the skills and mindset that I am learning through Jeff and L-EAF.org have changed my life for the better and will bring a new world of education to my students.
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