Updated: May 24

Jumping in the the only way to tackle a new challenge.

This year we are facing an incredible amount of challenges from distance learning to plexiglass, but the lessons from the spring have been learned.

We must keep kids connecting, collaborating and socializing. They must be challenged and engaged. Worksheets will not cut it.

To ensure that students will take agency in their education and enjoy coming to class, no matter the means, I have decided to launch the eduScrum framework to drive my project based learning this year.

Students have no idea they are about to engage in the world of eduScrum, but they do know they are about to enter a new phase of their education.

EduScrums goals are to empower students, engage in constant reflection and improvement, student choice and freedom within the framework.

The eduScrum guide is an incredible resource for teachers that are looking for a solution to the issues we are all facing.

The basic framework consists of:

Self-organized student teams

Team leaders are chosen by the teacher at first, and students later. All students fill out a qualities and skills list to identify the skills they feel more competent in. The forms are kept anonymous. Team leaders are then empowered to pick their own teams based on qualities and skills of their peers.

The teacher as the Project Manager and co-Scrum Master

Teachers identify learning objectives that must be met by students. We all have standards and curriculum to follow. What we must do is the WHAT and WHY to learn. We frame the project based on the skills and content the student must learn. The important step is we also explain WHY students are learning. Students must “buy in” to be fully engaged.

The Celebration Criteria

The Celebration Criteria is the standards, rubric, content knowledge, and deadlines that must be met for students to complete a project. The teachers create the criteria and the students use the knowledge to create their tasks and activities to make sure all requirements are met. Students are able to backwards design their units from the criteria. They know the goals, they have a timeline and they can then construct the tasks that will get them from beginning to end.

The Flap

The Flap is the project board where student can visually plan their project. All stories and tasks are placed on the board, along with celebration critieria, Definition of Fun, Definition of Done, a Run down chart and a section for possible impediments. All team members have ownership of the board and work to make sure it is complete and up to date. Tasks can be added to the board as the project progresses and the team feels necessary.

The Flap promotes visual thinking and transparency throughout the process. Students and teachers can see the flow of a project and get a sense of the velocity of the team in a glance. The Flap also helps gives students a better view of ALL of their tasks to help them plan their time in a more efficient manner.

The Sprint

“The heart of eduScrum is the sprint.”

The Sprint can consist of a set amount of time in which students are learning and completing tasks to satisfy the learning objectives. During a spring students: create groups, employ stand up meetings at the beginning of each lesson, complete assignments and tasks, participate in sprint reviews. This is the work phase which the students run.

In order to run a successful sprint students must be transparent, constantly communicating, participating in reflection within themselves and their teams and managing their time in order to meet the celebration criteria.

Stand Up Meetings

A stand up meeting is conducted by the Team Leader at the beginning of every lesson. It is only 5 minutes long and requires that all participants stand during the time. During the meeting all students answer the same three questions:

What have I done to help the team since the last lesson?

What am I going to do this lesson to help the team?

What are the obstacles that stand in the way of me or the team?

Stand up meetings helps self organized groups monitor their progress, provide a small space for reflections and increases the likelihood that students are focused on meeting their learning objectives. They are absolutely necessary for a successful sprint.

Sprint Reviews

Sprint reviews are practiced throughout the sprint to keep students focused on the goal (celebration criteria) and to make adjustments to the team and tasks as necessary. This is a time for students to engage in reflection to ensure that they are working efficiently and keeping their work focuses on their goals.

Sprint Retrospective

Sprint Retrospectives are the final reflection piece after the final assessment of a sprint has been completed. They should be completed as soon as possible, so the experience is still fresh in their minds. A Sprint Retrospective is for reflecting on the accomplishments and developments as a team and personally. During a retrospective the students review the relationships within the group, the tools that were employed, celebrate the places they were successful, identify problem areas and create a plan to make improvements for the next sprint.

The purpose of the retrospective is to identify how student can improve their learning personally and as a team.

In a time where we are all struggling to feel connected the eduScrum framework provides a way for students to develop the skills that they must engage in their future through multiple modalities. It works in any content area and can be adjusted for different grade levels. It keep isolated kids connected and pushes them to take agency in their own learning. It allows choice while still achieving the learning objectives that must be met.

The eduScrum guide and Youtube channel offer detailed descriptions of the entire framework and how it works. They are invaluable resources, created by the love of learning and future of our students in mind.

What does this say about modern education that by 8th grade students are to nervous to make a mistake to want to take charge of their own learning?

Why are we not letting students have choice?

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